There’s no place like home for the holiday. I’ll be home for Christmas, you can plan for me. Words of these classic Christmas tunes have never applied more for me this year. After two wonderful holiday seasons in the Peace Corps, it is nice to finally be with my family for the holidays.
If you haven’t been living in a box, you probably have read all the weather misfortune that’s lead to all sorts of holiday travel nightmare. I was this close to getting stuck in London. Heathrow Airport closed the day before my flight due to “severe weather”. A funny video quite accurately described the absurdity. Anyhow, I was one of the very lucky few whose flight left with only minor delay.
Nearly 20 hours of journey later, I arrived in St. Louis. It’s good to be home. For the first time in years, our whole family is reunited at our own home. My mom had everything ready – the tree, the gifts, the lights, and THE FOOD. Oh boy, the food! There is nothing I miss more than mama’s home cooking!
We spend the days before Christmas doing a whole of nothing – last minute shopping, a lot of meals together, lots of catching up with one another, and a good deal of movie watching. We also made a trip to St. Louis version of the Winter Wonderland. Not nearly as crazy as the London version as it was just a Christmas light display. We drive around the park and enjoyed the lights while Christmas music was playing on the radio. It was lovely, and all the while, I couldn’t help but think: boy, that is a whole lot of electricity. My friends in Cameroon would think this is absolutely absurd. It’s hard to have lived in the present day with electricity shortage and see Christmas light display all at the same time.
St. Louis was graced with a blanket of perfect snow just in time for Christmas. This was the most perfect White Christmas that I can remember for a while. The snow was pretty, but just enough that the roads were still okay. Though not as if we were going anywhere on Christmas day. I imagine we did as most families on this day – we ate. There was so much food, and it was glorious!
Since I didn’t go too far away for undergrad, I did not fully appreciate the preciousness of family gathering around holidays. Now that the occasion for everyone to be together is much less frequent, I am working on cherishing every moment of it.
I hope all of you had a lovely Christmas with your family and loved ones. The biggest lesson from my two years in the Peace Corps is that there is really nothing more important than the people in your life. Happy Holidays and hope everyone is ready to embark upon another year! We are heading into a new decade! As for me, I will be celebrating the New Year with my Peace Corps loves. We are having a reunion in Chicago! Less than six months since we left – this must be some record!!