Saturday, November 17, 2012

Oh There’s No Place Like Home (?) For The Holidays

Whoa, next week is Thanksgiving. How did that happen? Is it really the holiday season? It’s a very weird feeling here; with no real change in weather to signal fall/winter (as well as a lack of American Thanksgiving hoopla, obviously) it doesn’t really feel like the holidays. There will be no white Christmas on Tortola, and Santa’s sleigh is an island beater pulled by chickens and is full of rum and coconuts.

Just kidding.

I’m not complaining, mind you. Anyone who knows me knows how I detest snow and cold weather. A sunny, 85 degree Christmas is a-ok by me. Dressing for Thanksgiving dinner in a sundress and flip flops is my kind of holiday. It’s just going to take some time for my brain to really register that we aren’t living in perpetual summer months.

The difficult part to the holidays as a single expat is not being with your family and being alone. I’ve spent holidays away from them before, but I was always with another family or had the promise of seeing mine soon. It’s not quite as painful that way. Now, I’ve built a life where I will honestly not get to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with my family for a long, long time…if ever. That’s a sobering thought.
Sisters! Christmas 2011
Logistically, it’s practically impossible for me. Thanksgiving is just another day in the BVI, so there is no long weekend or time off for traveling. It also falls at the head of our busy season. Traveling back to the States for Christmas? Not a snowball’s chance in Tortola. That’s high season for us, not to mention airfare is stupid expensive. Nope, if I’m going to see my family at the holidays then it will be via the magic of the internet or if they choose to come to me.

I knew this was a part of the bargain. It was no surprise to me that I’d be spending the season 4000 miles from my family. I’ve accepted it, and I’ll learn to make the best of it. Fortunately I’ve made some amazing friends here already and yes, I do have plans for Thanksgiving dinner this coming week. I will not be alone for my first Thanksgiving as an expat. No worries there!

My nephew Ethan (Dr. Doolittle himself) and Scully, Christmas 2011 
However, it’s still going to be hard for the first few years. Thanksgiving is one thing, but Christmas will be another. Almost all of my 30 Christmas Eves have been spent having aebleskiver with the family, going to church, listening to Neil Diamond Christmas albums (don’t hate) and preparing for Christmas Day together. This year I imagine I’ll Skype with my sister and parents while attempting to make aebleskiver on my own…if I can find a monk pan on island. I suppose I should start hunting now. At any rate, I’m sure my carefully crafted strong exterior will crack and I’ll break down like a little sissy girl. My roommate will find me blubbering into my doughy balls of heaven, whimpering Christmas tunes to myself while It’s A Wonderful Life plays in the background.

The first one will be the hardest. I’m sure that every year after that will get a little bit easier. It has to, right? 

Aebleskiver. I'd kill a man over these. You think I'm kidding...

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