Our First Holiday In Australia
"I wonder how our first holiday away from home would be," I always asked this to my husband when we anticipated the holiday season.
"But this is our home now." "However our Christmas celebration would be, we just have to celebrate it and make the most out of it." The husband would always respond.
Fair enough. I could not help but compare how much happier and livelier the Christmas celebration
back home in the Philippines. Parang bigla naman akong nahomesick. I miss seeing the colorful Christmas lights and decors in the street - yung mga parol, mga Christmas lights sa daan, sa mga bahay, I miss hearing Christmas carols, kahit yung mga batang nagcacaroling at kakantahan ka ng Thank you, ang babarat ninyo, the endless Christmas gatherings, parties with workmates, with friends, with highschool friends, with families, with second cousins, at lahat na yata ng kaibigan at kamaganak mo, may party. I miss the simbang gabi, the puto bumbong, at higit sa lahat, nakakamiss din pala yung may mahabang Christmas break ka from work. Haha.
Here, things are a bit different. Aside from the fact that there are less light displays and Christmas decors here, generally Christmas is quieter that what we used to have back in the Philippines. First example, our company Christmas party.
In my former job, the Christmas parties were usually held in a hotel's function room and we were lavishly treated with good food and great music. We have production numbers, live bands, raffles, games and many more. On top of that, we have a company wide year-ender event where we get to see big celebreties perform on stage. At may Christmas bonus na, may Christmas basket with hamon pa. I never realize how lavish our parties were until I had my first company Christmas party here.
In this side, everything is much simple and relaxed. Weird as it may be, but our Christmas dinner started at 4 and ended at 8PM on a Monday. It was still fun - we had a bowling match, accompanied by drinks of our choice and a friendly serving of appetizers (hours devours). It was a refreshing take on a Christmas gathering. It had to end early - something I deeply appreciated cause most of us have families to take care of and prepare for the early work next day.
Then the Christmas day came. I was still surprised to find out that most people here do not gather on Christmas eve. Most Australians sleep on eve and prepare for a Christmas lunch - where all families gather and give their gifts. Since we're Filos, we can't skip our usual Noche Buena tradition. Luckily for us, we have friends here to celebrate with. For our first Noche Buena, our friends, Fen and Ria Wiliams welcomed us to their homes.
Yet, we wanted this Christmas to be very memorable for Leon. Apart from the usual Noche Buena tradition, we bought him to different places to make him feel the Christmas spirit. On the 23rd, we brought him to the Sydney Santa Spectacular - which location is just walking distance from our apartment. It was a big fair that Leon went crazy over the rides and the attractions.
The best part? The fake snow inside the Winter Wonderland! Leon had been insisting that snow will fall on Christmas day (but IT IS SCORCHING HOT in Australia right now). When we walked inside the fakes snow fall in the area? Leon would not leave the spot. Paolo and I felt the value of our (ticket) purchase when we saw the happiness in our son's eye.
On Christmas day, Leon received his Christmas wish from Santa -the hot wheels parking garage. Afterwards, we had our Christmas dinner at Darling Harbour and did a little stroll around the area. Most of the restaurants are closed on that day - so the vibe is quieter. There was not much light display in the area at least, our little man was happy.
Of course, we ended our holiday by shopping on Boxing Day. December 26 is a day where stores will drop down their prices and everybody will shop like crazy. I was expecting crazy sale (imagine: Black Friday Sale in the US) but it was not as wild as I expected. Most items are 50-70% off but it wasn't a low as I expected it to be. Why? Cause all year round, palagi namang may sale sa malls dito so the prices aren't really lower than we expected - there's end of season sale, black Friday sale, Australia day sale, etc etc. Nevertheless, we were able to give each other's gifts - Nespresso for me and a Jaybird wireless headset for him.
Our Christmas may be different from what we used to have in the Philippines, we are now looking forward to making our celebration memorable and fun, no matter how short or hot it would be.
"xx, The Mommy Roves