For, I think, only the second time I spent Christmas not in Northern Ireland. I’d decided to skip Christmas in the UK last time round, and having been back to the UK in October I’d caught up with pretty much everyone I wanted to see. Also, travelling at Christmas just seems to add to the stress of travelling anyway, and having managed to get a dose of the norovirus last year I was happy to be giving it a miss.
Hong Kong doesn’t really feel Christmassy like the UK. We do still get decorations put up on buildings and naff Christmas music piped into shops, but for obvious reasons it’s not the massive festival of shopping that it is in the UK. The warm weather also contributes to a general lack of Christmas feeling. Having spent the Saturday before Christmas Day having a beach barbeque really doesn’t make one feel very festive. These are just some of my excuses for being crap at Christmas shopping. It’s not something I enjoy at the best of times, and I’m afraid I just resorted to using online shopping in the UK. I also had Christmas cards left over from last year, but didn’t figure on Mum remembering keeping last year’s card, and therefore rumbling my clever scheme. Typical.
Fortunately, Christmas Day did not involve me sitting alone in my flat eating a Pot Noodle. One of my friend’s offered to host a Christmas dinner for 5 of us in total, so long as booze (and in my case, cutlery and crockery as well) was provided. I received a text at about 9:30am asking for more stuffing to be bought from one of the more up-market western supermarkets. Normally in the UK, on Christmas Day, forget it. Here though, no problem at all. It felt very weird seeing shops open on Christmas Day.
It was a very enjoyable day, with good food, good company, and plenty of booze drunk. We even had a traditional game of Monopoly afterwards, which I did not win, and got the blame for making a deal which lead to the eventual winner getting two sets. Ah well – I fnished ahead in chess 2-1.
New Year was quiet, as there is a bigger celebration for Lunar New Year at the end of January. Next year will be the year of the Ox. But more importantly, we get 3 days off I think. Before then, I am visited by the ‘aged parents’ for a few days in January while they are en route to Australia, and then for one day (I think) in February. Not quite sure what entertainment to line up for January yet. I should probably get a move on though as they arrive on Friday. Having been asked what they should bring, my advice was ‘coats’. It’s cold here. The weather reports say it’s about 15C, but it feels colder. It’s certainly warmer than the UK, but then that’s not really a good reference point.