merri xmis: an expatriate holiday story

this sign is hanging on our recycling building next to the school. I'm not sure I could have found a better way to express what celebrating Christmas in Taiwan is like... bright, colorful, well-meant, but just not quite the same as you expect.

I accepted a while ago that this would not be a traditional holiday. and tried to embrace it. hence the tree decorated in yarn pompoms and plastic dinosaurs. [not pictured is the Transformers pillowcase that Husband fashioned into a tree skirt.] and while these aren't our traditional traditions... maybe they can be new ones.

Christmas Eve, one of our friends organized a dinner at the fancy hotel down the road. gathering with 20 friends and co-workers for a multicultural buffet is not the same as eating a home-cooked meal with family... but it's not bad way to celebrate. and while the Taiwanese people don't quite seem to get everything about Christmas, they try. throughout dinner there were carolers [singing songs we had never heard before] and of course Filipino Santa distributed candy.

my camera battery died on me partway through dinner. and then I pulled out my iPhone instead and... that died too. so I tried to take it as a sign that I should just relax and enjoy. the meal was actually very good... they had sushi and steak and turkey and pork chops, a table full of shellfish I avoided, and tons of tiny desserts. I am not ashamed to admit that my meal mostly consisted of cheese and caesar salad. [which had REAL caesar dressing - a rarity here.] and for dessert I lucked out in the gluten department: tiny macarons!

Husband and I came home and opened presents after dinner. our amazing friends and family sent us so much of home, it was almost like being there. many of our gifts were Michigan State or state of Michigan themed. oh, and the food. we are now up to our ears in kind bars, gluten free mac + cheese, and sriracha hot sauce. [and that's a good thing!]

Christmas morning I woke up to the sound of Husband making breakfast... my sister-in-law sent gluten free pancake mix and maple syrup! it was heavenly. sadly, Husband had to go into work, but he returned at lunch with some flowers for me from a school fundraiser.

while Husband was working, I skyped with my parents and brother... and Beaumont! so I got to spend time with family on Christmas, even if it was through a screen. I got to see snow, and watch the fireplace, and Beau going crazy over his new laser pointer.

I lounged in my new Spartan pajamas for a bit, painted my nails with the festive polish my Mom sent me, and then it was off to the kitchen to make cheese olive tarts. [don't worry, there will be another post full of nail pictures of this awesome glittery red]

after Husband came home from work, some friends came over and we watched the most essential of Christmas movies [in my opinion]: How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and A Muppet Christmas Carol.

during which we has a feast of olive tarts and chili cheese dip and assorted chocolates and candies, A&W root beer and Dr Pepper. and maybe a little scotch.

and that's the story of our first expatriate Christmas. a little different, but all in all a pretty good Christmas I'd say. I hope that all of your holidays were just as happy.

so for now I'll leave you with our tiny tree and a little scribble I made with my new iPad stylus [thanks, Husband!]

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