The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

12 NOMADS OF CHRISTMAS: Michelle Garrett, American expat in England (4/12)

Current home: Essex, UK
Cyberspace coordinates: The American Resident (blog) and @michelloui (Twitter handle)
Most recent post: A Crazy British Christmas Tradition (December 23, 2011)

Where are you spending the holidays this year?
At home in the UK.

What do you most like doing during the holidays?
Enjoying family time without trying to juggle work commitments.

Will you be on or offline?
Offline as much as possible!

Are you sending any cards?
I generally don’t send cards anymore. Often an email note, or a text, or a phone call depending on the person.

What’s the thing you most look forward to eating?
Cheese. I know, weird, right? I love the British cheeseboard and one of my favorite “meals” or courses is the cheese, crackers, and fruit such as pears or grapes, along with some lovely wine. I think I also love this course so much because people are generally relaxed after the main meal, everyone is chatting, laughing, and usually in good spirits.

If you could travel anywhere for the holidays, where would it be?
Somewhere warm. I’m not a fan of the cold. Although I do really love the look of snowy landscapes — I find them some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere.

What famous person do you think it would be fun to spend New Year’s Eve with?
Someone who would be so distracting I would forget about all else and just enjoy the evening…perhaps Russell Brand!

What’s been your most displaced holiday experience?
Strangely, it was when I went home (Minnesota, USA) for Christmas for the first time in 10 years. I felt out of place. I couldn’t remember if the Christmas traditions in my head were American or British. I wondered what everyone in Britain was doing.

How about the least displaced experience — when you’ve felt the true joy of the season?
My husband and I have started a tradition of hosting a Christmas Eve party for our closest friends. It’s a very causal affair, people drop by on their way to/from places and some stay for the whole three hours. The Christmas tree is up, presents are under the tree, the fire is roaring, everyone is drinking mulled wine, the kids are high on the sugar from their treats table in the den and start to sneak food from the buffet meant for adults, and everyone is relaxed and happy. This is the moment, surrounded by family and friends in my home, when I feel most at home, and when I feel the true joy of the season.

How do you feel when the holidays are over?
Exhausted! And a bit relieved.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me:

STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s featured nomad (5/12) in our 12 Nomads of Christmas series.

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4 responses to “12 NOMADS OF CHRISTMAS: Michelle Garrett, American expat in England (4/12)

  1. Miss Footloose | Life in the Expat Lane December 28, 2011 at 3:52 am

    Hi Michelloui! I like your Christmas Eve tradition. Whenever I live again in a place where I’ll stay home for the holidays, I’d like to try that too. If I may copy you 😉

    Cheese! Yes, a cheese board with fruit is wonderful. As a Dutchie expat I love good cheese of all sorts, but I’m always carrying back Dutch gouda in my suitcase to wherever I happen to be living.

    Happy New Year!

  2. ML Awanohara December 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Funny you mention the cheese plate — that’s something I really miss from my days in the UK! Try as I might to institute it as a custom over here, it never seems to work. Americans are more used to having cheese and biscuits/crackers as an appetizer, it seems. So I just have to resign myself to those days of enjoying a good Stilton after a meal with family or friends being over, I guess. You’re so right that it’s not just the cheese but also the conversation accompanying that course… Gosh, I’m feeling nostalgic.

    @Miss Footloose
    Dutch gouda in your suitcase strikes me as being a great image for an expat cartoon! 🙂

  3. awindram December 28, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Always enjoy Michelle’s blog. Lovely to see her featured here.

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