There’s No Place Like Home For the Holidays

The best and most recent thing I need to write about was my trip home. The end of December FLEW by and I knew it was coming. My team had a match in the south of France on the Saturday the 15th, another match on Tuesday the 18th still on the other side of France AND then we would be granted our freedom for Christmas break on the 19th. We found out about a week before that we wouldn’t be returning to Nantes between those 2 matches, so packing had to be done and done before we left on the 14th.

We ended up losing a heartbreaker that Saturday in Venelle. Then we had 2 days of travel and rest that took us through Geneva, Switzerland (not sure if that counts as a new country I’ve visited, eh why not 😉 ). And we managed a great underdog win at Mulhouse to send us on our vacation in better spirits.

I woke up at 4:40 Wednesday morning to catch my first 6:50 flight at Mulhouse. EAR.LY. That took me to Paris pretty quickly for my connection to CINCINNATI 😀 8ish hours later I was hugging my mother at the airport by 3pm et. Such an amazing feeling. I LOVE my family (if you couldn’t already tell).

We were halfway home, when my Mom says, “Shoot, we could have grabbed a drink or a bite to eat in the city.” I looked at her with a “Yuuup” – “Wanna turn around?” -“Done!” So we scooted off the highway quick and went to a Mexican restaurant for some celebratory margaritas. (Yes, my first stop in America was a Mexican restaurant. Works for me!) My dad snuck out of his last meeting for the day to hook up with us there. 3 out of 4 Reunited! Nick met us later that evening at a pub near our house to finalize the start of the Hagglund Family Holidays!!!

Overrall it was a wonderfully relaxing time at home. I took advantage to be as lazy as I wanted to 🙂 Lots of Christmas prepping and party prepping! We host an annual Christmas party with all our neighbors and it was FANTASTIC seeing everyone! It’s crazy how old and big the younger kids on our street are getting. Peyton McCormick and I are the oldest on the block and it trickles down around 30 kids down to a 5 year old- Holy crap. I never realized how many of us were on the street! But like I said it was a really fun night! The fam whipped up all the food and drinks- Dad’s swedish meatballs, Stromboli, Mom’s signature punch and a hot chocolate bar out back that was a huge hit even with the freezing temperatures! A giant game of catch phrase capped the night off and put everyone in a festive mood.

We hit mass on Christmas Eve followed by a delicious dinner at Bravo- an Italian restaurant that’s always a hit for us. We finished the night with “A Wonderful Life,” one of my dad’s favorites, and a Christmas classic of course. One of my favorite moments of Christmas Eve (and sometimes Christmas Eve Eve) is when the house gets really quiet and all the bedroom doors are shut, but lots of little shuffles are going on behind those doors. Everybody in the family is getting their presents and wrapping done last second! My brother’s door, parent’s door, and the office door are all right next too each other- I knocked on my parents door to get the blow dryer, but as soon as I knocked heard a sharp “WHO IS IT” from 3 different people in 3 different rooms! Back off people, just trying to do my hair 😉

Christmas was magical as always. The weird thing was taking a break halfway through present opening to devour one of the McCormick’s Friendship Loaves (an unbelievably delicious cinnamon sugar bready creation). I don’t think we’ve ever been so patient opening before, but it was nice to sit and look and talk about everything together. We made a really yummy slow cooked pork shoulder recipe for dinner courtesy of my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Mike, then headed out to see Les Miserables, which I would highly recommend!

Unfortunately, the end of Christmas also meant the end of my trip home. My flight out was in the evening of the 26th. That morning however, West Chester got DUMPED on. We had maybe 6+ inches of snow, but also of wintery mix, which makes the roads very unpredictable. I had never hoped for a delayed flight more in my life, but alas, it was not meant to be. We trekked to the airport and said our goodbyes. I actually got to walk to the gate with Peyton, one of my best friends that lives across the street, as she was heading back to LA to work the next morning. It’s a good thing she was there, she’s probably the only reason I didn’t cry, ha! I’m a sap (I blame my dad 😉 )

My week at home was amazing, full of love and smiles and laughs. It was exactly what I needed to recharge my batteries to get ready for the back half of my time in Nantes. I had been debating for a while whether to travel during or break or to go home and I am SO thankful I made the decision to go home. There truly is nothing like being home for Christmas and the holiday season. I hope you all were fortunate enough to share Christmas with your loved ones as well.

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