Christmas away from Home

After living here for two and a half years, this will be my first Christmas and New Years in Vienna.

I have had a lot of people tell me it would be depressing. Clearly they have never dealt with Heathrow Airport on the 23rd of December, or Customs in Chicago. Whenever I fly back home, these two places take the Christmas right out of me. I’ve left the Christmas Markets of Vienna to be faced with over 13 hours of altitude, attitude, and schlepping ten kilos of carry-on.

I do like seeing my mother when I get to Chicago, but that bliss is usually short lived. Last year she was driving from the airport and took the, how shall I say it, “long way home.” I was tired, and she doesn’t drive to the airport that often. We began arguing and she ended up missing the exit, and ending up on the route to another state.

When I get there, the first thing I do is catch up with my friends; they haven’t changed much in two years. The rest of Christmas is usually spent with both sides of the family, separately. I won’t go into that, as with any family, that’s a book in itself.

This year I have been invited to spend family with the family of a very close friend. It will be Austrian, a type of Christmas I have never experienced. Afterwards I am planning on joining a group of ex-pat pub workers, also stuck in Vienna, in a bar somewhere.

It won’t be the same, and I have said repeatedly that it will be better this way, because I can choose whom to spend my Christmas with. But I realized a few days ago that one person will be very much missing – and that will be my mother.

Perhaps this year’s Christmas will make going back next year that much better.

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