Today in class someone wished me a Merry Christmas and said only 10 days. I thought to myself - no way, it can't be that close but it really is. It does not feel like Christmas or the holiday season for me this year. I haven't bought any gifts or decorated my house. We don't have a tree or stockings hung up. There is no snow and we have barely even worn our winter jackets. I haven't heard one familiar Christmas carol on the radio or in the stores. Don't get me wrong, Maastricht is beautiful with Christmas lights and the stores are full of Christmas shoppers, so it is happening here, but this year just isn't going to be the same.
I have gone through moments of feeling down thinking about all the things I will miss about home but I have decided that I am going to be excited instead. This will be our first Christmas as a married couple and we get to spend it together. I know that Nick is in the same boat as I am and he is going to miss his family as well. So instead of sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves we have planned some special things to do to keep ourselves busy. We are having friends over for dinner and going out for dinner as well, we have planned some day trips to the different Christmas markets and we are spending a weekend in Brugge. Not too shabby! We aren't alone for Christmas, we have each other and Pumpkin, Gizmo and Maggie. Our family and friends are in our thoughts and I'm sure they will be thinking of us too. I am planning to skype my family when they have their Christmas celebration and I have sent out Dutch Christmas cards so that they know we are thinking of them. My friend Laura and I searched for the tackiest ones we could find :) I think I will try to make a real holiday dinner for Nick and I and we will look forward to establishing some new traditions for the Harris Burd family. Being away this year will make next year even more special when we get to be together with our friends and family again. For New Years we are running a road race and going out with two other couples. I sure will miss the Rodeo Red - the very finest in Ohio wines - as well as the fabulous company of Tina and Randy Burd to ring in the New Year. Last year they had to wake me up because I fell asleep at 10pm. Man I'm getting old!