Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A decade of Christmas past

We've been in Cyprus over nine years now, so - as Tim pointed out - this is our 10th Christmas. Each has been unique in its way...

1997 was the Christmas of culture shock. We had only been here two months, and were missing our extended family and friends back in the UK. We invited another new family to lunch, then went for a walk along the sea-front... all enjoying sunshine (even if a little chilly) at the end of December.

1998 was the strangest Christmas. A friend invited us and another colleague to lunch in her flat. Unfortunately she caught some kind of stomach bug, although she insisted we still come. We ate lunch to the accompaniment of her being ill in the bathroom.... then left early, and came back to our house... only to discover that the washing machine had flooded. All over the kitchen floor.

1999 was the extended family Christmas where we went back to the UK and spent the day at the large house my parents owned at the time, along with my grandmother and siblings and their families. More relatives came on Boxing Day. It was the last time my grandmother (well over 90 at the time) was able to travel, as she had a bad fall the following Spring, although she lived for some years afterwards.

2000 was the most spontaneous Christmas. We invited various guests but it looked as if only one would be joining us. Then, at the last minute, another family we had invited decided to combine resources and come to us after all. So we had two turkeys and lots of other food, and played some games, and generally relaxed.

2001 was the noisiest Christmas. We invited the family who had joined us the previous year, and one or two other friends; at the last moment, an Egyptian family who had been in Larnaka were not able to return home so they joined us too. The children got on well at first, but when they got tired things got a bit fraught....

2002 was the start of a new tradition: we invited some home educating friends from Limassol for the day. They don't really celebrate Christmas, seeing it as too commercial, but we had turkey and crackers anyway, and played some games.

2003 was the teenage Christmas. We went to Limassol, to our friends, and they invited another family with teenagers too. They all got along very well: we played some games together which worked brilliantly.

2004 was the jigsaw Christmas. We went to Limassol again, with a different selection of guests. Our friends had an unbelievably difficult puzzle so we spent much of the afternoon working (in vain) on that.

2005 was the busiest Christmas. My mother was staying, and our friends from Limassol came over with another family. Prior to Christmas we had been to two parties, a meal out, a theatre performance with Daniel in, an inter-church Christmas concert, and several church services. After Christmas we went to yet more parties, and the cinema...

So.. 2006 was the quietest Christmas. Just the three of us for lunch. No visitors at all. One party last week, one party this week. Lots of carols for Tim last week, and far too many hours of work for Richard including all of Christmas Eve afternoon and most of the night working on an urgent problem ... he finished around 4am Christmas morning.

10 more days of the Christmas season remain...

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