As you may have gathered, I love my life in Thailand. I consider it my home. I have a job I love, and friends to hang out with now and again, but it’s always great to go back to my hometown of Northampton, in England, to catch up with my beloved family and friends.
And being Christmas makes it extra special. It’s not the same in Thailand, yeah they put up huge Christmas trees and decorations in the mall but it doesn’t have the same feel to it as Christmas at home. For a start, at home, you’ve got the run up to Christmas day when you get to exchange secret Santa presents and drink wine with your girl-friends, and shopping with your mum or dad. Decorating the tree and wrapping presents and not forgetting the obligatory Christmas Eve drinks. It’s all part of the Christmassy spirit. So, even though I like to make out that I am a bit of a humbug, really, I love this time of year, so I was very happy to be going home.
So a few days before Christmas I found myself sitting in a taxi, my bags packed, on the way to the airport with that tell-tale smile on my face that means I am excited to be spending time with my loved ones.
I arrived a few days before Christmas and got into the spirit quick quickly, catching up with friends and chilling with my family. I was just happy to be back surrounded by people who know me the best once more. To make it extra special this year we have three new babies in the family. My beautiful niece, Amayah, and two bouncing nephews, James and Sebastian.
On Christmas Day it was just, me, Mum, Dad, my sister, Denise and my new little niece, Amayah. In the morning we opened presents. And then watched Amayah open hers, with a helping hand from her mum and grandma of course. We had salmon, scrambled eggs and prosecco, which is the norm for Christmas lunch in our house. And, a few hours later, we demolished turkey and all the trimmings for dinner. It was delicious, like all of my mother’s food is. For the rest of the day we all sat watching TV, eating chocolates and drinking wine. It was very special.
The next day, I went for the one and only run of the holiday. It was nice to run in the cold for a change. Normally, I have to contend with 20 degrees plus temperatures, so running in the cold made a pleasant change, and it blew away a few cobwebs. (a.k.a.drinking too much wine!) In the afternoon the rest of my family arrived for the annual Boxing Day party. It was fun, although a bit different what with the new babies. There were no drinking games, or drinking of the dirty pint but there was a delicious buffet, wine (of course) and a lot of laughter. It was time well spent with my family.
New Year’s Eve saw me on the train heading to Newark to spend time with my good friends, Doyle and Mel and their two boys. Doyle picked me up from the station and we had coffee, before arriving at their home to start (and finish) two bottles of wine. Later, we went to their friend’s house for food, games, and, you guessed it, more wine. This time accompanied by a glass of water in between. Shock, horror! First time for everything! It was a great night, and when we got back we sat and chatted for a few more hours before heading to bed. A rather tame night, not like the ones we have had in the past, but I was happy that I got to spend time with them and I didn’t want to be anywhere else for those couple of days.
Whenever I go home the first few days go slowly as I get used to my surroundings again. And I think to myself “I have ages here.” But once those surroundings become familiar again, and I’ve had a few nights out with my friends, I’m almost on my way home again. The time goes so quickly.
It’s always bittersweet when I see people for the last time. Sweet because I’m spending time with the people that I love but bitter because I’m leaving them once more. But however much I love everyone at home, and I miss them a lot, it’s always nice to come back to the life I’ve made for myself. To get back into the routine of working life and to feel healthy again.
All in all I had a fantastic two weeks. I drank my body weight in wine, ate a lot of delicious food, put on a few pounds, but most of all I spent time with my wonderful family and gorgeous friends. In fact, words cannot describe just how much I loved it. It’s like I have never been away from them. They welcome me back with open arms and we pick up where we left off, just like I saw them yesterday.
So until the next time….