My head hurts

I’d love to tell you about our night last night but my head hurts to much. I’d love to give you a warm and thoughtful blog about Christmas in Qatar and new friends and old friends and Christmas carols but 4 panadols, 8 litres of water and a run to the Thai restaurant have still left me in a zombie state, reduced to bullet points

– Irish friends
-annual Christmas carols
-pink bubbles
-more pink bubbles
-what do you mean I’ve drank all the pink bubbles
-jingle bells, chestnuts roasting on an open fire
-pogues
-I love this song!
-wine
-lets put contreau, baileys and vodka and in a wine glass
-lets try and drink it without using our hands
-god I love you guys, I really really LOVE you guys

When my brain starts talking to my fingers again I’m going write about a few of the very special stories I heard last night but in the meant time I may be able to explain a little piece of our night last night if I revisit the same event last year.

Thank you Martin and Darina for yet another fabulous night xxx

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Family traditions

Last night G and I were invited to a party. The party was hosted by a wonderful Irish couple who are both stereotypically short, funny, drunken and mischievous. About an hour after arriving without any warning one of our host’ handed us a photocopied song book with a bit of tinsel thread through the standard hole punch groove. He then took his place in the middle of the room and asked/announced in a thick Irish accent “Shall we start with jingle bells?” and away he went. No music, no organization, no warning but within seconds everyone in the room was belting out Jingle Bells. Fantastic! For the next forty five minutes the crowd of about seventy or so expats sang carols around the Arabian gulf, all far from home, all with a twinkle in our eye. I cant speak for everyone else but I know that for G and I it was special, this week I have said on more than one occasion that it really didn’t feel like Christmas but our new Irish friends have quickly changed my mind.
After the singing was over and we were back to talking and drinking, the host’ came to join G and I. We ask about the song books and the tinsel and with a glint in their eyes they tell us about their family tradition of carol night. Their children are now young adults but they are quick to explain that “the girls” made the song books years ago when they were much younger. We talk some more and laugh as they tell us story after story of their children. Their eldest who (very proudly) is now 24, working in London, and was the first of their brood to graduate from Law at Trinity in Dublin. They joke about their son who likes a drink, loves his rugby and just lost those very expensive teeth they paid “millions” for. Their baby who they miss terribly. When I ask if it’s hard not having the children here on carol night they are quick to tell us they will fly to Ireland before Christmas and naturally there will be another carol night on the 24th. G and I are thinking the same thing….is this us in 20 years?
Today is our 11th anniversary. It seems appropriate that today we moved in to our new house. This is our 8th house with about 7 hotel stops in between. It was as you can imagine a busy day. Our shipment has not arrived so in the past 24 hours we have managed to buy a couch, kitchenware, bar, bar stools, sofa bed, cutlery, dining table and chairs, plants etc… Trucks have been and gone, beds have been made, new neighbours have dropped by to say hello and slowly an empty space has become a home.
At the end of the day G hooks up the DVD player, Wii and TV and calls out to number 1 to ask if she can locate a DVD to test if the new player works, we cant find a movie but number 1 finds a home movie. We haven’t looked at them for ages and they are all in a box that has made it’s way in the carry on luggage. We all wait anxiously to see if the dvd player works and up pops a familiar room, G and I cant place it. After a moment I recognize a long blue pillow on the bed and it becomes clear. It is the hotel room at the Park Lane, the hotel G and I lived in when we first set off on our expat adventure 10 years ago in Jakarta. It doesn’t look as plush as I remember. A boy’s face appears on the screen, he has bushy hair, is wearing a bad shirt and he looks about seventeen…..it is G. I am the videographer and he is talking straight at the camera. The look in his eye is familiar. We are in love. We are young and as green as grass. I remember the idealistic promise made all those years ago “Ordinary people, living an extraordinary life”. G takes the camera and points it at me, I’m very pregnant with number 1, no wrinkles and NO IDEA what is to come. At this stage the plan is 2 years in Jakarta and then home to Australia. Here we are 11 years, 8 countries and 4 children later.
With an empty refrigerator we dash out for dinner. At the table our children raise their glasses and toast our anniversary, it’s incredibly sweet. We talk about dream holidays, 1 wants to go to Mt Rushmore, 2 wants to go on an African safari, 3 wants to go “wherever you do Mum” and 4 just wants more chicken. I want time to stand still, I don’t want anyone to get any older but I’ve learnt from our new Irish friends that there is so much more to come.
As a little side note, to my G. A very perfect and extraordinary anniversary. x

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