yet another normal day here in sunshinecity's household.
Though my family doesn't celebrate Christmas or exchange gifts, I've always inevitably felt the Christmas atmosphere. You can't not feel it. Where ever you go, in the streets, in stores, to friends' houses, in restaurants all the decor and lights remind you of one of the biggest global holidays there are today.
It's a holiday that has been celebrated for over 2000 years and as far as I can remember, it's always seemed so appealing to me. The bright lights, the smell of burning wood, roasted chestnuts and the crisp winter air all have a magical feel to it, you can't help be part part of it.
Though I have never celebrated it, when I went over to the US, two years ago, I celebrated my first American Christmas. Some things are different from Italy, that's obvious. The different traditions are so curious and fun. The atmosphere that you breath in American households over Christmas is something hard to describe. I don't think any American can fully understand what it's like to grow up and be surrounded by the American way of life being portrayed in every movie you ever see, or in every product you ever buy. I'm not saying this is a bad thing, or a good thing, but the American way of life, at least here in Europe has been a role model, a stereotype by which past generations (those who grew up during WWII) have measured themselves up to and by which standards they've lived by or aspired to.
It was such a weird feeling to actually live this, to actually be part of it, rather than just witness it. When we say "oh you only see that in the movies" it seems like a cliche, but never in my life have I been so surprised to find that what you see in American movies actually happens exactly how you see it. All those traditions, the colours the atmosphere, really exist!
Like I said, it's something an American can't understand. No culture has travelled across the global and been an example for others as much as the American Way of Life has.
I don't think many comprehend what impact the US' presence in WWII has had. If you ask my Grandma she will tell you what it's like to have to hide and witness with your own eyes, through the tiny windows in the confining walls of a convent - her safe house - the arrival of the American troops, freeing the city and watch them as they chase the Germans away with their tanks.
That will inevitable leave a mark in your heart.
So two years ago, when I actually was part of this culture that I've always been surrounded by but never been part of, it was like living a dream. I fitted right in, as if I'd been celebrating it all my life. It was my first holiday with Michael, so of course its meaning was much more important to me than the significance of the actual holiday itself. The first celebration with a loved one, in their home, with his family. It was priceless.
Last year, we promised ourselves that it would be our last Christmas apart, hoping, almost knowing that by the summer we'd be together for good. Unfortunately things didn't turn out as we'd hoped. We're still apart and still waiting on this pending VISA.
Unfortunately this year didn't bring all it was supposed to. I had high hopes
for 2006. I had high expectations and am a little less confident because of it. I've always been a "glass half full" kind of girl... still am for the most part, but when it comes to my future, to my aspirations and true personal desires, there's somewhat left to be desired in the optimism department.
As all of you make your way to or back from family celebrations, as all of you unwrap your presents and make wishes for the year to come, as all of you pray for next year to bring bigger and better things I too say a little prayer. I have a lot to be thankful for but...
May 2007 be my year.