Spending Christmas in Thailand

Whovillan: A person who LOVES Christmas and prepares for it months before it arrives. Someone who counts down to Christmas from the day after it ends. <opposite of: GRINCH>

My hands are up. My guard is down. I confess. I am a ‘whovillan’. It doesn’t sound very Christmas-y but apparently that’s my label for loving the bones of the Christmas festivities. I am that girl who bought herself an advent calendar when my mother had the audacity to make the statement that I was too old for one. I start shopping for Christmas gifts and goodies in September. I attend church to sing Carols by Candlelight. I listen to non-stop Christmas songs from November 30th and watch Christmas movies back to back. I go ice-skating. I make Christmas cards. I stand for hours on end with my little brother Zac on my shoulders to watch Santa turn on the Christmas lights in my town. I drink Cinnamon Latte. I eat gingerbread men and pigs in blankets. I prepare for Santa with my little brother and peel the carrots for Rudolph. I wake up at 6am and run excitingly down the stairs with Zac to see if Santa has been. I eat until my stomach hurts. I party. I drink my body-weight in baileys and wine. I sing karaoke.  Christmas is like a drug for me. I get so high, it’s magical. I turn into a big soppy Christmas marshmallow made out of cheese.

“OMG, you’re not going to be home for Christmas?!” – it broke my heart to hear my little brothers say this. But unfortunately, Thailand is a Buddhist country and Christmas is Christian holiday. So unless you are teaching in a private or international school, there are no days off for Christmas. Thankfully, Christmas fell on a Sunday this year so I could travel on Christmas weekend. Then it’s okay! I can celebrate Christmas on the beach with a Mai Tai cocktail in my hand! I mean, loads of people go away for Christmas so it must be fantastic!

I didn’t even notice when the date hit 1st December. It’s such a different life out here and Christmas really is played up to the max back home that you have no choice but to accept that the big man is coming! Not a Christmas bauble in sight. Facebook became torturous. I went to Bangkok and saw my first Christmas tree with a young boy playing ‘Silent Night’ on his violin and I allowed myself to feel Christmas-y. Just for a moment. The truth is I just couldn’t bring myself to play any Christmas songs or watch any Christmas movies. It wasn’t Christmas. It was just another bog standard month in Thailand.

Christmas Boards in Bangkok

Bloody hell mun girl! Pull yourself together! You’re in Thailand for god’s sake! Living out your dream! You’ve made bigger sacrifices to get here in the first place, I’m sure you can deal with being away from home for Christmas! So I put on my Santa hat, wrapped myself in tinsel, downloaded Christmas Top 40 and got on a bus on Christmas Eve to spend the holidays with one of the besties Lauren and the girls. It was far from the traditional Christmas I knew and loved but I had a great weekend. We sung along to Mariah and George, dolled ourselves up and I partied for the first time ever on Christmas Eve at Bangla Road, Phuket.

The next day was Christmas Day. I woke up around 11am. We blasted the Christmas tunes and ate chocolate cookies for breakfast! The Christmas dinner I yearned for was replaced by lasagne and chips. We all met in a bistro on the corner, ordered prosecco and ate ice-cream cake for dessert! By 6pm, I was back on a bus heading back to Krabi for school tomorrow. Thankfully, I had a big box of presents waiting for me from my family and friends who continue to spoil me even when i’m 8000 miles away from home.

Yeah. Being away from home at Christmas was frigging harder than I thought. I will be brutally honest. I didn’t like it. I missed my family so much and it broke me when my mother skyped me straight after having Christmas lunch. But strangely, I knew I was in the right place. I wanted to travel more than anything and I’m finally doing it. I get to celebrate Christmas every year for the rest of my life! I only get one chance to chase these dreams and live this life that I’ve wanted for myself. So I sucked it up and sang ‘Merry Christmas Everybody’ at the top of my voice! In the comfort of my home of course. Didn’t want my new neighbours thinking the new teacher girl was a loony farang.
And before you ask about next Christmas dad – who knows?!

Life is an adventure and this girl has lit the fire in her ‘life plan’.

Merry Christmas!

In the words of Noddy himself – “Look to the future now, it’s only just begun…”

Merry Christmas from Thailand – 2016

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