There aren’t that many things I don’t look forward to really. There are the obvious things of course, like dental appointments or the first day of every month when the mortgage payment goes out, but apart from that I like to think that I’m an optimistic and forward thinking kind of chap.Christmas has always held a particular fascination for me and everyone from my parents to ex girlfriends will tell you that I used to get into....well let’s call it a state of hightened anticipation.
This year would be my first Christmas in five years that would be spent in our own house in Indonesia. Well, rented house, Yohana and I will have to wait until December 2016 to spend it in our very own. In 2009 I went to East Java, in particular rafting in Probolingo, climbing the active volcano that is Mount Bromo and chilling in Bali, 2010 was spent visiting my parents in the beach resort of Goa, India, 2011 saw me back in the UK whereas 2012 was our honeymoon in Bali. Finally 2013 was Uchiel’s first experience of Christmas in the UK.
It was on that last trip that we bought a Christmas tree. Prices on Boxing Day, the name for the 26th of December in the UK, always drop to embarrassingly low levels for anything Christmas-related with stores trying to improve their cash flow and as such we ended up with a 6ft, black, fibre optic lit tree with an incredible array of decorations for next to nothing. This waited patiently in the UK until our most recent trip back in October when we were able to bring it back with us in what amounted to a large golf club bag.
To help decorate, we invited a few friends round on the 30th November with a little-needed ruse of providing food and drinks. The surprising result, considering the amount and variety of alcohol available, was that both the house and the tree looked fantastic, right down to the snowman on the front door!
The bottom of the tree was gradually filled with a number of presents so that when Christmas Day finally arrived, with blue sky and sunshine and a much appreciated 28 degrees at 8am, It made for a truly memorable Christmas Day morning. It’s impossible not to think of family at the most family-orientated time of the year, but Skype is a marvelous thing and, if the connection is good, can nearly make you believe you’re having a face to face conversation.
Christmas Day lunch was originally going to see us cooking for a couple of friends who’d chosen to stick around Jakarta, but a change of plans saw us heading for the definitely-not-Christmassy-at-all Tony Roma’s steak restaurant in Jakarta. Back home for the evening, those same friends arrived bearing wine and New Zealand beer (courtesy of Colm’s recent trip there) and a great evening was had supported by loads of cheese and finger food.
Indonesians, even the Christians, don’t seem to see the holiday season in quite the same way as Westerners do. The feeling that the season is just a marketing event is as unavoidable as it is becoming back in the UK and obviously the lack of snow doesn’t help. But Australians have been celebrating Christmas on beaches for long enough and I too am happy to forgo the snow and bad weather. I Just wish the family could have been here for it.....