Tuesday, April 22, 2014

An Orphans Christmas- Manchester, England

 With time whizzing by ever so fast, in a blink of an eye Christmas had arrived. With the streets of Manchester filled with over 300 specialty Christmas market stalls and pop up bars the atmosphere in the cold brisk air was as cheerful as ever. Cheese's, strudels, chocolate covered strawberries, hot mulled wine, liquor coffees and an endless amount of delectable foods made by stall owners from all parts of Europe. The town's 15th annual Christmas markets were a joy to be apart of and is where we spent most of our days in between work, preying for snow and doing christmas shopping. 

This year was to be a christmas like no other as it was the first time I would be spending it away from my family and friends from home. Not to mention it was to be my first wintery cold traditional English christmas. Like the kind I would watch in endless christmas movies while I sat in a swimsuit hiding away from the Aussie summer sun under the air conditioning at this exact time of year back home. 

The excitement through out the flat was electric as the countdown to Christmas began. Getting into true christmas spirit we all became increasingly competitive with who could have the most outrageous christmas jumper. Vintage was the only way to go so we scrawled through countless boutiques in hope of finding Grandma's knitted jumper with christmas pudding stains in-beded in the wool since 1995. James and I found two fantastic old Disney jumpers and two brilliant matching knitted cardigans from The 1993 Christmas Collection. Although there were no stains the bulging shoulder pads sure made it the perfect find. 

We most certainly were not alone at this time of year, with everyone we live with being in the exact same position as us. The annual Walkabout orphans christmas was planned. Marks Mother Kim had come down for the day which gave our Christmas the authentic motherly vibe as she kept us on our toes and delegated us all our roles and duties in the kitchen. Amber invited her two kiwi girlfriends from home Elise and Renee who had moved to London. And we of course couldn't have a christmas without our good mate Jamie to be there in the mix. 

Starting the day with a champagne toast it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The pub was decorated and the table was set for 14 ready to eat hungry Walkabouts. The enormous spread for lunch was a gorgeous typical English selection potatoes, every vegetable you could imagine, three different types of meat, yorkshire pudding, Marks famous gravy and the most amazing vegetarian flan. It was by far the best meal any of us had eaten in months, for some it was the best meal since their last Walkabout Christmas. After food comas and tactical naps it was time for too many beers, silly drinking games, crump circles, dance offs and Budd and Burra's annual Norris brother arm wrestle.

It truly was a Christmas like no other. For me having Christmas away from home was to be the biggest challenge I had faced since packing my bags and leaving Australia. To my surprise I had survived the holiday season without a moment of sadness, not even a tear. How could I be anything but over joyed when I am celebrating such a significant time of year with not just house mates and co workers but my true Walkabout family. I couldn't have asked for a better day with a better bunch of people. 

Merry Christmas to all. 

The Wanderer's Daughter xx    

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