Monday, 1 December 2014

This Christmas, dress appropriately.

Welcome to the December #TrailingSpouseStories blog crawl!

This December, we talk about the much anticipated and somehow dreaded, ultra sentimental Christmas holidays. How were the Christmas holidays outside your home country?  How is it similar and different?  What did you enjoy most spending Christmas abroad?

Find out how we spend our holidays and how it feels to spend it in different corners of the globe, so don't forget to read more stories of fellow trailing spouses at the end of this blogpost.

This was the year we were supposed to have a snowy white Christmas. This was the year we were supposed to be away from family for the first time in our lives. Well, maybe not the first time. At least for one of us.

I wasn’t excited at the prospect of freezing my body’s extremities or being huddled around a decorative non-functioning electric fireplace or having to shovel snow off the car. And most definitely not excited to be the one to dress the kids everyday in 3 to 4 layers of clothing every time we need to step out the door.

The fire is broken.

I don’t know if it’s the same for other parents but don’t you feel that dressing up the kids is like a death match? Two men enter. One man leaves. Round 1 is the first layer of clothing. Layer 2 is the next round. And finally, the jackets gets you to the final round. Sometimes I win. Usually I lose. Because children just naturally want to freeze into popsicles. It’s their thing. Of course I can’t let them because child services. And then jail. And then jail boyfriend. PASS.

I wasn’t excited but I was ready. For Christmas. In a city where sundown happens at 4:30 P.M. By 5:30 the sky is black as night and I keep thinking 30 Days of Night.

But life happens. And suddenly we’re booking a flight back home to see people I haven’t spoken to in 15 years. Maybe more. A real lifetime ago. And the thought of reconnecting with people I never thought I’d see again is... it feels like my insides have turned to quicksand and my soul just can’t get a grip.

That’s what family can do.

Even before we left the country and moved here, I was already away from family. Every year I lived with it and that was ok. But as families got together and ate too much and laughed too much and hopped from one dinner to the next, Christmas became a reminder to me of what wasn’t there. So I put on layer after layer after year after year. Until I could hardly feel the cold.

But I guess nothing is forever.

So I’m peeling off my jackets and scarves, shirts and sweaters, socks and shoes, skin and teeth, down to my bones. And I don’t know how forgiving the weather will be, if at all.

But that’s what you wear when you come home.

Read more about fellow #TrailingSpouseStories at:

  • Didi's story on D for Delicious  on how Christmas abroad start out tearful, but after some time, it turns tearless
  • Yuliya's story on Tiny Expats on their journey and experience of winter holidays in 6 countries along the way.
  • Abigail's story on Cuddles & Crumbs on a look back on what we have been doing on Christmas and slowly working on our family traditions.
  • Tala's story on Tala Ocampo on how the Ocampo's spent their first Christmas abroad in Colombo, Sri Lanka celebrating not only Christ's birth but also the birth of their daughter Luna.
  • Marie's story on laughlovepractive on how times change, Christmas celebrations change. But one thing keeps it the same.
  • Glendale's story on G's Kandy Krush on how she is celebrating my first Christmas in Sri Lanka, where she resides with her husband and 2 sons.
  • Third's story on Pinoy in America on how Pinoys have successfully brought the Philippines' best-loved Christmas customs and traditions to America.
  • Jenny's story on My Mommyology on how Christmas in Manila or in the US is different every year with the kids.  Or is it the same?"

  • Kristine's story on Tala Ocampo where Mac shares her reflections with Tala on spending Christmas away from home for a total of 15 years


  1. Awwww!

    Well on the bright side, you may just turn into a popsicle yourself! ;) Have fun in Manila Fong! We will surely miss you here stateside.

    1. thanks! wish you guys were going home too!

    2. We seriously have to figure out a meet up time date and place soon!

  2. Such a great story! P.s. I totally agree about dressing the kids routine :))

  3. My favorite quote: "Christmas became a reminder to me of what wasn’t there. So I put on layer after layer after year after year. Until I could hardly feel the cold."

    I don't have kids, but I have a child-like husband, who actually went out into the snow, rather in the ice storm, half-naked...and as a consequence of his uhhh fearlessness of the unknown cold (our 1st time to experience snow), he was sick for 3 weeks! Talk about karma. Being a popsicle does pay! Costed us hundreds of dollars. LOL

    1. Ack! That is a clear example of dressing appropriately haha! Thanks Didi! :)

  4. It's my dream to have a white Christmas. After this post, not anymore. Haha just kidding!

    It's funny though, I always look forward to spending Christmas with the extended family. Even when I was still living in the PH. I wouldn't say we had the perfect relationship but then again one side of the family is passive-aggressive haha!

    I hope the true meaning of Christmas will warm hearts this reunion. Enjoy!