The musings of an Out and Proud Foreign Service Officer
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Tree Is Up...and I'm a Little Down
No surprise, finding a Christmas tree here is definitely a lot easier than it was in Jerusalem.
Thanks to a recommendation from one of my colleagues, I drove south of town to a nursery with a great selection and great prices. I found a nice 6.5 ft tree for 25 euros. And although the price was not as good as in Jerusalem (Israel gives free trees to diplomats), it also didn't remind me of Charlie Brown's tree.
Today my goal was to get the tree set up.
I cranked up the Christmas music (thanks to 97.1 WASH FM's 24 hour Christmas music and the I Heart Radio app) and started decorating. The lights were a bit of a challenge...I decided to get 220v ones rather than using a transformer and our old lights, but they are not a string so much as a circle. It took a bit to figure them out and the make them work (because I loosened some of the bulbs getting them out of the package...taking lights off the tree that worked before you put the ON the tree...not fun).
Once the lights were up, I put the ornament pictured above on...we bought it from the Hallmark shop in Chapel Hill, NC for our first Christmas together in 1999. I always put it on the tree first.
Each of our ornaments is a memory. Before my wife and I got together, I had a tree of stuffed teddy bear angels, and the tree still bears some sign of that. The tree topper is still the teddy bear angel and there are still lots of stuffed angel bears all over it. But there are fewer than there have been in the past, and each year the number decreases as we add other ornaments. Each place we go for vacation and each place were we spend Christmas, we acquire an ornament. So there are ornaments there from Chrleston, SC, Chimney Rock, NC, and Ft. Pulaski, Ga., but also from Baku, Istanbul and Jerusalem. And now Tallinn. This was the last ornament to go on the tree.
I always loved Christmas as a kid, though it has periodically taken some hits. My first Christmas after my parents separated still makes me a little sad, and the Christmas after the death of my great-grandmother, with whom I had spent ever Christmas of my life until then, was also a hard one. Hardest of all was dealing with Christmas after the death of my mother. It took a long time for me to feel the joy again. Losing my grandmother two years ago was less hard, because we managed to have all of us together with her, including my brother and his kids, on her last Christmas.
This Christmas too will be good, because I will be with my wife. But I will miss Christmas with my dad and his side of the family, and that makes me a little sad. And being apart from all of my family, especially my wife and dad, right now has me a bit in the dumps. The tree is pretty (though I forgot to pack the garland...I vaguely remember that I thought it was in crappy shape and that I'd get more here...wish I had remembered that when I was at the store today...), but it makes me miss everyone.
I know we'll be together soon, but forgive me if I am a little misty all the same.
This blog is intended to give anyone who is interested some insight into life in the Foreign Service. The views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. State Department. But hopefully, I won't say anything that will even make you wonder.