I spent most of Christmas Day in transit from Vienna to Rome. It was a pretty easy trip, but the sun sets so early in December that by the time I got settled it felt like nighttime and I had no idea what to do. The Beehive was serving hot wine and dessert, a really welcoming touch especially when you’re rolling solo on a big holiday.
I met this sweet boy Gary (literally just a boy, he was only 18) over some Christmas crumbs. He’s in Italy traveling with his grandfather and is probably what most moms hope their kids turn out to be: outgoing, family-loving, well-mannered and friendly. I found it cute that he wanted to go for a neighborhood walk with me so I wouldn’t be cooped up inside my entire first day. We planned on a short walk, but that so easily turned into hours that we both surprised ourselves. Rome is truly magical at night, and this endearing little nugget even bought me flowers in front of the Colosseum.
I wondered how it would feel to spend Christmas away from home for the first time, especially being alone; I wondered if I’d be flooded with feelings of nostalgia and loneliness and feeling like this was a mistake, but the reality is, all that crap about looking to yourself to find happiness is true. Sure, I miss my mom and dad, and presents under the tree would have been great, but standing in front of the Colosseum on Christmas Day, I couldn’t say any part of this trip was wrong.