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Published: December 27th 2008
IT Training Team Christmas Lunch
Here's Jude and her colleagues from work. l-r: back Leanne, Robbie & Jude; front: Ruth, Shipra, Deborah (the boss) and Shirley.
Well hello and Merry Christmas to you all!! Here we are, celebrating our first proper Christmas in New Zealand. The sun is shining and it's warm enough to be sat here in shorts and t-shirt as I write. I have to say, in many ways it just doesn't feel like Christmas at all. I mean, surely it's supposed to be cold and dreary outside? Not that I'm complaining!
To get us in the festive spirit, we headed out in search of a Christmas tree. we've both always wanted a black one and were extremely happy to find just such a tree in Papakura, which is the suburb just down the road from us. I unpacked the Christmas decorations we brought with us from the UK and was disappointed to find that the tree looked really rather sparse with our 20 or so little ornaments. Back to Papakura we went and loaded up with some extra decorations and I have to say that I think the tree looks awesome! That's the benefit of starting a new life - you get to have everything new and just how you want it to be!
Christmas isn't complete without some good company and
This was the awesome gift I received in my work's secret santa gift exchange. A work of art!
we were lucky enough to have a houseful of guests. Our Japanese friend, Mayuko, came to stay from the city and we were joined by Mia and Isaac, my long lost school friend and her Canadian boyfriend. Mia and I last saw each other when we were 12 years old and in our first year of secondary school in Weybridge, Surrey. That's before I moved to Slough and long before I moved to Swindon even! We found each other again about 2 months ago via the magic of Facebook and it just so happened that she was coming to stay in New Zealand with Isaac for a year. Needless to say, they came to stay with us just after they arrived in NZ and the rest, as they say, is history!
The weather on Christmas Eve was absolutely dreadful with heavy rains and blustery winds to make us all want to stay wrapped up warm indoors. In fact, Glynn and I couldn't help but start feeling a bit more Christmassy as a result with the weather being more like Christmas in the UK than in NZ! On Christmas morning, however, the clouds had cleared and we were greeted with
Dude, where's the instruction manual?
bright, brilliant sunshine. Bliss.
After a leisurely breakfast, we began to unwrap presents and delighted in the 10 Christmas cards we received from overseas this year. Last year when we were in Birmingham, we only received 1 or 2 cards, so this was much appreciated. Thanks everyone! We received some wonderful presents too including a new digital camera for me (hooray!) and concert tickets to see Serj Tankien with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra for Glynn. Mia and Isaac were delighted with their solar shower and Mayuko has barely stopped playing with her new massaging swiss ball.
With the good weather beckoning us outdoors, Glynn set up a badminton net in the back garden and we spent a couple of fun hours playing doubles in the hot, hot sun. The hammock also made an appearance so whoever wasn't playing got to relax and swing in the shade. In the evening, we headed over to Liz and Allard's for a big family barbecue cooked on Allard's shiny new professional looking barbecue - definitely his pride and joy! Altogether there were 14 of us I think - Liz, Allard, Allard's brother Ian and his wife, Raewen, Raewen's mum Nancy, Liz's friend
Jude doesn't care if this isn't the sort of tree you're supposed to hug. It's black, it's cool and it's mine!
Sandra and Sandra's son David, Liz and Allard's daughter Nicola and her fiance Mike, plus the five of us! The barbecue food was awesome plus Liz had made a fantastic spread of salads, dips and cargrilled veggies. And then there were cakes and deserts galore! We all went home sporting tummies so full, we all looked like we were pregnant with food babies!
No Christmas is complete without a family board game so out came the Malefitz, a German game similar to Ludo, and we spent the remainder of the evening plotting and scheming, forming and breaking alliances and trying every dirty trick in the book to try and win the game! After an intense final battle, it was Isaac who crept up unsuspectingly and won the game. It's the quiet ones you always have to watch out for!
Boxing Day started off with a nice long lie-in, lots of phonecalls home and it thus it was 2pm before the gang was up and ready to hit the post-Christmas sales. It was absolutely heaving at the Manukau mall and Glynn and Mayuko were the only ones who manged to grab themselves any bargains before we all got a
That's more like it!
bit too fed up of the crowds and ventured home again. We feasted on fake roast chicken and an array of beads and salads then rounded off an excellent few days by chilling our with double bill of movies (Stranger Than Fiction and Casino Royale).
All in all, I have to say that this has been a most enjoyable Christmas. We went from having no plans 2 weeks ago to having such a thoroughly fun and relaxing time. And what's even better is that we still have today and tomorrow to relax before heading back to work and then another 4 days off for New Year. Hooray! I hope you have all had an equally Merry Christmas and we wish you all the very best for 2009. See you then!
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