Cleaning up after Christmas… Ella exploded some "safe celebration toy that unleashes a shower of joy with compressed air"… unusually for Indonesia, it didn't contain explosives or fireworks.
I survived Christmas relatively unscathed, besides developing a deep rooted fear that whenever I step in to an elevator I will be attacked by terrible covers of Christmas carols. In fact, I even had a rather good time. My friend Heather was over from Australia, so I went all uber-tourist with her and showed her the mix of tragic poverty, air conditioned middle class consumer enclaves and smoke-filled bars that make Jakarta so special. We would have seen more, but we got caught in traffic jams a lot. So she had a genuine experience.
We had an amazing dinner on Christmas Eve at Emilie, the fanciest French resto in town, where we had somehow scored a private room… it cost us an absolute fortune, but it was amazing. The dinner was also in celebration of my friend Amee's birthday and it was such a great night.
On Christmas Day, we gathered in a friend's apartment, watched Love Actually while eating pancakes and tropical fruit, cracking jokes and exploding dangerous looking tubes of confetti and streamers until some people had to leave to go to work.
Then, the floor was swept, and Christmas was over. My tourist regime with Heather resumed and we went forth to tackle the bins of dodgy DVDs at Mal Ambassador.
This was my first Christmas away from home. The regulation Christmas Day phone call gave me a reminder of the usual chaos…
Mother: "Oh… I'm so busy. Without you here, nobody else has any bloody culinary ability. BRITTANY GET THE MINT OUT OF THE FRIDGE WILL YOU? So what are you doing to… NO THAT'S NOT MINT… sorry… OH DARYL FOR CHRIST'S SAKE WILL YOU HELP HER FIND THE MINT… sorry… BE CAREFUL DON'T LET THAT FALL OUT OF THE FRIDGE… oh that sounds nice… THAT'S BASIL… oh Jesus Christ almighty it's a shambles…"
Nanna: "Are you coming home for Christmas then?"
Me: "No Nan, it's a bit far to get from Indonesia, and today is Christmas?"
Nanna: "How are you going in Sydney? When are you coming home?"
It reminded me of the usual day of Christmas chaos… Christmas is the busiest time of year at my parent's shop, so the day is always strung together in moments between long shifts at work and the general chaos of our lives. But despite our house always being a mess, mum always finds some space to stick up a tree, often not until December 23 or 24. She always manages to buy enough food to last weeks… hams, roasts, seafood, salads, cheeses, dips, desserts. Nothing is ever missing.
We all manage to drag ourselves out of bed despite working until 7am on Christmas morning to put together the grand production of Christmas lunch.
But, even though Christmas Day has now passed, after a week of mostly Indonesian fare, I found myself at Kemchicks tonight looking for some bule food… and wanting to stock my trolley with things that might usually be on our Christmas table. I gazed longingly at prawns… managed to flit past the dips but got stuck on a pack of Australian camembert and couldn't go past the dolmades and olives…
It must have been the subconcious programming from the Christmas carols in the background. Wonder how long it will be before they get turned off?