Christmas in Mexico & in Ireland

christmas tree with ornaments

Photo by Kevin Bidwell on Pexels.com

I’ve had Christmases in Ireland, China and Mexico, and out of all of them, Christmas day in China was the worst. Bar one, where we were both off work and we spent the day eating christmas pudding and opening Christmas presents which my Mum sent me, drinking beer and watching Christmas films on my laptop in our freezing apartment. That was a very special Christmas day for us and I really enjoyed it. The others weren’t very good, with one of us/ or both of us working. (They don’t celebrate Christmas in China).

Of course I LOVE this time of year at home in Ireland. I love my Mums cooking; roast potatoes, roast beef, veg, stuffing, gravy….. oh I’m getting hungry just thinking about it. Then we would usually have pavlova (my Dad’s favourite dessert) and an Irish coffee in the evening. The fire would be blazing, the christmas lights all on, and I just really love Christmas time at home.

But this time I’m not celebrating Christmas at home. I’m in Mexico, and the weather itself makes me not think that it’s Christmas time at all! The weather is a balmy 23 degrees, with around 14/15 degrees at night. So not exactly freezing weather!

My husbands family don’t celebrate Christmas either, so the lack of a tree and lights at home also makes me doubt the time of year!

So, let me explain to you the differences between a Christmas in Mexico and Ireland.

In Ireland, usually Christmas eve is busy; we are wrapping the last of the presents, maybe running to the shops to buy that one last gift, and preparing the feast for the next day. Many religious families will go to midnight mass. This is usually in the late evening and not midnight as it suggests.

Christmas day we usually wake and open our presents. Religious families will usually go to mass first and then come home to open their presents. My family aren’t religious anymore so we don’t go to mass.

Then at around 1-3pm we have our big Christmas dinner, dessert and then for the remainder of the day we just laze about, eat crap, drink Irish coffees and watch Christmas films on tv. This is my families routine so maybe other Irish families may differ!

Every shop is closed on Christmas day…. even the airports! You will rarely see anyone on the streets, as everyone will be indoors with their families. (plus it’s too cold to be outside)

So, Mexico now!

From what I’ve gathered, Christmas Eve is when people have their big dinner. Usually it will be later on in the evening, with fireworks being heard outside. The gifts are usually opened after the big dinner, and usually after 12AM, because it’s now Christmas day.

Then, Christmas day is rather strange. I saw that a few shops/ restaurants were open, with employees chatting to each other because there’s nobody actually dining in their restaurants. I noticed that there were a lot more cars than I expected. Why are there people out? Are they not inside with their families celebrating and spending time together?

I prefer the way it’s celebrated in Ireland more, I feel like in Mexico they only celebrate it at night and only for a few hours, and during the daytime it’s just sort of like a normal day, whereas on the 25th in Ireland, that whole day is dedicated to just being with family.

Maybe next year we will celebrate in Ireland!

Aisling

Our First Christmas On Our Own

Our First Christmas On Our Own

For the past two Christmas, I’ve been thankful to have had two great ones; one with my boyfriends family, and the other with my own family. This time however, it was only going to consist of myself and my boyfriend.

For my first Christmas away from my family, I arrived in China for my teaching internship. Unfortunately I had to work, so the day wasn’t very Christmassy at all! I remember talking to my family that evening and after I hung up I cried because I missed them so much and just felt disconnected from everything. My first Christmas away from home and I’m stuck working and being by myself. I think 2 of my students gave me presents which was so kind of them, but I made a promise to myself that I would definitely be home for the next Christmas.

However I didn’t keep my promise. After that I happened to meet my boyfriend  and we decided we would go to his country and be with his Mum and Dad. It was quite strange to celebrate Christmas in a hot country such as Mexico, whereas I’m so used to having it during the winter; it being freezing and having the roaring fire in the house.

I had a really great time there, but before long we were back in China!

Last Christmas, I unexpectedly had to go home, so we decided to go during December so that I could be with my family to celebrate. With the arrival of my new nephew, it was the first Christmas with him, so it was a new experience for the whole family!

