Merry Christmas from Salt Lake City!

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For the first time in five years, I’m spending Christmas at home.   I’m not flying in on a 13 hour flight from Tokyo or Shanghai.  I’m not spending Christmas in China and Lunar New Years in the states.  I’m actually home during the holidays, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

I flew into Salt Lake City on Christmas eve and was greeted to a white blanket of snow on Christmas morning.  It was the perfect Christmas present to my morning.

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Although I’m spending the holidays in the United States, the month of December hasn’t felt much like Christmas because of Los Angeles.

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Brrrr…?

Los Angeles is 75 degrees and sunny everyday, and I’ve been wearing the same jeans and t-shirt since August.  Until my trip to Utah for the holidays, my coat was still packed up in my suitcase from Shanghai.

Surprisingly, I miss bundling myself up in a coat, mittens, scarf and boots.  I like feeling the cold against my face and the crunch of snow beneath my feet.  I like having seasons.

I guess for me, Christmas is about taking the coat out of the closet.  It’s about escaping the cold with a warm cup of tea or hot chocolate inside.  It’s looking outside at the snow and feeling the serenity of winter’s silence.

Honestly, it didn’t feel like Christmas until I stepped into Utah.  It made me wonder if people in Southern California have a difference perception of Christmas compared to others?

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Yup. Mid-December in Los Angeles

My family is but a small group of four.  We only have each other here in Salt Lake City, but sometimes that’s all you need.  I spent my Christmas day much like I spent it when I was eight years old–in my pajamas, opening presents, eating, and watching movies and playing games.

Although celebrating the holidays in Utah has been amazing, I miss my “Shanghai family.”  I used to feel very lonely and isolated when spending Christmas in Asia, but last year I had assembled such a close and wonderful cast of friends, I found myself with another family outside of the United States.  At my humble apartment in Shanghai last year, I had a room full of Italians, Russians, Japanese, Chinese, Americans–it was a smorgasbord of cultures all convening together for one purpose: to enjoy Christmas together.

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That’s the worst part about being an international traveler, an ex-pat, a wanderer.  You leave a piece of your heart wherever you go, and you constantly feel the pain of that empty space full of the memories of your loved ones, of the family you made in that land far away.

To my Shanghai family, to my Japan family, and to everyone all around the world–Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

And last but definitely not least: Happy Anniversary to my lovely boyfriend.  Today marks our one year together and I couldn’t be happier.  Although he’s slaving away on Christmas and this entire week, he has been my new family and life here in the United States.  Thank you for helping me keep my sanity in Los Angeles, for listening to me complain about work and SoCal traffic, and for being the wonderful, kind, caring, and hard-working boyfriend you are.  I’m lucky to have you, and here’s to many, many more years together.

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7 thoughts on “Merry Christmas from Salt Lake City!

  1. Lani says:

    Lovely and sweet! I was born and raised in Hawaii, so I longed for a white Christmas and when I went to Colorado for college I got it in buckets and more buckets. I really appreciate both. I miss seasons like fall and spring even though Northern Thailand right now is cold, actually, as in lows in 48 degrees kind of thing. But temperate weather is SOOO nice on the pocketbook, too. Enjoy Utah. It’s a beautiful State 🙂 and happy holidays!

    • rubymary says:

      Yeah I think Colorado is like Utah (minus the mormons). Wow so you did long for a white Christmas in Hawaii? All of my relatives in LA shudder when I show them photos of snowy and cold Utah, haha.

      Wow that’s cold for Thailand!! Shanghai used to get pretty darn cold too–and the humidity made it so much worse (dry cold is much more tolerable than wet cold).

      I hope you have a happy holiday in Thailand, too!

  2. Kim says:

    Merry Christmas! I know what you mean about having family all over the place. This year I actually had Christmas at home too and it really felt like Christmas.

    Also happy anniversary! Have a wonderful time in the US

    • rubymary says:

      Thank you very much and happy new year!!! When you have an international family, it’s hard to bring people together and you often feel like you have a home in ten other places. Still, celebrating Christmas in the place you grew up is very special indeed.

      Happy holidays! 🙂

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