I just spent my first Christmas away from home on the North East. Generally I would spend Christmas Eve with my mom & stepdad and Christmas day with my dad's family--making the same stops that I would before he passed away.
This year, since I was working the day after Christmas and figured going to New York just for a short weekend would be too exhausting, I accepted the kind invitation to spend Christmas with Raphael's family in Texas.
Surprisingly it was freezing down there and because all my winter coats are back at my mom's in Connecticut, I was definitely not prepared for the cold.
So this Christmas was one of many firsts for me: first time not being at home or with family, the first time I made and ate tamales, the first time spending Christmas with a boyfriend, opening gifts at midnight and not the next morning, going to the Mercado in Jaurez, Mexico, which is just over the border, and the first time playing Cranium, PS2's Guitar Hero and White Elephant.
Oh and when we landed at the El Paso airport after being delayed four hours, we arrived at the same time as the Oregon and Missouri college football teams, which are playing in the local Sun Bowl. There were mariachis playing music, folklorico dancers, camera crews and local officials there to greet them, however it felt like the two of us were receiving this spectacular welcome too.