The Christmas chalets are rolling down their wooden covers. The last droplets of the hot mulled wine (vin chaud) being served.
The stinky, warm cheeses are finished, the foie gras run out and the last of the bredele boxes sold.
Christmas in Strasbourg – Europe’s “Capitale de Noël” over and past, but the twinkle lights and golden star lanterns still hang brightly in the dark sky and the violinists still play outside of the Notre Dame cathedral. My photography studio has one last Strasbourg engagement proposal on the books, after a very busy Christmas engagement season in Alsace this year, and I will be spending the remaining cold months escaping into novels, meditation and creative writing.
The glittering Strasbourg Christmas tree will stand tall and gallant until the 22nd of January – thank God, Strasbourg in the grey and gloomy winter will be miserable without its shine – and “Strasbourg Mon Amor” events will begin shortly thereafter.
The city caters to its residents and encourages people to come together to celebrate the seasons of the year.
With the summer comes music festivals and all-night dancing in the streets. With winter comes the famous Christmas market and Valentine events. While the taxes are high, the environment is always clean and pleasant. The parks perfectly manicured, the library’s books well-stocked and maintained and the silent tram gliding peacefully along the grassy streets – with automatic sprinklers running periodically to hydrate it. Not to mention, the medical coverage comforting for all!
Another Christmas is gone, and I can only hope, only dream, that we’ll still be here one year from now to experience it again.
Alex and I dream of staying here, of continuing our pleasurable lives in little Alsace for another year or two.
In 2019, we found community, friends, and daily routines that we love. We discovered our local fields and biking trails, we formed connections with colleagues and groups of fellow expatriates. In 2019, I collaborated with the local senior center homes in Strasbourg and begun my first round of exhibits. Later, in 2020, I am photographing portraits of the residents in those centers – thanks to the connections I’ve formed this year living abroad in Strasbourg.
It took a full year to build this foundation, to form this network of community, of flow and abundance – financially, socially, and career-wise. The idea of moving again, of leaving all that we have built together in this time, feels wrong. Of all the places I’ve lived in my short 25 years of life thus far – NYC, San Diego, Washington D.C. – Strasbourg feels most like home. Strasbourg feels most right in our hearts.
May our prayers and wishes be granted, may we experience the magic of Christmas here in Alsace again next year. Cheers to a wonderful 2019!
If you’re curious to see the Strasbourg Christmas market in video form, where we take you around the Strasbourg marches and show you our favorite treats, Christmas chalets and views of our city, click here – or watch video below – , as well as here for last year’s vlog.
December 29, 2019
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