Coming home for Christmas… is weird… Every year, no matter the circumstances, it's always just a bit strange to be floating in a land that was once your permanent residence but for many years hasn't been. Though visiting NYC again felt a little strange to me because I recently lived there for 10 years and I saw friends and family I used to see weekly, going to Connecticut almost felt like it does every year, seeing friends and family I don't usually see all that often. The main difference was that for the first time in my 33 years on this planet, some of our family traditions were thoroughly modified. I was in NYC on Christmas Eve, with only part of my family. My brother and sister-in-law hosted a small gathering, including one of my sisters, my father, my step-mother, and of course Baby Boo ("Le Moo Moo"), my wonderful nephew. I ventured into Manhattan during the afternoon to see the tree in Rockefeller Center, wander up Madison Avenue for a last minute gift, and hop through Union Square to finally get my hands on some Peppermint Stick ice-cream to go with our holiday treats. The evening was spent munching on pesto pizza, coconut chicken, drinking wine and hot cider, and of course my first helping of the infamous family favorite, kielbasa.
Christmas day my sister and I drove to Connecticut to be with my mother, step-father, and my youngest sister. We went to see "American Hustle" and topped off the night with a family meal of local Chinese take-out. Thursday and Friday I caught up with old friends, some family, saw my adorable baby god-daughter, and prepared for a belated Christmas holiday weekend. On Saturday, we had a big brunch at my mom's house with her extended family, and Sunday was a recreation of Christmas morning for my nephew, followed by brunch with my father's extended family. All of these events included kielbasa, up and down family dynamics, and a really sweet pile of Christmas treats.
Today I pack my bags and trek back to Europe, this time for an indefinite time abroad. When I arrived in France in August, there was always the possibility I would see friends and family within a 5 month period for the holidays, and I was oh so lucky to have numerous visitors. This time, I could be away 6 months, 3 years, or who knows how long. I already know I will have visitors this spring, and nothing will stop be from seeing friends and family I love when I want, but opportunities are definitely open and endless for now. Before landing back in Paris, however, I will first stop in London en route to celebrate New Year's Eve in the land of Harry Potter, The Beatles, Shakespeare, Jane Austen, and fond memories of my college time abroad. Here's to my next post in 2014!!!