Happy almost Easter, everyone! I hope most of you have some fun and festive things planned. I myself will not be doing much. Church in the morning, beach in the afternoon. That’s the plan, and I’m stickin’ to it.
This is the… let’s see… fourth time I will be celebrating this holiday away from my family. Fourth Time Around, you might say (just wanted to work that in there). Easter has always been a very family-oriented holiday for me – my parents would leave my brother and I Easter baskets in the morning, we would all go to church together, and then get down to business making sure that my brother had all the jelly beans and I had all the Reese’s eggs before having a big yummy dinner in the afternoon – so being on my own tends to also do away with a lot of the tradition.
I’m sad about not being with my parents and brother this year. I’ll miss getting to feel like a little kid and hunt for Easter eggs. I’ll miss the lilies and the music of the Easter service at the church I grew up in – it’s always so beautiful and moving. I’ll miss eating my mom’s fantastic ham dinner and then collapsing in a food coma to watch some silly movie all together.
But when I got to thinking about it, I realized that the few other times I’ve had to miss being with my family on Easter have been for some pretty special and memorable occasions… so why should this year be any different?
This was the first time in my life I wasn’t with my family on Easter, and I remember being really bummed about that fact. I was sixteen, and away from home because I was on a two-week trip to France with my high school language class. Easter Sunday fell during the latter part of our trip, when we were staying with host families in Albertville. My host family was absolutely wonderful and their house looked like a sweet little Easter gingerbread house anyway!
Their family was small – just Alexandra and her mom – but they made me feel so welcome, and it was fun to spend the holiday with just us three girls. We had a big breakfast, and then Alex’s mom took us to the old village to walk around the old cobbled streets and visit some beautiful churches.
We had cheese fondue for dinner that night. I remember that I was surprised that there was wine in the fondue, and that Alex taught me the French word for cloud (le nuage, if you’re wondering).
This time, I was on the other side of the world! It was funny celebrating Easter in New Zealand, because even though it still occurred in April, it was during autumn instead of spring. Although I definitely missed my family, I really wasn’t too put out about missing Easter at home this year, because (as I’m sure you’re tired of hearing on this blog) I was in love with New Zealand.
Easter Sunday fell smack in the middle of my roadtrip around the South Island with Erika and Katharina. We were in Queenstown that day, and started off the morning with a walk around the beautiful waterfront before having a big Easter brunch together at one of our favorite Kiwi restaurants, Dux de Lux.
After we were fully fed, it was time to get our Easter adventurin’ on! We all caught a shuttle up to Coronet Peak so that Erika and I could go hang gliding. It was AMAZING – definitely the most adrenaline-filled Easter I’ve ever had!
Last year, I wasn’t off on any exotic adventures. I was just at school, getting very close to the last finals week of my college career, probably on duty, and not able to go home for the weekend. My mom sent me a care package with Easter candy and the same stuffed chicks and bunnies I used to get when I was little, and Meg, Erin, and I went to church in Geneseo that morning… but I was still sad not to be at home.
However, I happen to have some wonderful friends, many of whom were also unable to be with their families for the holiday, so Meg volunteered to host Easter dinner at her house. It was the perfect mix of old-fashioned traditions and college-kid fun. Business in the front, party in the back.
We wore aprons and knight helmets and played pizza box:
We had fun. We weren’t homesick. In short, we were each other’s family. And we were really happy, as this sole blurry shot of the whole group proves:
So… actually writing those years out made me realize that not only will this be the fourth Easter I celebrate away from my family, but the third year in a row, too. I feel like not going home for holidays is a very grown-up-life sort of thing, and I’m not too keen on it.
Mom and Dad, I’ll be home for Easter next year. I promise. Unless I’m back in New Zealand by then. In that case, you’re coming to me!
Do you still go home for the holidays, or celebrate solo or with your friends or own family? Who else goes hang gliding in honor of Jesus coming back to life? And Meg, how on Earth do you make that incredible baked Brie again?