13 In Expat Life

English Christmas + Scottish Hogmanay

Happy Monday!

The holidays were such a busy period for me – lots of travelling (through the UK) and lots of friends and family reunion! You might have caught glimpses on Twitter or Instagram or even through hints in previous posts. While we might be well into the first week of January now, I thought that I would do a roundup of how my holidays went. My first real holidays living away from home (as the last two years I did make it home for the holiday period).

english christmas

We went down to England to spend the holidays with the Brit’s family and I have to say that the prospect of being away from home for the holidays had been weighing on me since I moved here. In retrospect, it was hard, but I felt so welcome and had lots of fun!

We went down with the Brit’s best friend who was driving back home on the 20th. It was a lovely drive down to England but we were all exhausted by the time we arrived in the Midlands.

The next day, we all went out to spend the afternoon in Ashby-de-la-Zouch (yes that is the real name and yes I giggle every time I say it out loud). Photos will probably be coming later on the blog, but the castle was super cute and so was the town!

On the Monday and Tuesday, I was in London having a blast with a fellow Canadian who attended St Andrews and we walked aimlessly around London both amazed that we have made it back to the UK! Yay expats!

Then Christmas came and it was lovely! A nice exchange of gifts and a pretty amazing dinner! I also tasted Christmas pudding!! What a weird tradition – I don’t think I like things with sultanas in them so much, but hey, it was a true British Christmas! We even watched the Christmas episode of Doctor Who after dinner!

I was pretty happy that the gifts I bought to my family made it there on time and we even opened presents on Skype! My mother had taken care of sending some packages weeks in advance knowing I would be going to England and not get anything that would arrive in Scotland. So we had Christmas stockings directly from Canada and cute little gifts! There is nothing more that could warm my heart!

And the Brit offered me some amazing things (on top of making me feel at home while I spent Christmas abroad) – 100 points to Hufflepuff seriously! Oh and he offered me a ukulele, which I’ve been talking about for nearly a year! He started teaching me to play guitars last year and I was terrible and didn’t really like it. But the ukulele is just so cute and tiny and easier. I’m working hard on about two songs – which might be my entire repertoire, knowing my musical talents 😉

I obviously offered myself some nice books too – because books! I bought Mindy Kaling’s Is Everybody Hanging Out Without Me? And I loved it by the way. Great read if you love Kaling’s humour! I also bought a book on screenwriting and a book recommended by Waterstones, The Rabbit Back Literature Society. I also bought the Brit the new Malcolm Gladwell book and I might borrow it soon. I’m looking forward to all these great reads!

scottish hogmanay

After Christmas, the days went by fast and by Saturday we were planning our return to Scotland. Sadly the Brit’s bff was ill and couldn’t drive up so we decided to take the train last minute (which was a weekend of hell for the rail network!). A friend (the same Canadian friend from London) was coming to stay with us for Hogmanay as well so we all headed back up to Scotland on the 28th.

So I have this thing about New Year’s Eve – it’s overrated. Period. I think when you try really hard to make new year’s memorable it will always be below your expectations, so you will always be disappointed. So for the last few years, I have tried not to plan too much or to care too much. I go out, I try to be with family or friends and enjoy myself. That is all that matters to me!

And that way, this year far exceeded my expectations!

Since my Canadian friend was there, we made poutine together as our last meal of 2014. We then started pre-drinking as we chatted until 8-9pm (yes we pre-drink early here). Then got ready to go to a friend’s house party. I didn’t expect much from it but it was such a blast! There was dancing, singing, drinking, and general merriment. We also ended up playing a hilarious game of Cards Against Humanity.

At around 11:30 we decided that we had to go watch the fireworks that were being fired from both Edinburgh Castle and Calton Hill. So at midnight we screamed and kissed and watched in awe as the coordinated fireworks lit the sky. And when it was done, we all sang Auld Lang Syne. But it happens that where we were wasn’t the most fun because as our group sang people walked away, silently judging us for being drunk on New Year’s Eve. But even though no one sang along with us, it was nonetheless hilarious and a great moment I will keep as one of my best New Year’s memories!

We went back to the flat and partied on for another 3 hours of dancing, singing and drinking. Definitely a night of fun and happiness to remember!

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I think the only way you can really succeed at spending the holidays abroad is to have an amazing group of people around you! So thank you to everyone who made these holidays special.

That’s my secret! What’s yours?xx

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