Brightly colored lights strung high upon building terraces, Christmas trees struggling to stand tall despite the weight of numerous decorations, jolly men dressed in red suits and the smell of cinnamon in the air…this really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Too bad the aforementioned doesn’t seem to exist in Northern Spain. At least from what I’ve seen. Sadly, this season I’m not really feeling the Christmas spirit. I love this time of year more than anything else. The atmosphere, celebrations, sense of kindness and sudden realization of meaningful relationships. But it’s also one of the most difficult times of the year, as I spend most of it in isolation away from those I hold closest to me. I’m not looking for pity, but I believe December is a month where we should take the time to cherish those closest to us. Family, friends, significant others, pets, etc…it’s hard being away from the place you call home during the holiday season. My nomadic lifestyle the past 4 years has consistently kept me away from North America during this time. Despite the obstacle, I make sure to find ways to enjoy it while far from home. From tracking down Christmas Markets in neighboring cities, to viewing tree lightings, drinking mulled wine and spending absurd amounts of money on gifts. I find ways to occupy myself, even though a large ocean separates me from those I love.
Though difficult being in one place when I want to be in another – I really do cherish the Christmas spirit and make sure to keep a smile on my face. However, this season it is proving to be quite difficult. There are no Christmas markets nearby or glühwein being brewed. I have yet to see a Christmas tree (other than in a few storefront windows) and the lack of Christmas lights around town is disappointing. I don’t know if it’s Ferrol, or Spain in general – but for the first time, it doesn’t feel like Christmas. It's sad. In my previous years abroad I was fortunate to witness new traditions and join in on different types of holiday cheer. Unfortunately, I can’t find any of that here. I’ve looked for Christmas markets and strolled the streets to admire holiday decorations, only to return unsuccessful. Why are my not hearing Christmas songs being replayed continuously on the radio or in downtown shops? How come I haven’t seen a wreath on a door or buildings trimmed with excessive amounts of holly? You’d be hard pressed to find a poisetta or Santa Claus himself in this area of Galicia. Right now, things feel very…beige.
Which is probably why I’m counting down the hours until I board a plane home for a much needed (albeit short) break. I doubt I’ll have much time to sleep, as once I land on Canadian soil I’ll be attending Christmas parties, finding excuses to wear gaudy Christmas attire, baking holiday treats with my mom, walking around Stanley Park at night to view Christmas lights, wandering the streets of Vancouver during its very own Christmas Market, spending time with my grandparents, spoiling my family with gifts and catching up with close friends. With 2 very important games left before the break, I know I have a job to do; but my heart is aching to go home where I can sit in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate while my mom and I kick my dad and brother’s butts in Apples to Apples and Cranium.
13 days and counting…
Basketball Update: Lost a tough one this weekend to the number one team in the league. It was a close the entire game, but came down to the visitors lighting our nets on fire with their 3 balls. We ended up losing by 14. Encouraging because we know they’re beatable (had we played better defense on the long ball we would of won), discouraging because we didn’t adjust and lost focus during at crucial points. Two games left before break, both of which are must wins.