And I'm homesick. I figured the feeling would coincide with Christmastime, and I was right. I miss a lot of people and things from home more than usual. Christmas songs make me think of decorating the tree with my mom, and seeing the lights on the streets at night make me long for Lighting of the Quad and candlelit carols (but not glowsticks). I want to be at home drinking hot chocolate and snuggling up under a blanket while Andy Williams sings and the fire glows (after begging my dad for the once-annual lighting, of course). I know when Christmas Day comes I'll be thinking of "The Santa Clause," Great Aunt Charlotte's spunk, macaroni and cheese casserole, and "real" whipping cream.
And although a pang of jealousy hits when I hear of others in my program returning home for the holidays, I'm still pretty satisfied with the decision to stay abroad the whole year. Spain definitely is not lacking when it comes to Christmas spirit. There are lights strung from street lamps and awnings, a few dozen Christmasy market stalls and a huge Nativity scene along the walkway of our main street, and festive trees glowing from several windows. They're also pretty great at playing up the Three Wisemen (los tres Reyes Magos) -- which makes sense because here they are the ones bearing gifts for all good little boys and girls. (This helps explain Santa's knack for global delivery---with a team of four, eight capable reindeer, and a few sagely camels, it's definitely doable.)
Adding to the Christmas spirit abroad are:
*"Baby, It's Cold Outside" at least a dozen times so far
*Our own little Christmas tree, complete with twinkle lights and garland
*Mama's chocolate chip cookies (sent with love via Priority Mail)
*new Christmas socks
*Christmas card writing
*Reindeer antlers (I'll be Comet for our upcoming party.)
*Christmas cards from faraway family and friends
*My third graders rehearsing "The 12 Days of Christmas" for the celebration next week (complete with costumes and hand motions)
*A lovely little Christmas scene on my desktop
*Upcoming potluck lunch with the other teachers (I'll be making more green bean casserole.)
Soon enough I'll add to that list some of the wonderful things we see and experience in Germany. Nuremberg for Christmas, Berlin for New Year's, and Munich in between the two. And the holiday adventure begins next Monday!
But before then: three more work days, lots of laundry and packing, and one really great combo. Birthday/Christmas party.
Life is good and I am blessed :)