I don’t celebrate Xmas but it’s the most wonderful time of the year! I love everything about it: the decorated and brightly lit houses, the endless Xmas songs on the radio, the sales, Starbucks peppermint mocha, the thrill of unwrapping presents on Xmas morning. This year, I was lucky enough to celebrate Christmas with people that are very dear to my heart. I took Caltrain from San Francisco to Morgan Hill to stay with the family of my oldest friend, Patrick D. Patrick and I met in grade 6, on first day of school at Ozel Bilim Koleji in Ankara, Turkey and I didn’t speak a word (!) of Turkish. Patrick translated every single class for me for about 3 months until I picked up enough Turkish, a language that I eventually became fluent in and still love and use to this day. We sat together in class for 3 years and as we each went our separate ways in high school we remained friends, studied for SAT together and both went off to college in the States. He went to University of Hartford and I wound up in upstate New York.
These days, as Patrick still lives in Connecticut and I keep logging those airline miles flying around the world, I was thrilled to get the chance to spend Christmas with his family in California. Not only did we reminisce about the old days and how fat everyone got since middle school (except for us, of course!) but there was something so deeply comforting about being around people who have known me since I was 12. Patrick’s little sister is a freshman in college now and his parents have a new house and a new dog but otherwise they are still the same friendly, hospitable, good-humored people I used to know all these years ago. So this holiday season I am grateful that as my life changes faster than I can keep up with it, some things and people in it will never change. And that is truly priceless (for everything else there’s Mastercard, just don’t use it at Target:)