Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ghost of Christmas Past

I was reading through posts about the holiday season on my old blog and I found this one from 3 years ago. It made me realise that it's been a long, long time since I've been home for Christmas. The theme of being away seems to keep coming up, which was a big part of why I started blogging. It was an easy/exhibitionist way of keeping a diary, an account of things.

I will post soon about my most recent Christmas, but in the meantime...a little trip down memory lane.

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A marker in time. Christmas.

When I was a kid I was allowed to sleep in the living room, next to the tree. I always loved falling asleep to the blinking lights and the sounds of cards and laughter coming through the glass door that separated our living room from the kitchen. Even now, sometimes when I can't sleep I try and imagine myself back in time feeling that sense of anticipation and security as Christmas danced on the horizon and family were every where I turned.

Last Christmas John and I were in Morocco and it was less than ideal, though we did try to make the best of it. It was cold at night and the Riad we were staying at had no central heating (which was the norm) so at night the owners would bring a smoking stove with virtually no ventilation into the common room where we'd oscillate between freezing outside breathing fresh air and smoke inhalation in the warm-ish common room. I was homesick and calling home made it no better, listening to my families enjoyment of their rented cabin in Fernie and freshies on the mountain each day.

Photo booth near Todra Gorge where we were staying.

It reminded me of when I called my father on Boxing Day from the west coast of India in 1999. I felt a million miles away from everything and everyone standing there in the suffocating phone booth, sweating, rings of dirt around my neck. I was crying and he just said, "why the hell don't you come home then?". It makes me laugh now...you can't call your parents crying on the other side of the world and not expect them to say such a thing. But at the time it was as ludicrous a suggestion as "why the hell don't you join the Spice Girls and go on tour with them?"

I searched online for some way to get home from Morocco but of course it was Christmas and it would have been impossible to change flight and go home without losing my money on the return ticket and likely losing my boyfriend in the process. So I stayed and we spent a shivering, coughing, Christmas eating tagine and scrambled eggs with the chain smoking Czechs, the hilarious Germans, and the hospitable Moroccans.

So a year passed and it seems that life again had it's own plans for me this Christmas.

After successfully finishing a semester in Kelowna I was excited to return to Revelstoke to see friends and then be on my merry way to Red Deer to see my brothers, sister, nieces, nephews, brother-in-law, sisters-in-law, mother. It rarely happens that all four of us kids are in the same country at once.

I made smoky sweet potato soup, bought all kinds of organic veggies for a roasted winter vegetable pasta (with fresh pasta from the Italian deli in Kelowna). I had to make several trips to the car to pack the Petit Syrah, the Champagne, the food, the mandolin, clothes, ski gear, and camera.

Got about 50 km down the highway and after being tailgated by an asshole in an SUV on the black ice I decided to turn around.

Now I was trying to negotiate the black ice while sobbing and snotting all over my steering wheel. Okay enough with Christmas and crying I say!!! I unpacked all the food, the drinks, the instrument, the clothes, the books, etc. and put on my snow pants. Tobogganing in the alley with Carlos, Ruby, Polly, Nelson, and Sophie cheered me up.

And thus the Revy Christmas whirlwind began.

5 comments:

E. Greene said...

I totally feel for you. My parents just moved 1000 miles across the country this year and the rest of my family went to spend the holidays with them. It's not exactly the same as your travel scenarios, but still, it can be seriously upsetting to be left out (even when it's your own decision).

Albinoblackbear said...

The worst part is missing my little nieces and nephews. When I go home and see how close the little ones are to the other aunts and uncles I feel really left out. They just don't know me--I am like this weird auntie that blows into town once a year with huge suitcases and little time.

It's a bummer, to be sure.

Cartoon Characters said...

I suppose when I was younger and our family always got together (before I went into nursing)I took it all for granted......it was when I started nursing and then my sister moved to the eastern USA and my cousins all moved away and everyone started their own christmas traditions...that I realized that it would never be the same again. I just wish I would have realized that back then and enjoyed it more at the time.... :)

nurse XY said...

Wow, you are a well-traveled person.

You're just the kind of person I like to sit around a campfire with and listen to your stories of the places you've been, the things you've done, and the people you've met.

Albinoblackbear said...

CC--My family has been scattered for as long as I can remember: both of my brothers have been military men since I was eating crayons in playschool. Then when they started being in Canada more often than not, I got the travel itch and made myself scarce.

So I suppose it is working backwards for me. I missed out on years of that, and now treasure the moments when we all can get together (or at least a quorum of us assemble!)

I wish that I'd been more in tune to the fact that I was living a great adventure in my 20's and appreciated it more. I suppose that is the old thing, when you are submerged you can't necessarily see all the wonder of it. Thank goodness for memories! =)

NXY--That is a huge compliment for me, thank you! I'd say you've lived quite the life up to this point as well!! =)

I've been really lucky to have the time, career, and money to travel...but you know, everything comes at a cost.

Being a wanderlust that doesn't stay put too long means those wonderful people you meet, exciting experiences, great contracts are scattered all over the place...only coming together in your mind.

And it has put me at a later start on my medical career which may prove to be a major hindrance if I want to go into a specialty and/or have a family someday.

All that said, I love (and miss!!) a good campfire and telling stories. And I wouldn't change ONE grungy night on a mud hut floor or wild day in the ED.