Thursday, December 31, 2015

Escapee Santa and palm trees - Christmas in Europe

How to be productive: travel to Europe from Canada. Lose six hours. Stay overseas for two weeks. Adjust to that time zone. Come home. Gain six hours. Wake up at 5 am because I'm still on European time. Get shit done. By 9 am, my day is done and I can justify watching Friends reruns for the next 8 hours.

How to eat guilt-free: go to France. Cheese, bread, charcuterie, creamy sauces and wine are plentiful; and you may want to pick up smoking, otherwise, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. For some reason, it feels like if you smoke in France, you won't get cancer because everyone is doing it and they make it look so cool. It's like eating bacon in North America. Don't fight it. It may give you cancer but a life without bacon is not worth living.

How to justify sleeping in: go to Spain in December. The sun doesn't rise until about 9 am. I got up for a bathroom break in the darkness of what I thought was the middle of the night. I checked my phone. It was 8 am. Also, there are palm trees in Spain. I didn't know this until very recently.

Can you spot them?

How to confirm North American food has been f*cked with by evil corporations: eat pretty much anywhere in Europe. The food just tastes better. I can't even say precisely what it is but the food there tastes more... real, and less like chemical soup with a strange aftertaste.

In France especially, I seemed to ignore my body's signals of "If you eat another bite, your gut will explode all over this table." The food was so good, I was willing to gestate a food baby on many occasions, hence the frequent wear of stretchy leggings and loose tops. In my defense, I did a fair bit of walking but it by no means seemed to equal my fitness regimen at home, as evidenced by my tight fitting clothes and rounder bod at yesterday's yoga class - my first in about a month.

Amusing discovery: the "Escapee Santa" seemed to be a very popular festive decoration overseas:

It's every make believe man for himself!

This was the first year ever I was away for Christmas. I didn't even bother decorating our house because we would barely see it, and also, our cat would have destroyed the tree by the time we got back, as evidenced by years past:

She doesn't yet know to leave the scene of the crime.

Christmas in Europe, or at least in Spain and France, was tastefully understated. You knew it was the holiday season but it wasn't shoved in your face at every corner. There seemed to be some kind of restraint, unlike the unbridled retail glee at home, complete with Black Friday trampling hoards and the like.

That being said, it's always nice to come home, especially when perfectly timed with the first snowstorm of the season and a record snowfall and continual shoveling of the driveway and...

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