Any time there is a special event, I get sad about the fact that I’m on the other side of the world. I mean, apart from the fact that I don’t get to celebrate these special events with my family and friends at home, over here I’m always one step (day) behind. I woke up this morning, realised it was Christmas Eve day, and then quickly realised that the clock has just ticked over to 12:01am on December 25th in Australia, and technically, to my body clock, it was Christmas. But not.
It doesn’t feel like Christmas either – I feel like I am stuck in some sort of weird Christmas limbo. The northeast, known for it’s “white Christmas'”, has no snow. 2 nights ago it was 10 degrees celcius when we went to bed. I had the forementioned Christmas last year, and wasn’t too bothered if we had snow or not this year, but it still feels weird. I remember driving through downtown Lexington a few weeks ago when they first put the lights up in the main street, and thinking how pretty it would look when we finally got some snow… yeah, obviously not going to happen.
Today I was lucky enough to meet up with two of my friends from Sydney, Hayley and Thomas – Hayley has been studying in California for the past semester, and is in Boston for a week ! Unfortunately they only got here last night so today was the only day I could catch up with them, so I went into Cambridge and had lunch with them today! So good to hear some Aussie accents and talk about weird it was to be here on “Christmas Eve” when it’s already Christmas day in Australia.
I went to church this afternoon, and went to Grace Chapel at Lexington. It’s a Hillsong-esque Baptist church, and their Christmas service (of which they had 3 at 3pm, 4:30pm and 6pm) was a lot of fun, but also traditional as well. They started with a really cool thing on the stage where 6 guys came out one by one with iPads, each playing a different ‘instrument’ on an iPad app (bells, guitar, drums, keyboard etc.) and played a carol. It was great and so unexpected! They told the Christmas story with bible verses, we sung carols and lit candles and sung Silent Night at the end. It was strange being at church alone on Christmas Eve, but some nice older people sat next to me and chatted with me. My host family went to Catholic Mass, but I decided I wanted to go to a Christian service, so I went alone.
After church we all came home and threw together a quick Christmas eve dinner. The kids were starving and there was no way we were roasting a turkey or anything like that – we had ham (which most Americans usually bake in the oven with a glaze on it) Australian style – that is, cut straight off the bone, bone cold. It was GREAT and tasted so much like home. We also had mashed potato and beans and brocolli… just a simple dinner, but good.
The kids are getting to bed now, our stockings are hung above the fireplace, and it’s nearly time for Santa to visit. I’m procrastinating on my packing and room tidying by writing this blog, and pretty much doing anything else. I’m almost ready for bed, and it feels weird that Christmas is half over in Australia, and that I’m not there… my sister skyped me just a few minutes ago, and while I’m sitting on my bed in pyjamas, with -6 degrees outside, she’s walking down the boardwalk at the beach, pointing out the boat that someone has given their wife for Christmas (complete with big sign on it)!
It’s the things like this that make you realise that Christmas isn’t about the presents (my family and I didn’t really do physical presents this year – my family all sent me money towards my trip to Florida this week, and I organised something to be sent to my mum, but that was it) but rather the traditionals, and people you spend it with. It was fun to be able to eat cold ham with my host family, and enjoy some new ‘typical’ Christmas things that we don’t do at home, like gingerbread cookies, and hanging stocking on the fireplace. I’m excited to open presents with my host kids tomorrow morning, but I’m missing the Christmas BBQ, boiled eggs, salad, cherries, fruit mince pies and pavlova.
But, alas, I am here, so I’d better make the most of it.
To all my Australians, I hope your Christmas is fun and you get to spend time with all your favourite people (except me). To all my Americans, and pseudo-Americans, enjoy tomorrow. It may not be white, but it’s still fricken cold!!!