Christmas Gifts


Polaroid of Ruben and I taken by Elke Schade

Normally I stay at home for occasions like the Christmas holidays. Not so much for the reason that my family celebrate the occasion, because they treat it like any other public holiday that Australians have, but more because I don't have much else to do — particularly on a day where most things are closed. With the exception of the Vietnamese restaurant Ruben mentioned in his post and some Asian supermarkets that is, but more on that later!

As both Ruben and Seb mention in their posts, part one of our Christmas celebrations this year started with a visit to Seb's home in Marrickville for a spectacular lunch of Peruvian cuisine. As a newcomer to this cuisine, I sure enjoyed my first taste and would like to see more of the other dishes on his top 5 list.

Apart from some beautiful Japanese-themed wrapping paper, we also got a great look at the Assassin's Creed game on the XBOX which had some amazing graphics and music — maybe I'll check it out someday. (I'm enthused about giving my Assassin's Creed PSP game another go now!)

Today, however, even as the rain poured down outside, I spent the afternoon in the cosy Schade den with the lovely Schades and their friends, having a real taste of sitting under a Christmas tree opening presents. Even if I had presents to open when I was younger, I have never had the memory of sitting under a tree so extravagant and lovely while doing so. It's truly a moment for me to remember, though my knees don't thank me for the experience!

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Rather than deriving the enjoyment out of opening presents though, I have always derived pleasure from seeing others enjoying the presents I have managed to find for them, so I was gratified when both Schades seem to enjoy their presents (and Seb the day before!). Of course, that doesn't mean that I don't enjoy presents either, and I was pleasantly surprised by the thoughtful gifts — a beautiful headband, sweet candle, light, organisational drawers, bracelet and bag, as well as a special Moleskine and Doctor Who figurine!

As Ruben has said: so rain, much wet, wow. At a quiet little Vietnamese restaurant Ruben and I rested, looking over things on Kindle and iPad, with coffee and a pearl milk tea as the rain came down around us. The restaurant soon filled up as the evening crept in but the cheerful chatter and smells of food around us were welcoming.

I returned home later for dinner with my own family. Despite a usual lack of any tradition, I do usually enjoy the sometimes ritual of sitting with the family and watching random movies either on DVD or whatever is showing on TV on such holidays. Tonight 'Monkey Magic' was showing on the SBS and I laughed at the movie's comedy while my parents criticised and called it lousy. Nonetheless it was fun!

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Today was an incredibly good Christmas for me because, as Ruben as already aptly put it, the presence of so many pleasant people who have filled it with good spirit. While in the past I would have probably stayed inside and simply watched anime throughout the day, spending time with friends this year has been immensely fulfilling and I hope to be able to do so again in future years. Peaceful, but good times.

Happy Holidays to all, whatever the reason you celebrate!