I should finally admit something important. Up until today, despite living away from home for 6 of the last 7 years, I have never spent a Christmas away from home. This was mostly for two reasons. One, because I was fortunate enough to be financially and physically able to go home every year, and two, because the thought of being away from my family for the holidays filled me with dread.
Ivan and I did talk about going back to the States for Christmas this year, mostly because I really wanted to. We stayed, partly because that it would be too stressful, and too much travel away from a place we had only been together in for two months. Mostly we were afraid we wouldn’t be able to get him a visa in time. (Fun fact: if you want a temporary tourist visa to the US and you don’t belong to a country in the visa waiver program, you have to travel to a city with an embassy or a consulate for an interview. They never make it easy.)
Anyways, while I was initially nervous about spending my first holiday season away from Baltimore I eventually really settled into the idea. The buildup to our Christmas was really relaxed, especially with the absence of travel, and we managed to order all of our gifts for family members online which saved a lot of time. Someone at the boarding school we work at gave us a free baby Christmas tree that had been sitting in the reception office unused, saving us the hassle of finding one ourselves, and we were even able to decorate it with family ornaments from a package that arrived on Christmas Eve.
Being in England also meant that Ivan and I could try to be really, truly English about our Christmas, and while we decided against getting Christmas crackers, I did make an entire stuffed turkey, complete with pigs in a blanket and roasted vegetables.
And most importantly, we got to spend the whole thing together, in our first holiday season as a married couple. The biggest takeaway of all this Christmas is that home is where the heart is, and while I love my home-home and all its warmth and love from my parents, being with Ivan is what makes me really, really happy.
Okay anyway, I took a bunch of pictures from around our flat to share (mostly for you, mom), which is really the point of this post. Merry Christmas to all our readers, wherever you are; I hope you’re all in good health or spirits and are enjoying your holiday rest (if you’re in a country that celebrates).
Click on the pictures for captions!