Homesick during the Holidays
Sitting at a coffee table with a woman smoking one cigarette after another while she laughed and sipped her Champagne in the afternoon. This was part of my culture shock on my first Christmas away from home.
I was such a baby when I moved to Europe; not having the money to fly home I spent Christmas with my boyfriends family. They soon became my in-laws, but at the time they were merely the German parents of the man I loved. His brother and sister-in-law were there as well; she was a chain smoker to the likes I have never seen before.
The rich German food, the cakes, the cream and worst of all the feeling of being so out of place. This young version of myself was in a room with only German speakers trying to make my way, and everything seemed off. By the afternoon I was sick; homesick with a fever. My mother-in-law to be let me use her phone. I called home and talked for over an hour.
A few weeks after Christmas my boyfriend got a call from his mother. She was outraged that his little American girlfriend had run up her bill by the hundreds.
I always forgive young travelers in Europe who don't realize what I am doing for them. I too was once young and didn't realize what others were doing for me. Luckily my mother-in-law forgave me. She now comes to me for Christmas. She has done a lot of adapting over the years, as have I.
–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife