Christmas in a foreign country. That could be the definition of nostalgia for some. I had a great time spending Christmas with Melissa and her family in Ballarat. In fact I found out it’s not so different from Christmas in Peru. We got together, cooked, ate lots of yummy food. I prepared a Peruvian dish and brought panetone, known as Italian Christmas cake, something we also have in Peru thanks to migrant Italians who are also abundant around Australia. We had it with hot chocolate and that to me is like a photograph of Christmas back home.
With the firecrackers and fireworks it is a little different because in Australia people actually respect the rules and rules are abundant here. I only saw one firework rocket sent from across the street. We were wondering if it was an ‘authorised’ launch or not since you need a permit from the local government to do so (You need a permit to build a tree house in your backyard here! but that’s another story…). This is ridiculous compared to all disasters that have happened in Peru because of the abuse of fireworks even though the government tries to control the powder flowing through the markets at Christmas-time. And then it looks great in the night sky but it’s also the wave of noise, the terrible powder smell and all the poor dogs that have to be sedated or that just go crazy behind the couch or below the bed. Somewhere in the middle perhaps? I’ll let you know what it´s like in New Zealand when I go there…
With Mel, I walked around the block to see the lights the other homes had set in their front yard. In past years, she told me, there would be buses with tourists coming to see the light display. This year the show was a bit more humble and except for the house that had a ‘snow machine’ (just foam really, but don’t tell the kids) the others were pretty standard lights and nothing Santa would have disapproved of.
Speaking of Santa, he got me some Peruvian Pisco and running shoes (no relation there). I’m really happy with my gifts and have to admit I was a bit embarrassed not to have been able to buy any because money is still not running in as much as I’d like, though I have a little job that has been very helpful. But Melissa had a bright idea when one day she got home and said ‘We are gonna make our own cards!’ So we spent 2 whole afternoons making cards like little children in school, with the glue, the scissors, the shiny paper, the snowflake paper-cutter, the buttons, the bells, etc. That makes me feel a bit better, that I didn’t just write Merry Christmas on my ‘wall’ or send a forward (which is alright too and which I also did) but I actually made some cards with my hands!
With the holidays here it’s hard not to look back at 2011 and think of all that’s been accomplished, started, left undone or even thought of. If the holidays didn’t do that then it must have been that I went to the movies to watch Melancholia on the 21st of December. How’s that for coincidence, a movie about the end of the world exactly one year from what so many are sure will be the last day on Earth. This year has been an amazing year! Whether it’s the one before the last or not. Things have certainly accelerated and every year it’s clearer to me that wherever I aim I actually hit the spot.
This year I met Mel, I traveled so much, I returned to my studies, I started seriously writing this blog, made new friends and saw old friends, said goodbye to relatives and some said goodbye to me but we all know love is in between to keep us close. This year I started again, at 32, just when I was getting comfortable. That should prove if I am brave and clever enough or the opposite, but wherever the next Christmas (or the ‘end of the world’) finds me I’m sure I will be able to say I had not a boring moment and I learnt a lot. I may have left my home in Peru, but I have found one here with Mel and her family and I’ve also been reminded of my extended, larger home… this beautiful place called Earth.
This year I wanted to come to Australia and here I am finding my way around and writing my last blog of the 2011. I hope it finds you well and I hope you continue reading next year. I wish you all a very happy Christmas and an excellent 2012.