25 January 2016

*holidays // advent*

**this is something I'd been wanting to share regardless , but also wrote about for an SYA Campus reporter post with the prompt "tell a story about one of your favorite moments from winter break"**

Ever since before I can remember, I've spent every single winter break in the exact same place with the exact same people. Needless to say that as excited as I was for the winter break, I was a tiny bit apprehensive towards all of the change. I was worried that things would be too different, that I would miss my old traditions too much or that I would feel too out of place to enjoy it. I couldn't have been more mistaken. 

My Christmas season began with one of my favorite stories from the entire year - the war of the advent calendars - and I've since decided that fighting over chocolate is a true sign of sibling-hood. Thanks to the pleas of my host brothers, my fantastic host dad gifted all three of us chocolate filled calendars the night of November 31st. My brothers and I (17) definitely qualify as having outgrown the tradition but that didn't keep us from being extremely excited. Nor did it stop my brother from stealing my first chocolate and eating it...

The next day, I came home from school and teamed up with my little brother to carefully remove all of the chocolates from our big brothers calendar, hide them and leave a note behind for him. We carefully closed the box up and put it back in his room, then hid each of our calendars to prevent anything similar from happening...then we waited. After dinner, I proposed a bet - if my brothers could find my calendar in five minutes they could have one of my chocolates but if not I got one of their chocolates. 

My oldest brother accepted and my little brother and I exchanged sneaky glances. When he lost and went to get his chocolate to pay up, he found only a little piece of paper with a little note in its place...and so the war began. Our parents had gone out to dinner and my little brother and I were on the ground laughing, so no one was there to stop him while he opened every cabinet in the house looking for his chocolates. After every article of soothing was emptied from both mine and my little brothers closets we realized we should probably return the chocolate. 

By the end of our war, all three of us were laughing uncontrollably. Chocolate is pretty great, but our behavior definitely had not been consistent with our ages. We cleaned everything up together and didn't say anything when our parents came home. It was only the next night when they asked what we'd done the night before that all three of us burst out laughing, and then had to explain everything. By the end of the story - with all three of us interrupting each other and trying to tell our own versions - my entire family was laughing at our immaturity. 

I might have been worried about my winter break being too different but I couldn't have imagined how wrong I was. My holiday break was full of so many incredible experiences that I could write about, like seeing my family named carved into the base of a statue on a castle gate in Prague or adventuring through Paris with my dad visitings places he'd lived thirty years before. I saw incredible places, ate fantastic food, spent time with my dad that came to visit, introduced him to my host family, got to spend vacation time with the best second family I could hope for...the list goes on. I'm incredibly fortunate to have lived those experiences , but I chose to write about the advent chocolate was because it represents something incredibly important to me - the bonds I've formed in France. 

I've met incredible kids from all over the US that I know I will stay friends with long after our plane ride home, but I've also found an incredible second family. I hadn't realized it at first, but ever since arriving in France I've become more and more adopted into my new family. I'm sure that I'll feel even more a part of the family when the time comes to go home, but I try not to think about leaving. 

Instead, I prefer thinking about how incredibly lucky I am to have found the most welcoming French family - two more wise parents to look out for me and the best two brothers I could ever hope for. It's random moments, like remembering that we nearly destroyed the entire house for a box of chocolates, that remind me just how close I've become with these incredible people in just a few months. It's something I already know I'll never forget. 



  1. You are lucky to have a great new 2nd family, and they are lucky to have you!
    Bjs, Cody

  2. You are lucky to have a great new 2nd family, and they are lucky to have you!
    Bjs, Cody


© Chronicles of a Small Life. All rights reserved.