Did not really FEEL like Christmas day for me. I felt far away from home… far far away… with a throbbing headache (the likes of which I had never endured, nor for as long – over 1 week) thanks to allegedly (according to the doctors) severe allergies. The weather was neither hot, nor cold… it was not Christmas weather.
The kids awoke around 8.30 am… in fact, Bethany had to be woken, as she showed no signs of waking so late in the morning. Mitchell immediately stopped in his tracks upon seeing the Christmas Tree… or should I say, the bikes in front of the Christmas tree, and got this very cute excited look before trekking over to his tricycle to test it out.
Bethany sleepily walked into the lounge area and leaped at the sight of her bike, but quickly became more interested in the presents behind it, looking for those with her name written on them. Lots of excited squeals followed from Bethany as she opened her presents and commented on how good it was that Santa knew what she liked. (We’re struggling to keep the belief of Santa in her mind… she was of the opinion daddy got presents until we started watching the Santa tracker… so it will be interesting to see what she believes when next year rolls around).
Mitchell meanwhile, was more interested in his bike, and not in the idea of opening presents. We would half open a present, and only when he could see what was inside would he come over and help unwrap it, then delight in it. Of particular joy to Mitchell was a wooden Thomas train set he got. He loves pushing his trains around the track and over the hills. If the present had wheels, and Mitchell could drive it along a surface of any kind, he was in heaven (and still is!).
With no family around, and the normal Christmas routine not really practical, we ventured to a restaurant up on the Peak for lunch with a large group of other ex-pats. The restaurant was about 85% ex-pats (ie non-chinese), so I guess it is the normal way of things here… It was a buffet with a decent variety of mostly edible food. Nothing stood out as amazing in the food department, but I suppose the idea of this kind of thing is more the venue and people than the food anyway. The highlight for me was the desserts, where a selection of New Zealand Ice Cream (ie Tip Top rebranded) was available, and I indulged in delight. Bethany had lots of kids to play with, and I had a couple of people to talk to (despite my throbbing headache holding me back somewhat).
Mitchell had a wonderful time… there was a toddler play area where he spent 90% of his time partying like it was 1999. 😉
Bethany was dressed for the day, and enjoyed the view as much as everything else. She likes being up high…
In the end, Christmas day just felt like ‘any other public holiday’, which in hindsight is sad, because Christmas is (was) one of my most favorite events of the year. I don’t know if it is the location, the setting, the current climate, the shadows looming, the isolation, or maybe just the fact I have been extremely unwell for the majority of the festive season. Maybe all of the above…
The kids do love their bikes though, and spent the majority of the afternoon on the top podium deck of our apartment complex riding them around, and around, and around.