have yourself a merry little christmas

Oh, what a wonderful Christmas it was.

While it wasn’t my first Christmas away from “home”, it still felt weird leading up to the holiday season, knowing I wouldn’t be in Ontario this year. I was dreaming of snow and cold and fondue on Christmas Eve – but the snow was scarce (read non-existent) and I was thankful to still be able to spend the holiday with family on the west coast.

While I was expecting a warmer than normal Christmas, let’s just say it was plenty cold. While I still would have loved a snow sighting, it still felt cozy enough to not seem out of place. Thankfully my new jacket came in time for the train trek to Fresno. My Canadian mittens may have also made an appearance…

Normally, our Christmases at home are fairly quiet. With only one sister and just a few cousins in the area beyond that, there was never much commotion. I always dreamed of a big Christmas filled with lots of people, good food, Christmas movies, and lots going on. My first Christmas away from home in North Carolina was just that, and I was looking forward to this Christmas following in those footsteps.

And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I’m so thankful for my west-coast family. They made Christmas week so much fun. Seriously, I can’t even count the times I ended in in tear-inducing, ab-workout laughter. These people are my kind of crazy, and that’s just the best feeling.

We took a few pictures before I had to catch my train back to San Diego on Sunday. Don’t be fooled by the pictures – it was cold. It felt a little less like California than I expected, and I was okay with that. In fact, it was the same temperature in Fresno as it was in Ontario this week – so it’s basically like home came here.

Here’s to family, and Christmas, and uncontrollable laughter.

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These are my people. As crazy as they are. And let’s be honest – the crazier the better.

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i’ll be home for christmas

Christmas in North Carolina.

Take away the snow, add some people and three Batman masks, and it felt just like home.

No one could ask for a better first Christmas away from “home”.

This year I gained a second “home”. I joined another family. I multiplied my sibling count by about eight. This year has been good for the soul.

I cannot believe that in just four days, it will be a year since my first long visit to North Carolina. It was just about a year ago that this place burrowed a nice little Brevard shaped hole in my heart. It took me just about ten days to realize that this place and these people were special. When I left to head home at the end of that trip, I didn’t even have the slightest thought that moving down here would be a reality. I knew that I did not want to leave that January day, but my brain had never seriously contemplated the reality of permanently moving just four short months later.

North Carolina has truly changed my life. I’ve learned more than I ever thought I could in such a short time. I’ve grown more in eight months than I had in the three years prior. I’ve been able to build such genuine relationships that have made of an impact in my life than those individuals will ever know.

Kitchener laid the foundation. Brevard built up from there. I am so thankful for all of the relationships I’ve had over the past twenty-two years. I would not be the person I am today without all the people who have poured into my life.

This Christmas I have come to realize what an amazing support system I have in my life. Thank you family. Thank you friends. Merry Christmas to you all!