Friday, December 20, 2013

Expat to Expat: My Holiday Celebrations Abroad

Happy holidays everyone! 

It's been so crazy over here, so I've been putting this bloggy on the back-burner a bit. I've been trying to do way too much these past few days and stressed myself out. So this is a good time to take a break from searching for apartments and do this awesome link-up by Belinda and Bailie! Woo, let's go ~

Has your idea of the holiday season changed since becoming an expat?
Yes and no. 
No, it hasn't changed in meaning. For me, the holidays are basically a time to be with loved ones and be grateful for what we have. It's always about that. Even the Christmas and Thanksgivings spent away from my family, I was in good company and that's what it's all about.
Yes, it has changed in what it looks like. For example, lights and trees aren't very common here, unless you are kind of rich. Since I'm living south of the equator, it's like summer! It's also different in that not EVERYthing is over-commercialized. I mean, there are places that do really go all out with decorations (full-size nativity scenes are popular here) but I don't see as much propaganda, which is refreshing. Oh, and another biggy is that holidays food looks different - the equivalent of egg nog, peppermint mochas, and cookies is a very thick hot chocolate and panetone. It's a fun tradition too.


How do you build new holiday traditions, while keeping ones that remind you of “home”?
I will admit, I've gotten slightly lazier with holiday traditions here. But Thanksgiving has been an exception to that. The past 3 years my good expat friends in Cusco have gathered and carried out the good old stuff-your-face tradition, American style (this year, we even had a turkey and that was exciting for us).  

October 31st either celebrates Halloween (mostly younger kids) or the typical Peruvian celebration of folk music, Día de la canción criolla (which is common among the older generations). So last year for Halloween some friends had a party for Día de la canción criolla where we danced and listened to lots of traditional folk songs. But this past year, it kind of snuck up on us and I didn't have many ex-pat friends in Lima to celebrate my hubby and I just watched a movie together.

In general, it's nice to celebrate a little bit of the local culture and tie in things from home as well, when it's possible. I've enjoyed sharing with Rafa some of our traditions and trying to explain (and understand myself) American culture. It's all about creating a shared experience and recalling old memories.

With that, I'm looking forward to reading up on some posts from the link-up... Do you have a favorite holiday or tradition??

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