I celebrated Christmas without my family for only the second time this year. The first time was in Moscow in 2006, where the 25th of December is just another working day. I did have a Christmas dinner on the 24th with a bunch of teachers, but otherwise it was not particularly exciting. This time round was also pretty quiet, but enjoyable (and not marred by teaching English!) I went around to my friend Laura's place for Experimental Chicken and other delights. Experimental Chicken, you ask? Laura's a scientist, and our 3.30€ Christmas chicken was fresh from her lab. That may be enough to put off the more queasy among you, but she did assure me they only sold chickens from the Control groups of experiments, so they were unlikely to be pumped full of weird substances. In fact, I think they're quite possibly better in that respect than normal chickens from the shop. They do come, however, intact, complete with heads and internal organs. I respectfully requested that the one of us who spends her working days chopping up mice brains dealt with the chicken prep, so by the time I turned up it was looking just like what you'd buy at the supermarket. She did say, however, that the lungs are particularly difficult to extract. Yum!
Anyway, we had a nice dinner, watched Love Actually (I'd seen it before, but didn't remember anything about it, which is apparently shocking to everyone for whom it's practically a religion) and played charades, at my repeated insistence that Christmas wasn't Christmas without a parlour game or two. I ended up getting home at around 4.30 am, so we must have had fun!
Quick quiz #1: What is this?
|If you answered anything other than "extremely strong 2 year-old Gruyère", then you would be wrong. It doesn't even look like cheese!|
|Christmas markets in front of the train station|
Quick quiz #2: How many exposed breasts should be on display at a Christmas market?
|If you answered "none", then clearly you are from some puritanical English-speaking country.|
|The correct answer, of course, is six|
|Our Christmas dinner. I think we did quite well!|
|Laura and I just before digging in|
But grumbling over, we had a lovely evening, and I must say the extra touches of decorations, party poppers, hats, sparklers, confetti etc. did make for a more special vibe than your average party. Just before midnight, we played charades (theme of the season it seems) amid concerns that things needed livening up before 12 (not sure if charades did the trick or not, tbh - especially with the francophones!) and then there was dancing and confetti throwing and suchlike. I almost caused a riot by scheduling several NZ tunes one after another on the party playlist. All my shrieking of "cultural imperialism" didn't save me from being officially banned from commandeering the laptop again. Ha. We were also hanging out the window at some point yelling at men passing by, since there was a distinct dearth of single men at the party (slash of our collective acquaintance). I'm pretty blind, it was dark, and they were wearing hoodies, so I couldn't really tell what they looked like, but after a short conference it was decided that they were not good looking and therefore would not be invited into the party. So my shouting out the window at them went along the lines of "Eh, les mecs! Les mecs! ...... Continuez!" ("Hey, guys! Guys! ..... Carry on!")
I fell asleep on Caro's couch at about 5 am, I think with the distinct idea in my head that I was just taking a little nap before continuing to party. In actual fact, I woke up freezing cold around 9 and crept into the spare bedroom to continue my "little nap" until around 1 pm, when I woke up to find that Caro had already done almost all the cleaning up. Oops! Ironically, I was the only one who slept there, and I probably live the closest. At least I didn't have far to walk of shame it in the morning, although pretty much everyone I came across on the short walk home was looking remarkably chipper and not like they'd slept in their clothes at all. Unfair!
|A quick selfie before heading out for New Year's Eve. It's the only time of the evening where I can be sure my hair and makeup look okay|
|Party group shot|
|Philippa and Caroline on the dancefloor|
|Me and Caroline shortly after midnight, shortly before man-hassling|
|If this were America's Next Top Model, I'd probably be told off for looking shorter than I am, and possibly like I have a wasting disease in my lower limbs. Other than that, good photo|
|Just chillin during a round of charades|
|Post-confetti attack. As you may be able to see, it got in all the drinks as well, but I vowed to make it my personal mission to drink them all anyway|
|Me and Laura|
|Jen, Laura, me and Marcia at around 4 am when the weak-willed were heading home|
|I seem to be a fan of photos leaning over. I did actually receive complaints that my dress wasn't as low-cut as usual (for reals), so this may be making up for it|
|Philippa the confetti fairy|
|Rudi, one of the 3 men (all partners of other guests) attending our soirée. Where the single men at, Tours?|
|Ladies in black - Véro, Marcia and Caroline|