exciting, informative, snarky, and very likely fabricated tales of life as an american expat in london

bah humbug

by Jen at 5:34 pm on 22.12.2005Comments Off
filed under: holidaze, world tour

every 21st december, i thank god the winter solstice has come, and with it, the knowledge that the days will be getting longer from here on out. yesterday, on the shortest day of the year, the sun came up after 7am and by 3:45pm it was dusk.

so tomorrow is the last day before the christmas break. because we get both xmas and boxing day here, we have the following monday and tuesday off, so most people take the subsequent wed-fri and returning to work on the first tuesday of the new year. a nice long break of about 10 days when almost everything stops. you have to love the european holiday ethic.

christmas here is a very relaxed affair, in comparison to the frenzy it always seems to be in the u.s., although most of that is probably due to the fact that i have no where to go and no one to see. mostly it means eating chocolates and drinking all day long, having a little movie marathon, and just basically lounging the entire day. *everything* is closed, the tube isn’t running and all taxis are double fare if you can find one, so essentially you’re forced to spend quality time with the family (or in our case, the neighbours). boxing day is usually more of the same, with perhaps a visit to the pub. i’d like to go to a midnight mass somewhere, but with no public transport after 12, that’s a no go. shame, as there is something about hearing carols and bells peal through the uncharacteristically quiet darkness of a city that touches the spirit.

the next two days the shops will be a madhouse, so today, j and i went and stocked up for the weekend. our christmas dinner will be a brown-sugar baked gammon (ham) and roasted potatoes, which is a bit of a break with tradition for me, but after pre-thanksgiving at home and thanksgiving here, i’m all turkeyed out. things feel a bit half-hearted for me, and i think most of that is because we’ve been on such a strict budget for the past 10 months, that we’re both just sick of it. there’s nothing glamourous about stretching pennies and nothing fun about being skint at christmas. i’m just burnt out with making do, and i think j is too – we’ve been bitchy with each other the past day or so, and it’s not very cheery. don’t get me wrong: i am absolutely aware that we’re incredibly lucky, as this self-enforced deprivation is entirely voluntary – we have enough to eat, a roof over our heads, good jobs. but it does wear your nerves thin, and when you start carping at the only other person who can identify with how you’re feeling, it doesn’t exactly engender tidings of comfort and joy.

but. this too will pass, and i just have to keep in mind that when i’m climbing the great wall of china, or looking out over machu picchu, or kayaking in fiji it will be worth every cranky moment and “woe is me” wallow i’m having now. the lack of presents under the tree, turning down holiday invitations, begrudging myself all the festive touches which make the season special but add up on the wallet… it sucks. i am the veruca salt of yuletide. it makes me grumpy and grinchy and cross. i’m just so completely impatient that the idea of delayed gratification is a thoroughly abstract concept.

maybe kris kringle will leave some valium in my stocking.

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