I gave into the American way of putting up Christmas decorations early. But, this is the only holiday I have where I can find some free time to do that.
I bought a cheap tree, but for the price of the tree and decorations (totaling $60), I think it turned out pretty nice.
And we even got some snow this morning to make it even more like Christmas. I remember back home when we got this much snow we were so excited and went out to play in it. Here, my thoughts are..."here comes winter with the cold days and slippery roads." not too exciting. But the snow is still pretty, even with all the work that comes with it. Now I have a driveway to clean. I spent a lot of money on a snow blower, so maybe it won't be so bad to shovel snow.
Thanksgiving was great...I was able to get caught up on most of the things I needed to do. Writing final exams, preparing for class, ... etc. I did sit down and watch a lot of Christmas movies as well so it was not all work.
I went to Thanksgiving dinner at my friend Danae's parents' house. They are an amazing family...The food was great as well, especially the pies. I am still eating pie until today.
I have received quite a few dinner invitations for thanksgiving. Some of them were from people that don't know me very well, but were worried about me spending Thanksgiving alone. I even had one of my previous students come over to my office and invite me over. I am amazed at how many good people there are around here. I am blessed to have such amazing friends.
As I have spent some time with the people here, my friends and their families, I am impressed by the healthy family relationships they have. I know each family has issues and they are not as perfect as they may seem on the outside, but it still makes me wonder. During the 5 hours I spent with Danae's family, there was not a rude word spoken...they joked and talked together all the time.
When my family is together we are either complaining, yelling at each other, or criticizing one another. Even when we play games, it is often yelling or being angry at one another. And I think, what is wrong with my family? I remember the days when I was a child and we would have fun together... When we laughed and joked and went on trips together.
When I went to Las Vegas with my two brothers this past summer, I felt it was the worst vacation I ever had. Why could we not enjoy each others company? What is wrong with us? Is it my fault? Have I not tried hard enough to make sure everyone had a good time?
I had a dream the other day that I had cancer. It was so real and I felt I was really going to die. Oh boy was that awakening! What if it was real? What if I were to die soon without spending quality time with my family...
I am so homesick. It is hard to run away from it during the holidays...because the name "Bethlehem" comes up a lot! Oh how I miss the little town of Bethlehem. I want nothing more than to be home for Christmas. I want nothing more than to spend some time with my mother and sisters and family...But, on the other side of this coin, if I leave the US I may not be able to return...what will happen to my job and my house and my car...My life seems to be here now and I am happy...the only thing lacking is my family.
Christmas is really not Christmas when you don't have your family there...when the gifts under your tree are but empty boxes, just to make the tree look nice. There is nothing better than Christmas day at home in Beit Sahour when my nieces and nephew's kids come over and open the gifts under our tree. My family is sometimes crazy and sometimes weird, but I love them. I'm so grateful for them. I am going to try and improve our family relationship and strive to be a better person...a better sister and daughter.
I hope we all can thank Heavenly Father for our families wherever they may be.