4 January 2014

Sunshine at Christmas

Here I am, living on the side of the planet that tilts towards the sun in December. It's where I want to live, but I do prefer Christmas in the cold and dark! I spent two or three Christmases in this way, in England, where I would stroll home in the dark at 4 pm and see lovely Christmas lights twinkling in people's windows. I could eat roast meals at lunchtime and feel pretty good about it.

(It seemed very unnatural to have darkness at 4 pm though. The Christmas lights were the only good thing about that.)

Here the children wake at 5.30 am because the sun has risen, and it doesn't set until around 9 pm. There's absolutely no cosiness happening. So our Christmas break involved a lot of beachgoing.

(Excuse the dates on the photos. Why would my camera do that, out of the blue?)

Day after day the children swam and boogie-boarded, the latter preparing them for the surfing future their father is determined they will have. They're keen for it, too. They learnt so much about how to judge and cope with waves, and they had huge smiles on their faces the whole time!

It would be nice, though, to spread out the big celebration times of the year - Christmas, New Year and a summer holiday. Here they are all crammed together. The worst thing about it, I think, is the end-of-year events that all fall just before Christmas, distracting us from putting time into preparing for the big C. No gingerbread houses got made in this family!

But I don't mean to complain, just muse. New Zealand is the country I want to live in. This was very clear on New Year's Eve when we wandered with friends from a barbeque party down to the beach. It was a still, stunning evening, and the waves rolled in gently. One of our friends made up games for the children - who can write their name the biggest in the sand? Who can do the farthest long jump? Who can find a feather, a shell and a leaf? The children were in thrilled a 'We're at the beach and normally we're in bed by now' kind of mood, and we all loved being right there in that summer evening on New Year's Eve.

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