ghosts of christmas past

Yikes... it's really been awhile. If there is still anyone out there... Happy Holidays!

I've been busy since posting last September; traveling all over the state of Michigan, filming 3 more episodes of Pioneer One, selling all my things, packing the rest & getting the hell out of NYC. I started a new site with my partner in all things, Martin, The Wanderspoon, where we travel around and write about food and culture and things. We're currently in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

We came at the end of November. It seemed like a great idea as I'm resilient and super independent and I'd just seen all of my family on my Midwest tour. It seemed like a good idea until I was crying like a baby whining about candy canes and piles of snow and the old holiday cartoons.

You see it's a lot different here. And I don't only mean the fact that it's the southern hemisphere and the seasons are opposite and I'm sweating in this snowless, winter scarf-less, pine tree-less 95 plus degree heat. I'm admittedly one of the first people to complain about how out of hand the holiday consumerism has become in the States. I hate it. You've barely pulled off your witch costume before the ornaments and stockings are hitting the shelves. But there isn't really any here. At all. You can walk down a busy Buenos Aires street and hardly see any evidence of holiday cheer. There aren't big lots of fir trees, tiny lights don't hang from the street lamps, no one's wearing Santa and snowman sweaters (maybe a blessing), and wrapping paper is literally nowhere to be found.

I became so nostalgic this year it almost made me crazy. Missing my dad's rendition of Frank Sinatra's Jingle Bells with his reindeer oven mitts, the tiny egg salad sandwiches my aunt and uncle make every year for their party, the way my mom decorates the house with more glittery things the one might believe humanly possible, and the snow on the lake in Muskegon. I missed shopping for gifts with my cousin when we were kids, helping my Nana wrap presents, my Grammy's homemade candy, and the tiny fake trees that my brother and I decorated in our rooms. And I became completely and desperately sad.

The problem though, is that these things are gone. They're in the past. Even if I was up in snowy Michigan, most of the things I miss no longer exist. Many of these people have passed away, my cousin has four kids and I'm sure shopping nights are few and far between, our mini trees have long since been given away, and my Dad lives too far away to see his show and my mom's blinding tree.

At some point I realized that I wasn't just missing white Christmases and wanting to be home, but that I was grieving. Grieving for the Christmases of my youth, the many beloved members of my family that have since died, and for the fact that things will never, ever, ever be the same.

I don't really have a resolution at this point, just a little sense that one has to maybe pass through this stage in order to let something new open up. To let go a little, and remember the past with a reverence and a smile and not only a heavy heart. It became clear to me that I've been holding on to my Christmas memories with sadness for a long, long time.

Happy 2011 everyone. May it be filled with joy, peace and the ability to look backwards kindly.