It’s Christmas time…
My last—as well as my first—Christmas in 2017 was an experience that will forever stay in my heart. And I wish to share this story with all of you, with the hope that it will warm your heart as it would do mine each and every time I look back to this beautiful chapter of my life.
It all started around 2010, when I was only 17. Coming from a tropical country like Indonesia, I had never seen snow nor celebrated Christmas in my entire existence. Christmas was around the corner, and I would usually do some end-of-the-year activities with my family. But something was different that year. Previously, I started having more and more contact with girls all around the world. One of them was British. She had told me about this “German market” she was very much looking forward to. I was very, very fascinated by everything she showed me. A beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the middle of the exquisite stands. A clear dark sky above, illuminated by all the sparkly lights beneath it. People walking around in thick, fluffy winter clothes, steam rising from their cups and lovely smiles on their faces.
I started wondering how it would feel like to actually walk in such markets. And so I began to look for information on how to get there. Unfortunately for me, it was way too expensive to travel, and nobody would hire a 17-year-old girl who attended a public high school instead of a vocational one. Fast forward 7 years full of hard work, excruciating patience and endless prayers; I finally got the chance to pursue a master’s degree and live in Germany, and last year I finally got to celebrate my very first Christmas (and saw the very first snow in my life!).
Until then, I had only seen Christmas Eve dinner in movies. It was mostly depicted as a perfect, heartly dinner with a fireplace at the end of the dining table. Candles and decorations placed between all the mouthwatering Christmas delicacies. Snow falling outside, but the people are warm inside the house with their family and relatives. They’re all gathered to share this wonderful moment of the year. Christmas presents under the Christmas tree; waiting to surprise the impatient souls opening them in the morning. It was also my dream to have such a beautiful evening.
At that time, I was living with a 56-year-old German lady, who gifted me my very first Adventskalender and ended up inviting me to a home-cooked Christmas Eve dinner, along with her 30-year-old daughter. We had an exquisite evening with delicious dinner, high-quality champagne, a beautifully decorated Christmas tree with presents underneath, and of course a very jolly mood. We had to open the presents on the same evening, since her daughter couldn’t stay until the Christmas morning. The lady gifted me a very thoughtful gift, which showed how much she knew about my personality and hobbies. I gifted her a customized card full of Indonesian things, which I believe is still neatly framed and hung on her bedroom wall to this day. It was very lovely to know that we both cared so much about each other despite our ages and backgrounds.
It was a very special, unforgettable evening indeed. However, I would always remember the very first time I actually walked around the Christmas market. Among the busy passages and all the joyful laughter, I could hear faint Christmas Carols played by the street musicians from the distance. But as I closed my eyes, the noises muted out and the melody got louder. Then I started reflecting on how my year went—how far I had gotten, and how much I had achieved. I could see my 17-year-old-self being so proud of her future self, and that there will be many more wonderful Christmases to come.
Without realizing it, I found myself smiling; feeling wholeheartedly grateful for what was once a dream, had become my reality.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and a delightful New Year.