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So close I can almost hear them singing…

On Thursday the hubs and I will board a flight for Qatar, spend a few hours napping in a Doha hotel, and then head out Friday morning for New York. We’re spending the weekend in New York, hopefully seeing some friends and doing a bit of American-style (read: crowded, manic) Christmas shopping, before flying down to visit my Grandma in Florida.

On December 21st we’ll fly to Cleveland, where we’ll spend five days with the hubs’s family, including Christmas. I’ve been going to my in-laws’ house for Christmas since college (obvs they weren’t my in-laws then). I probably idealize it a bit (who wouldn’t after a few years in the Southern Hemisphere?) but it really is pretty rad. First of all, Ohio is a lot more likely to have snow on the ground for an actual white Christmas than Massachusetts. Secondly, it’s just a lot of fun being in a big house surrounded by people (the hubs has five siblings). I of course love my parents (and Charlotte!), but Christmas is definitely a much quieter affair when it’s just three adults.

In Ohio the hubs plays football in the snow with his younger brothers, we all get gingerbread houses to decorate, and his Mom puts out her collection of funny Hallmark decorations (including the singing snowmen pictured above). On Christmas Eve we go to Popeyes Fried Chicken for dinner, and we stuff ourselves with candy while I make everyone humor me by watching at least two or three showings of 24 Hours of A Christmas Story. We spend ALL of Christmas day in our pajamas; I think I love this in particular because growing up we weren’t allowed to open presents until everyone had showered and dressed.

I’ve missed our traditional Christmas celebrations so much over the last few years, but I didn’t really want to write about it because thinking about it when I knew I wouldn’t be there just kinda bummed me out. I have been looking forward to going back for this Christmas pretty much since last year, when we decided we’d need to do it since we’d prolonged our time abroad. I am SO excited to see my family, and our friends, and to be in New York and Ohio and Boston, but I’m a tiny bit nervous that I won’t want to come back. Of course, I’m also majorly freaked out that I’ll freeze to death. I’m such a bad New Englander.

It’s incredible to think that our last Christmas in the U.S. was three years ago. We’d been married just a few months. Only a few days after we returned to New York from Ohio, the hubs’s office asked if we’d be interested in moving to Australia, and we haven’t really stopped since then.

Maybe I’m a bit nervous about bringing three years’ worth of expectations back with me. Each time I’ve gone home I’ve been surprised by what things disappoint me (certain food items don’t taste as amazing as I remembered, friends don’t seem to have missed me nearly as much as I missed them) and what things delight me unexpectedly (shelves brimming with 50 kinds of deodorant, a new SportsCenter commercial everyone else has seen a million times that’s totally new and hilarious to me). Of course, other things (a hug from my Mom or Dad, laughing over drinks with my best friends, watching a Red Sox game LIVE with my Dad, Charlotte or the hubs’s family’s beagle jumping into bed to snuggle with me) are always every bit as wonderful as they were in my mind. Sometimes I think it’s taken living on the other side of the world to truly realize what makes me happiest.

Is there anything better than a fluffy Corgi that loves to snuggle? (That’s a rhetorical question, clearly)

I wish everyone a happy holiday season, wherever you should find yourself.  With all the decorations and ever-present Christmas music, I don’t think Singapore’s such a bad warm weather place to spend the holidays (*cough* *cough*).

I can’t wait for the novelty of wearing a scarf and mittens, though. After three years, I think I’ve earned it.