I’ve always been able to go back home to see my family during Christmas, but this year, I’m in Santiago. I have strong memories of going to my Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve, sitting around a huge table with 10-15 extended family members. We usually had the same food each year and then would open presents. The youngest always had to pass out presents, so for a few years I did and then my brother took over for me. When she moved into a nursing home, we took the festivities to her. We’d cook at home and then head over and do a shortened version of Christmas Eve. Although the location changed, it was still the same.
On Christmas Day, we’d stay at our house, make breakfast and then open presents with just my parents and brother. Sometimes we’d go to a movie in the afternoon. I have strong memories of coming downstairs and opening presents with the family. This year, I missed our family traditions and hanging out with my family, but still had a great time with new friends.
On Christmas Eve, we had an international potluck of Startup Chile entrepreneurs on the 18th floor of an apartment building in Santiago. Each person had to bring a dish that reminded them of Christmas from home and it was great to share Christmas with people from South Africa, Ireland, Germany, China, Portugal, Canada, Isreal and the US. As we watched the sun set over the Andes, we were all a bit homesick, but as we talked, it passed.
We were all thankful that we all have “jobs” that allow us to travel the world, learn about new cultures and meet people from all the world, all while working on projects that we enjoy. One month in, I can’t stress enough how happy I am to have this opportunity.
On Christmas day, most of the crew went over Shahar’s apartment where we grilled and hung out on his rooftop pool. We spent the whole day sitting in the sun, drinking beer, wine and pisco and enjoying being away from winter. It wasn’t quite a white Christmas (although a Chilean street musician was playing “Let it Snow” outside my window yesterday). Judging from my shoulders today, it was a red one.
It was sort of strange being away from home and I missed our family traditions, but it was great to celebrate the season with my new friends and reflect on just how lucky we all are to be able to do what we want with our lives. Here’s a few pictures from Christmas Day: