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That time of year again

Thank you to everyone who's left a note to say how sorry they were to hear of Joost's worsening health; your hugs, thoughts and prayers mean a lot.

Last night was St. Nicholas Eve and Romeo, who will be 7 on Monday, still believing firmly in the generous gift-giver and his horde of helpers, was the reason we congregated at his house as a family to enjoy a meal together and exchange presents. Poor Romeo! Once again he missed the arrival of the Saint because one of us had called him away upstairs to look at something just before the crucial moment. He was soon consoled when he found that almost all the items on his Sinterklaas wish list had been crossed off, though.

This year's Sinterklaas was remarkable for the fact that there was another very excited young man taking part in the celebrations. Mick may have gone to stay with his father in Italy for a while, but two of his goth friends who have had some teenage problems of their own at home have been staying with my sister on and off ever since he's gone, and they were there yesterday as well. 18-year old Chris was raised as a Jehova's Witness, which meant he had never in his life been allowed to celebrate Sinterklaas before; he was giddy as a child all evening and quite overcome when he found there were presents for him in Sinterklaas's bag as well. His face lighting up like a candle made this St Nicholas Eve very special.


( 17 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:30 pm (UTC)
Aww that sounds nice I love that feeling of excitement, I miss it we definetly need more kids in our house!!

Sorry to hear about Joost he's putting up an amazing fight! xx
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
Joost is an aamzing person, and I will be forever grateful to have had him in my life.
Dec. 6th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this! I had no idea how the Dutch celebrated Christmas. You painted a lovely word-picture for me. Thanks again.
Dec. 6th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
Oh, we Dutch celebrate Christmas the same as everybody else, with a tree and presents and copious amounts of food! Celebrating St. Nicholas Eve though, is just another of our winter traditions, quite separate from Christmas.
Dec. 6th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
It's lovely that Romeo is still young enough for Sinterklaas, but it must have been almost as good to see Chris! I always felt sorry for the couple of JWs that I knew over Christmas.
Dec. 6th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
I've had very little experience of JWs in my life, though there was this one girl in school that I and all the other kids felt sorry for because she could never join in on the Sinterklaas or Christmas celebrations, or even her own birthday...I wonder if they allow any kind of festive tradition?

My Jewish friends don't take part in the mainstream festivities (though I do know some who will put up a Christmas tree for the lights) either, but then they've got Chanuka and Pesach, and muslims have the Eid al-Fitr, but what do JWs have? Without these kinds of celebrations, their lives must be pretty bleak in my opinion, although I daresay they probably think differently.
Dec. 6th, 2008 10:39 pm (UTC)
My mother makes things up. Plausible things, but rubbish nonetheless. When I was a kid and we went to a family Xmas and I didn't get anything from one family and I asked Mum why not, she said they were JWs. And for years afterward, I felt sorry for them until I found out it wasn't true, they were just tight. :P

Sounds like a nice time was had by all, which is nice. The way it should be. :)
Dec. 6th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC)
We did have a nice time, thank you -- hopefully Christmas will be just as good,for us and for you: your first Christmas as a married lady!
Dec. 7th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC)
We put the tree up this morning - and Darren's like a kid in a candy store. So cute - he gets so excited to put the tree up every year. He loves the shiny lights and so on, and also views it as a symbol of the life we're building together.

I did have a few special ornaments that I brought with me when I moved from Perth, but I donated the rest of it, tree, lights and ornaments, to my sister, who'd just moved to Perth with her little kids and had nothing. So the tree we have now is OURS.

And every year we buy more unique ornaments for it (just a couple, it's not something you need to rush), so that by the time we are married for 20 years, we'll have a tree full of unique ornaments. Each one will reperesent the years of the marriage. Which is invredibly entimental, but we can't help ourselves.

Most of them are things like Santa dancing with reindeer, reindeer in a tutu, Santa in shorts and a red-and-white Hawaiian print shirt on a deck chair and a beer (it's Summer over here). Things that are funny, and also completely do not reflect a Northern Winter. They are kind of cute.

Edited at 2008-12-07 12:21 am (UTC)
Dec. 7th, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
With the cats still in their playful kitten mode, don't think I'll put a tree up this year (they trashed it last year and the year before), but I may 'deck the halls with boughs of holly' and hang a few ornaments up here and there.

Did I ever tell you I came thisclose to celebrating Christmas Australian-style myself? My mum and dad were all set to emigrate when they found out Mum was pregnant with me, and then they weren't allowed in anymore.
Dec. 7th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)
It certainly is different here. Despite the climate, we still attempt to have a Euro-style Xmas - roast turkey, rich pudding and all the trimmings. This goes best when it's like it was a few years back: unseasonably cold (it snowed in the Alps on Xmas 2006). When it's 40C, the only thing to do is stick the Turkey in the oven and go to the beach while it's cooking. :P

This year, we'll be using the BBQ outdoors for the roasting, so it will not heat the house up too much because that just makes things worse.

It really was only when I spent a Xmas season in England (the year of the infamous sprained ankles) that I got a full understanding as to the point of the tradition Xmas colours. Here it's too warm for Holly in most cities, and it doesn't have berries on at Xmastime anyway, and of course, there's no snow, so the red, white and green is an anachronism.

I don't quite understand why they'd refuse a couple just because they were pregnant though. It makes no sense to me.
Dec. 7th, 2008 10:36 am (UTC)
I don't quite understand why they'd refuse a couple just because they were pregnant though. It makes no sense to me.

I don't believe they'd be as heartless nowadays, but those were just the rules in those days. Bear in mind, this was nearly 50 years ago! Immigrants were supposed to help build up the country, not be a drain on it from the moment they got there, and prospective immigrants like my parents had to sign a paper saying they wouldn't even think of starting a family for the first two years of their stay.

By that time, my parents had been married and trying for a baby for 7 years, and nothing had ever happened so they thought they could safely promise that. Then I had to come along and spoil things for them! (Not that they ever blamed me, though -- they were far too happy to find out they could have children after all).

Edited at 2008-12-07 10:37 am (UTC)
Dec. 8th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
I think it's lovely that Romeo still believes. But this brought happy tears to my eyes: 18-year old Chris was raised as a Jehova's Witness, which meant he had never in his life been allowed to celebrate Sinterklaas before; he was giddy as a child all evening and quite overcome when he found there were presents for him in Sinterklaas's bag as well. His face lighting up like a candle made this St Nicholas Eve very special.

How very lovely.
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
It was, very lovely and moving. I can't imagine what it must feel like, as a child, to be excluded from a tradition that everyone around you takes part in.
Dec. 8th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
I think it is wonderful that your sister has let his friends stay with her as they need to, and that Chris got to celebrate for the first time...and that Romeo still has the youth and innocence to believe!
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
What's wonderful is that my sister doesn't seem to be thinking that what she's doing is anything out of the ordinary -- she just thinks these kids need a safe place to stay while they're sorting themselves out, and takes pains to keep in touch with their parents as well.
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC)
That is wonderful! I see so many kids who need that, and don't have it. I look back and don't remember the problems I see being as common when I was a kid.
( 17 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )


  • 6 Aug 2020, 01:54
    That must have been so hard, on both of you! Now she can settle in and you can relax.

    I feel your pain - it took me weeks to clean Frank's room.
  • 8 Jul 2020, 12:16
    It must be a relief to have seen her sitting and chatting.

    I wish you well with the house clearing. I'm not sure if this is helpful - but it took my sister and I at least one full day a week for a…
  • 8 Jul 2020, 09:11
    Oh my goodness! I can just feel that horrible sinking in the pit of the stomach when you realised and there was nothing you could do about it.
  • 8 Jul 2020, 01:03
    I'm glad the move went so well. It sounds like it might be a great place for her.
  • 7 Jul 2020, 01:17
    I'm glad things turned out okay! (Other than the rhubarb.)
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