So to some it sounds like the dream, a warm, sunny, beach day Christmas in Australia with Barbeques and tanning on the beach in the Arvo (afternoon) The complete opposite to an English cold and wintery christmas I was more than used to. Over the years Christmases have changed at home with family growing up, different families and people now involved, and in some ways me still adamant of all the family traditions.
Friends i had made on my travels in Europe and Egypt teh last few years from Australia had also said I had to one day visit and over the last year I had been thinking about this and the best time to go. After a lot of talking and reassuring my whole family, I had planned a whole 8 motnh trip with Australia being my destination for christmas and new year.
Melbourne was where some of the friends i had made along my travels all lived, and was my first destination when flying from New Zealand. I had such amazing hospitality from one of my friends (MJ love you!) who picked me up from the airport and let me stay at hers for a few days, and then my other friend (hello Tay) who i had met in Europe 5 years ago, I was so excited for the catchups and to see her mum again who had both offered for me to stay at theirs for Christmas. I knew I wanted to be with people I knew and respected. So it was set and I couldn’t wait!!
I did have a few days exploring in and around Melbourne;
On arrival, Christmas trees and Christmas cards were up with teh city centre also having Christmas decorations throughout the streets and buildings when I arrived. It was weird, shorts and t-shirt on and looking at a giant father Christmas outside the town hall.
It was fantastic to finally be in my friends hometown, with places they wanted to show me, and people they wanted to introduce me to, it was almost like just being at home with the build up and familiarity of the scenario. I was still in disbelief I was actually in Australia after years of promising to come though and especially that it was Christmas.
We had a lovely evening on Christmas Eve of watching the Christmas Carols concert which is a tradition in alot of the capital cities, and this was the Mebourne one with a lot of famous Australian singers and local celebrities too. My friend had cooked up a storm with delicious snacks and Christmas chocolates. I also got to meet her best friend and god daughter which was just lovely, running round the house with her imagination was lovely. Watching them open their presents made it feel a little more Christmassy, and that first feeling of missing something started.
I was up by 8am, I wanted to make sure i could ring the parents before they went to bed on Christmas Eve (so weird)… I also had a present they had delivered bless them from home for me to open something on Christmas day! So thoughtful and meant i had somethign to open to make it all seem normal. But teh moment I opened the card with each of my families handwriting I was a gonna!
They had all written a message to me in one large card, and I saw mum and dads and i just couldn’t hold the tears back, I felt so selfish and homesick, it was just a day, but knowing they would all be together on a day we looked forward to so much just got to me. I said goodbye before I became a complete wreck and tried to keep it together after a small cry. My friend then came in and that is what saved by the bell is in one! We celebrated, hugged, i told her I had just rang my family and she opened the bubbles straight away! What a girl!
I watched my adopted christmas family open their presents, followed by me opening mine and just having little whimpers and giggles. My family had bought everything i would need to feel a little less homesick and everything was so personal. From the Malteser teasers, to the white tshirt which had living life to the blonde on it, then finally the Christmas hat which I could where to the beach. God I missed my family!
I had got my friend and her mum a goody bag of items, with a game to play later one of my family traditions, but mainly bought things for them to pamper and treat themselves and as a small thankyou for what they were doing. They had got me some mini toiletries for taking with me, plus some SPF 70 cream 😛 English skin haha! But the main gift was they were treating me to Christmas Lunch! I felt so spoilt, they understood how homesick i was!
Christmas Lunch in the City
We gradually got ready , dressed and for the first time in a while i curled my hair and put my makeup on. A very diffferent wardrobe to what i am used to on christmas day. We headed in to the City for lunch and parked at the ….. Casino, I was amazed by how many people were walking around, eating fast food lunch, gambling in the casino, and hanging around the shopping mall. I had never seen a city on Christmas day, let alone a shopping centre and casino. The main staircase in the Casino had 9 huge Faberge eggs which every half hour opened one by one and played a certain classic Christmas song. I felt the most Christmassy i had felt all day , with giant Christmas trees all decorated with tones of multicoloured bauble and lights.
After the very christmassy setting and songs we headed over the river into the sunshine, which after the Christmas extravaganza i had just seen was very strange. The place we arrived at was called Love of Grace. My friend had booked this and apparently had wanted to go for ages, it was perfectly querky and even had a secret bookcase which opened into a basement bar. Very 1920’s , inspired by the pro-abition era, with random furniture, objects and items all over the walls, floors and even ceiling.
Christmas Day Evening
We finished up after a few drinks and a full 3 course meal around 4pm, and headed back to the house for a much needed food coma nap, as with England there were christmas movies on the TV and chocolate from our presents to scoff what we didnt need!
The rest of the day was popping to my friends family and other friends houses for games, catchups and christmas greetings, before an early night after a perfect Christmas day. I also spoke to my family again when they were all getting together and opening presents at home. My sister especially was finding it hard after running off the phone crying and my grandma getting upset. Felt so bad!
I have to be honest, it was a hard day but my friend and her mum made such an effort which I didn’t expect at all and I felt so loved and happy throughout the day. It had been hard especially when I saw my whole family together, with my sister and cousins partners with my grandparents. Emotions were high, I had a few moments of thinking how selfish I had been to not be home for Christmas.
After a while i then started thinking about why I was here though, it was to appreciate , it was to think, it was to experience and that’s exactly what this Day had taught me. It was the ultimate challenge of feeling alone and home sick, but also the one day I couldn’t have appreciated my family more than what i did today. Some would say its just one day out of 365, but for me I will never take advantage of this day again. Its a day for my family, a day of togetherness and a day to never be taken for granted.
Thankyou again to my friend and her mum 🙂
Bring on Christmas 2020, nothing beats a British Christmas!