Thursday, December 20, 2012

No Place Like Home For the Holidays?

Hey all,

I'm back and just in time to talk about one of my favorite holidays--Christmas.  

While I hate the crowds, commercialism, and buying frenzy that seems to happen no matter how hard I try to avoid it, Christmas to me is about surrounding yourself with the holiday...with family and friends who are important.  Being thankful for what I have...for what God has given me.

I always decorate like a crazy woman and I LOVE LOVE LOVE to give gifts to the people I care about. Jonathon learned early on that trying to rein me in at Christmas time is like trying to hold sunshine in your hands.


But being overseas makes everything different.  1)  I don't have my Christmas decorations--so I had to go to IKEA and get a few things.  But I can't justify spending hundreds of euros on something I'm just going to leave behind, so I didn't get much.  So while the house is's not what I usually do.

2) The gift giving is curtailed BIG TIME.  My kids got gifts...already sent home with Jessaca when she was here, and I just sent out another box because I couldn't help myself.  LOL  They'll get a Christmas card as well.  Late, but I forgot to send it with the box.  So gifts will be given to our friends here at the circus and of course to my sweet baboo.  He'll be totally embarrassed as usual with the abundance.

But I can't get all I'd like because a) we can't carry it and b) unless it's awesomely wonderfully cool, it's hard to buy something you KNOW is just going into a box and sit for several years until we're done traveling.

So gift giving has changed too.

3)  The atmosphere is different.  Not being home with all the familiar sights and scents DOES make a big difference.  I can't pull out my crock pot and do my Christmas potpourri or spend hours in the kitchen making up all my favorite cookies, candies and breads.  That's a part of Christmas I can do a little here, but not what I would normally do.

4)  And finally, my family.  I miss them.  This is the third Christmas away from our children and it's the hardest part of all.  We went from EVERYONE being there to no one and that all by itself makes the holidays a lot harder for me.  No going to the Epcot Christmas with Jessaca or watching Muppet's Christmas with Jeramiah.  No making Christmas turkey with Jasiah or having pop gun fights first thing Christmas morning with the whole family.  *sigh*

But it was a choice we made to do our adventure and when we did, Jonathon and I decided we would have to make our new traditions.  It's easy to slip back into old habits and then be disappointed, but each year it gets a bit easier.  So now, instead of shopping at Walmart and Macy's, I go to Christmas Markets.  Instead of making my usual wassel, I've learned to make gluhwein.  And while I can still make traditional Christmas cookies, I've added German spiced gingerbread to my repertoire.

I've learned that being home for the holidays isn't a place...but an attitude.  Learning to embrace and enjoy where you are and what you're doing.  And since wherever Jonathon is...that IS my home, it's a lesson I'll gladly learn.

May your own Christmas be blessed with love, family, friends and laughter.  And may all your Christmas dreams come true!

Hugs to all,

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams

Sunday, December 16, 2012

So Have You Heard About the Internet In Berlin???

Hey everyone,

Another quick note to let you know I'm still alive.  The internet here in our Berlin residence is ridiculously bad, and the problem has NOT been rectified by the management. Jonathon has gone out and dealt with it on his own, so if all goes well (keep your fingers crossed) I'll be back online fully by Wednesday.  That means I should be able to get a blog up.  We'll see.  *sigh*

I'm sorry it's been so crazy, and I can only hope Hamburg is better. 

Have a great rest of our weekend as well as the first of your week.  I hope you are all enjoying the holidays!

Hugs to all!!!
CJ England