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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.


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)