Monday, December 23, 2013

Crazy things you do when your are homesick

Big R and I absolutely love living here in Germany.  I think it's hard to deny that fact.  That said, we are more than a couple thousand miles away from our families and our friends.  It can be tough to be far away.  The holidays always bring the homesick out of us.  I grew up in the military and after I graduated from high school, I haven't stopped moving.  Actually, my sister is not terribly different in that either.  We never sit still, so our parents got used to us being away, and any traditions we might have had became incredible childhood memories we have held onto.

For Big R it's a little different.  Growing up his entire life in the same place, his family has many traditions, and Christmas seems to always be the hardest to let go of.  His Swedish grandma always hosted Christmas Eve dinner.  The most traditional part of the day was the food.  Swedish meatballs, butter and spice cakes, pecan fingers... these are all things that scream "home" to him.  We all have those memories, right?

These last few years being far away, we've started building our own family holiday traditions.  Knowing that it's hard not to be at home with his family this time of year, I've tried to include as many of Big R's family traditions into our Christmas Eve dinner.  This year my little sister and her husband are visiting to celebrate the holidays.  We are changing a few things up, but still trying to intermix some of those important things that say, "home."

I messed up though, guys.  Seriously. I had no clue I was even missing the boat until I watched my determined husband in the kitchen attempting to create his favorite Christmas Eve treat. Have you ever had a magic cookie bar?  They are, in one word, purely "magical."  Haha.  The Commissary here ran out of coconut, and I had no luck finding any in the local stores. I also didn't realize we were so low on pecans.  Oh, and graham crackers.  Those were clear off the shelves as well.  I don't think this is something Germans have even heard of, so finding them off-post was not going to happen.

My solution?  Let's make those magical cookie bars this weekend.  We can get the ingredients and create the magic.  This wasn't good enough.  Big R needed his cookie bars.  I think he was starting to lose it.  Before I knew it he was crushing a pre-made graham cracker pie crust, smashing the little bit of pecans we had in the cabinet, and cracking open a coconut.  Yes, believe it or not, he shredded a raw coconut.  I somehow think this act of determination deserves a medal of some sort.  It was incredible.  I stayed out of the way as I was watching pieces of coconut fly everywhere.  Pure awesomeness.

His determination paid off though.  Between the coconut splitting and hand shredding, and the crushed graham cracker pie crust, he somehow managed to create something resembling a pot of magic cookie bar heaven.  Hard to go wrong with those ingredients though, honestly.  The house smells like melting chocolate and coconut.  Amazing.

Now that Big R has found his inner calm, I am looking for mine while I await my sister's arrival. They are already looking at missing at least one connection because of delays.  Oh, travel during the holidays, how I loathe you.  They will make it to Germany eventually, and when they get here we'll be ready to continue making new traditions.  I can't wait.  I hope that you are all with family, or for those of you that are far away, that you are finding a way to calm that spot of homesickness that fires up this time of year.      

Happy Holidays!

ps My Christmas card creations took an exorbitant amount of time to produce apparently, so they didn't even get shipped to me until late last week, and I have yet to receive them.  I haven't forgotten about you, our cards are just going to be a tad bit late this year. 

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