Experiencing my first Christmas away from home wasa learning experience. The absence of family, snow and frozen fingertips was replaced by Christmas-cookie making with Millie and Lizzie as well as a few steep tree climbs. Of course, I still managed to watch my favorite holiday movies; (Elf, The Holiday, Love Actually, etc.). But apart from religiously listening to Christmas music and writing an aggressive amount of holiday cardsit was harder for me to truly get into the spirit- (I’m thinking it had something to do with the 90 degree weather and beach walks as opposed to snow-treks to-and-from my drive). While I found myself growing homesickit was an opportunity for me to be thankful for my 22 Christmas’s surrounded by the people I love most and whom have been so good to me, which always becomes that much more apparent during the holidays. Making a list of whom I needed to send cards to, made me realize how many people I have in my life to be thankful for. I consider myself an appreciative person in generalbut as I started to make a list of friends, friend’s families and family of my own, I truly realized what absolute ‘legends’ I have in my life. I often find myself saying, “how’d I get so lucky?” in which I’ll continue to ponder for the rest of my days/Christmases on this earth and although I struggled by not being able to fulfill my usual holiday traditions- the distance, while difficult, put me in the Christmas spirit by making me feel very thankful in this home very far away from home.