Let me start with a definition of the word “difference“. I think, most people would say difference describes things that separate from multiple objects and subjects as well. But what exactly is the most important aspect of difference? Is it a difference in emotions or actions? It sounds quite philosophical, so everyone should be able to form their own, independent opinion. Personally, I believe that it is how action and emotions influence people’s thoughts. You may disagree with this point of view but how about I prove it with an example? The most perfect of them all is this year’s Christmas Eve.
A short view of how the progress normally would happen at home: icy roads, a crackling fireplace sitting in the corner at home, the smell of baking cookies, especially brownies, reaching me out from the kitchen, and of course it is cold outside. At four o’clock on Christmas Eve I head out with my parents and my older brother. Our destination is our small, local, beautiful church in our community. Perhaps the most important amongst many traditions that my family follows is going to church every year. For me it brings the opportunity to think about the people one loves and just to reflect the whole last year. After the church service, we first drink some coffee or a hot chocolate while eating our handmade cookies. We light the candles on our Christmas tree, then settle down to open our presents. After this we eat the main course (usually fondue) we prepared and the dessert. Judging by last year we then go to bed feeling immensely happy and as if we have eaten too much.
Of course I already knew that this year is going to be different. We had anchored in Panama, and none of my family was there this year. To be honest, I was not expecting a great celebration this year. Something special that I will remember, yes, but something more simple. So you probably can imagine how amazed and happy I was to be very wrong.
The evening started already before sundown, with a cocktail, then greetings from the old crew that could not be there and also our self-made, hard worked and very delicious cookies. The taste of home. We continued our first of many courses which was a well-spiced pumpkin soup. There was a lot of entertainment this evening always between eating. Theatre performances, songs, stories and a lot of group acts. The fun never ended but often it did feel surreal. So here I am, 15 years old, celebrating Christmas with a new, adopted family of friends in Panama with a temperature of 28 degrees and a view of palm trees. It is the complete opposite of home. So, now the highlight of the evening: our main course, which was a joint of meat made by Alex, one of our crew member. This main course is difficult to describe. You have to imagine the most exotic thing you have ever eaten. This was it I think. Of course we also gave out our self-made presents for each other. We secretly worked on this in the last few weeks, without the knowledge of the person it was for. I still can remember the gift for Lucie very well: a very detailed model of the Thor, seams to swim in water, inside a glass bottle. It just looked spectacular.
I went to bed after cleaning the galley, thinking about difference. What is it what made this evening so special? Definitely how it happened, but I also believe that it was the sense of joy and love that I felt for this life that made it different. Now you may agree with my point of view. This years Christmas Eve influenced my thoughts in one kind and it is well described with the word difference. It was a nearly perfect and different Christmas, floating on water, in the far country Panama.