It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas….or is it?

Things are plugging along for us and Christmas is in full swing here.  I must say that I do really like that you can use the word Christmas, that everyone uses the word Christmas, and that ‘Christmas’ is what everyone is talking about.  In Boulder, the word Christmas was barely speakable anymore unless you knew for sure you were speaking with someone who celebrated it—otherwise it was not politically correct, and could be highly offensive….what?!  I’ve never understood how wishing someone happiness would be offensive.  If anyone had ever wished me a Happy Hanukkah, I would not have been upset.  Ahhh, well, I digress.   So, the playgroups are having Christmas parties, as are the music groups, and the churches as well as caroling nights, and the cities, and the gym, and the yoga class within the gym, and the Zumba class……you get the idea.  It’s very festive and social. 

We had a pretty quiet week.  Steve has been working a lot—both at his new job to get in some training before they officially break up for summer, and at the current job.   The boys and I pretty much stayed “routine” and had a good week.  We attended a Christmas story time at the library which was excellent, as well as the last church music group for the year—all of the groups we go to stop now until about February for the summer break, but luckily, there are enough special Christmas events to keep us entertained for about the next two weeks.  And I joined that gym, so that is another outlet for us as well.  It has not felt much like Christmas to me yet—I am guessing that’s because I’m not at home, doing my usual holiday stuff, and the weather is much different.  Because, as I said, it’s in full swing, and decorations are everywhere—although the decorations in this area just bring me back to about 1985.  Brightly colored fake tinsel garlands….are you kidding me?! 

So on Sunday, I decided to brave church with the boys—I decided on the Anglican church where we’d bene going to for music groups, because I know they’re comfortable there, and I found out that they can go to the next room and play. And, for me, because Anglicans do Advent, which I’ve always really liked, and it makes me realize Christmas is coming.  Well, it turns out they were having a party too—turns out we attended the children’s service and it was the breakup service for the Sunday school for the year, and the 3-5 year olds were doing a Christmas play to end things.  Apparently, one kid was out sick, so they asked Drew to fill in as the innkeeper, no lines.  He wanted to, and it ended up being one of the most heart-warming precious mornings of my life!  The kids practiced the play twice in the back of the church and the adults told Drew what to do, and one of them even improvised a little shepherd-type headpiece as a costume for him.  They all processed in and did their play and he stood right by his little inn, with a calm, bright, nervous face and I just sat in a chair and cried—as did the sweet old lady next to me who knew him from music!  His bravery and desire to be involved is just beautiful. That was his first play and I did not have a camera!  They sang songs at the end of the play that he had never heard before, but he sat with them all at the front and tried so hard to sing along.  After the service, they recognized all the Sunday school kids with a gift and they even gave him one and recognized his role—they gave Zach and another kid a little gift as well, as visitors.  Then they had a festive “morning tea” with every sweet imaginable, other snacks, and of course, tea and coffee.  I still am amazed by the amount of sweets consumed in this area before noon each day, especially offered to children.  My boys are definitely being spoiled by it.  It’s pretty difficult to keep them from it when it’s all around them, right in their faces.   What turned out as an excursion I was nervous about to keep us entertained for an hour while Steve worked on a Sunday turned out to be a beautiful, 3-hour event!  That church has been so welcoming to us—-the people are so kind.  It made me a bit sad again that we are soon starting all over. 

Sunday night Steve and I got a date night—in the city!  Ben and Rachel watched the boys from 6 to 8 at their unit in Brisbane, so we got to sneak away and enjoy a lovely dinner and walk—it’s so fantastic to have a meal without children and be able to sit through the entire thing! 

Today after their swim lessons, we searched for a Christmas tree—with no luck.  It sounds like people don’t buy the beautiful cut evergreens here—-for a live tree we will have to get a “living Christmas tree” in a pot, a Norfolk pine that we can keep and continue to grow after the holiday.  That sounds nice, but they look like the Charlie Brown tree and I am interested to see how those braches will hold ornaments.  We also put up the few decorations that we shipped over here, which helps a bit.  Then we took a drive, over to the north side of the city, and drove through a couple suburbs that are options for us when we look to move next month.  That was fun, and we got excited by the beautiful areas we found.  We stopped for a picnic on top of a beautiful tourist attraction, Mt. Coot-tha.  It had a great view of the city and river. 

I have to say I do miss the snow a cold a bit right now.  And I mostly miss people, and the stores and activities I am used to—-things here are so much harder, so much more confusing, and I miss the convenient, the known.  But overall, it’s been a good week and all is well down under. 

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