Thursday, December 25, 2014

Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This year marks our first year as expats where we haven't traveled back to the U.S. for the holidays. In fact, we haven't been to the U.S. at all in 2014. Life doesn't always go as planned so we ended up with no travel plans until our expat friends stepped in. "Why don't you join us in France for Christmas?" they asked us. 

Well, why not!

So here I am sitting in our hotel room overlooking the market square in Arcachon, located about an hour southwest of Bordeaux, France, and writing this Christmas post. Christmas carols are playing on the loudspeaker outside, and surprisingly, many of the songs are in English. There's no snow in sight and we're just a short stroll from the beach. It's definitely not a traditional Christmas, but I don't mind either. 
Last night, we joined our friends with their French family and celebrated Christmas Eve with an amazing 8-course dinner! We had aperitifs, snacks before the first courses, smoked duck with fig jam, seared scallops, two kinds of homemade foie gras, roasted leg of lamb, French green beans, fromage galore and two Bushe de Noël that made my head swoon. Oh, did I forget to mention the wines, champagne and Calvados too!
Just a typical meal in southwest France!
It was such a wonderful feeling to be included and accepted into another family's home and celebrate their traditions together. The slight language barrier didn't matter, translations were plentiful and we all smiled and laughed together over such a lovingly-prepared meal.
Our fabulous French seafood platter on Christmas Day!
Hubby impressed our French hosts with his ability to eat sooo much seafood!
I think one of the most important lessons I've learned in our nearly 5 years abroad is that friends become your family when you live so far away from your "real" family. It doesn't matter where you live in the world, but as long as you have a few close friends that makes all the difference. Friends are your family. I'm very thankful for the friends we've made since living in Istanbul and Warsaw. Without them (and my wonderful husband), life wouldn't be the same!

So cheers from France! I hope you have Merry Christmas and wishing you all the best adventures in 2015!

(We spent part of our Christmas Eve hiking up to the top of the highest sand dunes in Europe, located in Dune du Pyla, France.)

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jaz@octoberfarm said...

merry xmas joy! another wonderful trip!

April Ozbilgin said...

Merry Christmas Joy! You are exactly right about your close friends becoming family. Friends you meet living abroad stay in your heart forever.

Joy said...

@Joyce, Merry Christmas to you and your family! 😊

Joy said...

@April, Happy Holidays to you too! We're only 5 years in our time abroad but I imagine the people we've met will be in our hearts forever! :-)

Taste of Beirut said...

Merry Christmas! It may not be traditional but it definitely looks fun!

BacktoBodrum said...

All the best for the New Year.

Joy said...

It certainly was! Happy holidays to you as well! :-)

Joy said...

Hi Annie! Wishing you a wonderful New Year as well!