UK (12.24.09 – 12.30.09)

Christmas Eve (Thursday) was mostly consumed with continuing the business of getting my Russian visa sorted out. I woke up, later than I meant to, printed out my ‘invitation’ and headed for the visa office to submit all of my paperwork and hand over my money.  Once that was sorted I headed back to London, stopping en route to finish the very last of my last minute Christmas shopping, which really just involved buying chocolate…the ultimate Christmas gift! I returned to the house and then got ready to go to a party down the road. We stayed for a while, indulging in champagne and finger food, before leaving to head to the house of another family, where we enjoyed an amazing meal. We headed home and one by one headed off to bed. I woke up myself up screaming at about 5AM, after having several nightmares in succession. I had scared myself so significantly that I didn’t want to even get out of bed, and I definitely didn’t want to fall back asleep. I stayed up for the next four and a half hours, talking to friends who were still awake in America. After sleeping for about an hour, I was awake again and before long everyone was up and it was time to open presents. Rob and Fran (my uncle and aunt who are kind enough to put up with me and let me stay with them) were tremendously kind and had gotten me lots of presents so that I had things to open on Christmas day. Among the treasures I received were pajama pants, a lovely hat, chocolates, some books, a bath bomb from Lush, and lots of travel goodies. After opening presents, we had a late breakfast of bacon butties (toast, ketchup and bacon), which are my faaaaavorite. We then spent the majority of the day in front of the television, watching DVD’s that various members of the family had received as gifts. First we watched the latest Harry Potter film, and once that was over, it was almost time for Christmas lunch/dinner, which is classically when the English have their roast dinner, while Americans always have the roast for Thanksgiving. After Christmas dinner, it was time to watch the Doctor Who special, which was brilliant, and will be continued/completed on New Years Day (I can’t wait). We then watched the newest Michael McIntyre DVD, which was absolutely brilliant, followed by some Arthur and Miller, which was also hugely funny. The rest of the night consisted of eating lots of chocolate and sleep.
On Boxing Day (this is what the day after Christmas is called in England… I wish it was a term the Americans used as well), I woke up early (for me) and packed my bags then headed for the station to catch one of very few train services actually running on Boxing Day. I went to my Uncle David and Aunt Elaine’s house, also joined by my granny and my Uncle Peter. We had a really lovely day, and as is customary for the holidays, we all ate too much delicious food. We ended up playing a game called Scene It, which we all thoroughly enjoyed… to the point that we played twice, and then left it on “Party Play,” for anyone who happened to be in the room at the time. It was a really wonderful day, and the first time I had seen my cousin Adam in four and a half years!!!!! My granny and uncle left to go and get my uncle’s girlfriend from the airport, and I stayed. We watched ‘Gavin and Stacy’ which is a pretty funny show about a family in Essex. Later, I got to have a really nice chat with my cousin Helen, who I have seen more recently than Adam, but we haven’t been lucky enough to get to really hang out at all in that time.
On Sunday, I slept in which was lovely. We had a delicious lunch and then went for a walk through the fields around town. We were walking down the road when some cars approached and one of us yelled “Car!” As soon as the car had passed, in unison, my uncle David, my cousin Adam, and I simultaneously yelled “Game On,” which was a wonderful moment that made us all laugh. We returned to the house and watched Blazing Saddles, as we’d been talking about it on our walk. We then had dinner and watched Jaws 2, which was just a bit ridiculous.
On Monday, I left Swanley and took the train to Poole, to see my Uncle Peter. My cousin Hannah met up with me on the train, as our journeys intersected, and we traveled the rest of the way together. My uncle put together a wonderful lunch for us, as despite that it was past 3PM by the time we arrived, neither of us had really had lunch. After lunch, I found that I was somehow quite sleepy, so I napped and then we went to the movies. We went and saw ‘Nine,’ which I enjoyed, though I disliked some of the casting choices. Daniel Day-Lewis provided a superb performance, as did Marion Cotillard (who is STUNNING), as well as Judi Dench. As I’ve seen ‘8 ½,’ the film upon which ‘Nine’ was based, I was extremely glad to see it, even though my vote had been for going to see Sherlock Holmes. After, we went back to Peter’s and had dinner, after which we watched the Matrix (I feel like I’m watching lots of TV at the moment?).
On Tuesday, Hannah and I woke up at a leisurely pace… are you surprised? I thought you would be. We had lunch and after a while we went out for a drive to a nearby cove, which was beautiful… as well as being windy and freezing. Afterwards we went back to Peter’s and watched ‘The IT Crowd,’ a delightfully funny English comedy program. We went out for dinner at a fish restaurant called ‘Loch Fyne’ and enjoyed a really fantastic meal, where once again, we all ate too much. After dinner we went out and got a drink at a bar called Aruba… where I got a ridiculous, seriously girly drink. We had to brave the rain when leaving the bar, so we ran through the rain to the car. Once home we watched… MORE TV!!!! Eventually, we headed off to bed.
On Wednesday, we were all very seriously lazy. Hannah and I didn’t emerge until past noon. I didn’t bother with breakfast… because when you don’t get up until noon… what’s the point? Once we were all up and dressed, we went for a walk along the beachfront in Bournemouth, which was lovely and stopped for a coffee on the way back. We returned and had a very late lunch, while we watched ‘The Inbetweeners.’ Eventually, Hannah and I decided that we should probably make our respective ways home, so we packed our bags and caught the 6PM train home. It took about three hours to get back into London, and once home I watched lots more of ‘The IT Crowd’ before calling it a night.

Thursday promised travel and New Years Eve and good times and Russian visas… but as it goes, that’s next week’s story!

Christmas treeeee!!! Some of those presents are from me 🙂 (and some of them are for me!)

Ornaments

The cove where I went for a walk with Peter, Alex, and Hannah

And from another angle…

A boat we saw when walking around the cove… I thought it was pretty

And another boat…

My drink at Aruba… it had Baileys, a honey liqueur, Triple Sec, milk and honey in it. It. was. ridiculous.

My year in review is up next. ❤ lovelies

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4 responses to “UK (12.24.09 – 12.30.09)

  1. Elaine Freundlich

    You should have stayed with us another night bcause we went to the cinema like you BUT we saw Sherlock Holmes! It was very good.

    • I was glad to see Nine, as I enjoyed 8 1/2 so much… I really would like to see Sherlock Holmes though, as I enjoy Guy Ritchie’s films so much. I’ll catch it soon, I’m sure. I’m pleased to hear that you thought it was good!

  2. So, I know when Boxing Day is but I’ve heard all too many different things about what it actually is. So, other than fewer trains on the rails – what do you Brits do to celebrate, and what does it signify? I figure I’d ask instead of doing a trusty web search – for a personable approach.

    • The history of dates back to the days of servants. The servants had to stick around for Christmas, but they got Boxing Day off to celebrate their family. I think they got to take boxes of leftover Christmas dinners to eat, thus “boxing” day…

      Now, it’s a bank holiday, so everyone is assured the day off… but we don’t celebrate. When it comes down to it, it is now merely the name for the day after Christmas!

      By the way, your card came! Thanks very much Scott, it was really sweet of you to send one my way. 🙂

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