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Saturday, November 5, 2016

When Home Isn't Home

For the most part, life abroad is pretty awesome, and in many ways, strangely the same as being in your native country. (Let's be honest, you bring yourself with you and that influences a lot of your day to day life - you are YOU after all.) But every once in a while something happens (or doesn't) and you realize that where you are in that moment just isn't the same as home.
Roasted turkey
Homemade cranberry sauce in the making
For me, this happened quite recently. It started with Thanksgiving - Canadian Thanksgiving for you US folks. There aren't a lot of Canadians down here, so the holiday is about as much of a non-event as something can be and I saw pictures of my friends and family gathering with theirs - tables loaded with all the trimmings and I felt a little pinch, somewhere deep down. I shook it off. Then I started seeing Halloween decorations pop up in photos. Admittedly, there are Halloween decorations in Cuenca, but they're a bit of a sales gimmick, more than anything.  We certainly don't get trick-or-treaters (though I hear rumours that it's starting to happen in some areas) and people generally don't dress up unless you're going to some sort of gringo style party. Halloween was one of my very favourite holidays, so it's weird to see it  come and go with so little fanfare.
Halloween and Christmas Combined
Not exactly standard, if you know what I mean?
Now, we're heading into the traditional holiday season. US Thanksgiving is coming up, which will be a bit bigger happening down here and then Christmas. Even Christmas isn't quite the same, in good ways, but still different, nonetheless. Just being in the southern hemisphere makes it so, as the days are usually warm and sunny, because we're in the start of summer once Christmas rolls around. They do have one heck of a party for Christmas Eve - if you like parades that is. El pase de Niño Viajero is a nine hour parade that I've spoken about (ad nauseum) and there's tons of photos on this blog of the incredible event. If you're lucky you'll have already booked a hotel along the route with a balcony overlooking the festivities. We usually just go down for a bit in the morning, go get some lunch and then return for more in the afternoon. We've never seen the entire parade, but I imagine not many people do.
They also really know how to celebrate New Year's Eve. (Although they call it old year - año viejo.) If you read my post about Cuencano festivals this is one that's really not to be missed.So it's not like there's a lack of festivities - they just aren't the festivities I grew up with, which, every once in a while, is a reminder that I'm not in my natural habitat.
Latest acquisition from Festival de Cuenca
With that thought floating out in the universe, I'm off to check out the tres de noviembre festival of Cuenca - this will be our fourth, surprisingly. Nothing celebrates freedom from Spanish overlords like art, music, food and dance! Feliz festival!

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