Happy Christmas 2018 Everyone!
This year is my fourth Christmas celebration out of the country. But regardless of how many times, I always have the same wish and desire every time, to spend this special day with my family, relatives, and friends.
People may think that OFWs like me who has lived abroad for quite a long time would eventually get used to being away from home especially during Christmas holidays, but we don’t. On the contrary, it’s worse during this special season. Every time I hear Christmas songs being played or see Christmas decorations around, I reminisce my previous holidays in the Philippines and imagine myself back home.
Christmas in the Philippines is different.
Nothing beats celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with our loved ones close by, keeping our yearly Christmas tradition intact. My family/clan tradition includes exchanging gifts among thirty or more people, playing fun games and eating until our tummy aches. I realize that there is this specific feeling you will only feel during this particular event in your life, and whatever you do, you couldn’t force yourself to feel the same way wherever you are in the world. Instead, you make a new tradition that will give birth to a whole different kind of feeling. I hope I make sense.
We invent new ways to survive Christmas abroad.
If for some reasons that an OFW can’t go back home for the holidays (like me), either because of financial issues or work conflict, we have no choice but to move forward and celebrate our Christmas the best way we could, and less lonely as much as possible. The most effective solution is to stay with a group of friends and family.
In my case, I have always spent this time of the year with my cousins and close friends in Thailand. I’m thankful for them because of their companionship. I believe they feel the same way because we unknowingly help lighten each other’s homesickness and loneliness. We don’t have our direct family but at least we have each other.
This year, I was excited for Christmas because of the small parties and gatherings here and there. On Christmas Eve, we sang karaoke, drank some wine and of course stuffed ourselves with homemade Filipino food and desserts. It also helped a lot to me that I have my young nephew and niece who are these innocent and funny little people. They hold this invisible power of making small conversations into a fun, enjoyable time which makes you forget everything but.
I remember a funny conversation we had with my niece Scarlett before Christmas Eve, and it goes like this.
Tito: You cannot see me because I’m invincible. (Suddenly stopped, realizing his wrong choice of word.)
Tito: Oh oh, yeah! I am invisible. (Trying to regain his dignity, he immediately corrected himself.)
Scarlett: (Looking at his Tito like he has grown elf ears) You were wrong Tito.
Tito: Do you know the difference between “invincible” and “invisible” Scarlett? (Challenging her as if we will forget his mistake)
Scarlett: Well, “invincible” means strong and “invisible” means cannot be seen.
(Both Tita and Tito were impressed that she knew the words.) Unlike her, I think I learned those words when I was in High school or even in college. So you see, these kids are smart. From that point onwards, we moved on to making more jokes, more tickling, and cuddling.
Christmas at home is and will always be the best.
If you are in the presence of the people you want to be with right now, know that you are lucky. Make the best of your time. =)
How is your Christmas holiday?