An Englishman Expat recounts his summers in New Zealand. Christmas in the Sun is a pretty strange place to be.
I grew up in the south of England. When I was in my late twenties I met a wonderful woman, who invited me to travel the world. After three months in Europe, one of the most amazing experiences of my life, I jumped on a plane with her to New Zealand. And stayed there. 10 years later I’m still there, with two children.
One of the most difficult things to get to grips with having grown up with cold, often snowy Christmases is having Christmas in the middle of summer. At first, it’s disconcerting, everyone is getting excited, except you. There is none of the routine temperature dropping, dark evenings, family huddling etc. It gets hotter and hotter, then bang. Christmas day. Much less decorations. No Pudding. Barbecues for lunch, swimming at the beach. Weird.
But it’s not all bad. We swim in warm water in the morning, we drink cocktails, we eat crayfish. Heck, if we’re lucky we hang out on a boat. This year we spent 4 days on a boat.
Since I had children it’s got even better, all you parents know kids behave badly cooped up indoors, ours get to behave badly on the beach, away from us.
But the best thing, is the simplicity and ‘analogue-ness’ of it all. The TV is off. There are no digital music players. No DVD, Blu-Ray, no X-Box, no Playstation. The toys aren’t laptops and computers, they’re waterpistols, rugby balls, swingball. It’s terrific, truly all about family.
So the Christmas cards still have sleighs, snowmen and scenes of white Christmases, but I can deal with it.