For us, Polish people, there are many associations with Christmas such as beautiful carols signing, tumultous family reunions, Oplatek (wafer) sharing, snowy winter, Christmas tree or abundant eating. Last Christmas, in many ways, was so different from all the ones we have known.
Carols singing is virtually an unknown custom in OZ. Even at church hardly anybody moves their lips along with some choir members. It is a pity since English carols are beautiful indeed. Wojtek Jr. remembered about his opera voice and decided to sing a bit on the Cairns Esplanade on Boxing Day. Just in case he placed a cap “for donation” in front of him. Unlike his earlier, highly successful street violin perfomances at Christmas time in Wroclaw main square, this time around he did not earn anything . Instead, he learned one of the old truths in life about “positioning oneself for success” .
His voice could barely be heard at the place where he was singing under a Christmas tree. Besides, it was hard to get through a noisy, old rockman across the street. It was a good lesson for Wojtus of both life and a few, new English carols. Win, win.
Except some breaking Skype calls, this time we were far away from our families. We were with ourselves. Thanks to that we had more time for conversations, walking or sleap. No television!! Father Stanislaw from Gold Coast gave us a generous wrapping of Oplatek (wafer). Its sharing, which is a common Polish tradition, is highly regarded by many foreigners as well.
Obviously, you can only dream about snow in Australia at Christmas. Though Melbourne saw a hail storm this year, it aint’t the same. Here in the tropics of Cairns it was well above 30 C. In central Australia where we are now it was even hotter. The place I am writing from, Alice Springs, recorded 44 C on Christmas Day!!! It sounds strange to hear English carols with many references to winter and snow here in OZ. Somebody living in the southern hemisphere could come up with some new texts and Christmas songs better fitting the Christmas summer.
Chrsitmas trees in Australia are definitely made of plastic. We had to resort to a few palm branches and some makeshift decorations to have a “tree” of our own as well.
Lastly, instead of having typical 12 dishes on our Christmas Eve supper table we counted … 12 ingredients, used for making the two dishes we had. For dessert Ania baked delicious cheescake according to the recipe from Henia from Brisbane, and of course our sabbatical staple, banana cake. We even enjoyed this moderation in eating. Perhaps it was our first Christmas without gaining any weight.
PS Thanks to all for your Christmas wishes!