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Christmas in the Winter? Weird

Saturday, December 18th, 2010

When I tell people I am from the southern hemisphere, one of the first things they always ask is “you have Christmas in the summer right? Weird…”

Well no actually, not that weird, lots of people have Christmas in the summer, just not Europe, or America so not really the important places…or the ones that make Christmas movies and cards…well you get the idea. I guess it is kind of weird in that sense as to a very large part of the world Christmas is winter, and while previous to right now I’d never come close to a cold christmas I kind am getting their point.

Christmas in NZ is great. Its summer, uni is over, 2 months of summer holidays ahead. Even your friends with real jobs normally get 2 or 3 weeks off. We go to the beach, go camping for NY’s, eat salad and drink cold beers on the 25th. Seriously it is a good time So what if the fake snow and Santa in a fur lined suit doesn’t make sense, its summer! So when EVERYBODY brings up the christmas in the summer topic I can safely assure them that yes, Christmas still is Christmas in the summer.

So now after 5 summers in a row I am (literally) knee deep in one of Europe’s worst winters. And even though I live in fear of falling of my bike in the ice, its kind of nice having a wintery Christmas. I think it helps I live in Leiden, one of the Netherlands postcard style towns with cute alleyways, cobblestone streets, canals and churches. I admit there is something about Christmas that helps you feel a bit better when you slip on the ice and almost fall into a canal (OK so this hasn’t happened to me but I am very worried it will!). With all the snow and the massive Christmas tree’s everywhere, the packed pubs serving hot wine, planning an actual roast meal for christmas. Its great! I’m not even a ‘christmas’ type person, mostly I just like that we get to eat all day. But really its nice, and makes winter a bit more bearable. And the city is beautiful decorated and in the snow. I no longer own a camera (number 5 was stolen) but the internet provides all.

See? How nice is that. And wandering around the market today (only shopping for myself luckily) I do understand the confusion, Christmas in the winter just feels…right. On the other hand photos from home of everyone at the beach and BBQs, and christmas garden parties…I guess Christmas is a good time anywhere. And I am still a uni student so still get a 5 week holiday :)

Settling down

Sunday, September 12th, 2010

After another crazy summer across Poland, Isle of Man, Scotland, Spain, Belgium and the UK it is time to settle down for the time being in the lovely city of Leiden, in the Netherlands. I will attempt to write a bit about my journey as a foreigner here trying to make sense of a new country and jump through the hoops required to live here!

I am doing a masters here which will take about 10 months and so this will be the longest I have been in one place for awhile! Its a beautiful little town, well connected to Europe and a great uni so really looking forward to the year ahead