It is a strange idea for those living in the northern hemisphere to spend Christmas in Summer. But as an Australian, the act of spending Christmas in winter continues to be a very odd thing to me. It just doesn’t feel right. And that’s why for the first time in ten years I felt like I got to experience a ‘real’ Christmas back in Australia: starting with an early sunrise and delightful birdsong ,warm sunshine and blue sky, we discovered gifts under the Christmas tree, then a light breakfast and into the car and off for a delicious self-serve cold *buffet lunch with extended family involving lots of chatting and laughter and over-eating, followed by an optional siesta/nap and then we still had hours of sunlight to enjoy together and to spot kangaroos as the sun was setting.
Here is a very brief summary of some of the things we enjoyed during our two week stay: Getting to know new members of the family and reconnecting with ‘old’, playing with ‘Grandpa’ and ‘Uncle Ian’, eating the famous pavlova dessert and drinking the best coffee in the world (yes, it’s true! Melbourne is reknown for it.), spending time with Grandpa doing numerous things such as learning to throw a boomerang, feeding the horses, collecting the eggs whilst learning the word ‘chook’ which is ‘australian’ for chicken, fishing, spotting wildlife by night), spending a morning with a wildlife ranger as a wildlife ranger (feeding and generally looking after the wallabies, tasmanian devils, possums…), catching-up with friends, eating brunch in Melbourne the morning after the most amazing fire-works displays on New Years Eve, running and bushwalking through eucalyptus (‘gum’) trees (that’s ‘aussie’ for trekking/hiking) swimming and playing on the beach….
The famous pavlova
Best coffee in the world
Throwing a boomerang with Grandpa
Ranger for the day
Check-out the brunches below:
Check-out the brunch!
But to be honest, I also experienced moments of great sadness. The loss of my mum was felt more intensely than usual – fortunately I was well looked after. Thank you friends and family – you know who you are!
I also couldn’t help thinking that it would have been nice for my sister to have been there too (but she had made the trek from eastern USA earlier in the year to promote her book). Next time perhaps?
For now its back to cold, grey, wet, short days – with a few street demonstrations thrown in.
*Many people ask what one could possibly eat in Summer to celebrate Christmas! As usual, every family has its own traditions but common dishes include ham, cold turkey, a variety of original salads, seafood, and possibly a Christmas pudding for which each family has their own recipe. But for those who don’t like the pudding there is always delicious ripe summer fruit.