What an amazing and wild experience was our Christmas! I have never experienced a day like this one, but it was certainly wonderful and utterly memorable.
We woke up, had a light breakfast, and Ant and I went for a walk/run that caused me to sweat and be happy. Then, we drove to Ant’s uncle Ross’s house for the festivities. The tree was insane…loaded with presents for the 30 family members about to arrive.
People started arriving in dribs and drabs, socializing, and having the requisite Australian Christmas beverage – beer! It’s so funny to see people imbibing at 9:00am, but it is no issue here – it’s just what people do on Christmas (like my family eats lox and gluten-free bagels. I love traditions!) I thought I would feel overwhelmed by the massive number of people (Our holidays generally average at 15, and this was twice that, with people I had only just met!) But as seems to be the usual in Australia, I was overwhelmed by how lovely the people are. Friendly, interested in getting to know you, open and warm, Australians know how to make people feel in their comfort zone. Or, at least, Anthony’s family does.
Once everyone arrived, we started opening the presents. The little ones of course had to open first, but we tried to get them to pose for the cutest dang picture ever:
After this, people started opening gifts. It was fascinating to coordinate 30 people’s gifts, though everyone always seemed to have something to open, and something to share with everyone else.
Everyone seemed really happy with their gifts, but Ant and I in particular lucked out…
As our big gift from his family, (as well as tons of other house setting-up stuff that was fantastic) we got a trip to Sydney…that leaves tomorrow morning!!!!! I am so insanely excited – Sydney is one of those places I’ve always wanted to see, and never imagined we would get there anytime soon. We both can’t wait to see the Opera House, The Harbor Bridge, and enjoy fabulous walks on the beach!
After we opened up our prezzies, (Australian term, I swear!) we started digging in to lunch. Since my dad says I take too many pictures of veggies, I took extra special meat photos just for him…
There were tons of salads as well, of course. Mango and avacado with walnuts and watermelon, ricotta and mint were especially divine, as was one that was new to me: wombuck salad (a chinese cabbage) with silvered almonds and other yummy bits. Everything was truly delectable, though I admit it was weird to eat cold food on Christmas!
I sampled a little bit of everything, and was stuffed after one plate. That didn’t stop me from trying the custard Ant’s sister made for me, which was unsweetened but cool, creamy and divine. I’ll have to make it again for the blog soon!
After a two hour nap, (I do love Holidays!) Ant, his cousin Trent and I headed out for a beautiful walk around Ross’ property, which took us around two hours.
It was tremendously beautiful. Ant and I hope that we might be able to find a place to live around there, so we can walk to our hearts content in the wonderful Australian Bush. The river was so clear, the air so pure, and the land so quiet – it was one of those moments when I truly realized that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore!
After the walk, we came back to pick at left-overs and play 20 questions until it was time to pack up and go to sleep.
Off to pack for Sydney before our 6:00am flight. See you on the flip-side!
Question: What was your best surprise gift ever? Have you ever surprised anyone?