Hi everyone, and happy Christmas, Hannukah or whatever other celebrations you may be involved in!
As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t posted in a long time – again. I didn’t post for a while before I came home from Costa Rica, and since then it’s been Christmas central around here so I’m only just now sitting down with my computer to give you all the love and attention you deserve :P
Did I enjoy my journey home from Costa Rica? You won’t be surprised to hear that I did not, not really, although it was lovely to have Grant there to share in my misery once I got to Newark. The guys had a problem with the dish soap I had bought Grant, as apparently you’re not allowed pastes in your carry-on baggage; but I gave him my most innocent look and said explained it was a Christmas gift for my love, and the guard swabbed it and let me on my way. Hooray!
We were staying with my grandma, and my dad was waiting at the airport to drive us there. In between the engine cutting out every three minutes and my dad having to restart the ignition, we made it there and my grandma welcomed us with open arms. I hadn’t seen her for five months, and she’d never met Grant before; but we all got to chatting and settled in nicely. The tea flowed freely and there were biscuits spilling from the cupboards, making Grant nervous about his offering of chocolate-covered graham crackers.
We stayed for two nights at Grandma’s place, and spent the time shopping, going to useless dentist appointments and eating. Grandma threw food at us relentlessly, impossible to convince that we would not need sausage rolls or Pringles with our cheese and onion flatbreads and garlic bread. She was so determined to make our stay perfect, but she needn’t have stressed out so much – we had a great time.
We’d made plans with my former flatmate Jenny on Friday morning. Mum was going to come and pick us up that day, and take us down to her house in the Borders. We packed all our stuff ready for her to collect from Grandma’s and went out to The Elephant House for breakfast. I’m super glad I got a chance to catch up properly with Jenny and check out the Princes Street events – we got some hot fire punch and watched men in morph suits playing bagpipes, as well as a skiing competition on the main road. Once I get to Strasbourg, there’s a slim chance I could take the train over to nearby Stuttgart and meet up with her before she returns to Edinburgh the next day… it’s a long shot, but it’s worth a try.
After our reunion with Jenny, we headed for some shelter from the cold in George Street’s Starbucks. After a 15-minute struggle for seats and a brief time spent in said seats, the better half decided that crowding into Starbucks and drinking lattes for warmth was too mainstream, and insisted that we give up our cozy spot to some less forward-thinking individuals and instead stand outside in the cold for twenty minutes while we waited for my mum to arrive. Duncan appeared out of nowhere while Grant and I were huddling for warmth, and just that I was reunited with my family. It was a joyous occasion involving lots of hugging and hair-ruffling and not one person remarking on how tanned I am.
Back home, we sipped tea, wrapped gifts and enjoyed the festive atmosphere. We stayed for a few days, unpacked, cooked a couple of times, and made a gingerbread house. Duncan was very helpful and joined in with the cooking, although we didn’t let him anywhere near the construction or decoration stages. Although last year’s graham cracker house was good and all, we were pretty chuffed with ourselves to have made this one from scratch.
We did want to spend some time on our own in Edinburgh, so we took some time before Christmas to go let ourselves in to the flat Jenny and I used to share. She’d given us the keys during our meeting, and left two little Christmas cards on her bed welcoming us and generally being incredibly sweet.
Among the things we wanted to do were to visit the German Christmas Market, to spend an evening at The Jazz Bar and to eat out at a few of our restaurants of choice. It looks like things have changed since I was last in town: Monster Mash is now Mum’s Comfort Food, it offers a wider range of foods whilst retaining the original sausages-and-mash backbone, and Red Fort has raised its student prices to almost £7. We decided that £7 really is too much for what Red Fort has to offer – it started off at £6 for students, was raised to £6.50 halfway through the year and we stuck around, but with this extra raise I don’t think I’ll be going back. We did go to Mother India, though, and while that’s a fair bit more expensive than Red Fort, it really is worth it. Our butter chicken and tikka makhani were excellent, and we felt like we’d really treated ourselves.
After our trip to the Jazz Bar on the evening of the 23rd, Grant and I had our Christmas present from my dad to look forward to. He had bought us both tickets to the Celtic game versus Kilmarnock on Christmas Eve, and we had a really good time. The last time I went to Celtic Park, I was about nine, and I didn’t realise that the teams switched sides at half time – so when Celtic scored an own goal in the first few minutes of the second half, I thought we were up 1-0 and stood up and cheered. My brother, two years my elder, gave me a good thump and told me to shut up; I’ve been a little apprehensive to return since that day, but I thoroughly enjoyed the match on Saturday and was reminded of how much I enjoy sports matches. There was a fantastic atmosphere, and I enjoyed picking up and employing the songs, chants and strange rituals of the team, including the ‘Huddle’ where everyone turns their backs to the field and puts their arms on their neighbours’ shoulders, jumping up and down and yelling ‘Let’s all do the huddle! Let’s all do the huddle!’ It helped that we won 2-1, and that it was exciting the whole way through the match: Celtic’s first goal was in the last fifteen seconds of the first half’s injury time, and Kilmarnock kept me on my toes, although it was clear who was in charge.
I know I titled this ‘Home For Christmas’, but I’ll be saving Christmas Day itself for another post. My dad came over, so my entire immediate family was together at Christmas for the first time in fifteen years, and Grant had his first ever Scottish Christmas Morning, so I think it deserves a post of its own, really. I hope you guys all had a great Christmas, and are still going strong with the festivities. I’m just enjoying being in my own house again, with my sorely missed family and my wonderful boyfriend. I’ve left it far too late already to buy my plane tickets to Strasbourg, so I’m off to do that right now. Peace, joy and goodwill to every one of you!
Lots of love,