Christmas in Summer
For those of you who don’t know or may not have considered, the months of which seasons occur is dependent upon which hemisphere you live in. For example, in the Northern Hemisphere where North Americans and Europeans reside March-May means spring, June-August means summer, September-November means Autumn, and December-February means winter. In the Southern Hemisphere where many South Americans, Australians, and Kiwis reside, those seasons are flipped meaning now summer is winter, autumn is spring, and so on. All this to say, I experienced my first summer Christmas this past week. This does not mean it was my first warm Christmas because any South Carolinian can tell you that winter doesn’t always mean cold, but it was my first Christmas where strawberries were in season and we ate outside.
14 of us gathered under one roof for a multi-cultural Christmas. There were 5 different families and 3 different countries represented around the table, all of us short-term and long-term immigrants. We talked about the various South African, Chinese, and American traditions for Christmas-time, told stories, played backyard cricket, popped Christmas crackers, and ate delicacies such as barbecued ham and pavlova until we could eat no more.
For those back home, let me explain a few of the aforementioned festivities:
I’m not entirely sure what the main differences between backyard cricket and professional cricket are, but I can definitely explain the differences between backyard cricket and baseball. For starters, the bat is flat providing one with more surface area to ensure success, and the bat is meant to be held towards the ground instead of the sky as one is waiting to bat. The pitcher then pitches with a straight arm in a windmill fashion towards a designated spot, and the batter attempts to send the ball without breaking any windows, but once the batter hits, they aren’t meant to run bases. From what I understand, there is some form of partner running back and forth between markers, but no base system in professional cricket, but in backyard, one just moves on and lets the next person bat.
I’m led to believe this is of British tradition because it’s done throughout the commonwealth(ie South Africa, New Zealand, Australia). Their appearance is that of a large cardboard candy, and the concept is akin to a surprise stocking stuffer. One is meant to open them with a partner, each grabbing one end of the cracker until it pops open with a loud SNAP! The partner with larger half then receives the toy and paper crown inside which they are meant to wear proudly upon their heads for the Christmas feast.
Pavlova is a bit of a touchy subject around here because there is a rivalry between Australians and Kiwis about who first invented it and therefore who does it correctly. Having tried both at this point, I think the argument is silly because they are both delicious, but that would be heresy to say out loud so for the time being I simply nod and wave. Pavlova is a dessert that is essentially cooked meringue topped with fresh cream and fruit. It is a light and fluffy dessert that doesn’t leave its consumer
feeling guilty or sinful, and I can not recommend it enough.
Here is a link to a recipe for those interested: https://www.healthyfood.com/healthy-recipes/healthier-traditional-pavlova/
Ringing in the new year was a very similar experience to those I’ve had in the past excluding the fact that we spent a large portion of the evening playing ultimate frisbee and Kub on the beach(and didn’t freeze!). I got to spend it with some new friends that I’ve made through a young adult community group that I’ve been so graciously welcomed to take part in, and the experience of watching the moon set as the fireworks went to set off in the city was absolutely marvelous!
Needless to say New Zealand and its people have been very good to me this holiday season and has rejuvenated me with the energy to continue into month 5 of youth pastoring in a church plant. Oh, and my large group selfie game is less than strong.
Thank you for reading!
Resident in Mission through WME