We did not open a single present on Christmas Day, because we were far away from home. Instead, we woke up Christmas morning to the sound of church bells, ebullient and joyful, welcoming the day and celebrating the birthday.
We made coffee and sliced baguettes, and later on walked along the winding, green mountain paths of our temporary Austrian home. That evening, we were beckoned downstairs by the owner of our guesthouse, a 75-year old woman named Margurite. Over coffee, strudel, and glasses of red wine, we shared our stories—her childhood as a refugee from Russian soldiers, her years teaching German in Mongolia. We told her about Spanish fisherman, casting their nets into the sea each morning, of processionals and olives best consumed at midnight.
Together, we watched, as she encouraged our seven year-old to light the candles on her Christmas tree. We basked in the glow, and remembered that this is why we travel. Wonder and light, conversation and forever.