24 Days of Ornaments – 17

24 Days of Ornaments – 17

Welcome to day seventeen of my advent calendar of ornaments. This year, rather than 2020 & 2021’s Cheesy Christmas, it’s our hodge-podge of a Christmas tree that’s front and center… I’m giving you a tour of our tree, one ornament at a time, until Christmas Day.

Today’s ornament is handpainted, but not by me…

France in North America…

Roughly 25km (15miles) off the coast of the Newfoundland, and almost entirely surrounded by Canadian territorial waters, lie the two French overseas islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon (SPM). When the plane touches down on these little rocky islands, you have to go through international customs and have your passport stamped by French douaniers (border officials). In short… 25kms off of Newfoundland… you’re in France!

Having gone through French immersion as a young teenager, I’d heard of SPM because they ran French language camps there for those who were able. So while I was aware of them… I’d never been. That was, until 2011 when I went with a friend.

I was smitten and returned no fewer than 3 other times over the course of the following year – one other time with that friend, once with Liz and once by myself.

It’s not the kind of place I’d like to spend any amount of time during the thick of winter, but during the other seasons, it’s a spot that offers the traveler a haven of rest. There’s really not all that much to do so for a relaxing time, surrounded by great dining and the ocean… you’re in good hands.

On one of these trips, I picked up this little porcelain Christmas tree ornament, hand painted by a local artist. It features a lighthouse – which both spoke to my eastern-Canadian-ness as well as to the islands of SPM themselves.

So when I pull it out of the tin to hang on the tree, I remember…

  • cycling around Miquelon with Liz…
  • seeing the wild horses of Miquelon with my friend…
  • being invited for dinner chez Pierre…
  • visiting with several seniors that I’d met back in the 1990s…
  • finding a bit of solitude & refuge when part of my world fell apart in 2012…

So many memories in a little hand-painted porcelain ball.

… and that’s today’s Christmas ornament.

Give the gift of Parisian strolls this Christmas.
My book on Amazon.

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