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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas in Palmy - Young Heart, Easy Living

As per usual, I was the first one awake on Christmas morning. Not that I bolted awake at the first hint of light to race downstairs and see what Santa had put under the tree.* No, it was probably because the night before I really pounded the water at bedtime in a vain attempt to head off my hangover at the pass. Now my bladder was forcing me awake, its complaints mixing uneasily with the first pangs of a headache, announcing itself in a self-righteous manner, as if to say 'See, I told you so!'.

Bloody keg beer. Apparently, it's all that carbon dioxide keeping the beer nice and foamy that makes you more prone to having a wicked hangover when you consume beer from a keg. Not that knowing the exact mechanism of the culprit helped to make it go away any faster.

I shambled into the kitchen of my friend Sarah's home and fixed myself a tall glass of cool clear water. After downing that and pouring myself another, I helped myself to the toaster and began putting together a little breakfast.

Soon enough, Sarah's stepfather, Peter, joined me in the kitchen making us the only two having arisen in the household thus far. He reminded me again as they had told me the night before to make myself at home and to make full use of the kitchen. He then set the jug to boil and I realised caffeine would also be a nice thing to throw at my headache.

You see, once again, my friends Sarah and Simon came to my rescue. Last time, it was on the slopes of Mount Doom (I mean, Ngauruhoe) when they helped egg me on all the way to the top, Simon graciously taking my pack off my hands. My friend Iain gets the assist here as well, for he and Si would not take no for an answer when it came to me giving in!

This time around, Sarah and Simon extended an invitation to spend Christmas with them and their family in a little town to the north called, well, Palmerston North (hereinafter referred to affectionately as 'Palmy').

(There is a Palmerston and it's on the south island but that's another story for another time.)

This is where they got married back on November 1st so it was nice to be returning to such a lovely setting. Having moved out of Wellington a couple of weeks ago now, Sarah and Simon were living at her childhood home in Palmy with her mum, Sue, and her stepdad, Peter. They were all such generous hosts, making me feel right at home the entire time and when they offered me to stay even longer than I already had (three days, two nights), I was sorely tempted to take them up on it.

Sarah and Si won't be around these parts much longer, as they take off for England for a couple of years then likely another year after that spent somewhere else, perhaps Aussie. Eventually they will return to New Zealand and hopefully the lower North Island (hint, hint), but for now anytime I can see them is a bonus. I was also shown every courtesy while staying with them for the Christmas holiday, and now that I'm a holiday orphan it really is quite overwhelming to be invited in to other people's homes at this time of year.

The Kiwis in general would never see this as an imposition as they are a happy, social and sharing lot. Yet to me it means a great deal as I am able to not only soothe the homesickness that comes naturally at these times but to also experience a holiday in the style of another country. Admittedly, it's not like I'm having to speak through a translator or take malaria sickness pills just to be here, but they do things a little differently down here for Christmas.

For starters, it's summertime right now. I realise that in Texas and Florida and other generally sunny and warm climes in the States this is part and parcel to their Christmas holidays (pun intended). But for me, coming from southwest Virginia where we're used to cold if not white Christmases, it's a new experience. I still feel like it's time for fireworks and not mistletoe at this time of year but I'll come around eventually!

They also have the delectable Christmas pavlova, Boxing Day, Christmas crackers (although I remember them becoming more and more commonplace back in the States), some bubbly and of course they fire up the barbie if the weather's decent outside, which it usually is. I've covered some of this already in my post about my first Christmas here in New Zealand, so I won't rehash it all here.

After I chatted with Pete a bit over some toast and coffee, I poured a second cup of joe and left him to check his email while I wandered out towards the big living room at the front of the house. Still not another soul besides us was stirring, so I gazed through the large bay window out onto Dahlia Street.

There was a little girl, probably all of 8 or 9 years old, riding around on what appeared to be a flash new scooter. It had pink bows near the top and she seemed to be quite happy with her now toy as she rode up and down the deserted street in front of her house. But that wasn't all she was doing - she was also talking on a little pink cell phone!

I barked a laugh and realised how the times have changed. It was all of 8:30 in the morning and here was this kid: up, dressed, outside playing and not with her friends but talking to them on a cell phone. As I thought about it, I figured of course she's up right now - she's a kid and it's Christmas morning!

And who doesn't have a cell phone these days? Not only that, who doesn't have a Bebo/Facebook/Myspace page? I'm fairly certain she had probably already uploaded pictures of her new scooter to whichever page she has active and may have been making a comment on her 'Status' via Facebook Mobile.

I'm pretty sure this little girl wasn't making day trades. I mean, it was Christmas Day, all the markets were closed!
* I mean, I'm not a naive little kid anymore or anything! There really was no downstairs where I was staying. The rest is all real, though. ISN"T IT?!


Blogger Sandjoy said...

How wonderful that Simon & Sarah invited you for Christmas. It makes us feel a little better about you being so far from home.


Mom xo

6:52 AM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

A very nice Christmas!

May you and yours be blessed with much happiness and many joys in 2009!

12:54 AM  
Blogger Brooksie said...

Yep, Mom, they've been very good friends to me. And thanks Nick, I wish you all the best for 2009 as well my friend!

5:19 PM  

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