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I finally did it – I took a vacation! Well, kind of. I didn’t stop working entirely, but I cut down my work time considerably over the Christmas holidays, trying to minimize my time spent in front of my computer screen and maximizing my time spent with family and friends instead. I have to say that I’ve been fairly successful, and even though I can’t shake off the feeling of guilt for taking some time off, the past few days have given me a heart full of love and joy.
Before I returned to Germany for the Holidays, I thought it might be a waste of time and money to fly back to Europe from Asia before flying back to Asia again next month, but coming home for Christmas was the right thing to do. After the struggles I’ve experienced this past year, there was no better place to spend Christmas f0r me than surrounded by the people I love the most.
I hadn’t spent Christmas in Germany for seven years, and never felt like I was missing out on anything – until last year. With my nephew born only ten days before last Christmas, and my nieces and nephew and siblings celebrating with my grandma without me, I had felt more homesick than ever before and made a pledge to spend this Christmas at home, no matter where in the world I’d be at this time of year.
As soon as I arrived in Germany, I found myself surrounded by Christmas music, Christmas decorations and the smell of Christmas – which in Germany means the smell of sugar-roasted almonds and the spices of mulled wine. Over the years,,I had simply forgotten how much I enjoyed strolling over the Christmas markets, nibbling on German Christmas treats and drinking hot eggnog. And all the baking! I took over my sister’s kitchen and managed to bake 15 baking sheets full of different Christmas cookies, trying to make up for the past years when I didn’t have the chance to make any cookies whatsoever.
As much as I love being in warm, tropical places in the winter months – I will make the effort to spend Christmas with my family more often in the future. The sparkles in my nieces’ eyes when they saw Santa come through the door and while unwrapping their gifts filled me with so much joy, and the laughter and familiarity between me and my siblings made my heart burst.
I’ve also used the time at home to reflect on the past twelve months and will share some of my thoughts in my monthly round-up on Wednesday.