February 26th, 2014
An Inconvenient Christmas
The United States of America. This is the land with unlimited possibilities where you can do everything whatever you want! Everybody's dream is it to visit the U.S.A. and I made it. Now, for almost a half a year, I have been separated from my family and friends in Germany. I never left Europe before I got to the U.S. not to mention stay away from my family longer than three weeks. Despite it was the first time I didn't celebrate Christmas with my family and I was sure that would affect me a lot.
I love all the traditions my family and I have for Christmas, New Years Eve and all the other holidays. However I didn't realized the real meaning for me of the celebration, until Christmas was almost knocking on the front door. While living in the U.S, I noticed the change of culture and different holiday traditions and it made me feel homesick for the first time since my arrival.
Moreover, I missed my typical Christmas elements and the feeling I used to have in Germany. Back in Germany we saw the Christmas movies on TV, heard the special Christmas music my mom always plays. She also lights up one of the four advent candles every sunday before Christmas Eve. My first Christmas in the U.S was quite different than they were in Germany. Of course I didn't have my real family around me. It was the little things I like for instance decorate the house with my brothers, have my special dessert made by my mother, were in my familiar environment and long breakfast/tee-time with cake and cookies and dinner talks with the whole family. Last but not least having fondue as dinner for Christmas Eve and celebrating the special day on December 24th and not on December 25th. All those points caused that I wasn't able to have the right Christmas feeling.
Finally, I believe that my host mum only sees me as a “worker”. In detail I recognize a clear difference of treatment between my host dad and my host mum. She is not that openminded like him and it is also hard for me to have a conversation with her when it’s not related to my host kids. That gives me more the feeling to be not that included to the family, over Christmas, which is one of the most important things! My host dad is the totally opposite of that. He is always relaxed and very kind to me. He is always asking how am I doing, what is very mindful.
Hence, there are so many differences between Christmas in the United States and the Christmas in Germany I grew up with. Although I had to become accustomed to the many possibilities available here in the United States. For instance a spontaneous Christmas vacation to Disney World but I still miss my native Christmas traditions. At the end I realized that it is not the same feeling at all to have just my host family around me. People may ask which culture I like best. The answer is that I will always choose the German traditions and culture because for a great Christmas, I need my real family and friends around me to be able to enjoy and celebrate my perfect Christmas.