This Christmas we exchanged the house for discovery, we exchanged the family pampering for the smiles of strangers. We will not have cod, boiled potatoes or olive oil, we will have pad Thai, rice and soy. Of all the sweets, the only one we find here is rice pudding, but the Thais call it sticky rice and add mango to it. We're not going to watch the same old movies, we're going to contemplate a new city, the monks dressed in orange doing their chores, the ladies getting ready for another market.
The fireplace and heater are not needed this Christmas, we didn't make the pine tree and the number of pine trees we saw can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Fortunately, there is no celebration here , so there won't be room for nostalgia either! We didn't buy a single Christmas present and we didn't ask for anything in the shoe either, after all the blessing we're getting from being here now, it would be daring to ask Santa for anything else.
This Christmas we changed the polar pajamas for a bikini, not because we're going to the beach but because we don't have any laundry left. We exchange the board games for a walk in the market and while they are having supper we will already be sleeping and when Santa Claus arrives in Portugal, religiously at midnight here it will already be 7 am and we will again change the breakfast of bread- ovar de-ló with cheese from the mountains and leftovers from the previous night's cakes for some more toast. Let's exchange traditions with friends for Skype calls, and going to grandparents for a WhatsApp with video right. Let's exchange prolonged conversations about everything and nothing for the silence of knowing that it's just Christmas and that next year we celebrate twice as much.
We won't be sad because that's what we chose, but if we could ask for one wish, it would be for everyone to come here to us. Don't give me stories that Christmas must be cold. Christmas wants to be warm, full of human warmth, with a sofa overflowing with people, with blankets on the floor for everyone to fit in. You want to be warm with tight hugs and the adrenaline that warms your veins when you open that gift that we crave so much, even if it's no surprise. It must be boiling when we taste the potatoes to see if they are cooked, or when we drink that last glass of port wine.
And that's what we wish you all, a very warm Christmas!