Celebrating Christmas abroad in Ireland and France

I grew up in Ireland, so when I found out that we would be spending Christmas there last year, I was naturally pretty excited. Even though the weather is not great in December, it is a fantastic time to visit.  After waiting months for the day to arrive, it came time to leave. The journey over and back is probably the toughest part of it all.  It is an 11-hour flight, and along with the jet lag it can be pretty exhausting. We arrived at Dublin on a cold, sunny Saturday afternoon.  As we made our way through Dublin City Center, I could feel the excitement and anticipation of the holiday season beginning.

The main reason for our visit was to spend time with family and friends. That meant a whole lot of moving around from house to house. There were so many people to see that time flew by really fast. You can never truly appreciate people’s company until you know it is limited. Many of our family and friends had us over for dinner and we talked about how different our lives are in California.

My family and I also took a week vacation to the south of France to visit other family. We stayed in a small house in the city of Perpignan, and traveled through the Pyrenees mountains regularly. The scenery was so beautiful that the only way I can describe it is as if I were in a painting. The weather was sunny and dry, letting us enjoy some sun after the rain in Ireland. We spent the week soaking in the culture and eating croissants with hot chocolate. It is a country that is very hard to forget, and even harder to leave.

Spending the Christmas holiday with family that I rarely see made it more special than I could have imagined. My vacation not only reminded me of the happy times I spent with family and friends, but also the incredible cultures that are unlike anything else.

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