As I write this blog, I am sitting by my lonesome in this big dining table of our AirBnB rental in Paris, France. The essentials for the New Year’s Eve dinner have been laid out by my husband, and he is now resting in our room before we jointly prepare our small feast. Both teenaged kids are glued to their devices – she in the second bedroom, and he in the living room-cum-3rd bedroom with a pull out bed.
Christmas 2017 and New Year 2018 mark the first time I am spending the holidays away from my country of birth, the Philippines. Usually, my side of the family gather in my house on Christmas Eve, partaking of the usual Filipino noche buena (Christmas Eve dinner), then the exchange of gifts right after. There is much joy amidst the clutter of torn gift-wrapping papers and in the piles of gifts that each one of us get from each family. We are a total of 5 families and 20 persons, sometimes a little less as some have been abroad at different times. Once the clutter has been put away, we embark on a friendly (but very competitive) dance challenge using Kinect with each round’s winner getting a cash prize.
This is my second Christmas as a married woman, and my husband wanted our small blended family to spend the holidays in Paris. Though I have separation anxiety from my bigger extended family and the traditions of Christmas past, I understand that I now have a new family of my own and therefore, would need to create our own Christmas traditions. Sad as this may seem for me and my daughter, we also were excited about experiencing Christmas in a colder climate and in the City of Lights.
As the new year ushers in, I give thanks to a wonderful 2017. Challenging career-wise, but perfectly balanced by a more peaceful existence without the usual demands of the workplace. It has also been a year of traveling to a lot of places I have never been to before, as the husband and I embarked on a 45 days honeymoon to 10 countries and 15 cities in Europe. In fact, our Paris holidays is already the third time I have been in this city this year!
For 2018, I could only hope and pray to have the patience and understanding for a very challenging part of my new life.