Christmas This Year

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It’s hard for me to talk about going home for the holidays without tearing up. This year felt more emotional because I was experiencing especially strong pangs of homesickness this December and the anticipation of spending time with my family and friends was causing some restless nights. Of course, once I arrived the two weeks at home flew by and leaving home left me an even more emotional mess. I just wasn’t ready to leave.

There are certain times, though they are few, thankfully, where I truly wonder what we’re doing over here. Are we living our best life this far away from our nearest and dearest? Wouldn’t we be happier at home? There is no right answer. When I’m zipping across Europe by rail or snuggled up at home while it snows here in Switzerland, everything feels good deep down in my gut. I feel balanced. And then something happens, not even something catastrophic necessarily, and I question our motives and logic.

What usually calms me down when I feel this panic rising is that nothing lasts forever and I’m not the only one grappling with these conflicting feelings. I am happy here. I love living in Switzerland. And I love my family and friends and spending masses of meaningful time with them. I feel pulled in opposing directions, but ultimately content with where we are now. Being at home riles up all these thoughts in me and I can’t help feeling contemplative and nostalgic, the natural end-of-year reflection only exacerbating this exercise.

 

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sisters^^Courtney and I went to a Christmas party and I still don’t know what we dressed up as

All told, I had a wonderful time at home. Lots of quality time with friends and family, eating all my favorite foods and indulging in holiday delights, shopping trips, sister sleepovers, reality TV with my mom and general merriment and fun.

We spent some great time at Adam’s house and reveled in the relaxation. We celebrated Christmas a few days early, though it felt just like the real day with a big breakfast in the morning and a lazy afternoon of movies and lounging.

My family has the big to-do on Christmas Eve with my brothers and their families and all the siblings. We have brisket, cheesy potatoes, pie, cookies and presents before going to service in the evening. Christmas day is more relaxed; we usually see a movie in the afternoon (this year it was Big Eyes–recommend!) and find a time to open presents at home either in the morning or evening.

I took a healthy amount of photos while I was at home, but discovered this weekend, when I downloaded all the images, that I had my settings all wonky and only a handful of them turned out. So many of them are overly yellow and blurry and it pains me to see so many memories fuzzed out. I’m sharing them anyway, despite of my lack of attention to detail, if you’d like to see what we got up to at home. Get ready for the photo overload…

IMG_6659^^Louis, Erin’s dog, is the best male model

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IMG_6639^^a picture recreating a picture

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toast^^European beers are great and all, but nothing has the crispness of a PBR ; )

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IMG_6805^^for every one nice, normal photo of us there’s a good smattering of “outtakes” that no one seems to love as much as us

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IMG_6816^^when we went to Greece this summer we bought my dad a 20-year-old bottle of Vinsanto, a dessert wine. Standing in line to check my bag so we could bring it home nearly caused us to miss our flight, so this thing was worth a lot. We were happy to finally get to open it up and enjoy!

IMG_6828^^my dad has a fondness for creepy woodland animals

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IMG_6886^^teaching two of the triplets how to misbehave at Grandpa’s house

IMG_6888^^Mason ::swoon::

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IMG_6952^^ a Christmas toast!

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I hope you are having a magical time of year. These quiet days between Christmas and New Year’s offer such pointed time for reflection and resolution. Adam and I spent some time last night thinking about what we want 2015 to look like. It’s humbling to review such an exciting and momentous year. But’s it’s just as exhilarating to stand at the beginning of a fresh year, one ripe with possibility and adventure. I want to wish you the warmest of season’s greetings and glad tidings in the (almost) new year.

 

 

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