Published: January 20th 2013January 20th 2013
Covent Garden Tree
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Welcome to 2013, I can tell it is going to be one of the most exciting years yet. I have a lot of trips planned, including one coming up in just 5 days time. On Friday I will be off to Florence, Rome, Prague, Vienna and Amsterdam but more about that when I come back.
For now, I will tell you all about my Italian christmas in London and my Scottish New Year that would never be allowed to take place back in Australia! I know it is mostly my family who read this as I refused to add them on facebook (forgive me if I don't think you need your mum and nosey Aunties on a social networking site) BUT for those of you who aren't aware of a normal christmas for me the next paragraph describes the highlights of December 24th + 25th on every other year. It may help you realise how different 2012 really was for me, and why I am still struggling with bouts of homesickness.
Christmas 2012 was the smallest and quietest I have experienced in my entire life. I am used to non stop action beginning with the
children's Mass on Christmas Eve, followed by about 10 people sitting in someone's living room watching Carols by Candelight and my Aunties, mother and grandmother singing completely out of tune to each and every song or yelling at us kids to be quiet whilst they watch with baited breath to find out if Denis Walter is going to sing O Holy Night. There is an incredible amount of hope and anxiety before the music begins and the man himself opens his mouth. This is then followed by a simultanous sigh from all the women in the room. Christmas morning my brother, sister and I are usually woken up early by my mother who is as equally excited by christmas morning as most 6 year olds. This year was very different for her with each child now living out of home and the two eldest not even in the same state. We each power through our stockings to find out what goodies Santa had deposited overnight. We then get ready for pancake breakfast with my father and more presents. Around midday we join my mother's family again for lunch and even more presents. Christmas for me is never about the gifts
or the food. It is the one day a year where my entire family can gather together. My mother is one of 7 children so I have a lot of cousins, and now second cousins. The value of family is something that I cherish and so not being with them on Christmas Day was extremely hard.
So, on when December 24th came around this time my fellow Australian and good friend Amy and I decided that we would embrace the experience and try to be as positive as possible. Neither of us shed a tear over the 3 day period we hibernated inside my house in Tooting with Davide and Serena, an Italian couple that live with me. Having finished a terrible day at work on the 24th we cracked open a bottle of wine, put on some Human Nature christmas songs and began making chocolate freckles and christmas coloured coconut ice. Both "traditional Australian" food, apparently. You will see a photo of the end product which explains why Davide told us our only job for christmas was to decorate the table and to stay away from the food.
At 3am that night I woke up to my
alarm and 2 messages from my mum and Aunty telling me to hurry up and turn on Skype. They had all eaten lunch and were just about to give out the presents. Looking like I'd either fallen out of bed or just stumbled home from the local pub to talk to them I was then notified that the computer was plugged into the TV screen and speakers. Trust. I will admit it was lovely to see everyone and talk to them all. Christmas is by far my favourite time of the year and being away has made me realise that nothing could beat a backyard christmas in Endeavour Hills with my massive, loud, crazy yet loving family.
After going back to bed and having a nice little sleep in Amy and I woke up christmas morning to a pile of presents under the tree :) The presents I received outline the difference between my family and well almost everyone elses. Amy got a nice novel and a CD with some of her and her family's favourite songs. I got a colouring book and pencils, a stuffed teddy bear, a 'find my santa' picture book, the Australian 12 Days of
Christmas picture book and an Australian apron amongst a few other things. Need I say more?
Amy and I enjoyed an amazing 5 course lunch of traditional Italian food all cooked by Davide. There was beef, pasta, different types of salami and parma ham and a potato salad. For dessert we had rose water tiramisu and our concoction of sugar and food dye! To be honest I can't remember much of the day as we spent it drinking more and more wine. Boxing day was the same as any in Australian, eating leftovers and continuing the drinking. All in all it was a lovely christmas.
Back to work I went for the 27th and 28th of December, then on the 29th Amy and I headed up to Edinburgh for Hogmanay. Basically, it is a street party over New years. They close down the main street and set up screens, speakers and stages along the way. You choose your spot and dance, drink and eat the night away. My favourite part of the festival was the Torch Light procession that takes place on the 30th. You buy a torch, with all proceeds going to charity, and they block off
the streets for thousands of people to carry lit torches in a procession up to Carlton Hill. It was amazing. Sadly in order to get a good photo you need a good camera. The torches were so bright that it was impossible for me to capture any of it. There was no trouble whatsoever throughout the festival and people were just happy to have a good time. Edinburgh is absolutely beautiful. The castle just sits on top of the city itself which can be explored over the space of a day. All of the streets in the Old Town remain almost unchanged with tiny streets and alley ways connecting the major roads. It was a great weekend and I was very sad to have to return to work on the 2nd of January.
This year has already begun to go very quickly! I will be home before you know it. I am also hoping 'summer' will be here before I know it too. The snow makes everything absolutely gorgeous but my body just is not made for sub zero weather. Over the weekend I made my first snowman, and had my first snowball fight. I would take snow over
rain anyday, apart from the delays to all the transport. You would think London would be a little bit better prepared but it's as if the snow comes as a shock each year! I've put some snapshots up here for you to all enjoy in your sweltering 40 degree heat!
Until next time. Love to you all xxoo
There are more photos below