A very merry (belated) Christmas, everyone! We sincerely hope it was a very fun and wonderful day/season for you and your loved ones. Will and I definitely enjoyed our day, and our very first Aussie Christmas :-). We had such a fun-filled and relaxing day with Americans and Aussies alike at an ‘orphans Christmas’ (all those who weren’t spending Christmas with or near family). Such a brilliant idea, and it was a hilariously fun and diverse group of orphans!
Our day started out with church at Hillsong, and was so uplifting and fun. The message was great (as per usual!), and was a great way to start the day celebrating the birth of Jesus! Our sweet next door neighbor invited us over for brunch/tea and we had a really wonderful time with her and her boyfriend (who was visiting from the States! hi J & J!). We had some good tea, shortbread biscuits, caramel/toasted cashews, muffins and chocolates galore. It was truly a scrumptious way to pregame for the lunch later on! Since it was such a beautiful day (~75 degrees F), our orphans’ Christmas was moved to Flagstaff Gardens, a beautiful park next door to Queen Victoria Market. It was absolutely bizarre to experience the city on Christmas – total ghost town! There were random people here and there, but I’ve never seen it so deserted (and the suburbia-at-heart girl in me kinda rejoiced a bit, ha). The park wasn’t packed and our friends found a huge tree with lots of shade (the Australian sun is no joke) and we had a nice picnic outside! I’m kicking myself for not taking more photos of the food, but there was a great assortment of food — bacon/cheese potatoes (they were just as amazing as they sound), salads, lamb, chips, dips, brownies, and lots of wine! We brought along Mexican street corn salad, which is one of my favorite side dishes to make because it’s so easy, and who doesn’t love Mexican street corn!? There were also two dogs – Amigo and Lando – and I definitely got my dog fix for the
month day ;-). Everyone got along so well at the picnic — we laughed, cuddled with the dogs, ate really well, and occasionally stepped out into the sun, ha!
Okay… promise you won’t judge? Above is one of the photos we took with the selfie stick that Will’s company gifted everyone with! Best. present idea. ever. I will admit – I totally silently judged people whenever I saw them using it (even GoPro ones), but geez, don’t knock it til you try it, right? That thing is so helpful and um, amazing. You try getting a group selfie of nine people and a dog at arm’s length! It’s not easy. Anyway, my shameless marketing for our selfie stick is now complete, and I hope you rush out right now and purchase one ;-).
We learned that for Christmas in Australia, it’s quite traditional to have seafood, because roasts (beef, chicken) are more heartier and don’t really bring about a sense of ‘summer’ for most Aussies. So, you’re likely to see prawns, lobster and lots of fish! Yummm. Although we didn’t have much seafood this time around, I look forward to having some this summer at various restaurants throughout the city. Also, I need to explore more about the market and see if I can find good deals on seafood and shellfish! In South Africa, it’s traditional to have a braai, and make chicken, steak/lamb chops and – of course – boerewors (you can also find the occasional roast and gammon [ham]). In the U.S., my family and I used to do a roast chicken for Christmas and some hearty seasonal veggies. It’s actually interesting to experience Christmas in different countries (and hemispheres, for that matter) and enjoy the different cultures, foods and traditions of each.
We spent the evening watching some movies and just taking it easy, and Skyping with relatives later. The next day was Boxing Day which is the equivalent of Black Friday in the States (sans the trampling over each other to get an Xbox…), and many people took to the city streets in search of good deals at the malls and shops. Will and I parked our butts here at home instead of braving the madness! But from the sales I saw online and prior to Boxing Day, they seemed to be pretty good deals. I’ve also seen it continue into this past week online and in select shops, which our friend called ‘Boxing Week’!
Overall, it was a really wonderful first Christmas, especially being able to spend it with others who were in the same boat – far away from home and loved ones. It’s like our own little support system here, and I’m so thankful for our new friends that we’ve made! For our first Aussie Christmas, it was pretty awesome, and truly appreciate every single person who made it such a fun and memorable day. :-)