In my 25 (almost 26) years of life, never have I ever spent Christmas time in another country. As for the rest of Christian-based world, Christmas means crawling back from wherever you are to your hometown, your family and the house warmed up by love and in my case a very hot fireplace.
To me, it means trying out mom’s new recipes, listening to dad’s “dad” jokes and watching Fred Clause (the anti-Christmas movie and my personal favorite of the Christmas period) with my sister on our big screen TV.
By writing this, I don’t want to brag about how my family is loving and caring, and I am aware that some families are not like that, and/or many of us don’t have families in this way.
But for me, as I am used to these customs, not being by their side for the first Christmas ever was hard. I am not a religious person at all, and this whole holiday doesn’t mean to me in a religious sense.
Christmas in Croatia is about family, spending time with loved ones, and recap-ing what happened in our lives since the last time we saw each other.
This time, I was waking around Izmir, trying to pretend the decorations in the Sevgi Yolu street are the Christmas ones, and that the salad in my kumpir is the Olivier salad that is a ‘must’ of every Christmas table.
How did I feel?
Like a huge transition took place, and a big change. I felt a slap of life, pushing me out of my family home’s comfort. It made me a bit colder, a bit more grown up, a bit more aware of life.
I guess this time has come, too.