I spent last Christmas with my landlord.
We had moved into her apartment building when my husband got accepted to medical school in Grenada—and since we couldn’t afford plane tickets home for the holiday, we decided to spend it on the island.
We were prepared to have a lonely Christmas. All of our friends traveled back to America, and we were literally the only people in our apartment complex. No big deal, I thought. Between studying abroad, mission trips, and summers spent with relatives, I had plenty of experience being far from home.
But this time? I wasn’t sure I could make it. Sure, I had spent other holidays without immediate family—tearing up turkey legs with college roommates or unwrapping presents with in-laws—but at least those bore some resemblance to the festivities I celebrated with my own parents and siblings. This time, I faced a completely different culture and had almost nothing to keep me grounded.
Everything on the island felt like the opposite of Christmas: the weather was still hot and steamy, stores weren’t coated in lights and tinsel, and the blaring holiday music was filtered through Caribbean beats and instruments… oh, and forget about finding hot peppermint mochas or snowmen. How was I supposed to celebrate Christmas here when nothing about it felt familiar?