Christmas in Qatar

The calendar tells me that Christmas is upon us but that’s about it. None of the other cues that I’m used to are beckoning me to get into the spirit.

So I decided this week on Sunday that I would put on some Christmas music and put up the handful of decorations that I selected to bring with us.  If you’ve been reading from the beginning you’ll remember that this adventure began last year when we were putting up decorations. Dave and I had a conversation about maybe re-opening the idea of teaching in another country, sometime in the next few years (this has been a recurring theme in our lives). When it came time to put the decorations away we were talking about doing it THIS year and I was putting a few special decorations aside just in case we would be shipping them somewhere…anywhere…no idea where.

And here we are full circle. It’s hard to believe it’s been a year already and at the same time it’s hard to believe it’s ONLY been a year. So much has happened.

So Sunday…I put on some Christmas carols and was going to quickly wash the dishes before putting up some decorations. Half way through the sink full I was in a puddle of tears. If it was a record player you would have heard that familiar sound of the needle being ripped off the vinyl. I stopped the music and looked at the box of decorations. What was I doing to myself and why?

It may seem odd to many of you (I’m absolutely sure it does) but in a way these are the things I was looking for in a big move like this. I’ll admit, I’m not enjoying this one, but the growth that comes from having your worldview, traditions, beliefs, emotions, assumptions and prejudices challenged is so valuable to me. There’s something about upending everything (almost everything) that makes you take a look at life with new eyes. I think people who’ve suffered life threatening diseases experience this – and since I didn’t want to sign up for that…!

I will miss my children and my family and friends a lot this Christmas but I’ve decided I do NOT need to torture myself with sentimentality. At the same time, I would like to dig deeper into the meaning of the holiday. I would like to recognize it as a day…a day…and I will honour all the things that make the day so deeply meaningful. Things like love, connection, faith, giving, surprising and being together and I will look for other ways to celebrate the holiday in that spirit.

My sister-in-law who has lived in Central America for more than 30 years now has the Christmas spirit triggered by the migration of the parrots flying over head. I don’t intend on spending 30 years here but I’ve decided I’ll watch for new traditions and triggers to come up organically.  Mostly, I’ll be holding it together.

We have decided to send Honour home for Christmas. Since our other girls are out west and in different provinces it’s already going to be weird – why not make it just a bit weirder. So none of us will be together this Christmas, except Dave and I and we’ll be on a beach in Sri Lanka.

Sunday was the first week of advent when the candle of Hope or was lit in many churches around the world, and usually in my home. This year, I’m just going to maintain an attitude of hope and wait for my “parrots” to migrate.

Can we say it just one more time??  Thank God for Skype!! (And also for good neighbours who know how it feels and when a good hug is in order).

Dave recently at a cocktail party NOT representing Canada well. It was a chilly 18 degrees or so.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Christmas in Qatar

  1. Sheri Willms

    I love how you make me reflect and think on the other level. We travel with you girlfriend. Your action to make this huge move in your life makes for a huge shift of mindset for all of us travelling with you. As you endeaveure ‘Christmas’ on the other side of the world….I will endeaveure to give my head a shake and to put a STOP to my being when the energies around Christmas attempt to strangle me from the joy and peace this season is to recognize and live. But does this Western world truly grasp the peace and joy??? Or does the overtime of work….shoppping and more shopping….therefore more financial stresses……easing to please everyone….and I mean EVERYONE with that ‘perfect’ little thing……or pleasing all family members and I mean ALL FAMILY members with the GET-TOGETHER/MEAL/OCCASSION what am I cooking and where am I going????….ect….ect……then the work parties expectations….the hair….the dress…..the shoes…..OH and the school presentations…..again…..digging in the closet for something….. anything to wear because it’s tomorrow night ……and oh crap get the friggin lights out on the house cuz now the neighbourhood is all lit up accept our’s ….or rather our one string of lights is just not cuttin it!! …..the tree has now sat a week in garage and a week inside with no decorations yet……and god forbid we go without cookies……bake those damn cookies….oh but with music and only when girls are home to help decorate……shove those dishes now in the sink cuz we gotta get back out shopping cuz the sale ends tonight!!!!!
    ENOUGH SAID……..thank GOD I do have my moments of escape when I can go watch the Santa Parade to wave at my daughter on the school float…..hoping to find the service this year to reflect as last week’s mass didn’t quite do it for me…….and actually quite happy that we were volunteered to cook the bird for the extended family to embark here at our house on Christmas day…..I get to stay home one day inbetween the work days.

    OH RATS…..got carried away here…..SO BACK TO YOU: ONE YEAR…..ONE CHRISTMAS…..maybe even 2 depending on next yr for you……. KISS THAT SAND on the beach on Christmas Day for me will ya!!! And as I will still have my very sentimental moments once again over this month (even amongst everything else)…..my thoughts will celebrate YOUR CHRISTMAS this year……and I will be smiling from ear to ear. JON and I will definately raise a glass to Tracie and Dave and be wishing you an incredible CHRISTMAS DAY and SEASON!!!!!
    LOVE TO YOU!!!!
    Sheri.

  2. Tracie… your wise words resonate. What do they say about nostalgia? “(It’s) not what it used to be?” This will soon be true for you too. Take care of each other.. xx

  3. Wow! I don’t know if I could do it Tracie. I have tears in my eyes already thinking about how not being near family at Christmas time would feel. You are one special woman!! Miss you dearly. Terri xx

  4. Alex

    I love your heart Tracie! It’s a pleasure to know you…

  5. Linda Booy-Korvemaker

    I am following you both and being inspired – your children are blessed to have you both as parents – I wish I had only had the time to get to know you better when you were here – my prayers and thoughts are with you all!

  6. Janice

    Sometimes I wish my arms were 10,000 km long. Sending you hugs that can’t be delivered in person.
    However…..with the exception of a few heart tugs that are no match for Tracie The Explorer Giesbrecht, get out there and ho ho ho your head off! And if I hear one complaint about vacationing on the beach…refer to the first line of this message.
    Love you miss you! ❤

  7. Elizabeth Barr

    Hey Tracie … such a great spirit you have!!!! Our Christmas will be really different too … at the Sheraton Suites in Thorold!!!! Ahhhh, change, it is indeed the only constant!!!! Love you

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