As the holidays drew near in early December, Kurt and I found ourselves wondering where we would spend our Christmas abroad. We didn't have too many options, and we had already ruled out going home. It would be first Christmas away, and even though I'm 25, I couldn't imagine it without my family.
I browsed the Couchsurfing community awhile back, and found a group post about a 'Christmas Open House' for travelers far from home. A Romanian named Leve was inviting any and all travelers to become family for a week and live, cook and celebrate together.
We left Croatia without knowing what environment to expect, but headed to Tîrgu Mureş all the same in hopes of finding some of that Christmas Magic we would be missing from back home.
In the many months we have been traveling, I have never made so many connections and genuine friendships with people. Thirty people who were strangers became the best of friends. While there is more to come on Christmas, I made friends from Guatemala, Romania, Uruguay, Georgia, and so many other corners of the world. I learned so much. My holidays were truly blessed. I saw a man from Singapore go sledding for the first time. I learned about the wonders of sarmale, the Romanian national dish.
My family made sure I knew I was missed (as witnessed by their photo ops with my invisible body).
If I could not make it home for Christmas, it was the best place to be.