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Monday, 20 December 2010

An expat's Christmas lament

A fiery sunrise this morning to accompany me, my water-kettle steaming to the snow-bound chicks. Blue skies. Seems warmer.

Christmas is coming (as if you didn't know), and we're awash with candles, cards and Christmas trees. Every expat has to make a decision every year - to spend Christmas in their country of residence, or go 'home'. And having spent more than seven years now as an official, card-carrying resident here in Carmine Superiore, I generally choose to stay put where the chimneys are big enough for Santa, the woods are full of Christmas decorations and I'm among good friends.

At Christmas I, of course, miss my family. But I don't miss the mad cattle-truck crush of the trip home from London. I don't miss the last-minute shopping chaos. I don't miss Christmas tv. I don't miss turkey or Christmas pud or 'all the trimmings'. I don't miss the Queen's Speech and I don't miss the Big Film. 

In fact, apart from my family, there's only one thing I miss about Christmas in the UK. And it's something you really can't find anywhere else in the world. It's the ancient Christmas carols sung by a cathedral choir by candlelight. 

This I miss so badly I get a stone in my chest and tears in my eyes...



What do you miss about Christmas at home?

11 comments:

Oh mamma said...

I miss persons that are no longer here. I miss Christmas as a little girl, feeling safe and sound.
Merry Christmas

Louise | Italy said...

PS Could that be Charlie Sheen singing tenor?

Vanessa. said...

I miss ... you!

ladyfi said...

I miss my family most of all, but not enough to go through all that travelling, delays, and mad consumer rushing around thing.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I came via mademoiselle Poirot ... I would like the chance to see if I would miss anything .. ok apart from family not sure if there is anything ... it certainly wouldn't be Christmas dinner ..

choirgirl said...

I miss the feel of a crackly, stocking on my bed stuffed with simple toys, games, books and fruit which my mum scoured the shops for during and just after the war in the 1940's and 50's. Nothing beats that thrill for a child. I think Louise you wouldn't get home this year with all the chaos that a bit of snow makes in this country. But, yes, I love the christmas music which I am lucky enough to take part in during the run up to christmas.

Sandy said...

My childhood christmas was a stocking with an apple, an orange and a new penny. Later guarding an ammunition bunker from the IRA and then guarding the German border from the Russians. No, I don't want those times back again.

Karin said...

Exquisite music in a cathedral! I miss the simplicity of our family celebration on Christmas Eve! The living room was off limits for a few days as mom and dad prepared the tree and gifts. After church service we walked home through the forest to our small apartment. The emotions of surprise when allowed into the festively decorated room, seeing it for the first time, then listening to dad read Luke 2 by candlelight, and only then allowed to open gifts, will always remain with me!

4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle said...

Snap! As a fellow expat I've been thinking about this one for the past few days. Mine is a little more melancholy than yours. I miss the people, or "my people"
http://bit.ly/efhvLw

GutsyWriter said...

Don't they have choirs in Italy? I thought Italian was magical. I miss my Danish Christmas with dancing around the tree, and the cosy feeling I don't get in the U.S.

Louise | Italy said...

Hi Sonia

Yes, they have choirs in Italy and they sing really beautifully, but I grew up with the Anglican music and choral tradition and for me nothing beats it.

Monday, 20 December 2010

An expat's Christmas lament

A fiery sunrise this morning to accompany me, my water-kettle steaming to the snow-bound chicks. Blue skies. Seems warmer.

Christmas is coming (as if you didn't know), and we're awash with candles, cards and Christmas trees. Every expat has to make a decision every year - to spend Christmas in their country of residence, or go 'home'. And having spent more than seven years now as an official, card-carrying resident here in Carmine Superiore, I generally choose to stay put where the chimneys are big enough for Santa, the woods are full of Christmas decorations and I'm among good friends.

At Christmas I, of course, miss my family. But I don't miss the mad cattle-truck crush of the trip home from London. I don't miss the last-minute shopping chaos. I don't miss Christmas tv. I don't miss turkey or Christmas pud or 'all the trimmings'. I don't miss the Queen's Speech and I don't miss the Big Film. 

In fact, apart from my family, there's only one thing I miss about Christmas in the UK. And it's something you really can't find anywhere else in the world. It's the ancient Christmas carols sung by a cathedral choir by candlelight. 

This I miss so badly I get a stone in my chest and tears in my eyes...



What do you miss about Christmas at home?

11 comments:

Oh mamma said...

I miss persons that are no longer here. I miss Christmas as a little girl, feeling safe and sound.
Merry Christmas

Louise | Italy said...

PS Could that be Charlie Sheen singing tenor?

Vanessa. said...

I miss ... you!

ladyfi said...

I miss my family most of all, but not enough to go through all that travelling, delays, and mad consumer rushing around thing.

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Hi I came via mademoiselle Poirot ... I would like the chance to see if I would miss anything .. ok apart from family not sure if there is anything ... it certainly wouldn't be Christmas dinner ..

choirgirl said...

I miss the feel of a crackly, stocking on my bed stuffed with simple toys, games, books and fruit which my mum scoured the shops for during and just after the war in the 1940's and 50's. Nothing beats that thrill for a child. I think Louise you wouldn't get home this year with all the chaos that a bit of snow makes in this country. But, yes, I love the christmas music which I am lucky enough to take part in during the run up to christmas.

Sandy said...

My childhood christmas was a stocking with an apple, an orange and a new penny. Later guarding an ammunition bunker from the IRA and then guarding the German border from the Russians. No, I don't want those times back again.

Karin said...

Exquisite music in a cathedral! I miss the simplicity of our family celebration on Christmas Eve! The living room was off limits for a few days as mom and dad prepared the tree and gifts. After church service we walked home through the forest to our small apartment. The emotions of surprise when allowed into the festively decorated room, seeing it for the first time, then listening to dad read Luke 2 by candlelight, and only then allowed to open gifts, will always remain with me!

4 kids, 20 suitcases and a beagle said...

Snap! As a fellow expat I've been thinking about this one for the past few days. Mine is a little more melancholy than yours. I miss the people, or "my people"
http://bit.ly/efhvLw

GutsyWriter said...

Don't they have choirs in Italy? I thought Italian was magical. I miss my Danish Christmas with dancing around the tree, and the cosy feeling I don't get in the U.S.

Louise | Italy said...

Hi Sonia

Yes, they have choirs in Italy and they sing really beautifully, but I grew up with the Anglican music and choral tradition and for me nothing beats it.