Spending a holiday overseas can bring on any number of feelings. You might be excited to gain a new perspective on an old tradition. You might feel sad or lonely at the prospect of being far away from loved ones. You might even feel absolutely nothing at all, especially if the particular holiday you're missing back home has little or no relevance in your current location. Last Easter I was in Paris enjoying lots of delicious French chocolate, and while this year I wasn't overseas, I also wasn't in the place I truly call home. So when a friend who is also not from the DC area announced she was throwing an Easter bash for her similarly displaced peers, I immediately sent in my RSVP.
The guests came from all over the country, with California, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Minnesota, bien sur, all in attendance. We ate our Easter ham, our deviled eggs and our green bean casserole with gusto. A gorgeous pineapple upside down cake and a few bottles of wine rounded out the night. With so many strangers in the room, things started out quiet, but gradually grew into an energetic frenzy of easy laughter and conversation. The whole event felt not unlike the various Christmases and Thanksgivings I've spent overseas where everyone who is not-from-here comes together to create a home away from home for the holidays. And with Washington being the transient city that it is, I imagine we weren't the only group of singles, couples, students, travelers, and young professionals un-traditionally celebrating last week's traditions of Easter and Passover.
As the evening drew to a close we divvied up the leftovers and gave hugs all around. We also thanked my friend for having so generously fed, housed, and entertained the wayward masses, for without her, some of us might not have had any plans for the holiday. As is always the case with big celebrations spent away from home, part of me wished I could have been back in Minnesota spending time with familiar faces, but the part of me that loves to travel and have new experiences was grateful for yet another celebratory meet-up. Other than eating a French chocolate Easter bunny, it's one of the best ways to enjoy a holiday.