Being away from home during the holiday season is always a bit tough, but this year Sebastiaan and I have done all we can to bring as much cheer as possible into our home.
We successfully hosted our first Thanksgiving dinner (for 12!) in our apartment and, I have to say, something about gathering around our living room table with a group of new friends, great food and lots of laughter really made things feel a bit more complete here in Amsterdam. While it’s been admittedly difficult for me to build the types of relationships I’m lucky enough to have with friends and family back home, I’m so thankful that I’ve finally formed such an amazing group of friends.
To help keep the momentum going following our fabulous feast, we decided to hop on the Christmas tree train slightly earlier than normal.
Last weekend Sebastiaan and I went to pick out our first Christmas tree as a couple. Not only was this the first Christmas tree we’ve bought together, but it was the first I’ve ever bought without my family. For some reason, buying a Christmas tree together was even more special than I’d imagined. We went back and forth about a million times about which tree to choose and finally guarded our choice with our lives (and an evil look or two) until it was ours. Picking out decorations, somehow managing to get the tree home (on the back of my bike..) and up 4 flights or impossibly narrow stairs are hilarious (in retrospect..) moments I’m sure we’ll always remember.
There’s just something about the holiday season that helps put things in perspective and make it a little easier to let those daily stresses roll a bit more quickly off my back. I don’t know if its age or living abroad or what, but this year the holidays feel especially special. I have so many things, and many more people to be thankful for and the warmth (metaphorically…) around this time of year tends to serve as such a welcome and, unfortunately overdue, reminder.
Sebastiaan’s parents and little brother will be joining my family in the states this year and I just can’t wait to build memories and start traditions together as we begin to blend our (extremely different but equally wonderful) international families.