While it is difficult to be so far from family and friends during what the song says is "...the most wonderful time of the year", we have managed to make the most of our first Christmas together as a young married couple in a foreign country. On Wednesday we managed to get all of our Christmas shopping and wrapping done in a record 4 hours and then we spent two long shopping trips before the holiday stocking up on essentials for the long weekend with no open stores and tons of time to eat. We ended up with an impressive spread...foie gras, plenty of cheese, plenty of wine, escargot, a duckling, duck fat, a lamb leg, pork belly, lots of veggies and beans...oh, and of course, butter. And in case any of you worried (haha) that we weren't eating well in France, our main concern is some form of early onset heart disease :-)
Since we have no current income, we agreed that this this Christmas would be a frugal one. Most of our presents for each other were apartment necessities, but we made sure that each had a surprise gift under the tree. Michael ended up with a teapot shaped tea bag holder (more of a gift for me, really), escargot/oyster forks, escargot baking plates, a USB wall plug for his iPod and a new kitchen scale. My loot included a metal mixing bowl (I can finally make Grandma Baker's rice pudding!), chopsticks, new headphones and 1000 Bornes, a favorite french card game that we played incessantly in High School French class. We made a delicious brunch of French toast with some Canadian maple syrup and fried potatoes then we played lots of 1000 Bornes and watched some TV.
Excluding the whole being-a-quarter-of-a-world-away from "home", we have managed to make a pretty good temporary home here in Metz. We are so thankful to have this incredible opportunity to live in France and travel Europe but we definitely look forward to being at home again with family this time next year. In the meantime though, we are greatly anticipating the arrival of Michael's mom and dad this weekend. We will be traveling to southern France, very close to the Spanish border. It will be a much needed break from Metz, this frigid weather, and a much needed visit with family :-)
Enjoy the remainder of your Christmas.