Trip Start Oct 13, 2007
17Trip End ??? ??, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
So, a lot of people have been asking about Christmas here and what it's like. Because it's summer here, it's definitely been hard for us to think of it as Christmas time. But, in the stores, there's Christmas Carols playing. And they have Santas in the mall. And all the other usual stuff that goes along with the holiday preparations. Most people have fake trees, although I did see real ones occasionally for sale and they advertised them as "American Style Christmas Trees." We definitely didn't see nearly the number of houses decorated with lights and yard ornaments, but there are some. So many people kept saying to us that it didn't feel like Christmas to them either....because it wasn't hot enough. Apparently, it's pretty typical that the temp would be in the 30s--that's the 90s Farenheit! A typical Christmas day is spent at the beach or with a backyard barbecue. As for Christmas dinner, it doesn't sound like the typical ham or turkey, although they are certainly in the stores, so I'm sure some people go that route. But many people take a picnic to the beach with lunch meats and just spend the day with friends and family. The weather is not cooperating for that tradition. It's only in the 70s (poor us, right?) and cloudy with some threat of showers at least this morning. Other popular food items around the holidays are Pavlova which is a meringue dessert topped with whipped cream and fruit. Fruitcakes are also really popular here (at least someone in the world likes them!). "Boxing Day" is a holiday the day after Christmas. Sounds like there's mixed meanings to the day, but generally it was a day that employers would celebrate the contributions of their employees, and in the "olden" days, would "box up" left over Christmas food and give it to them (mmmmm, yummy). Now, it marks the start of the Sydney to Hobart (I believe that's in Tasmania) yacht race. We may go into town tomorrow to check that out.
As for our Christmas, it started early with a wakeup call from a Cockatoo. The boys enjoyed some different gifts this year, with a big emphasis on outside, beach-related toys. Instead of pajamas as their one gift to open on Christmas Eve, they got "boardies", "rashies" and "thongs" (board shorts, shirts you wear in the ocean to prevent a rash when you're paddling out on your body board, and sandals....not the other thing that some of you were thinking). We'll have a nontraditional meal of lamb cutlets and shrimp....Barbie will finally cook shrimp on the barbie! Our Christmas tree is a far departure from what we're used to back home. It's our first fakie with 2 strings of colored "fairy lights" and has a whopping 5 ornaments now! Oh well, it's all in the spirit of the holiday. The lights were goofy....the string was not a single line...it was in a loop! And the lights don't connect to each other. I'm going to have ask some Ozzie what's up with that.
A few other quick things we've been up to....the boys' birthdays were celebrated with a dinner in the Sydney Tower...kind of like the Seattle Space Needle. There's a revolving restaurant at the top--great views, not so great food. School ended for the year on 12/21, and the boys will start Years 4 and 6 at the very end of January. Surfing lessons are lined up in January for the boys, which they're excited about and I'm excited to see them give that a try. We've been on a quest to find the perfect beach, so we've had a chance to visit a few. So far our favourite is called North Curl Curl. It has some great, but kind of treacherous climbing rocks. Nice sand, good waves, and most importantly, "tucker" which is a place to get food.
As for driving...I must say, I'm feeling much more comfortable, and yes, I actually like the roundabouts! I now wish we had them in IL! Think of life without 4-way stops. But, I got my first speeding ticket :(. Not from a cop. They don't seem to have cops here. I think I've seen less than a handful since I've been here. The way they get you is with speeding cameras. And if you have an Aussie drivers license (which we don't), you start out with 12 points. For every ticket or violation, you get demerits or lose points. That one would have cost me 3. But since the car's registered in Jim's name, I'm thinking of just paying it and having them think it was him! But I guess he'll read this so...nevermind.
I'll leave you with "Aussie Jingle Bells"--see if you can figure out what some of these words mean:
Dashing through the bush
In a rusty Holden Ute
Kicking up the dust
Esky in the boot
Kelpie by my side
Singing Christmas songs
It's summer time and I am in my
Singlet, shorts and thongs, OH!
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Barb, Jim, Max and Sam