Thursday, December 27, 2012

First Christmas in Oxford

I'll be home for Christmas, You can count on me;
Please have snow and mistletoe, And presents on the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me, Where the love light gleams;
I'll be home for Christmas, If only in my dreams.

It was our first Christmas on our own. I was determined to do it right. I got super crafty, made a board on Pinterest just for Christmassy things and went full out Martha Stuart. 

I baked gingerbread (even mini gingerbread houses), decorated the house, made a wall tree with handmade ornaments and picked out perfect presents. (It was easy considering I could only buy presents for one person.)

But as christmas drew nearer, things didn't feel right. I had the soft glow of the colorful lights, hot cocoa and the smell of spices in the air, but something wasn't right. It took me all the way to Christmas eve to realize it. My christmas had NEVER been homemade gingerbread and fancy decorations. Christmas doesn't smell like cinnamon! Christmas smells like lechón! Now that the day came, all I wanted was the smell of my abuela's roast pork, a pot of black beans and a nice red cup of jupiña on a clear Miami night. 

Anthony and I coulnd't be surrounded by family and friends (the only thing we really wanted) but I could still make a Noche Buena of my own! We went to the grocery store and started hunting. Pork exists in England, pre-made Mojo does not. I grabbed limes, oranges and cumin instead. I searched the store for familiar things while anthony tossed pringles and frozen pizza into the basket. I've been in the store many times, but never felt so lost. Pinapple soda was a long shot, but how could they not have black beans OF ANY KIND anywhere? That was the moment when I really felt the weight of all the miles. I can skype with family but it will not feel like christmas without black beans and jupiña and ironbeer. I cried in the grocery store, under the florescent lights and surrounded by all the wrong foods. Good thing british people never make eye contact with strangers. I took a deep breath, dried my eyes and grabbed a bag a chesnuts that said they were for roasting. I've never seen roasted chesnuts, but I heard it in a chrisrtmas song. We will make new traditions. At least until I can get my hands of some jupiña. We came up with our own special christmas breakfast, had an awesome gift exchange and were able to talk with family.

 We survived Christmas in England and the pork turned out perfect too.

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