Archive for January, 2009

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7 things

January 4, 2009

I am fairly new to blogging – I’m not really a computer geeky type and this blog was really a way of letting people keep an eye on what I’m up to in Latin America without sending them mass emails of the kind my mum is so fond of.  To be fair not many people read the blog – I prefer to think that this is because I don’t update it very regularly rather than the more likely scenario that I am just not that interesting…  However one person who does read it is Lorna (www.lornajane.net) and she recently tagged me in her blog (apparently – I am not 100% certain of what that means – I think it means she mentioned me and put a link to my blog.  If so I think I have just tagged her in return – this is all very complicated!).  The purpose was to get me to join in the memetic ‘7 things’ activity (rules at the end of the post).  I can’t actually tag 7 other people as it suggests as the only other person I know with a blog is Lorna…

 

  1. When I was born I had an extra (but boneless) finger on my left hand.  It had a tiny nail and everything.  The doctors broke this news to Mum by telling her it seemed like I had extra fingers and extra brains…  Just goes to show you should never believe what doctors tell you!  They removed it by tying string round it so that it was starved of blood and fell off (in a similar way to how farmers remove lambs’ tails).
  2. In Latin America it is usual to have 2 first names and 2 surnames (your mother’s maiden name and your father’s family name) hence many people here keep trying to put my first names as Cally Margaret and my surname as Anabel Nixon.  I got a VERY strange look in immigration when I told the man that my mother’s surname and my father’s surname were both Nixon (at the time I didn’t know about the 2 surname thing and didn’t understand why he thought it was odd!)
  3. I have just put up 12 new photos in my front room.  six are of fungi, three are of insects, one is of an arachnid, one is of an amphibian and one is of a  reptile.  According to my boyfriend this makes me quite weird for a girl.
  4. I am secretly addicted to Strictly Come Dancing and watched almost the entire of the recent series via You Tube.  I was gutted to find out that the videos from the final were taken down by the BBC before I got round to watching them.  I  would be perfectly happy to pay the licence fee if it meant I could use i-Player.
  5. My first properly distinguishable words (after the mama, dada kind of things) were Peter Sissons.  This provides a source of great mirth in my family.
  6. Whenever I leave fruit too long and it starts getting infested by fruit-flies I try to look at the colour of their eyes to see if I can spot any mutants.
  7. When we were young my sister and I used to play schools with our teddybears and dolls.  We even used to make them exercise books, set them work, complete it for them and mark it.  Now she is a primary teacher (maths specialist) and I teach biology to secondary pupils.

 

The rules;

  • Link your original tagger(s), and list these rules on your blog.
  • Share seven facts about yourself in the post – some random, some wierd.
  • Tag seven people at the end of your post by leaving their names and the links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blogs and/or Twitter.
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Christmas and New Year in foreign climes

January 2, 2009

The festive season is always less exciting when you are older than it was when you were a child, and with my family now spread out across Europe (or no longer alive) I wasn’t to worried about spending Christmas in Peru rather than trying to get back to the UK.   This Christmas was the second I had spent outside of the UK (having been in Spain with Mum and Anna last year) and it was quite a different experience! 

Firstly the decorations – they are everywhere as they are at home, but generally much more tasteful – peoples’ houses look gorgeous with all the white lights and an ocasional nativity.  I saw one inflatable Christmas tree decoration and NO Father Christmas ones.  In fact I barely saw a father Christmas – there was one in Wong (of course) – he doesn’t really feature in the Peruvian Christmas.  Christmas trees are a problem here though.  To say I hate artificial trees is far too mild a term to really cover my feelings.  I loathe their plasticy, uniform, ‘this is what shape a pine tree SHOULD be’, odourless banality.   Of course you can’t get real trees here.  So instead I had a christmas pot plant.  Sandra had bought me some Peruvian baubles as part of my Christmas present and I grabbed a discounted box from Wong on Christmas eve.  I couldn’t find any tinsel anywhere – I may have to import some… and by the time I got round to getting decorations most shops had stopped selling them anyway (the decorations go up in early to mid December here rather than Christmas eve like in my house!) so I didn’t manage to get any lights 😦 .  I still had an Angel that mum had  bought for me from Turkey to go on the top of the ‘tree’ so it wasn’t all bad!  I also have a little Peruvian nativity (another present from Sandra) 

 

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree...

Secondly the temperature – I am from the Northern hemisphere, I am used to Christmas in the winter, short days, long nights, cold weather and at least the possibility of snow at some point during the holiday.  I just couldn’t quite get into the festive spirit as I did my Christmas shopping on Christmas eve in 3/4 length trousers, a t-shirt, sunnys and factor 50 sun lotion.  Somehow it just doesn’t feel right.  Especially weird for me is that they use snowflakes for christmas decorations even though it has never snowed in Lima, ever, and seeing snow when it’s hot is just odd!

 

Thirdly Christmas itself – I spent Christmas with Marco’s family at his house (but rather irritatingly forgot to take my camera…)  Christmas in Peru is all done and dusted by 3am Christmas morning as it starts on Christmas eve at midnight!  This seemed very odd to me as I was sat in my flat, having wrapped my presents, waiting to be picked up at 9.30 pm (obviously the original time I’d been given was 7.30 pm but this is Peru).  I think we actually left the house about 10.30 and went to Marco’s where his Mum and sisters were busy cooking turkey, some kind of mince, apple sauce, beetroot salad and Turkish rice.  They had some fireworks (bangers), bought off men in the street, (which to me looked incredibly dangerous but they happily allowed he kids to carry them around the house) which they set off after midnight in their front yard, and sparklers which they let the kids have in the house – I am frequently amazed that anyone in Peru reaches adulthood!

At midnight we all said ‘Feliz Navidad’ and then Marco’s mum went through a weird ritual where she took the baby jesus doll out of it’s box, carried it round to everyone (who made a wish, then kissed the doll and then crossed themselves) and then placed the doll in the centre of the nativity scene.  I had a bizzare conversation trying to explain why I wasn’t going to kiss the doll or make any wishes over it, but that yes I did believe in God and I AM a christian and we do have Jesus in the non-Catholic world… in Spanish.  I really wish Marco had given me some advanced warning on that one!  We then drank champagne and opened the presents and then (at around 1am) sat down to eat Christmas dinner.  Watching two children, who were so tired that they could barely keep their eyes open, being forced to eat a full dinner at 1 am seemed a little like child cruelty to me.  Still, it was delicious food!  Unlike home there were no games, no cards, no Trivial Persuit, no Monopoly, no  Cluedo, just talking and eating.

 

Then I went home to bed and slept until 1pm on Christmas day!  I was amazed at how many bodegas and other shops were open on Christmas day and how many people were out in the park, sat in Starbucks  etc.  it was very strange for me!

 

New year was a quiet affair – a few of Marco’s friends came round to my appartment (at 1130pm), let some fireworks off from my balcony and had a drink and a chat and played with Sophia.  There were a LOT of fireworks being set off – it seems to be traditional here (but I suppose if you don’t have bonfire night you need an excuse some other time!) and I got a great view of them all from my balcony!  They left at about 3 am and tidied up themselves before they left.  Bonus!

Plans for the start of the year include going on holiday with Kevin and Lorna who come out in 4 days time 🙂  then either trying to book a last minute holiday to the Galapogos islands or somewhere in Latin America, or maybe doing an intensive Spanish course.  I have a lot of coursework to mark and a scheme of work to write too.  At the moment it seems like I have forever to worry about work, but I know that if I don’t try to get at least SOME of it started soon I’ll be doing it at 3 am the day before the marks are due…