Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Keeping Traditions Alive

For many who know me, know that I am very much into anything that we can do on an annual basis - keeping traditions going.  Be it apple picking, chinese food on New Years, trips to the cape, or the holidays - I just love something we can do year after year.  I don't know why I'm so into this but I guess it's because for some reason as a kid I felt like we didn't have enough traditions in our family.  Now looking back, I see that's not true - we just didn't have the same traditions as my friends and for some reason at that time, it felt like that meant we didn't have any traditions at all.  I guess hindsight is 20/20 right? 

As the school year winds down for the holiday break, it's time for us to get to work on some of these traditions.  The kids have school parties and concerts.  We have events with Josh's work as well.  And of course, life doesn't stop while we're trying to balance everything going on this week.  But we have things to look forward to very very soon! 

Anyways, I embrace tradition and for me, the holidays is one of my favorite ways to express this.  One of the hardest parts about moving to Barcelona for me was that I would have to leave many of our traditions behind us, especially around the holidays.  And so last year I did what I could and decided we would start some new ones here in Barcelona.  The kids made their own ornaments since we had left ours behind in the States.  We visited the Christmas markets here in Barcelona.  We went on vacation (again) during the holiday season.  And instead of Chinese food on xmas eve (since we have yet to find decent Chinese food) we ended up in an Irish pub.  On Christmas morning I attempted to make cinnamon rolls from scratch in an attempt to keep at least one tradition alive and you'll be hard pressed to find Pillsbury cinnamon rolls here!  No one died because our traditions weren't the same as before and in the end, we had a great holiday! 

This year we plan to continue with what we have started only we are going to embrace yet another new tradition here - the Christmas Market.  We went to the one in Barcelona last year and I have been this year though the kids have not (yet).  This year we are heading to Basel, Switzerland where we will then continue on to Strasbourg, Colmar and Riquewihr in France and to Freiburg, Germany.  Hitting 3 countries in just about 4 days.  The markets in Strasbourg alone are about 500 years old - talk about some traditions!! The bonus to this is that we also get to meet up with some friends that we haven't actually ever met in person so we're very excited about that too!!  More on that in my Christmas market entry coming soon!

For now, I'd like to share my pictures from the Christmas markets here in Barcelona which I actually had in my last post as well so sorry for the repeat, but I'm thinking it's applicable here too.  As I mentioned in one of my last posts, I wrote more about this last year so if you want the full scoop, check out my entry from last December:  The markets here are filled with artisan treasures which makes the items unique to not just Spain but to Catalunya and even to Barcelona.  We're looking forward to finding some new traditions in Swizerland, France and Germany though I think it's going to be hard to top the caga tio, at least from the kids point of view!

Who doesn't love a figure that poops right?  My kids are now up to 6 of these "fabulous" little guys...

And of course you need a caga tio - anything that poops you a present can't be bad, right?

More traditional, non pooping parts of the market ;)

Until we leave for our trip on Saturday we've got a week full of parties and events at school and at work.  Yesterday we had Liam's holiday concert (will post an entry about that later as I've got video to upload), tonight a work event with Josh and then tomorrow a party celebrating Japan for Aidan (they've been studying Japan for the last several weeks), a concert tomorrow night for Aidan and then his class party on Friday.  Whew, exhausted just thinking about it, but excited for things to come in the next few weeks!!


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