Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas? In Summer?

Christmas in New Zealand is a strange time.  It's definitely different from the US typical Christmas...I see the consumerism (definitely not as extreme) but the Christmas spirit is a bit, ehh. Andrew swears Christmas music was playing in stores...I never heard it. And the town is nicely lit up at night, but no ones houses have lights. Tree's are downplayed. No caroling. No ice skating. No hot chocolate with peppermints (though Andrew tried very hard to get that for me...mean lady closed the grocery store right as he was trying to get in and turned him away). No Christmas movies. A horrible selection of decor and wrapping paper. It isn't a bad was just, differently focused. They focus more on the family getting together then anything else.

The Christmas celebrations started on Sunday the 23rd with a lunch with Andrews family at his Nanny's (grandmothers).   I met quite a lot of people...I had already met his nanny a few times now but I also got to meet her partner and then Andrew's two Aunts and their families (one with 2 kids and the other with a whopping 6!) and Amanda's daughter Amber and her boyfriend. It was a lot of fun, but definitely made me miss home. I miss big Christmas celebrations with all the family :(

Christmas Eve was definitely different. Andrew's family actually invited some friends over to play chukka's.  So I worked a bit and then went out to watch everyone play in the afternoon.  It was a bit boring in comparison to usual...I was on one side of the field and they spent most of their time on the opposite. I ended up taking lots of sheep pictures ;) They're pretty cute. Andrew did look slick in his gear though. He was riding on "Coke" in this picture. The lovely horse with a heart on her head. She's pretty awesome at the polo thing...Andrew was excited to get to ride her rather than one of the 'green' new horses.  At the end of the day there were no Christmas movies or songs...just normal tv.  We did end up watching "Mrs. Brown's Boys" Christmas episode. We had already seen it, but timing was appropriate.  That show is FANTASTIC and hilarious! I know my family and friends back at home would funny.

On Christmas Day we had celebrations at Andrew's dad's house.  It was a ridiculously hot day, but beautiful outside! Andrew's Nanny and her partner came again and then Amanda's son came with his fiance and 3 adorable kids (that came to polo with us a bit back).  Having the kids there was a lot of fun.  It really made it seem like Christmas.  Even though we didn't watch a single Christmas movie or listen to any Christmas music... grr...Oh well.  Food was absolutely delicious and filling...definitely thought I was going to explode. I thought we would do a few things outside, because that's what they normally do (Nanny was playing twister with the kids last year apparently) butttt everyone said it was too hot.  They haven't seen Raleigh hot! haha
 The surprise of the day was Ashley's present to her dad and Amanda...a kitten!! They named her Slippers :) Totally adorable and entertaining. The rest of the day was spent mostly watching a darts tournament on tv...which seems to take up a lot of spare time here haha...and laying around with a fullllllll belly!

The next day was Boxing Day...a big holiday here in NZ.  It's called that because you 'box away' all of the Christmas stuff. But everyone just goes to horse races and drinks a lot instead haha. It was a horrible day for it. Quite cold and the sky was covered in dark clouds.  We decided to dress up anyways but I forgot to take a picture of my great dress :( I spent most of the day in a blanket though.  Earlier in the morning Andrew and his sister went to set up the tent we would sit at.  Around noon we all left to head to the races.  It was pretty fun considering the crap weather! It was my very first horse race...and my very first time betting! Andrew and I bet each time...sometimes losing (normally losing) but other times we won! We actually ended the day making a bit of a profit! About 15 bucks but hey...on top!

After the races we went out for the evening to celebrate, as New Zealanders do.  There was a pub near to the race track so everyone went there.  We stayed out till about 10 and then Andrew and I (being the old people we are) got hungry and wanted to leave.  So we picked up a pizza from Pizza Hut and headed home just in time to watch the second half of Contagion the movie.

Not a bad holiday time at all :) Different...very different...but it was fun. Definitely missed everyone at home a whole lot.  All of my family and our fun Christmas traditions. But hey, I've got next year! Now that we've survived the end of the world and all ;)

Next trip is New Years in the north part of the NZ South Island, Motueka, and then a drive back down the West Coast past Pancake Rocks and Greymouth. Then through Arthurs Pass and Castle Hill to get back home to Ashburton. Super excited!

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