‘I’m driving home for Christmas. Oh, I can’t wait to see those faces…’ – Chris Rea.
On 18th December 2016, following a 37 hour flight, a 5 hour train and a brief stop in Liverpool to see a friend, I finally arrived in Barrow-in-Furness. Home. I have been away for 4 months in previous travelling so the period did not feel too challenging nor have I been particularly homesick whilst living in China. However there is always a rush of warmth, affection and relief whenever I return to that small town. And more importantly, when I was gathered into the arms of my parents. I could not have imagined myself anywhere else for the winter holiday. I did not want to be anywhere else.Josh and I had come to the agreement to spend the first 10 days of our holiday separate – both eager to spend time with our own family and friends. Whilst the jet lag ruined my sleeping pattern and I found myself requiring 3 hour afternoon naps, I loved being home. I loved being under one roof with both my parents and brothers. I loved popping down to the local pub with my girls as if we were back in college and living down the road from each other again. I loved walking through the town and recognising a face every 5 minutes. I loved eating my body weight in cheese. Christmas is my favourite holiday. I enjoy the food, presents and gifts however I most enjoy seeing family I do not see on a regular basis. I love our family traditions, habits and get togethers and this year we were at our biggest with other half’s becoming involved in celebrations too.After my original relaxing and nap dominated week, my last few days in England were packed full of family parties – both mine and Josh’s – Josh’s birthday, my last afternoon with my parents before my flight and New Year. For the first time, I was a part of two families. I love this though it also meant additional goodbyes and I found myself struggling with every single one. My Christmas at home was one of the best I have had. I was fortunate enough to spend time with nearly everyone I care for and throughout the 2 weeks I was consistently reminded of how lucky I am to have so many people who love and miss me. There is so much I love and appreciate about home that I found myself forgetting why I liked to leave so much. Now I am back in China I know why. My urge to see the world still dominates my plans – for now. However I have come to the realisation that I need to be home more than once a year. I may love going away but I also love returning.