Saturday, December 29, 2012

HAPPY Holidays

I’m a pretty happy person all the time.  I’m optimistic and tend to find the bright side in life.  I have also been incredibly blessed with fantastic opportunities, and I think my life is pretty great.

This December, though, I’ve been consistently happier than I can remember being in a long time.  Things have lined up well for me, and the next year will bring me a lot of good things. 

So of course, my time home for the Christmas holidays has been filled with lots of happy. 

I mean, come on…the good things started with the flight home.  Somehow when I booked my flight, the website put me into first class (without any price increase).  It’s the first time I ever flew first class, and I love it.  I’m probably spoiled already; flying coach is going to seem shabby after this.  So, even though last Saturday I spent 14 hours traveling, 6 hours sitting in first class made it all worth it. 

I love being home for the holidays.  My family Christmases are steeped in tradition, and I can’t imagine missing out for a year.  Even though preparations were rushed this year due to me coming home so late, we made it work.  My sister and I went shopping for gifts on Christmas Eve morning, and contrary to it being a stressful experience, we laughed our way up and down the aisles and came out with some fun purchases (let’s home our family agrees!). 

That afternoon, Liz and I put up the Christmas village in my parents’ house.  You let 2 teachers put up a village, and suddenly all of the characters have lives and backstories, and there’s not just a fence around a house—there’s a REASON for the fence.  Again, laughter ensued. 

The fence has traditionally gone around the church.  This
year, though, the family in this house has become
anti-social and lives on the edge of town.  

After church on Christmas Eve, my family opens our presents from each other.  Then on Christmas morning, we get up and there are more presents under the tree—the ones from Santa.  This year there wasn’t much that I desperately wanted, so of course I appreciate everything I did get that much more.  I got some AWESOME presents this year!  Some of the favorites include: a portable hard drive for my computer, a case for my tablet (see the post about the mayor’s gift to all students and teachers in Guayama), a travel book on Central America, and finding out my mom will pay for me to have a quilt made out of my old t-shirts.  

Christmas Day at my aunt's house 

One of Grandma's gifts on Christmas Day. 

The day after Christmas, my mom and Liz and I went to my grandma’s house to bake cookies for Saturday’s family celebration.  This is something we’ve done every year for as long as I can remember.  Over the years, Grandma has gone from being the head baker and teacher to being the official taste tester.  She supplies the kitchen and some of the ingredients, and her good company.  We do all the work.  I love it.  Of course, I have a nasty habit of eating too much cookie dough and too many cookies, so about 3 hours into the 5 hour baking day, my stomach was hurting and my energy was waning.  One day I’ll become an adult and learn from my mistakes.  Maybe. 

5 batches of cookies done... 4 more to go.

The rest of my break will be spent catching up with lots of people.  I have friends coming to town from far away, and I’ll be taking a road-trip to see a friend who IS far away, and of course there’s everyone who lives in my hometown and is always here.  There will be board games, and movies, and lots of food and lots of laughter. 

To all of you—I wish you very, very HAPPY Holidays!    

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