I have experienced a very different December here. December in Finland is special time, at least for me. It's my favourite time of the year. It's christmas time, time for relaxing, family, peace, good food, happiness, winter, snow, birthday, christmas calendars, giving and living.... Christmas here compared to christmas at home is very hollow. It's actually quite stupid and very commercial. No cold. No snow. No advents. Santa comes at night and you can't see him. It's sun, it's warm. The traditional christmas doesn't work here. But - that's why - kiwis have created their own kinda christmas. People have have started to give up on trying to follow english or other that kinda traditions, and made their own ones. English impact is still quite big but this is how kiwis do it:
|Sky city's christmas tree had huge decorations|
- many christmas cards are not snowy/santa topic, rather season's greetings style kiwiana topics (beach...)
- food is not so rich, energy filled stuff - it is light summer food, good for a hot day
- barbecue is popular christmas food
- christmas is usually celebrated only as a family thing - sometimes i wonder does everybody even know the real roots of christmas?
- many kiwis go on the beach on christmas day and have a huge family picnic there.
- christmas tree is either plastic or a pine tree - they dont have spruces (kuusia) here!
- most of the people celebrate on christmas day and christmas eve is just a normal day without any specialities - however, multicultural country as this is, many people do celebrate on christmas eve!
- in New Zealand all the christmas traditions combine and all together they make it nicely different :)
|View on Mairangi Bay on Christmas Day - we had a swim and played cricket.|
On christmas eve I went to Muriwai with my lovely brother Jeremy, who is now in lovely land of christmas - in Finland - starting his amazing exchange year. As you can see - almost nobody celebrates then, so we just had a normal, really hot day on this wild surf beach: hung out for couple of hours photographing and talking and eating blueberries and drinking milk (New Zealand milk is quite different btw, I don't like it!). We finished our day with fish and chips on the beach ( this is kiwi as.. ;D ), watching the most amazing sunset - i posted a picture of it in one post. I promised to write a whole post (or was it paragraph) oh no, essay! about Jeremy the brother dearest so I'll do it someday so you'll get some photos of Muriwai too. And Jeremy will be happy. It will be like a lifelinepost of our friendship like the birth and the death but remember I'm not gonna admire you too much then! Miss those times x x
On christmas day I had to wake up at 7 am to open Santa sack presents with my host siblings. We had a brunch at my host mum's parents' place with the family. After brunch we went on the beach to play cricket and swim - that was really cool. Later in the afternoon about the same 12 people from the family came over to our place. We had a long session of delivering the presents and opening them one by one. I was really happy to get quite a few lovely presents from people both here and in Finland - it was really nice to be remembered, even far away from home. We played nice board games and talked before the big dinner which was very nice and light and enjoyable. The actual day was over very quickly and I skyped to home to experience some finnish christmas.
|Christmas cracker - is broken by pulling from the ends - cracks with a sound, inside usually a joke, small unnecessary gift like a hair clip, and a party hat made from paper|
|My christmas dinner|
|My host sister (8) and I under the christmas tree|
My b'day on the 15th was really nice. On the 14th i planned to go on the beach with all my friends - that would have been perfect and i shouldnt have had to worry about the place and room etc and could have invited quite a few people. Also the access would have been easier. Anyhow, very magically, the weather forecast promised rain for that day, so I had to use the plan B and invite my friends at my host family's house for a b'day lunch. As having a budget of a student I asked them to bring a plate, which means to bring some food ( not just an empty plate ). I had a really enjoyable day while approx. 20 of my friends were able to come and bring cakes and lovely gifts! I felt really loved. I got quite a few kiwi things, which is good, being able to remember my kiwi b'day forever. I got clothes, DvD, jewellery, chocolate, watch, accesories... Some of the guests disappeared after few hours but few stayed and we went for a walk in Wainoni park in the rain - me wearing my new clothes and accesories - and took some fancy pics.
|Ma friends made me these cakes.. amazing eh :)|
|Me, Meg and Lize|
I couldn't sleep very long on the 15th. Waking up at 8 am I went to the kitchen while my host siblings were greeting me and whispered to each toher 'NOW SHE GOES TO THE KITCHEN!' and found a small gift from my family waiting for me there - i got a rugby world cup shirt. I made a perfect fruit salad for breakfast and ate it slowly talking at the same time in skype in an empty house, watching rain pour down behind the big glass windows. I had three calls to Finland which was really nice. After a long bath I didn't have anything else to do except to get ready for the evening ( i put some fancy clothes and nice make up and my yellow heels) while answering all the birthday greetings. My counsellor and her husband picked me up in the afternoon and took me to Sky city to see a big christmas tree. It was raining - the whole day. I totally hope it never again RAINS on my b'day. After having our typical coffee, Flat white or Latte, spiced with talks, we finally got to our destination which was a really fine restaurant - dine by Peter Gordon. It was amazing gourmet food and all the waiters kept greeting me for my b'day! Wow. I went home late and happy and checked mail for more greetings. Such a memorable birthday I say :) It was the first b'day for ages that I've been on holiday on it. Nice eh.
|My perfect breakfast|
|dine by Peter Gordon|
|New Zealand sauvignon blanc|
|Happy Birthday surprise :)|
Wait for the next post - now I'm going for a walk and then I'll start getting ready for the weekend up in the north in Maunganui! That means... sun & beach ;) Haere ra!
x x Lotta