In November, the wonderful village of San Clemente put on an appreciation dinner for all of the expats who live in the area! I never would have expected something like this. In the nicest way I can possibly say it, this village does not have very much to give, but what they have they give gleefully to anyone who will accept.
The event was a nice surprise with a complimentary dinner and drinks. The room was full of lively music and spirits, and of course the kids were absolutely thrilled when we walked into the restaurant all decked out like an American Christmas. A big lit up tree, twinkling garlands, and trays of treats on the tables. All of us were equally awed and delighted when an American meal was set out before us, complete with roasted turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes.
It was quite unexpected, as we had come to accept that we wouldn’t see these glimpses of the holidays back home, this year. The delight of it all definitely gave us a little holiday spirit and some cheer to start spreading of our own.
To think about the efforts the locals went to, in their desire to offer up some semblance of a holiday back home is not just heart warming, but is startling in it’s purposeful gift to show gratitude and appreciation to those who have chosen to make our life here, abroad. It is just one more reason for us to stay, one more example of how this place continues to reiterate that we are home-away-from-home.
And since then, the Christmas spirit has jut kept on building! We have now managed to find and put up our own small Tree, and in the past weeks we have been watching as the village has literally built it’s very own, unique Christmas Tree and Nativity Set (I’ll have a new post coming soon about all of that).
It just goes to show that Christmas is not something that fits into a tightly wrapped box, nor is it a one-size-fits all type of deal. Christmas is what you make of it, where you choose to make it. It has nothing to do with the commercial versions we are so accustomed to in The States.
The best part of it all, is how we have learned to set our expectations aside, and in that lesson, we have been so beautifully impressed with the many, wholesome efforts around us that tell the true meaning of Christmas. It is easy to be disappointed when our expectations are not met. But, guess what? It’s just as easy to be impressed when you have no expectations at all!
We’ve never been so excited so know that are still two more weeks left until Christmas…we can only anticipate the wonder of all that is unknown! We can’t wait for all of the surprises to be unveiled.