I enjoyed my Mums dinner, ate pavlova, drank loads of Irish coffee and Baileys, and had a great time with my family and my boyfriend! I enjoyed my time (and food) so much that I also got a good deal fatter!!

So for this Christmas we didn’t travel anywhere to celebrate! It was our first Christmas in China on our own as a couple. There was no festive feeling in Chengdu as no one celebrates it here (although every supermarket sells Christmas stuff which I find weird), but we made the most of it ourselves!

My Mum sent a parcel to us the week before which had lots of presents for us… wrapped of course! Then as a surprise, my boyfriend bought a small tree and lights, and when I arrived home from work one night, he told me to close my eyes and he guided me to the tree. I opened my eyes and saw this cute tree with lights and the presents my family sent us!

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So when Christmas Day came, I turned the lights on, put on some Christmas music, and we opened our presents together.

At noon, and not particularly knowing how to cook a Christmas dinner, we decided to order some food from a restaurant and we watched the film ‘Elf’, as we had not seen that film in years! After our lunch, we treated ourselves to some hot chocolate and Ferrero Rochers that my boyfriend got me.

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Later in the afternoon, we decided to go to the shop and buy some coca cola and some cheap red wine. We mix them together and they are called Katembas. One of our South African friends told us about this drink! We both love it!

Knowing that my family would be waking up soon, I tried to give them a call, but the connection was terrible! I’m guessing it was because everyone else was trying to ring back home and talk. So I was resigned to wait until there was better connection.

After a while we tried again and thankfully we got through! It was great seeing my nephews playing with their new toys. I got a bit sad at this point; missing out on everything. I would have loved to have seen there faces seeing all their presents. Oh and eating Mums dinner!

But it was great to see them happy and having a good day.

After talking to the family, and for our dinner, we made some quick Quesadillas and we enjoyed eating them while drinking our Katembas. We decided to stick on a film called ‘Krampus’, a scary Christmas film, which we both thought was quite good! It was something different anyway!

At around 8:30, we watched our last film ‘Mean Girls’. I know it’s not a very Christmassy film, but my boyfriend never saw it before so I really wanted him to see it. My Mum surprised us by putting a Christmas pudding that she made into a tin for us. We opened the present and we put it aside, thinking there are chocolates inside. Later my Mum asked me ‘What did you think of the pudding?’

What pudding?? She never sent us a pudding…

She told us to open the tin, and there it was, wrapped up! We decided to have this for our dessert, and it was lovely!  Lastly, we had a little Tequila. My boyfriends Mum and Dad, when they were over, brought some good quality Tequila from Mexico over for us so we had a small drop of that to end our Christmas day.

And do you know what, we both had a great Christmas together. The day before I was thinking ‘Will I miss my family and be sad for the whole day?, What food will we eat? What will we do?’ but thankfully it turned out to be a lovely relaxing day with just the two of us.

Although there wasn’t a very festive feeling outside, but we made it festive in our apartment. We enjoyed each others company, ate loads of food, and had a great day!

So we are now both wondering where or what we will be doing for next Christmas…. Wherever it will be, I’m sure it will be wonderful like my past 3 Christmases!

再见

爱玲

Is it….Christmas Eve?

Apparently at home its Christmas Eve… but where I am, its just a regular working day. Only difference is some of my students gave me apples. This is apparently what they do during Christmas, give out apples as gifts. I have read extensively about China before coming, but this new to me! But I did get a present from one of my students from English corner, so I actually have something to open tomorrow morning! Although I wont be surprised if its another apple.

And I have FINALLY realised why I am so cold all the time. Like I mean Ireland is freezing in the winter, so I should be well used to the weather here… I just feel cold ALL THE TIME. I only figured out that there is no central heating in any of the buildings. No radiator in sight. I have no idea how I didn’t cop this on a while ago… I get so used to having the air conditioner on hot in the bedroom, then I walk out into the FREEZING sitting area. I realise now that I miss radiators! Summer please hurry up!

Although it doesn’t feel like Christmas in China, from Facebook status’s and pictures I know it has definitely arrived, so I want to wish whatever followers I have…HAPPY CHRISTMAS! For the expats, I no doubt know your missing Christmas morning and Christmas dinner like myself.

Aisling.