Friday, December 26, 2008


Paul Cezanne LA MAISON RUSTIQUE Ambroise Vollard Estate Etching

(a) (Class. Antiq.) A house for the reception of strangers. (b) In the Middle Ages, a room in a monastery for the reception and entertainment of strangers and pilgrims, and for the relief of paupers. [Called also Xenodocheion.]
[L. from Gk] a house of reception for strangers and pilgrims; a hostel, guest-house, esp. in a monastery (also called xenodochion)

This was the first Christmas I've ever spent without family. Every year since I was a kid we would gather at my grandfather's house (which is now my aunt's house) for dinner and drinks and a whole bunch of family in a house that used to be too small to hold my large family. This year I had none of that as the boyo and I now live in another state and were sort of snowed in. Christmas eve was a little difficult as it seemed sad not to have the large crowd, the yummy smells, the drinks and the conversation. This year was a poor year for us, so we also had no gifts to unwrap and... well, it didn't really feel like Christmas.

For Christmas day, we had decided that we would spend it with some good friends watching movies and drinking. This was, essentially, what we generally did at my aunt's house so we figured it would be the closest we would get on a smaller scale.

Still a little down and not quite feeling the Christmas thing, I grabbed my coat and glanced at the frame we have near the coat rack. It's a needlepoint that the boyo's mum made us for our wedding with all sorts of words for "home" save one, as well our our surname and the date of the wedding. The one word that I didn't know, the different one, was xenodochium; they had included the definition on the back of the frame. I remember when we opened it, the boyo was moved beyond words because, they finally got it, they got us. They could not have picked a better word.

Seeing this reminder that this is what the boyo and I had always had for all our friends new and old, I cheered up again. Why? Well, it's sort of what we do here. We open our doors to everyone. Also, it's what we had in our friends, reinforced with the happy invitation from 2 of our new, good friends. We had created and are still creating our family out of friends and strangers that will always have a place to stay with us, and vice versa. This made me smile, this made me lighten up as I remembered that, what we were building, what we stood for and believed in, was truly wonderful.

I miss my old friends a lot, sure, but it's good to know that I will see them again and that we will always have a place with one of them no matter what state they're in and no matter what country.

I really like what we've built; I really love our family.