Christmas just isn't the same without family. And until this point in my life, I've always been so used to the epic family parties and goofy traditions (like the annual talent show), that it was always easy to take it for granted.
But this year, being in London away from so many people that I love, I found myself thinking about family quite a lot - giving presents at midnight, karaoke with the cousins, eating lots of filipino food... even the little idiosyncrasies like how certain family members would always fall asleep on the couch or stay glued to the television. These things were never a big deal before - but now the memories have become so endearing, particularly because my participation in this year's family party was reduced to an online Skype appearance. Which reminds me... I should really thank my uncle for including my digital face in the Christmas pictures.
I think a huge part of the seasonal cheer over the last few weeks just seemed to be absent around me, despite all the Christmas decorations and holiday greetings everywhere. I've had a consistent stream of coursework to do and nothing really familiar or worthwhile to distract me. (Reality TV is not my idea of a worthwhile distraction... more like an act of desperation). So again, like Thanksgiving, I was really missing people. And if it weren't for Kim coming down to London for the week, I probably would've been in quite the rut.
It helps that there are two of us here going through the same thing. And so we made sure to make it as special as we could... even though we both sort of agreed that it didn't exactly feel like Christmas.
Anyway, we didn't do too much over the last week. We barely even left the house. But at least we went out to see the Christmas Market in Hyde Park.
And discovered a 2-story Tesco near Earl's Court where we bought most of the ingredients for our Christmas feast.
Then for Christmas Eve/Day... we cooked... and ate... and ate some more... and cooked some more... and watched a TON of movies in between.
This morning's breakfast:
There was actually much more food involved than what is pictured here... but I didn't do a very good job of being photographer this week.
Besides realizing that "Father of the Bride 2" was on TV today, the highlight of our week was probably when we exchanged gifts and discovered that we had gotten each other (at least) the first book of the Twilight series. Could we be any more nerdy? (BTW- this picture was taken after a very long day of cooking and eating).
All in all it's been an interesting ride. If nothing else, Kim and I discovered how extra-fabulous we are when we're in the kitchen together, or when we decide to make music videos of us lip syncing Christmas songs to send to everyone as a holiday greeting.
We've received a lot of life-changing news from people in the last few days, the best of which (in my opinion) involving Becky's Christmas Day engagement. And now that it's nearing the end of the year, I'm beginning to look back at 2008 with a sense of awe, for so much that has happened to us and the people we care about in the last 12 months. It's been intense... and the holidays have really reminded me to be grateful for all the amazing things that have taken place this year.
I think I might be ready to welcome 2009 with open arms... but I'll save my thoughts on this for another blog entry in a couple weeks.
I know this will be my last entry of the year.. because as I type Shawn and James are en-route to London to meet me and Kim. Tomorrow night, we'll all be heading to Edinburgh to bring in the New Year.
With that said, I'll end on one last thing:
I love you...
See you in 2009.