A blessed and peaceful Christmas to you!
I have been so excited for Christmas this year, and it’s finally here! I’m not even entirely sure why I’ve been so hyped up over it, since I barely celebrate it back home, but I suppose it’s nice to be excited over it.
Christmas celebrations started a week ago with the church event, right after I ended my exams, and then it’s been a whirl of preparing cards, writing and sending them, looking for recipes to make, and singing along to carols in Carrefour! I obviously lack shame.
From my Instagram: The Christmas cards I made
I truly do enjoy how everyone here takes Christmas so seriously, and how it is so family oriented. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like Malaysians tend to have a slightly different idea of Christmas, where we think that there has to be extravagant decorations and lots of eating and drinking and going out and whatnot. But really, the true idea of celebrating Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ (who, well, wasn’t actually born on 25 December). Over the years, while many people have departed from the religion, they still maintain the tradition and celebrate it quietly with their loved ones. And that is why while the malls are flooded on Christmas in Malaysia, Krakow looks like a ghost town on Christmas eve and Christmas itself.
Part of one of my “families” here in Krakow :)
The other “family” are some people from my amazing church here!
This year my Christmas mostly involves a lot of eating. We don’t practice take-outs very much, and I’m terribly fond of the idea of putting in effort into preparing something yummy for everyone to enjoy (heart matters loads, yes?). So while I was recipe hunting, I ended up being very frustrated because I don’t have an oven and most of the brilliant-looking recipes required an oven. But well, we eventually found ways to get around the lack of an oven.
It started off with a simple (yet proper) 3-course home made dinner with my two housemates on the 23rd, during which I learned that while they are both non-Christians, they celebrate Christmas back home too by going out for a nice dinner, and on certain years, they attend Christmas Eve service in church. I’m quite sure that while my family’s Christian, we don’t have as fixed Christmas traditions as my two friends do.
We also learned that none of us knew how the dishwasher in our apartment works.
Appetizer: Potato and Leek soup, which turned out very brilliant.
Main: Salmon and spinach salad, paired with sangria (we really ought to have gone with white wine)
Apple Crisp with vanilla ice cream. This was good alone, and I’m sure it would taste even better with whipped cream, too. When it was gone we ended up wishing for more!
On Christmas eve, my very industrious friends organized a Christmas dinner, and produced 2 roast chickens while they were at it! Plus, they had a Christmas tree at home (with gifts!), so that was a great bonus. The rest of us made little desserts to take there, and we generally had an amazing time listening to travel tales (3 of them just returned from Switzerland), playing carols and Pentatonix on the MacBook, and just enjoying the food and each other’s company.
Apple Crumble! A stove-top variety.
I made this! Stumbled upon it on Pinterest. It’s called Chocolate Bark, and boy, is it chocolate-y. I was asked if I really made it, and didn’t just buy it, so I consider it a success.
Modified from this recipe.
A spiced roast chicken. I was told that this is a Jamie Oliver recipe. It was incredibly yummy!
I think this was a garlic roast chicken? Not entirely sure. It was good, though.
After we were almost done stuffing ourselves silly, we each got little presents from the host! The gifts weren’t just generic “chocolates for everyone!” kind of gifts, so I really appreciated the effort that went into them. I think there was one for about more than ten of us (including a couple of people who weren’t there). I received a lovely little Tinkerbell pendant! :)
Today, my housemate and I will be having dinner with our neighbours, which I think is so generous, because it’s such a private affair and they’re letting us be a part of it! I truly hope we won’t be extra awkward while we’re there! And tomorrow, on Boxing Day, while some people will be gladly shopping, I’ll be at my pastor’s place having a belated Christmas lunch! Again, very touched to be included in family affairs. It’s a nicely special feeling to belong that way. :)
In spite of all the food (which I thoroughly enjoy), I think what’s making this Christmas season special is the kind of love that I’m getting from the people around me. It makes me want to be home so much more, but I can’t, and as such, I choose to be thankful for what I have been blessed with.
This season, I suppose it’s good to be reminded how good we have it. Yes, you probably have your own worries and trouble (even looming exams!), but it’s so great to remember that we have a Saviour who was born to die for the sake of our salvation, and that we always have a Heavenly Father who looks out for us, and who has our best interests at heart (which may not always be our wishes!). He truly is the reason for my joy, and I am thankful. :)
I wish you and your loved ones the very best, and may your heart always be filled with love and joy, which will carry you through even in the face of adversity! Even if only one person loves you, you are so blessed!
Once again, a beautifully merry Christmas to you!