Christmas as an international student

Merry Christmas!

I did some last minute Christmas shopping on Sunday before holiday anxiety hit me. Although I’m not religious, Christmas has always been special to me as it brings back the memory of the two host families who opened the door for me and welcomed with such kindness when I was lost. But at the same time, Christmas is scary. Terrifying. The social situation, and the fact that it’s so close to the end of the year. Sure, every ending is a new beginning, but have I accomplished enough this year? 

Christmas means amazing food, family time, and hanging out with the annoying relatives that you don’t want to see. But for me, things are a little different. I will be meeting with a bunch of strangers. To be fair, I’ve seen them on Thanksgiving, but that’s it. As an anxious introvert, socializing for a few hours is already difficult enough, needless to mention there is always one fear in the back of my mind: am I talking too much? Even if I’m being the quietest person in the room? Christmas is the time for family reunites and I want to allow everyone to talk to their extended family. My host family said I am a part of their family, but missing sixteen years of their life, things aren’t the same.

Or maybe I’m just overthinking.

But I’m still so grateful for winter break! The break is late this year so we don’t go back to school until January, 8th. I have lots of time to catch up with reading and writing: between all the eating, chatting, and opening gifts, I’ll find time to work on the second draft of my YA novel which I ultimately failed to put aside during the month of December. I’ll revise the short story I wrote about Christmas and New Year. I’ll read tons of good books that I borrowed from the local library. I’ll take time to reflect, take care of myself, and welcome 2019 with my best ability.

—December 23rd, 2018

5 thoughts on “Christmas as an international student

  1. That your host families welcomed you, sounds to me like the true spirit of Christmas. I’m also an introvert, but somehow I enjoy family time, even though it often gets loud and crazy, and I feel so overwhelmed I wish I could hide somewhere quiet. However, most of my family and friends I see only a couple of times a year. Christmas means to me, to have time, to be there for each other. Missing 16 years is quite some time, but it sounds as they let you into their hearts and therefore to be home. Most people think Christmas is about presents. I think it is about THE present. I am sure they enjoy your company, they love you just the way you are. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy the reading and writing. I wish you all the best, a happy and healthy 2019!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I’m definitively very grateful for my host family and their hospitality and I enjoyed spending time with them. However, I wanted to give them some time with the relatives whom they only get to see a couple of times a year, as you said. During the family gathering, I sneaked up into my room and read for a couple hours because I got overwhelmed by the people. “They let you into their hearts and therefore to be home” is heart-warming and exactly right! I spent a large portion of my life searching for a home but realized that family is not about blood at all. You’re so right about Christmas is about THE present moments. Thank you again so much! It was so sweet. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas as well and an amazing new year!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes I get overwhelmed too, when there are so many people in the house and everyone is talking to someone else. It can be crazy and loud. Then I need a quiet place for some time, too. For me, home is not a building. As long as people I love and care about, keep a spot in their hearts for me, I am home. I wish you a wonderful, and happy new year!

        Liked by 1 person

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