This year has been one of many firsts and it was bound to go out with a bang. In keeping with the theme of 2010, this was my first Christmas away from home. (the Greek home that is, I’m still very confused with the use of the particular noun).
As I walk into the living room in what I call home now, I can see that our very sad Christmas tree is still waiting to be chucked out, undressed and miserable. Compared to last year’s tree and the trees before that, this was the first time I wasn’t the sad one when I had to take the baubles and lights off it and put them back in the box. This year I did it like ripping a band aid and this time it didn’t hurt. So, that’s another first but one for the new year that is now only 10 days old.
The last days of the year that is now long gone are also tucked in but in a different box, one that I can bring out and open as I please. A box filled with the smells of Chinese black tea, kourampiedes and mince pies. Stuffed with too much turkey, sausages and mealie. Packed with wrinkly wrapping paper and gift tags. And lots of photos.
Photos of friends decorating indecent gingerbread men, ice-skating and snow-angeling. Photos of choirs singing Christmas Carols. Photos of my family freezing on the South Bank and begging for a meal indoors at Borough Market. Photos of happy chaps opening presents and carving the turkey. Photos of Christmas crackers and paper crowns. Photos of teary goodbyes and ‘see you soon’ promises.
And so the year ended with big smiles, a massive pisco-induced hangover and hope. Hope that whatever went wrong in the year before is now long gone too and whatever will be can be dealt with, as long as you have someone who holds your hand under the blanket, friends to do snow angels with and a family that risks paying a fine for an overweight suitcase full of melomakarona and kourampiedes.
*A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens