I think I’ve said before that, in many ways, this emigration has not been hard. It wasn’t easy leaving family and friends behind, it wasn’t easy having to re-equip a home, and it’s never easy fitting into a new school or new job….But generally things have gone well and we’re settled.
Up til now, the only test has been time. Mrs Dim has a Social Calendar in her head that goes off every few weeks saying “We haven’t seen/heard from so and so, we must call/write/visit/thank our lucky stars..” It’s a supersense she has developed over many years, and is therefore not something that gets deactivated by minor details like moving a few thousand miles. So moments have come and gone where she suddenly sits bolt upright and then slumps slightly… I know she’s thinking “We should go and see…oh.”
But then you get to Christmas. Like any married couple, we have evolved a system for visiting family over the festive period that allows the maximum exposure with the minimum of fuss. Clearly, dropping in on anyone’s parents this year would involve quite a bit of fuss.
It was difficult, but at the same time, it was simple too: There was no way we could go back to the UK and visit. It was not an option. That only left deciding how to spend it here. We’d been invited to some friends of Mrs Dim for Christmas Day, but that didn’t feel right yet, so we plumped for throwing a Christmas Drinks do for the people along our road.
Most of the church stuff was done on Christmas Eve (I’ve decided not to talk about Religion on the blog, at least for the moment) so we spent the afternoon watching the kids being angels, then got a babysitter in so we could go to the evening service. We got to sing my favourite carol, so that got some extra points.
Christmas Day itself was non-standard. Yes, the smaller weasels got up at ten to four in the morning, but they were persuaded to go back to bed. Once everyone was up and conscious we compared the presents we’d been left in our stockings and exclaimed over the sooty footprints by the fireplace. (Some of us, with responsibilities for household cleanliness, exclaimed a little more loudly than others…) Then we clambered into the car and went off up a nearby mountain for tobogganning. I was a little disappointed at how regimented it was, with lanes marked out, rules to follow and a fee to be paid, but actually, none of that matters once you’re hurtling down the slope on your flimsy plastic sled. The views were amazing, and the other people (of which there were many, surprisingly) were good natured. Well of course they were. They were Canadian.
Then we came home and had Hot Dogs for lunch. Yep. With a boned and rolled turkey in the fridge, we had Hot Dogs for lunch. I may never get over that. On Christmas Day, we sat down for our midday meal and ate Hot Dogs. Huh.
Then came the massacre of presents, with wrapping paper everywhere, the dog in a frenzy over her new toys (and everyone else’s new toys – three pieces of Middle Weasel’s action figure were recovered from Moose’s jaws during the day.) And we all got what we’d asked for, more or less. It was good.
THEN came the turkey with all the trimmings, though we skipped both the Christmas Pud and the Christmas Cake, not being big eaters of either of those. We may have to figure something out about those for Mrs Dim next year.
And where was the family in all this? Well, in that magical time after stocking presents but before getting dressed, we hooked the webcam and computer up to the tv in the lounge and went online. We spoke to both sets of parents, my brother and his family, Mrs Dim’s Aunt and Uncle, their children…It felt like they were just around the corner (although my brother’s internet connection is as reliable as British Rail.) We may not be able to drop in at a moment’s notice, but we’re not out of touch. It’s times like these I believe Father Christmas can get around the world in one night – it’s such a small world after all.