Living in Spain has been such a dream. I can indulge in in all the jamón and cheap (but amazing) wine that my heart desires, travel, and live cheaply here in Santiago. What more could I want?
One of the most difficult things to overcome is being so far away from my family. Weekends are usually spent catching up with my parents via FaceTime or iMessage and flying home isn’t as simple as hopping on a quick puddle jumper. The holidays away from family is rough.
I have always been really into celebrating the holidays – listening to Christmas tunes while decorating the tree, baking cookies, decorating the house, wrapping gifts, etc. Here in Spain it’s less about celebrating Christmas and more about celebrating Los Reyes Magos which happens in January.
As I was soon to be celebrating my third Christmas away from home, I knew that I couldn’t handle the homesickness another year. I had originally told my mom and dad I would be home for Christmas when I was visiting them in June for my brother’s graduation but Darrin and I decided it would be fun to surprise everyone 😉
Over summer I was working as an au pair in Coruña and my mom frequently asked if I had found a Christmas flight. I kept telling her I hadn’t been looking too much, it was still too far out to be looking for a flight and I wasn’t sure what my work schedule would be like. Eventually I told her I had decided I wanted to take advantage of my time in Europe and get some travel in (aka I would not be going to the states for Christmas). Keeping the secret was incredibly difficult! Darrin and I almost ruined it more times than we can count, but in the end, we were able to pull it off.
I’ll never forget my parents’ reaction when I walked in the door to surprise them. It was by far the best Christmas. I was also able to meet my new baby niece, and she is absolutely beautiful!