This year Jay and I decided we would stay in the Seychelles for Christmas as we wanted to have a different experience and see how the festive period is spent in a different country.
This was a big decision because we have spent every year with our families and even when we lived in Spain, we flew home for Christmas and most years, new year too (the exception being last year). Christmas is family time and as we didn’t go back to see nans and grandads etc. it was difficult as we missed seeing everyone and I missed celebrating my sister’s birthday. However, we had a lovely Christmas together here. It was actually our first Christmas morning spent together as we normally stay at our parents on Christmas eve.
The lead up to Christmas here was a very different. For a while it just felt strange, the Christmas music started to be played in shops but outside it was blue skies and hot sun in the thirties! The majority of the Christmas music also had a reggae theme to it, a lot of songs here seem to have this twist; there was a person who lived by us who used to blast out Adele, Hello on repeat but this was also a reggae version! Getting closer to Christmas, there were more and more flashing colourful Christmas lights that started to appear on buildings and fences, mainly on our side of the island. There was even a Santa doing the pose of ‘Staying Alive’ outside the local church. Many of the shops used their outside space to sell toys and games, it seemed to be the same few toys repeated as you passed each shop. We noticed that just a few days before Christmas (including Christmas eve) there was still the same last minute shopping panic that happens in the UK and other countries across the world. I guess somethings never change!
On Christmas eve, Jay and I watched films like we would back at home and we even kept up my family tradition of watching ‘The Family Man’. I know it might sound pathetic but we organised it so that we were watching at the same time as my parents and sister, it felt nice that even though we are so far away, we were still doing something together. They got cosy on the couch, hot drinks in hand and wrapped up with the cold outside, whereas we were sat in our summer gear with a cold beer and wine!
During the day we had also gone for a walk on the beach with an ice cream, we definitely wouldn’t usually do that on Christmas eve back home.
Christmas morning: we sat and opened presents together, my mum had left us a little pile of gifts from herself and other family members and we of course got each other something too. Buying presents here is very difficult, they don’t have shops you stroll around deciding which gift would be best as they have food shops or tourist gift shops. It is also very difficult to order anything online to get sent here as it will either take a long, long time to come; will not deliver to the Seychelles or if you are lucky and find someone that does, they charge far too much for postage! We both settled on buying each other a book from the gift shop; a Seychelles wildlife book for Jay and ‘Island Home’ for me, a book about a family living on one of the tiny islands in the Seychelles.
After presents, we did our best to cook a full English breakfast and then had some chill time with our new goodies and books before starting the roast! I must say, we did a good job and it was lovely to be able to sit outside in the sun to eat our Christmas dinner then relax in the hammock with a full tum after! After walk on the beach, more Christmas films, and a few facetimes with family, our first Christmas alone and in a different country was over and what a perfect day it was!
Over the next few days we had drinks with friends and with the weather starting to turn, we had a few rainy days which we spent packing up the house getting ready for our move! We have already accumulated much more stuff in the short time we have been here and I was surprised by how much we had to move.
Two days before moving day we ran out of gas, so instead of buying more and it going to waste, we decided to do a few BBQs, another first for over the Christmas holidays having a BBQ dinner!
When New Year’s eve arrived, it was time to move, luckily it wasn’t very far and we got lots of help! The new place is just amazing and the views… well waking up to this outside our bedroom window every day is just unreal! We decided to celebrate the move by having a few friends over for New Year’s drinks and we kept up another Spanish tradition by eating the 12 grapes on the countdown and we looked out over the island watching the flares (yes I mean flares, there were no fireworks, but there was a hotel setting off flares at midnight instead).
Happy New Year Seychelles!
Let’s see if 2017 can top 2016… it will be a tough one!