By Vivian Molick from the December 2012 Edition
I must admit, that the first couple of years that I was living in Manzanillo at Christmas time, I was not a ‘happy camper’. I was so lonesome for my family that I cried and was very depressed. I didn’t want to do anything, like getting a tree and decorating it, nor have people over to help celebrate the season. It just didn’t feel like Christmas to me. Coming from a state in the USA that is very white with snow for Christmas and all winter, it was hard to get in the mood. I was used to wearing heavy jackets and boots and many layers of clothing just to try to keep warm. Here I was in Mexico and there’s no white stuff on the ground or trees, it’s so warm that there is definitely no reason to be wearing anymore clothes than is absolutely necessary, and I don’t have any of my family around me. I wanted to be ‘home’ for Christmas!
Then, one year I decided to do just that, go ‘home’ for Christmas. It was a real ‘eye-opener’ to say the least. I had remembered the big dinners we had with all the wonderful smells in the house from the food and the Christmas tree, the warm fuzzy feeling I got with family all around, going to church and celebrating the real meaning of Christmas, and all the decorations that made me feel so good about the season (oh, how I loved decorating the house inside and out and the tree).
The first thing that happened when I returned home that year is that the very next day started a continuous time (the whole month I had planned to stay there) of winter storms;
blizzards, ice, freezing cold temperatures, and everything else you could possibly imagine. This was not starting out very much like I had been imagining and it was only the beginning of my disillusionments. There were no big dinners with all those wonderful aromas of food cooking, no family all around (they all had made other plans), and there were minimal decorations. Suddenly I realized that everything was so different than I had remembered.
I realized things were never going to be the ‘same’ again… I had been stuck in a memory. This doesn’t necessarily mean it was bad, because it was a good memory. But, we (and everyone else) are always changing, even if we don’t realize it because sometimes the changes are ever-so-slight at any given time in our life. And, you know, that really is the way life goes… it never stays the same (or it shouldn’t). But, then there are those times like the one I had, where it was a sudden realization. I realized I could make it feel like
Christmas wherever I might be; it didn’t have to depend on the food, decorations, or who I was spending the time with… family or friends. By the end of my visit I was getting very anxious to return to Manzanillo… I was now getting lonesome for that ‘home’.
The next winter season (this time back in Manzanillo) I was determined to make it the best Christmas I possibly could. I bought a tree and decorated it, put up decorations around the house, strung lights outside, and decided to invite a group of friends over for that big dinner with all those wonderful smells of Christmas I remembered. We were all without our families and just decided to have the best time possible with each other. We ended up having a great time together and all our bellies were so full of that wonderful food that we could hardly move and all wanted to take a nice long nap.
I have never felt like I was missing something by not being ‘home’ for Christmas again… I have many good friends right here in Manzanillo… even if there is no white stuff outside on the ground and trees and I don’t have to dress like I’m living in an igloo… not so bad after all!