Because I am lucky enough to be able to ‘work from the road’ today I am working from a wine estate in beautiful Stellenbosch. Yes, I am working despite being surrounded by stunning gardens and endless bottles of wine!
It’s 30 degree, tourists are coming and going; wine tasting, having lunch and enjoying the heat. On the rest of the estate, the social enterprises that are based here (go-karting, dirt road biking, potteries and an education centre) are hustling with activity.
And there’s Christmas music in the background.
I have to keep looking at the date on my laptop to check they haven’t just grabbed the nearest CD and are playing Jingle Bells accidentally. It is in fact the 22nd December. I can’t quite believe it.
When I conjure up thoughts of Christmas I picture snow, roaring fires and mulled wine. I don’t think of sun, sand and sea (or vineyards). I have grown up with cold, wet Christmases and that’s’ what feels ‘real’ to me. The locals who fill my life here can’t imagine anything other than a hot sunny day, trips to the beach and family braais. It’s funny how the things you’re used to can so completely determine how you feel about something.
I have always loved this time of year, all the necessary festive socializing and catch ups, present and card exchanges, and of course, the reason to eat twice as much as is necessary. In England we tend to try to see everyone from all aspects of our life at Christmas for the obligatory ‘it’s Christmas, we better meet up for drinks’ event. We may not have really seen or spoken to someone the rest of the year but we make a point of catching up with people before we rush into the next year. People go the extra mile to socialize; usually busy calendars are filled to bursting with dinners, Christmas jumper competitions, parties and shopping trips which often become a social event too.
This is my 3rd Christmas away from home and it’s probably the only time of year that I actually get homesick and that my FOMO reaches peak levels.
This year, I will be spending Christmas among, soon to be, friends at an orphan’s lunch following a trip to the beach. I will be slapping on sun cream rather than hats and gloves. I will be having a braai rather than watching the Queen’s speech (or Eastenders omnibus).
And that’s ok, in my head it’s summer…maybe we will have Christmas in July in the caravan. In the meantime, I will raise an ice cold glass of wine to your glass of mulled wine and send my digital festive wishes across the ponds 🙂