First of all, I have to make a slight amendment to my last post. I had said that I was doing away with being obsessed with traditions, but after a really special conversation with my lovely mother-in-law, I am seeing things a bit differently. She pointed out to me that it’s not about doing away with loving and wanting specific traditions at specific times of the year, but it’s about being okay with making new traditions and then incorporating those traditions into your old ones…so, instead of doing away with traditions, I have decided to become tradition-flexible. I will now be able to amend my traditions, enjoy new ones and go back to old ones when the time is right. So, there is my amendment. Thank you for your patience as I figure out life.
Second of all, happy, happy holidays. However you’re celebrating and whatever you are celebrating, I hope it is utterly enjoyable and that you’re eating yummy food and feeling happy. If not, it’s okay, tomorrow is another day and there is always time for a better day, hang in there!!
Third of all, yes, Christmas has looked very different for me this year. Our trip started out a little rocky with Domi getting sick and I stress vomiting over his being sick. However, if we’re to find a silver lining in this it’s that I have an incredible mother and brother-in-law that were both willing to clean up after me and take care of me when Domi was otherwise incapacitated.
After a brief, disgusting start to our vacation, things have really turned around. I have had time with my wonderful German family and have been pleasantly surprised by my German-speaking skills…if you don’t know this about me, up until about a year ago I was TERRIFIED of speaking foreign languages. It really made me panic. One time, when my parents and I were in France, my Dad asked me to ask someone where the nearest restroom was. Now, despite my seven years of high school French, I panicked. I literally started crying at the thought of having to speak to someone I didn’t know in a foreign language. Then about three years ago, the first time we came to Germany, after having already taken several months of German lessons, I found myself sitting in a restaurant with Domi and two of his friends. The waitress came up to our table and asked, “Möchten Sie etwas trinken?” I stared at Domi with fear in my eyes, a real, holy-s?*!-what-do-I-say look when she then said, “Would you like something to drink?” I continued my deer-in-the-headlights stare at Domi, completely panicking. It was then that Domi looked at me really strangely when I didn’t respond and said, “Baby, she’s speaking English.” I was horrifyingly embarrassed. And everyone got a good laugh out of it.
The Universe has a good sense of humor, so, of course, it set me up with a German-speaking partner and a family that speaks all German. Haha, very funny Universe, I guess you really don’t let go until I learn a lesson…damn.
So, finally, under pressure from myself, I decided I wasn’t only going to learn German, but I was going to force myself to speak it. I wanted to understand what my family was saying, I wanted to be a part of the conversation and I didn’t want Domi to have to translate for me for the rest of my life. I’m now in my third year of German classes. It has taken a long time, but finally, this trip, I am really able to talk to my family. I can make my way through the city. I can have alone time and not be afraid I won’t be able to take care of myself and I can participate without anyone having to translate for me. It feels like a huge win. Yes, I still look a ton of words up and sometimes have to ask people to slow down. Yes, I don’t understand everything that is said, but hey, I made my first pun in German last night and I’m feeling pretty proud.
So, what have I learned on this very new Christmas?
1) That I am, in fact, capable of speaking two languages (even if one is a little shaky)
2) That the holidays are about being open to all traditions, that it’s okay to miss your parents and even be a little sad to be away from them during the holidays, even at 26, as long as you still remember to appreciate what you have around you.
3) That you have to roll with the punches. Food will burn, people will get sick, you will be embarrassed that your mother-in-law has to clean up your vomit, but all of these things are bonding experiences and in the grand scheme of things? Not so bad.
4) Lastly, that the universe is relentless when it comes to lessons you need to learn. So, might as well face them head-on now. Become okay with new traditions, force yourself to speak a language that scares you, whatever it is for you. The Universe won’t give up on you, so don’t you give up on yourself, okay?
So, yeah, this Christmas vacation had a bit of a rough start (unfortunately not of the hysterical, Chevy Chase ilk) and it’s had some new faces, but it’s been really special. I have learned that the holiday spirit is completely what you make it. Instead of focusing on all the things that could go wrong, focus on all of the things that could go right and don’t buy into the holiday drama. Take a deep breath and take time for yourself. Happy holidays my friends. Fröliche Weihnachten auch (see what I did there?) xoxox, CAMDW