In our lives, we often have the conviction that we can control and program everything; that everything we want to do fits neatly in our overbooked agenda. Life sometimes proves us wrong… I haven’t been here in WordPress for two weeks. I haven’t been home for one week. My plane back home landed yesterday, late in the evening.
Two weeks ago I had made my plans for Christmas and for the days around Christmas. The decision to stay in Holland (=once more celebrate Christmas without my parents and sister) was based on the ridiculously high prices of airplane tickets and the fact that my husband had to work during those days. I hadn’t celebrated Christmas with my family for seven years and the idea of not seeing them again this year made me rather sad. In all these years I have seen them during summer holidays and occasionally at Easter, but Christmas is different, there is a different kind of magic in the air.
So my plans were fixed and I started getting my home ready: getting down the decorations for our daughter’s birthday party and putting up the Christmas decorations. And then I received a very alarming telephone call regarding my father’s health. And then… And then life stands still… This was the moment I dreaded ever since I moved from Greece to Holland: the moment I would hear that something happened to a loved one and I would not be able to be there immediately. I had to make a major change of plans quickly, and the three of us discussed it carefully before we took any decisions. Daughter and I would fly to Athens on Christmas Eve; my husband could not come. It would be difficult being separated during these days, but for our daughter, the prospect of spending the days with her grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins was quite exciting. On arrival I was informed that after several visits to doctors and many medical tests, the incident that my father had, was not as severe as initially thought; it was a mere warning, but a very strong warning… We were all relieved, happy and grateful. Celebrating Christmas this year was different; not only because I was again with my family after seven years, but also – and mainly – because the good news after the bad news gave this Christmas more depth and meaning than I have ever felt.
This is the special Christmas bread from Zakynthos (Zante), called “Christopsomo”. The eldest family member pours olive oil -and sometimes also red wine- over it before cutting it. At the same time all family members sing a special Christmas hymn. A coin is hidden in the bread and it is supposed to bring good luck throughout the coming year to the one who finds it . We have a similar custom at New Years Eve with the New Years cake, which also contains a hidden coin or good luck charm.
Until next time!