Christmas 2013 was a brand new experience for me – 30 degree heat in Adelaide instead of the usual 8 degree chilliness of the south east of England!
I was feeling a little apprehensive about my first ever Christmas away from home, especially as we hadn’t seen much evidence of a love of the festive season in Aus so far. For one thing, their Christmas adverts were nothing like the emotional roller-coasters that John Lewis and M&S come up with in the UK every year. And hardly any houses seemed to be decked with holly. And I hadn’t heard much Christmas music.
I was worried that Christmas in Aus might not be a big deal – but I was determined to be excited anyway!
Alex and I flew from Melbourne to Adelaide at 7am on Christmas Eve and immediately met up with my sister, Nicola, and her boyfriend, Alex (who had flown in from Ethiopia the day before) for a day of Christmas shopping! This was reassuringly familiar, as we’d probably have done the same thing if we were all in Guildford (albeit not wearing shorts and flip flops!)
Christmas Day itself was totally different but brilliant! After brekkie at the hotel we were picked up by Nicola and Alex for a trip to the beach! Alex T went swimming, Alex C fished, Nicola sunbathed and I had a quick dip and then a lie down. It was incredible to be lying on the soft white sand, watching the bluey-green of the ocean and clusters of other people going about their Christmas morning beach antics.
Then we headed over to Alex C’s family home for Christmas Day proper! Alex’s mum and sister, Wendy and Jessica, were busy creating mouth-watering smells in the kitchen, while the rest of us drank sparkling Shiraz and Pimm’s on the patio and then sampled some delicious canapes, including cherry soup and soft-shell crab! All the while the BBQ was sizzling away behind me, but it was only when we sat down to lunch that I discovered what had been inside…
Turkey! And it was delicious! Plus there were prawns, salads, potatoes, extra canapes, fine wines and great company, which all came together to create a fantastic festive feast.
After lunch it was present time, just as it would be in the UK, but then things took a slightly different turn as we walked to a nearby lake to check out the local population of hermit crabs!
After that it was just the right time to Skype our parents in England to wish them Happy Christmas. Unfortunately they were in the midst of a 36 hour power cut and were having to boil water on the BBQ for their morning coffee! But despite their trials and tribulations, it was lovely to speak to them!
Finally it was time for Alex and I to head back to our hotel. There we lay on our giant bed, too full to move, and reflected on what a top day we’d had – thousands of miles from my parents and Alex’s family, but still surrounded by lovely people and festive cheer.