and so this is christmas
I woke up today, miles away from the snow, to a misty, icy day, but no snow.
I woke up to my parents moving around the house, and joined them in opening a few small thoughtful gifts from my brother. We agreed to no gifts this year, but both of my brothers bended the rules with small gifts. Even though I was strong in my stance, these gestures were greatly appreciated.
Around noon, a young boy walked up our stairs and into the kitchen to spend time with me. He is the grandson of some close friends in the village, and the most charming 7-year-old I've ever met. After attempting to play French monopoly I made him pasta "With butter and cheese!" as a requested dish, that he slurped up happily. Afterwards I through on extra layers of clothing and we went to play boules with his family and my dad. We played in a clear spot beyond the mist until our fingers grew numb. A local man, Claude, awaited his usual team of older gentlemen to play, but only one other member showed up due to the cold weather.
It was a sweet day of simple activities, of hot tea and Christmas stollen, wrapped up with a feast at a friend's. We sat at a long table, every chair different from the other, a pot roast ourselves of German, British, Scottish, Canadian and our village's very own American poet. We feasted on roasted leg of lamb, chicken, squash, zucchini, potatoes, brussel sprouts, spiced beans, and even a proper English pudding lit with blue flames. Throughout the dinner, countless games of telephone tag were played around the table, words jumbled through languages and the childrens' interpretations. We drank local wine and finished the evening with a game show and play put on by the young boys.
This village will always feel like home to me, it is a part of my childhood, my adolescence, my adulthood, and the place I hope to grow old and grey. It was a perfect day, and as I said to my parents this morning "There isn't anywhere else in the world I'd rather be right now." I am fortunate to be here, in so many ways, and everything else that I have in my life. I can't ask for anything this year because I have already been given so much. All I have to give is gratitude, and it is too big to fit under the tree.
So thank you, merci, to my parents, my family, my friends, and anyone who has ever loved me. My world is enriched by you. I'm not always good at saying it, so I'll write it, I am fortunate to have everyone I do, and I appreciate every warm word, strong embrace, encouragement, and moment you have given me. Merry Christmas.