Friday, December 18, 2009

Joyeux Noël

A week to Noël and my mind inevitably turns to travel. Christmas in a foreign country is a funny little thing. On one hand it is undeniably refreshing -to see how other cultures celebrate the season, to experience the holiday in ways perhaps unfamiliar yet hiding a quiet hint of familiarity underneath it all. Yes, the oft used phrase is certainly true, we’re all so different yet in so many ways so much alike. Spending that time of year abroad is exciting, maybe a little strange but all the more enjoyable for it!
On the other hand as you might already have guessed, this displacement from the comforting surroundings of home can make one a tad sad. Not in a sorrowful way, merely melancholic. Thinking about all those near and dear a continent or two away causes a soft tinge even if the separation is but a temporary drop in time. This is when ‘cinematic reflection’ plays out in my mind- you know the scene.

Girl walks slowly along a bustling street gazing unseeingly into huge, gorgeously decorated store windows. She’s all bundled up, her cheeks are flushed with cold and long-lashed eyes shine as bright as the twinkling fairy lights hung around individual lamp posts. Snowflakes fall gently against the midnight blue sky and sweet sounding carols float in an embracing caress.
The mood is festive, the people around are boisterous, lively, happy and bien sur, in Love.
In love with life, in love with each other, in love with the spirit of the holidays, in love with Love. Perhaps helped along by a few merry tipples, the energy of the crowd is infectious and unwaveringly joyous. In that moment her mind wonders to the warmth of home…what would her loved ones be doing? Sipping indulgently thick hot chocolate by the fireplace? {Very unusually, in my family no one likes hot chocolate but me!}
Laughter fills the air and someone ultimately bumps into the girl jolting her back to the present {her reverie’s supposed to last a mere few seconds is all}. As her attention focuses on the beautiful atmosphere surrounding her, she suddenly realises ‘Ah! I can’t believe I’m really here in Paris/ Milan/ London/ New York/ Stockholm/ Shanghai/ Vienna/ Budapest’ How lucky I am to be in this magnificent city! What a special gift this is!’ {Oh, did I not mention I would be in Budapest this Christmas??} Nevertheless one’s thoughts always turn in the general direction of family and clichéd though it may be the ‘Christmas scene’ would have been properly fulfilled.

Wherever you are, Whatever you plan to do this Christmas, may it be a Very Very Merry one! Kisses.

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