UPDATE: Season now officially over, my family are done w C. Ooooof! *magnificent sigh of relief* It is no exaggeration when I tell you I ate more for the past 2 lunches, 3 dinners and in between than I have for the past 2 weeks. And we are not one of those families that habitually stuff their faces but this year I simply could not resist the codfish, the turnips, the sprouts, the raddish, the broccoli, oy, it was v tasty (and healthy, see?). I ate loads and all I want to do now is lie down on the sofa and take a nap, I've been falling asleep on the sofa under my eider down duvet for the past 2 nights at about 2 am, oblivious to the ping of the MSN windows even (I'm a very light sleeper), and waking up - brace yourselves, Bridgets! - around 8. EIGHT IN THE MORNING!!! So I need some rest, especially bcs I'll be travelling for *GULP* 16 hours. On a brilliant note, there was turkey today (Anglo transculturation, yes) and I now have a handy bone collection: 1 femur, 1 humerus, 1 ulna, 1 radius, 1 fibula and 1 tibia. It will be useful to handle this. Finally, many people have placed pins on my cute Guest Map - thank you, I love the pretty flowers! I will visit everyone when I get back. Except the Israelis, that is, who really can't be bothered. [Metumtemot!]. Canada? I should be alright, my smartass cousin gave me a tiny Canadian flag pin to ensure I do not lose my way. That way, even if I lose my voice or develop amnesia, I can always grin manically and repeatedly point at the maple leaf, thereby ensuring I will be shipped off in the right direction. In the meantime, 16 hours till departure - and do you know, I AM GETTING ALL EXCITED!!!
Yesterday turned out to be quite lovely, we had loads of fun. My Mum did what she always does, started telling the same old stories from when we (my 3 cousins and I and now my cousin's daughter) were little. We've listened to them a thousand times and still it never gets old. Then we all join in the re-telling. Very cosy.
We all miss my aunt, she died in May. We didn't talk about her much but it was on our mind the whole time. That made this C. season particularly hard. My Mum has no other siblings - we're an appalingly small family really - and she misses her terribly. Knowing this I should be more able to not let her nagging affect me but she knows JUST WHAT TO SAY doesn't she (mothers!), and I am awful, I snap under pressure. Not the most graceful of creatures when cornered, no. Yesterday evening I tried harder to not let any of it get to me. She was also in a better mood, less cranky. It helped heaps as well.
Christmas is always bizarre. I was an exchange student in Germany and it didn't faze me one bit bcs it was all so different, there was no reference frame. First of all I managed to blow the tea party on Nikolaus day (Dec. 6) bcs my dear host brother told me "Don't forget it's Nikolaus tomorrow" and I said "Ahhh, right." and then wondered what on earth that was. But I'd been dutifully opening a window on the Advent's Calendar every night [and hell, was I annoyed when, on the 24th, I GOT A RAT. A FUCKING RAT! ON AN ADVENT'S CALENDAR. I ASK YOU.] So I decided to go downtown after classes and arrived home at 18.00 and was there displeasure in the house! Upon seeing everyone at the table merrily eating and sipping away I thought I'd forgotten someone's birthday. My host brother kept saying "But I told you, I told you!" Yes, the ritualistic repetition of the word "Nikolaus" is bound to inject all these new facts into me, yes. That worked out well. He shut up only when I screamed back "You said it was Nikolaus Day, nothing else, how was I supposed to guess, Dummkopf?" So on Christmas we baked this very huge and bizarre loaf of bread/pastry thing with LOADS of ham inside. That was the meal. [No codfish, no octopuss, oy] [I don't eat octopuss and never cared for the taste but my parents and my cousin swear by it.] [My first meal w my host family, when I first got there, was a huge salty pretzel at 14.00. I was starving and could not believe I was being given an inflated snack to eat, w too much salt and butter. Grew to love it but yes, cultural shocks galore.] After dinner my parents went to Mass (only time they did, from what I could tell) and my host sister and I, being too cool for churches [and I being too coll for this organised religion thing, was an atheist back then], went for a walk in the freezing cold. And that is how I managed to miss a Protestant Christmas service. Granted, I'd probably have been bored out of my mind but I wish I'd done it so I had an idea. 18-year-olds can be insufferable. (And Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate it, dahlings, have a lovely one. I MEAN it.)
So my point? Nothing abt C. there annoyed me, it was too different, too fremd. Here? Oy vey is mir, aber wie. I have yet to find my niche. As Noorster has so brilliantly put it, "I'm too Jewish to properly enjoy Christmas but too assimilated to properly ignore it."
Nobody expected the Portuguese Inquisition either.