Many people dread the thought of spending holidays away from home. I’m not going to say it’s always great, but there is at least the potential for fun.
First of all, you may get to see some cool local holidays. People in Bosnia didn’t always know the state holidays because they were all so new…but everyone knew when to make and eat baklava for Bajram, the feast at the end of Ramadan. My little old landlady brought me about two square feet of homemade baklava one year. I couldn’t fit it in my fridge.
And especially if you live in a place with different holidays…your local friends and students can celebrate your holidays with you because they won’t have their own family obligations. And even if they can’t, spending holidays with your expat co-workers is a fun way to bond and perhaps even drink just a bit from time to time. A few years ago a British colleague cooked an Eastern dinner for Easter — with pakora, basmati rice, dahl makhani and a few chutneys. The students who turned up had not tried Indian food before and were rather concerned it might contain cat. But they ate it, survived and even enjoyed it.
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Or, you can use time off to explore your new country if you don’t go home. Things won’t be closed (though they will be on local holidays that you don’t celebrate and you’ll have a day off work…so do your best to get invited to a local celebration so the day isn’t a total loss).
If all else fails, remind yourself that you are pretty familiar with the “classic” family stories that get told and …uh…retold? … on holidays. You can nearly recite all of your aunt’s stories on the cute antics of her poodle…and the dog has been dead for five years. Give your family a call on Skype and then get out and take advantage of all your new location has to offer.