So, are you glad that the world did not end on the 21/12/2012? Or did it never occur to you that it would actually happen? Whatever you felt towards the Mayan apocalypse, I guess you must be pleased that you’re still here and Christmas is just around the corner. I surely am :)!
The ‘non-official’ celebration began last weekend when I took out our little plastic tree and decorated it with sparkly lights and shining decorations which I have collected over the years. Even my cool husband who usually adopts a distant and ‘do-whatever-you-like-but-don’t-bother-me’ attitude towards festivals managed to fish out some starry lights to adorn our windows and cheer up our neighbours and passersby.
The “official’ celebration kicked off yesterday with a kind invitation to visit Friederike and Colin Rice. Frau Friederike was originally from Germany while her husband Colin hailed from Barbados. Ever since I met Friederike in 2002, during the Creative Writing class at our local Adult Education centre, which was quickly followed by our Bold Writers regularly meetings at her church hall in the evenings, we became good, solid friends. It became almost a ritual that we get an invitation at this time of the year, sometimes to a Carol Service at their church followed by a feast of stollen and sherry in her warm, cosy house in Sutton Coldfield, a stone’s throw away from our own.
On the shortest of the year, the sky was grey and the rain was pouring down when we set out. The darkness and misery were immediately driven away the moment Friederike opened her front door. We were greeted with what Christmas was all about in a warm-hearted, hospitable, Christian home. Take a look at the tree which stood proudly and happily, reflecting the memories of the past and projecting hopes and dreams of the future.
Although both Friederike and Colin are in their eighties, they have maintained good health and active minds. It was wonderful to enjoy the afternoon with them, catching up and talking about what was happening both in the world and in our local community. Friederike was one of the very first person who have read the sample chapters from The Same Moon, when it was still in its early, unpolished drafts. She was supportive from the very beginning, firmly believing that I would one day become a published author and my books would reach out to the rest of the world. Ten years on, her faith in me has been justified, and she is so very proud of what I have achieved so far.
As we sat down, and let the sherry coursed through our blood streams and warm our very hearts and souls, we reminisced about the past, discussed the present and looked to the future, all merging into one seamless reality.
“Colin and I met as students in England all those years ago, then we spent 14 years writing to each other,” Friederike reflected, “This country has been great to us, and we’ve had a wonderful life.”
What a wonderful life they have lead indeed. Their 14-year courtship have produced love letters which filled up suitcases – “Love Suitcase”, in John’s words. Perhaps I’ll incorporate their love stories in one of my future books :).
Do you know that the our Christmas trees come from Germany? John promises to tell you its origin in his blog post, so I’ll leave it as a suspense for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the photos of Stollen and Christmas treats with us.
This post is a Thank-you note to my dear Friederike and Colin, and to many other friends, old and new, who are in my life, enriching it in ways beyond words in every single day and in every possible way!
How are you celebrating 2012? Whatever you do, you’re in my thoughts and heart :). I wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season and may 2013 bring you much happiness, love, peace, good health, prosperity and success! May all your dreams come true! Let us all drink for another marvellous year under The Same Moon