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All the feels...

There are multiple sides to every story... there are even multiple sides to every situation and the way that we, as people, process those situations.  I realize that every time I sit down to write a blog post.  I’m always torn between giving the factual account of what is happening and sharing the emotional response I have towards my day to day experiences.  As you have probably noticed, I tend to switch off with being either more factual or more emotional... I have just been typing up a more factual account of my first full week of December, which I will post shortly (once I have edited it a bit), but I want to first post this, for it has been on my heart since the beginning of December.

One thing with our emotions and our memories is the way that they follow us, wherever we go... We can never run away fast enough or far enough to lose them - at least not completely.  And I hope that we wouldn’t want to lose those memories or emotions, for I do believe that they are a vital part of who we are.  They are reminders that people who have come in and out of our lives each have the potential to leave a mark on us, if we let them.

December is a reminder of all these things for me - and for many people who have loved and lost someone; whether in death or even just the ending of a friendship or a relationship.  The holidays are blatant reminders of how things should have been - the laughter and cheer, the music and lights... No matter how many years pass, there is always going to be a pain when this time of year comes along.  With the pain though, in time, I have come to also look forward to the reminder of happy memories and the miracles of the season as well.  With every loss there is still new life, new celebrations, the potential for new joy.  I remember those who I have lost and I do my best to live a life that reflects their legacy, to live as a better person - in the ways that they have inspired me to.  It seems fitting, in a way, that on the anniversary of the death of one of my closest friends from high school, I came home from work to decorate the Christmas tree with the boys and the family - to commemorate the anniversary with laughter and love of a beautiful family; much like the family she was blessed with.  

I recognize that this post doesn’t seem very relevant to my time in Spain, but I guess it just serves as a little insight on how important it is to recognize and acknowledge the things that we are feeling - whatever country we are in.  It’s important to have people to talk to and turn to.  It’s helpful to be okay with not always being okay... It is also okay to find that things are actually OK, maybe better than you expected them to be, even when they don’t go as planned.  Things may change, break-ups may happen, people may lose touch and life definitely will happen, but it is all part of the adventure.

So, before I finish up, I’ll end with this last thought.  I won’t lie, there is a great deal that I miss, not being home (both in respect to Maryland and Buffalo) for the Advent season.  But there is also a quiet peacefulness that I have been able to experience here in Madrid - most especially in Rivas, where I reside.  There seems to be less hustle and bustle around and the season seems to be a bit quieter and less commercialized; I find that, as I climb into bed at the end of the day, I can appreciate the chance to look up at the stars in the silence of the night.  As much as I enjoy the change of pace, I am still looking forward to finding my way home for Christmas and enjoying a white Christmas back in the States... just as I am excited, at the same time, to return back to Spain to celebrate 3 Kings Day here on the 6th of January.

Alright, I know, I know... enough emotions for one post.  I’ll write again soon.  But, for now, ¡Felices Fiestas!

-Stephanie
(Lk 2:8-14)

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