It has been 6 years since I have been home for Christmas. It’s not because I don’t want to be there, but part of being an expat is giving up these types of things. We do not want to miss holidays, parties, birthdays, weddings, funerals, babies being born, and everything else that goes on in the states when we are living abroad. Yes, the lifestyle is great, we live on tropical islands and go to the beach whenever we want. Our “office view” is the coral reef in the mornings and the sunsets from the dock at 5. Our commute home is an oceanside boulevard with beautiful views of the sailboats in the bay. We leave our house windows open year round and are barefoot most days of the year. Of course complaining about the lifestyle makes some people annoyed. But for me, one of the hardest parts of being an expat is missing things I want to be around for. We can’t go home for everything. We have to choose between our niece being born and someone’s wedding a few months later. Going home for Christmas or going to your annual trail ride with all your best friends that you have never missed. If we flew home for everything we wanted, we would be broke (not to mention we only have a certain number of vacation days just like everyone else so we would probably get fired). We do have jobs that we have to show up for. I really miss my family and all of our traditions this time of year. Luckily, when you live abroad your friends become your family and we are all in the same boat. We have a unique kind of friendship where we support each other like family and laugh and fight like brothers and sisters. We work together and play together and sometimes we make each other crazy just like every family does. Hopefully my family at home can understand that I do want to be there with them. I am in love with my life and all the people in it so MERRY CHRISTMAS and for all my friends and family in the states I love you and wish I could be there.