Merry Christmas! This year Christmas has definitely felt different but in some ways it has felt the same. We have been very blessed to have made great friends in New Zealand who have included us in the traditional Kiwi BBQ’s and invited us to family Christmas celebrations. So, we have felt like we have been adopted and everyone has made us feel at home. I have also had the benefit of having my mom visit for 2 weeks. It has been so nice having here to show her where I live, work, and walk (and in NZ walking is a must) on a daily basis. It has made such a difference having her here to share this experience with her and to have a close family member and friend to be-bop around with.
Now on one hand Christmas has felt different. Summer has finally arrived so this week I have actually been in shorts and short sleeve shirts. I have been doing more swimming and go to a local lap pool which is outside. As I did my laps this week I was thinking how odd it was that I was outside swimming in the morning in the bright sunshine and warm weather. Also, Kiwi’s don’t get as commercial and novelty as Americans do at Christmas time. There is no competition of who can have the gaudiest and brightest Christmas lights, no Santa on each corner, and not many Christmas movies on TV and songs on the radio (I know, sad). Overall, it is much more subdued. But have no worries, I have brought much Christmas cheer to this region with my American holiday baking (of course, very rich to the NZ taste buds) and my reindeer ears. Even though the Kiwi’s could not provide me with a Christmas on steroids, I can always bring my cheer with me wherever I go.
Lastly, since it is summer, many people and businesses are closed down for the next couple of weeks to go on vacation. Similar to how we do it in June/July, I guess. Except, here they really know how to take a vacation….I mean weeks of vacation. This is something we have not mastered in the states. In the USA we think that our job, co-workers, and daily tasks can not live without us thus we barely take a “true” vacation. Also, we are sometimes not sure if our job is even going to be there when we get back if we stay out that long. So, Kiwi style is out for 2+ weeks without even checking in and not thinking twice about work. I think we can adopt this from the Kiwi’s. More vacations and true vacations. As for my first Kiwi vacation, I will be going to the South Island for 2 weeks. More on this later.
In the end there are many differences but the one thing that stays the same is the feeling of Christmas and the reason for the season. You can take love and joy with you everywhere you go and there are blessings all around to be thankful for. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all. Enjoy this time with family and friends.