Yesterday we left for San Antonio for almost 8 days of what will hopefully be glorious weather. Considering that it really doesn't ever snow there, it will feel glorious to us no matter what. Plus, we don't really have to walk anywhere even if it rains every single day. I'm going to soak it up because we'll have a long winter awaiting us when we return home.
Enough about all that! The past two years, I've been flying over the Christmas holidays. My first year, I was SO BLESSED to actually get my Christmas wish list trip (we were allowed to preference our top three layover locations during xmas week) and I got to go to Beijing. I was packing the night before we left and realized that I'd be arriving home late in the evening on Christmas Eve and be guaranteed a few days rest when I got in. I would have about 1 hour to wait for everyone to deplane, clear customs and race to the gate of the last flight home to San Antonio from DC. It was a pretty tall order but I figured I'd give it a try. The first thing I did when we landed was run into the lavatory and called the hotline to see the flight status. Luckily, it was delayed about an hour so I knew I'd have enough time. After a brief snafu with a cranky customs man (hey bro, it's not my fault you're working Christmas Eve), I made it to the gate and on the flight, in first class no less and seated next to one of my co-workers. Even though I was jet-lagged to the max and had hardly slept a wink over the entire 4 day trip to China, I enjoyed chatting and drinking wine almost the whole way home. I got in to SA around midnight and enjoyed a surprise Christmas Eve with my mom and brother and got to be at the big Christmas dinner at my grandmother's house. I think that will always go down as one of my favorite Christmases, partially because I got to be home as a last minute surprise but also because I think Christmas Eve is my favorite day of the year and considering that my Christmas Eve began around noon the day before when I was still in China and ended up being about 36 hours long was so cool. I was buying last minute gifts at the markets (the Chinese don't really celebrate the holiday but they kept saying to all of us, "Oh, today is your special day!") when everyone back home was still sleeping. The whole thing was so exciting that I didn't have any time to think about how exhausted I was.
So... last year, I knew it was going to be pretty darn hard to top that and sure enough, all hell broke loose weather-wise so pretty much no one got their wish list trips. I spent my favorite day of the year (Christmas Eve) sitting for hours in the Denver airport waiting for a flight to Newark with a ton of extremely cranky New Yorkers. Our trip fell apart and instead of making a ton of money for flying Christmas day, I only got a little bit of holiday pay (because it's based on flight time) and ended up home in Chicago on Christmas night. I remember calling Adam and just being so upset. I told myself that I'd do whatever possible to have Christmas off in the future because it was such a bummer the way things turned out. On the lucky side, similar things ended up happening to one of my roommates and another one of our training classmates so we went and had dinner at a Chinese restaurant that was open. It was fun, don't get me wrong, but it just didn't have that Christmas feel to it. Plus, I had to work the next day and it began a string of the worst four days I had ever experienced while flying. But that's neither here nor there. :)
I'm determined to make up for last year by really taking the time to appreciate being home this year. It's been a long time since I was able to go to Christmas Eve church and do the candle-lit rendition of Silent Night. We have family friends that always have a party after church and it is definitely one of the highlights of Christmas Eve for me. I'm so excited to be able to share all of our traditions with Adam this year too. I hope that last year is the last time we ever have to be apart at Christmas because it SUCKED! We're having Italian food on Christmas day (my pick- YES!) and I'm sure there will be desserts and cookies all week.
So, I'll probably be MIA unless anything absolutely hilarious happens while on our trip. I hope everyone out there in the blogosphere has a fantastic holiday week and I can't wait to see my SA friends who happen to read!