This is my third consecutive Christmas outside of the United States, and my fourth ever. The first Christmas abroad I spent in Prague, Czech Republic. My parents, Beth and Carl all visited me. Prague, with it’s cold weather, castle, and decorated Christmas market, definitely felt like Christmas.
The last two years I spent in Chandigarh, India. Both years, the highlight involved making my own eggnog and sharing it with my Indian friends who had never tried it before. (I recently learned some of my Argentinian friends also haven’t tried it so I will make it here for New Years). While I had good friends to spend Christmas with the last two years, it just didn’t feel the same as when I was in the U.S. with family.
This year I am in Buenos Aires, once again with my parents, Beth and Carl (who, in the last four years, upgraded from my sister’s boyfriend to her husband). There are still a lot of things I miss about Christmas in the U.S.— the lights, the music everywhere, the sweets, the parties, the decorations, the smell of pine. I even miss the cold to an extent. However, this weekend has been one of my favorite’s yet.
Friday night I went to Damian and Daniela’s party which had tons of wine, music, singing, treats, and even a chocolate fountain. It wasn’t “Christmas themed” but it still felt like a Christmas party.
The next day I showed my parents Recoleta, the wealthiest neighborhood in Buenos Aires with beautiful old trees, a little market, and a cemetery. We ate milanesa (thin slices of breaded meat and very popular here) and went to a bookstore in a historic theatre. Ironically, we bumped into Damian and Nick in the cemetery. I went out with them and Dani for a few drinks in the evening.
The best day may have been Christmas Eve. Although in the heat it definitely didn’t feel like Christmas Eve, my parents and I started in San Telmo at the markets, looking at all the handmade goodies on the streets and food vendors. We then went to La Boca, a neighborhood in the south of the city, famous for it’s football club and a few colorful streets lined with Tango dangers and vendors. We met up with Damian, Nick, and Daniela there and then all six of us smooshed in a taxi and drank wine for a few hours in my parents’ Airbnb, chatting and laughing and just generally having a great time.
Last night my sister and Carl flew in and, after breakfast and exchanging a few presents under the “trash tree” my parents made, today we walked around the city together for a few hours and had a lovely traditional pizza and empanada Christmas lunch.
Tonight we break open more Malbec for one of my favorite Christmas memories yet!
Christmas Yet to Come
Buenos Aires may not have the same traditional “feel” of Christmas that Europe and the United States market so well, but I’m really excited to have been able to experience such a great weekend with friends and family. It has honestly been one of my favorite weekends in Argentina and this year in general.
Tomorrow the five of us head to Mendoza to explore the Andes and the wine region.