When I was 18, in the fall of 1969, I moved to from the US to Canada. I went for the weekend and stayed 10 years.
My first Christmas away from home was a little bleak. I was living in a rooming house in Victoria. The other girls who stayed in the big house had come to be friends, and up until December 25th, the place was warm with comradery. We decorated, sipped hot toddies, learned of each other’s backgrounds as girls do. There was snow and I loved that it would be a white Christmas. The old fashioned town was lit with fairy lights and colorful displays.
Then Christmas Day arrived and everyone went home. Suddenly I was alone. I walked the quiet streets, peered into windows bright with greenery and garlands. I passed as families chattered from car to house loaded with food and presents. I called my parents. They said they missed me and loved me. I went to bed before the rest of the girls came home.
The next morning, the resilience of youth clicked in again and I was ready for the new day. Boxing Day, a holiday not celebrated in the US, was a new experience, and a friend was taking me to her family’s gathering. The feast was as sumptuous as any Christmas dinner, and over strange foreign foods such as Yorkshire pudding, bubble & squeak, steak & kidney pie, and Nanaimo Bars, I was in love with my new Canadian home once more.