missing Canada, my expat life
Christmas is France

What is it about the holidays that ignites that flame for childhood comforts? Memories of; tacky shiny tinsel, mandarin oranges, boxed chocolates, cards hung on a string, watching Christmas movies, smelling the turkey roasting and singing holiday carols.

Family gatherings, lovely tables fully spread, family members and good friends drinking in too much cheer, myself included no doubt! Functioning dysfunction’s that make up family. Enjoying each others company.

Being in a new environment, not knowing where things are, not steady under foot, no sure ground for our next step, we search for comfort. My heartstrings naturally pull towards home. Our friends and their children, my brothers and sisters, lattes around a table, laughing at ourselves, sharing advice, and above all unloading our fears. I miss…

Shortly after my birthday celebration, Alfonz took a trip to Amsterdam to collect his motorbike in customs and drive it home through cold and wet weather. Maybe it was him not being around, my fear of his drive or that my birthday past without familiar faces, a sadness fell over me. ‘What ifs’ plague my mind. What if he doesn’t come home? What if people don’t get my quirkiness? What if we don’t connect and my table remains empty?

Christmas has never been a big deal to me, or had I not noticed the traditions we made for our family, thinking them menial. We were never big on gifts, or decorations. Our holidays revolved around fine traditional dishes to indulge the pallet, with good wine and cheer. We made a point to visit our loved ones and the full seats around our own table comforted. At present we don’t even own a table!

Spending too much time in my head, I have fallen into a bit of an indulgent habit. Of spending loads of time researching our next adventure, running complete dialogues, and stories in my mind. I barely make it out, between the net, my head and books. It reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode about the man with the stop watch, that can stop the world around him. His dream was to be locked in the library with no one to bother him. He pressed stop, broke the stop watch, and entered the library. With no way to unstop the world he starts to read, happy, content, until he manages to break his glasses! I believe the moral is that we all need others.

Or I focus on the next task in the immediate now.

What I missed is keeping connected to the loved ones at home during this busy adventure. Making a real effort and keeping in touch with my family and friends. Today it really hit me.

I am missing home.

Sure my days are full. I wake up, deal with the kids morning routines, they go to school, I work on my website, forage for food, prepare and cook, do laundry, dishes, chores, explore, and in there I stretch to keep my back in tact and listen to Michel Tomas French language CD’s. My days are busy, very busy until we stop moving to hit the pillow.

Why this feeling though? Butterflies? From not knowing the next turn, the long term, or the next step. Things are not going fast enough for my liking. I want friends now, a community now and a business now. Anxious is the best word, excitement, maybe that too. Or maybe this is the rest after the initial journey, regain strength and then move forward.

If we were in our new house, and the rental apartment was up and running. If I had downloaded my TESL course, and started it, maybe the feeling would dissipate. Picking a direction for this life and not just drifting waiting for a second opinion, would this limbo lift? It is not comfortable. Oh, like uncomfortable change. Ah hah, I have pinpointed the source. We are in the uncomfortable change period where growth takes place. Still, it doesn’t feel good.

Today I spoke with a new lady in our life, originally from South Africa/San Francisco, now living here for the last 3 years, about just this. M, and her wisdom pointed me in the right direction. She said it is totally normal to feel this way. Ups and downs, not just ups, as she put it.

You get to a destination for a fabulous new life, no matter the place you choose how exotic and culture rich, it will become just a place in time, even if it is exactly what you were hoping for. Once the brand new shiny feeling goes, you are left with second guesses, until it becomes your home.

Until I make friends, and build a support system around the kids and I, until my dinner table is full of people I love that I can feed, maybe I’ll feel this way.

This holiday season we will have a quiet family celebration. In hopes to fill my chairs, the turkey will be stuffed with all the extras. If I make it, they will eventually come!

With much to explore, and still much to learn, I am learning more patience.

That’s Hamori



  1. Thanks Eva,

    Will look forward to it – by the way I should have said that you will need carboard golden crowns for the ‘king’ or ‘queen’ – they will have to dress properly won’t they for this important day!

  2. Thanks Mike!
    I love learning the new traditions and I am sure to give it a go!
    Merry Christmas and see you in March! We will have you over for the house warming party!!

  3. Eva,

    One thing I forgot on the face book entry that during the festive season in France it is traditional to have a “roi de galette” –
    This is a bit like the English custom of putting coins in the Christmas pudding.
    There is a recipe below but they could no doubt be bought in InterMarché or Bondie’s. The galette is a cake in which is inserted something like a plastic fairy and whoever finds it in their slice gets to become king or queen for the day.



    Something for the little ones but make sure they don’t swallow it!

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