I’ll Be Home for Christmas

I am excited to see my family. I can see myself curled up on the couch in my parents’ warm, cozy house, with the Christmas tree beautifully decorated and lit as always. My mom sits across the room reading her book as my Dad and I watch the news and other late-night tv. The boy stomps in and starts a humorous conversation while Mikey spins his tunes in the basement. I enjoy my hot apple cider as this comforting scene plays itself out. With any luck, we will see the snow fall outside.
I’ll drive myself to work a job I am so familiar with, and rake in some big bills in the week before Christmas. I will see my friends who I love so much. We will see shows, play pool, and enjoy each others’ company over beer and other lovely beverages. Perhaps one or two friends will accompany me to a climbing gym.
My piano is already calling for me. I will fill my spare hours with learning some new grade 9 pieces that I am so excited to begin! Then I will seriously consider buying a piano in Mexico (if I stay another year, which is another thing I must seriously consider).
Everything I do will be easy. I will get myself where I need to go without relying on taxi drivers, I will know where I am going without having to research before and ask questions and directions as I go, and I will be able to speak to everyone in a language we both understand. Not having these things is no more than an occasional frustration in Mexico, but it will be nice to get back to simplicity and familiarity for a couple weeks.
My plane touches down in 2 days and I’ll be home for Christmas!!!
But while I am still in Mexico, I have been working on packing, money transfer, and eating up all the delicious home-baked goodies my students (and parents, of course) gave me.
I do kind of wish I was lying on a beach, as though “real life” didn’t exist. Even though it was only a few weeks ago, Puerto Vallarta feels like such an ancient event! The Americanized, touristy city was certainly relaxing, fun, and an overall fantastic experience to have lived. The boardwalk was alive with restaurants, bars and pubs, shops, and plenty of people there to have a good time. The beach was filled with volleyball fun, refreshing water, and a relaxing lounger where Bella, Edward, and I welcomed Renesmee into the world of vampires and werewolves. Beach and resort vacationing is certainly a luxury my life should not do without.
After living this luxury for one weekend, I came back to my reality of Christmas activities, teacher responsibilities, and some social and free time in the Centro.
To celebrate Christmas here in Mexico, one of the teachers held a Christmas party with a white elephant gift exchange. No civil person should ever let a Christmas season pass without participating in at least one gift game. After missing the annual Geuzebroek gift exchange, I was happy to have this party so I’m still getting some hilarious gift action. I “stole” the gift that was agreed to be the ugliest gift… I thought it was super cute, probably for the same reasons everyone else disliked it. It’s found its home in the corner of my spare room.
Last weekend, I finished my Christmas shopping in the Centro, and was able to walk around for a bit and got a much better feeling for the city (I haven’t had a chance to do this yet). The taxi ride downtown was fantastic. This cab driver was one with whom you exchange, in a sincere, heartfelt way, the words “mucho gusto”. He spoke very little English, I spoke very little Spanish, yet I learned an awful lot about him and we had a lot to say to each other! I hopped out early because walking seemed such a better idea in the mercada traffic madness. After shopping, browsing, and exploring, I walked home. It was a long, leisurely walk. Being very unfamiliar with the city still, I just started walking, not completely sure I was going the right way… but I found my way to familiar territory with no troubles (it’s nice to know I’m still a directional genius). I stopped for cash and a Mocha Frappaccino, then continued to walk at an incredibly slow pace, not a worry in the world. Serenity. 
Monday, it was back to reality (again), and an incredibly busy week at school. I took on an amazingly difficult Christmas craft. Skipping all the gruesome details, the craft worked out for most students, and did not work out for some, but the overall experience was good (and stressfully time-consuming for me). The week flew by as fast as any other, and here we are, a day and a half before the journey home begins.
I hope your holiday season is filled with as much joy and cheer as I expect mine will be. I hope Santa (or whoever else) brings you everything you need, and that you have a wonderful start to the year 2012! 
Never forget to hold your head high, see the positives of every situation, and use your words wisely.

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