Thursday, December 17, 2015

I'll Actually Be Home For Christmas

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Stockings hanging on the fireplace at my parents' house

Several years on, a follow-up to an older post of mine about not feeling the holiday spirit in Taipei.

Out of habit, I refer to the USA as "home" and Taiwan as...well, as the place I live, I guess. But I've realized recently that referring to these two places in such ways is disingenuous. I used to think that 'being home for Christmas' meant being in the USA, and staying in Taiwan meant 'not going home for Christmas'.

But as much as there are forces keeping me from fully embracing this country as "home", namely because this country in many ways doesn't necessarily want me to call it home, I've realized that too is incorrect.

This Christmas I'll be in our apartment, with my husband and my sister, opening gifts under our tree, and unstuffing my stocking. These things are mine. Brendan is my primary family. I don't live in a house in upstate New York, or even an apartment in Washington DC or anywhere else: I live in an apartment in Taipei, and we are a little family of two with a sibling close by and two cats.

How is that not 'home'? And therefore, how can I say I won't be going 'home for Christmas'? I already am home.

Granted, Taipei isn't the most Christmassy of cities, though I do feel there has been a bit more decoration and music (most of it bad, to be honest - "Joy to the World" was never meant to be a polka) than in previous years, and the cold snap means it really does feel something like winter. It is hard to get into the Christmas spirit still because despite all of those trappings, locals don't celebrate it and everyone else will be going to work as usual on the 25th (although I am not religious, I insist on keeping one little island of Western culture firmly set in the stream of my life - I do not work on Christmas), but regardless, I am spending Christmas at home.

It may not be my home forever - in fact it likely won't be for reasons I've posted about before. But it's my home now. I'm not traveling for Christmas, but I will be home.

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