December 27, 2010

Boldog Karácsonyt! {Merry Christmas!}

I had a wonderful Christmas with the Steiner family.

In Hungary, Christmas Eve is celebrated the way Americans normally celebrate Christmas Day, meaning that the main "Christmas" meal is served on this day and all gifts are opened. It was the first time in my life where I opened all my gifts on Christmas Eve! I received so many lovely presents both from US family and the Steiners.

I slept at the Steiners' home on Christmas Eve and we attended a church service Christmas morning. Then it was back to the Steiner home for an afternoon of eating, relaxing, playing games, and doing a puzzle. My friend Noémi from the church also joined us on Christmas Day. Her family lives a long ways away and she wasn't able to be with them and we were so glad to have her. Since she doesn't speak English, we spoke a lot of German together which I loved.

It did rain on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but yesterday, the 26th, it snowed all day long! The Hungarians consider the 26th as an official part of the Christmas celebration; in fact, they call it "the second day of Christmas." So technically, according to Hungarian custom, we DID have a White Christmas!

The Steiner Christmas tree
The Steiner home includes this beautiful tile fireplace. It heats the whole home
and makes it feel cozy.

The Christmas Eve dinner

My {Hungarian} Family

Me and Noémi on Christmas Day

Of course it was terrible being apart from Matt this Christmas. His Christmas Day was nothing special--he had to work. He did receive a lot of lovely cards and packages from the US throughout the last three weeks which he greatly enjoyed. {Thanks everyone!} They had a special Christmas dinner for the soldiers and a few of Matt's co-workers brought him gifts, as well. I know the fact of knowing that this deployment is well over half finished was something that helped keep Matt's spirits up this holdiay season.

As much as I miss my family and Matt's family back in the US, I really think it would have been harder for me emotionally to deal with being apart from Matt this Christmas if I were home with them. I know being with all my loved ones would make the absence of Matt feel so much more painful for me--I would be constantly aware that he was missing. Here in Hungary, I am with my Hungarian family. And since I have built this little 'life-of-my-own-without-Matt' during this short time period of my life, it has helped me focus on the blessings of being here in Hungary with all my wonderful friends instead of focusing on the pain of being away from Matt.

Matt and I are certain this is the only Christmas in our entire lifetime where we will ever be apart! I wish Matt's Christmas could have been as wonderful and special as mine was in Hungary, though. Now we are looking to 2011--the year that brings the END of this deployment and brings us back together forevermore.

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