christmas in australia…

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, wherever you are! I definitely had a lovely one, here in Brisbane, QLD, with my friends. They’ve made me feel so welcome and so at home on this first Christmas away from my family. I’m very thankful for them.

For those of you that have wondered, I’ve missed seeing my family and friends from home, but I haven’t been wrecked by it, as some people thought I might be. My brain has tricked me completely, and that’s working fine for me. If you can’t convince yourself, deep down, that it really is Christmas, or that you’re actually missing out on something, then it won’t bother you as much.

Yes, I spoke to my family on Skype, on their Christmas morning, and got the tour of the house with the laptop. Even with the Christmas tree in the background and presents on the floor, no tears were forthcoming, because my body has my brain convinced that it’s a trick. How could it be otherwise, when it’s in the 80’s here, I wore a sleeveless dress to church on Christmas morning, and my tan surely hasn’t gone anywhere, after last week?

Sure, there are Christmas decorations here, and they’re very nice ones, but I think it’ll take more than Christmas decor to convince me. Next year, I won’t believe I missed the previous year. It’ll be just like I had three summers in a row, and finally I get to enjoy winter.

Also, we had Christmas dinner outside in the heat (though under a porch roof) on Sunday, and when do we ever do that back home, unless you live in Florida? It was a lovely meal, full of turkey, chicken, and plenty of salads, as well as a lovely punch to drink.

Now, before you judge by my plate being not very full, let me explain. If I’d been feeling better, I’d definitely have eaten more, but in fact, I’ve been suffering from a bad ear infection for the last few days. On Christmas Eve Day, I had to go to the hospital and visit their after-hours GP. He put me on antibiotics and pain meds, and on Christmas Day, they were only starting to kick in. So, I think I’m lucky to have eaten as much as I did, and my friends were very understanding, as I wasn’t completely myself.

Backtracking a bit, we opened presents before dinner, and I got a goodly few, which was really nice. Among them, a box of Cadbury chocolates (yay!) and a new book, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I look forward to reading that, as I’ve already read her book The Forgotten Garden, which was fabulous.

A tradition for quite a few Aussies is to watch, on Christmas Eve, Vision Australia Carols by Candlelight, which is performed in Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. All the proceeds from it go to help people that are blind or have low vision, but they don’t have extensive spiels about giving money, unlike PBS at home. My friend’s mom has been watching Carols by Candlelight for over twenty years, and some of the performers have been appearing in it for longer.

The singers come from a variety of music genres (Christian, country, rock, jazz), and a variety of age groups. Many of them had family members with them to perform, which was lovely to see. The Melbourne cast of Love Never Dies was there. And I was introduced to the music of David Hobson, Marina Prior, and Silvie Palodino, for the very first time.

I was also pleased that many of them had no problem with mentioning the true reason for the season, including when Santa took center stage. When asked by Hi-5 what Christmas was for, Santa replied that Christmas was for remembering the birth of Jesus… and then he gave some other nice reasons. I wish more shows in the U.S. would say things like that.

In keeping with this, many Christmas carols were sung with ALL the lyrics, many of which celebrate the birth of Jesus, and sometimes the in-between verses get skipped, nowadays. Not here. The Hallelujah Chorus had its prominent place (though I thought they sang it a bit too fast), but the grand finale was David Hobson singing The Lord’s Prayer. And it was glorious. That’s saying something, coming from me, because there’s only one other version of that song that I’ve ever liked.

While we were watching Carols by Candelight, we were taping the finale of America’s So You Think You Can Dance (yes, I now know that it showed several months ago in the U.S.), to watch later. I’d only watched a day or two of it, but enjoyed it immensely.

And now, we didn’t go do any crazy Boxing Day (day after Christmas) shopping, except for getting more pain meds for me. Just taking it easy for a few days. And I’m really praying that my ear will be healed and I’ll be off my meds in time for going to see Australian Outback Spectular! on Thursday night. I really want to be able to hear properly and enjoy the food, for my second time seeing this show. And not have to worry about any more medicinal side effects!

So, I hope this gives you a little taste of Christmas in Australia, and I hope I didn’t skip anything, because my computer lost my first write-up of it, and I almost screamed (or axed the computer, or something). But I made a recover, and tried again.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and please have a safe and fantastically Happy New Year!

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