Home for the Holidays?

An Expat’s Experience visiting home for Thanksgiving.

I recently returned from a 18 day trip to my hometown in the U.S., Cincinnati, Ohio. It was during Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season. I found  Thanksgiving a great time to be home. During Thanksgiving week I saw family, old friends, new babies and people that I adore to the core. Food was the subject  of almost every conversation with what time you were going to eat at a close second. The day itself was filled with people playing catch up with each other and not just with me because I live outside the country but everybody catching up with everyone else. Just one day of chatting and I was filled with everyone’s history for the last year, it seems. I was full in heart and stomach. There was some sort of simplicity left in that holiday. Upon returning to Costa Rica
it was not difficult to explain the purpose of the holiday to my Tico friends, I explained that we get together to give thanks to the things that we find most important, food to sustain us, family that reflects our ability to carry on in this world and the belief that sharing our blessings was the key to a happy day.

I was not as enamored with the start of the Christmas season. For two days, I was part of a family volunteer group that wrapped gifts at an Outlet Mall for bank employees on an outing to benefit my nephews annual baseball trip. I bought into the cause but the wrapping of 230 presents in one day took a toll on me. Most of the gifts were from the Coach store at an average price of $150, some gifts were only $40 and some were $340. It surprised me how many people said “Oh no, you can keep the price tag on”. I guess if you work at a bank the amount that you spent on someone’s gift is important. I guess your paycheck, even if it was accumulated by a 25% purchase service fee from an un-suspecting college juniors newly initiated, based on the co-signers income account, was a thing to be
proud of. How lucky you are to have a job that provides a plastic card with a magnetic strip on the back and are able to charge hundreds of dollars a year for the use of it, all the while making interest off of the elderly’s savings accounts. Double bonus for you!

I am sad to be missing out on the family aspect of Christmas but thankful that I don’t have to go through what would have been a moral nightmare. Plus, I was already sick of the commercials and I only had to see/hear them for one week. Kudos to those who must endure them for the entire season.

Sweet and Sour, just like I like my pork!

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