View from my fathers livingroom.
When living abroad in a country very different from your own, it is not uncommon to skip holidays. Only a few lucky ones really celebrate like back home with a big group of people, a christmas tree, window decorations and candles sticks, chocolates, gifts, candle, desserts, casseroles, meats and salads. The most people usually do, is to enjoy a Christmas Buffet for 150 – 400 RMB per person. These tables are Canadian or American, never Finnish or Swedish. Since the Chinese folks dont give a darn a bout Christmas, there aint visble quies all over the city about what holiday it is. So it goes by unnoticed to some of us.
Does it make me a weirdo if I enjoy watching various beings eating food I’ve made?
2 meatballs were sitting on a plate. A woman picked them up and fed to her dogs, as a Christmas breakfast addition. And it was the best thing. Super stoked she was, eyeing the two cuddle editions of wolf, chow down on those hand made Swedish Meatballs. Experiencing a kind of pride and joy. Happiness. The end.
Was it just so that I liked to see them eat meat, since its so rare in this pretty much Vegetarian household? And that made me feel like I am doing the “proper thing”? This morning we had meatballs in the house because yesterday, 2 days after Christmas eve, it hit me that I got no Christmas spirit. Until that moment, it had’nt bothered me…
But wait, what is this? And I started looking around the house. No candlesticks. No stars in the windows. No 4 candles burned unevenely on the kitchen table I dont have. No Christmas tree. No pretty lights. No oranges with cloves pushed in the skin, giving the home a scent. No boxes of chocolate. No bowl with a mix of different nuts. No gifts!! No Donald Duck!!! No TV at all actually, and no sitting next to my brothers playing videogames I was not welcome to participate on. NO NOTHING! This, quite frankly, blows I thought. It only took me til 48 hourse after it would have been all over, to realize I really want it all. “BUT IT’S CHRISTMAS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!” and I miss family.
Up and out to Wine Dance Supermarket on Baochao hutong, they are always open late. Got som potatoes, cream, 2 jars of anjoivies, a few onions and of milk for the Jansson’s Frestelse, which is an ah-mazing Swedish Christmas Potato Casserole. Some walnuts because mom always did. A kg of minced pork for the meatballs. Got home and got cooking! When the second casserole was in the oven, I even dugg out some awful Christmas lights (Thank you Doris, I still love that I have it). Now they are sitting pretty, decorating our hutong terrace. A Chinese orange with cloves in the peel, decorates and adds scent to our livingroom. A few candles in mason jars. A bowl of walnuts with shells still on, just sitting there. Just because.
Aaah, muuuuuuch better.
This morning, when I even got to feed my dogs a homemade meatball for breakfast, I felt fantastic. Because it meant it was Christmas. And it got a bit like, instead of me opening one present in the morning of December 24th, they got to eat one meatball on December 27th :)
Merry Christmas, Sanna
Addition in January: I cooked a well received Christmas table for New Years eve and invited people in for a detour in their already made plans. Success! Mulled wine, 2 kinds of ham, beet root salad with pieces of potato and apple, gingerbread, softbread, cheese, picked onions, pickled cucumber, Janssons frestelse, carrot casserole Finnish style.. Ah, it was fantastic. Everybody got properly fed and drunk!
Here comes a parade of Christmas memories from 5 years ago. I love and hate these images. I love the memories, but dispise my terrible photography skills from before China. During my 5 years here, I have really learned Photography if anything.
The pictures up here are from one of the anual big vegetarian Birthday Celebration / Christmas dinners at dads place with some friends, family and his care takers. Since my birthday is on the 23d of December, the two are usually combined.
Joakim and I made our own jams, and for Christmas we’d gift them to family.
Here’s my best friend Matilda, with my brother to the right and his buddy “Redskin” to the left. Joakim is behind the wheel. We dropped Markus and redskin at the train station, before we headed over to Tillas apartment.
Knitted a warm scarf for mom.