Christmas in the OC
Ever since I watched the series, this has been my biggest dream. Little did I know that it would come true in 2021 out of all years!!
After we spent our first Christmas abroad in a tropical environment with lovely people around us who would help us make the best out of it, we thought, we could do this again. Other than last year, we consciously decided to stay in the new country, for many reasons. First of all, the US is not known for being generous with vacation days. Having two weeks off between Christmas and New Year would mean the entire annual leave for some. Secondly, we had just moved across the globe, once again, which comes at its costs, too. Flight prices are not really affordable during the holiday season, not to mention the costs of accommodation and eating out all the time. And, last but certainly not least, our container still hadn’t arrived, which means we were still living on our four pieces of baggage, that we had taken when we left Singapore abruptly in June 2021. Obviously, we were forced to buy a puffer best or down jacked meanwhile, but it sure wasn’t enough to spend a whole week (or two) in the cold. This meant, that we had to stay in California. Not the worst choice, since that was where I wanted to be all this time, but without winter clothes, in an unfurnished apartment, approaching the holidays – not so festive!
Luckily, we have some amazing friends who tried to make the best out of it for us and invited us to their homes for the holidays. There is Mary, a woman we met in 2015 during our road trip, that was generously to invite us to her family get-together at Christmas Eve. And our friends Kari and Stephen, that we met right after we arrived in the States and that we have spent lots of weekends and fun evenings together with ever since. It happened that both – coincidentally – live and come from the same area. So when we had two invitations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we knew we couldn’t resist and had to go. The decision, however, was made in our old fashion as always, with us booking the accommodations a couple of days before we would head down, and only decided the day we left that tit was time for departure. Eventually, we had to bite the dust for that and ended up driving 10 hours on the highway in a California rainstorm. Not so OC. When we arrived, however, our cute friends had arranged some delicious sushi get-together for us and once we had checked into our hotel, all the hussle and effort to drive down to Orange County was already forgotten.
We started the day of Christmas Eve with a hungover (lol) and some delicious pancakes on our hotel_s sunny terrasse. Nothing reminded us of the rainy, windy Huntington Beach that had welcomed us only 12 hours earlier. After a quick beach walk, we head back to the hotel to call our families. After all, it was already Christmas Eve in Germany. We spent a couple of hours on the terrasse, right in the sun, and certainly caught some tan while doing that – not so Christmassy, but so much to our liking! After that, we went to Pacific City, a cute little shopping mall that invites us for a stroll and some last small gifts and presents.
We spent Christmas Eve in Mary’s lovely home that was festively decorated. We met her entire family, even though we hadn’t met before, and had some lovely time together, including a very American-yet-delicious-meal (smoked ham, brussels sprouts, mac n cheese, pumpkin pie) and a fun family board game (trivial pursuit). When we got home, we were happy and thankful we had Mary all the years before. She is amazingly warm-hearted and it felt so good to finally catch up and tell her about all things that had happened in Singapore.
The next morning, we were invited to Kari’s house, where she had prepared a super delicious rack of christmas-morning-buns (pretty sweidsh actually!) that she insisted to share with us. We brought a bottle of Crémant and all together we would cheer to a wonderful Christmas time and making new friends in the OC. After the breakfast, we went for a little Christmas Walk through Kari’s old neighborhood where she would show us how she grew up. We then headed home in order to get ready and have some time together, where. weagain went for another beach walk and enjoyed the beautiful, stretch of sandy beach.