Posted by: scribe9 | December 26, 2009

On the first two days of Christmas…

It’s still Christmas on America’s west coast as I write this. We spread our celebration over yesterday—Christmas in New Zealand—and today, which is Boxing Day. It was all very low-key—very Kiwi.

Yesterday Rick and Emily were at the hospital all day. I went to an early church service, very glad to have the opportunity to sing traditional carols with a congregation. We also sang Jester Hairston’s “Mary’s Boy Child,” and a couple of measures of his “Amen” later in the service.

I came back home to thaw and roast the turkey, which I’d guess is the one the butcher offered me at Thanksgiving when I’d ordered a fresh one. I also made cranberry sauce and stuffing, but not dessert. Emily had made the meringue base for the Pavlova on Christmas Eve, disappointed that the caster sugar didn’t dissolve fully and the meringue got overdone. We still haven’t quite nailed baking down here. With whipped cream and plenty of strawberries and mangoes, we enjoyed the Pavlova.

For most of the day, one set of neighbors was playing techno just loud enough that I could hear and almost feel the beat, but couldn’t hear the melody. Thank goodness for the Internet, so I could stream carols from US stations. I also listened to a play on New Zealand radio, based on the story from the Gospel of John about the rich young ruler being reluctant to shed his possessions. Considering the commercialization of Christmas, I guess it was appropriate.

Cate and Mike had sent us gifts from Thailand before returning to California, which we were able to open in their “presence,” thanks to Skype.

This morning Emily made us a wonderful Christmas breakfast, since yesterday everyone just had cereal and juice, and we opened our stockings and the gifts from the rest of our families in the US. Then we packed turkey sandwiches in our chilly bin (cooler) and were off to the beach. It wasn’t crowded—there’s a high ratio of coast to people around here—but (I’m sure we’ll gain all your sympathy here) the sand was so hot we burned our feet.

On the drive home, I realized that I never saw any signs or heard anyone say “Meri Kirihimete,” which is “Merry Christmas” in Maori—surprising, considering how many Maori words one sees and hears. It’s close to “Mele Kelikimaka,” because Maori is, like Hawaiian, a Polynesian language, but with a bit different alphabet.

When we got home, the neighbors were playing techno again. That’s one part of my New Zealand Christmas I won’t miss.


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