Christmas in July

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July 18, 2010 by jessperriam

Christmas in July is a funny concept.

I think it’s an English expat thing (please, please correct me if I’m wrong) where the homesick Brits want to recreate a bit of Christmas at a wintery time of year in Australia.

And that being said, it seems more sensible to have a full on traditional roast dinner in July than December, especially when the mercury can top 40 degrees Celsius.

I’ve just experienced my first Christmas in July in Lushnje, Albania of all places with a collection of missionaries: four Australian and one Canadian (she ironically got the specially made green and gold hat from the bon bon).

On Christmas Eve we had dainties (which is Canadian for a diabetic coma’s worth of desserts) and played Celebrity Heads.

Christmas Day saw us have monkey bread (I swear Canadians have funny names for things – it’s kind of like sweet dumplings… kind of) and fruit.

Then came lunch. Everything had an Albanian twist to it – when Lynnette (that’s the Canadian, eh!) went to the butcher to pick up the leg of lamb she was also given half a head of lamb. That’s right, eyeball, eyelashes, half a brain… right down to the hair on the lip.

And. Apparently this head is meant to be the best part so it gets given to… the guest! And as the guestiest guest in the house, I was offered the head by the squeemish girls. Needless to say, I politely declined (but offered to pose next to it for a picture).

In Albania you make things yourself. The bonbons were handmade, the hats and lame jokes inside were lovingly handcrafted. Placemats and decorations were all made out of coloured paper in five distinct, bright shades: blue, yellow, orange, red and green.

As we played clips of Rolf Harris singing Six White Boomers and Christmas in the Sun (Hot song of the day) from You Tube, we thought, “you know, it really does feel like a little piece of Australia in Albania right now.”

It’s the first time I’ve really had a big expat moment on my travels. Being with Australians doesn’t make me feel homesick, it just makes me feel like I’m in on the joke.

We posed for photos in our hats and handed out presents and as I speak there’s the washing up being done by some and siestas being had by others.

Yep, it kind of does feel like Christmas.

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