It is finally December, and that means my first term at UCL is (already!) coming to a close and that my favourite holiday is approaching. There is a collective excitement amongst all the international students, as most of us will soon be going home for Christmas to see our friends and family, and indulge in all the foods and customs we do not usually get in England. I am flying home from Stansted on December 19th, and I can’t believe my feet will be touching Norwegian ground in only 17 days! The thrill of going home has been the main conversation topic at the breakfast and dinner table for the past couple of weeks, and Valerie and I are both counting down the days on our blackboards. Despite loving London life, it seems as if everyone is homesick nowadays – especially all the people from the food capitals of Hong Kong and Singapore, who are mostly interested in getting their teeth into some decent Asian food for the first time in three months. As for my part, I am finding it incredably hard logging onto Facebook and conclude from everyone’s status updates that it is snowing back home in Norway, and that everyone is at home with their families decorating the house, baking gingerbread cookies and drinking gløgg. (Gløgg = the Scandinavian equivalent to mulled wine).
I am having some problems getting into a Christmassy mood here in London, despite the city being lit up for the festive season. I will partially blame it on the essay I am currently working on – although it being my last for this term, it is definitely the most challenging as of yet. However, I mostly blame my lack of Christmas spirit as a result of me being so detached from all my Norwegian December habits. If I was at home now, I would probably be putting on Christmas music, decorating the house, drinking gløgg, watching the snow fall and pestering my dad to put on the Christmas lights and the moving reindeer outside in the garden. Here in London there is no snow, I have no house to decorate and certainly no poor daddy to pester. And I do miss that moving reindeer.
As my boyfriend was here last weekend, I took him to the Winter Wonderland market in Hyde Park to at the very least try to get into the spirit of Christmas. I hate to say this, but I immediately regretted going. While I was expecting a cosy Christmas market with carol singers and home-made Christmas delicacies, what encountered me was a capitalist spectacle of carousels and Americanized plastic decorations, and I absolutely and utterly hated it. I am sorry, but carousels, a “Shanghai Noodle Bar”, a haunted house with dead people hanging from it and a CD playing Christmas songs performed by The Beach Boys did not do it for me. I guess as a Scandinavian, I am very much used to a Christmas where the decorations and the athmosphere of it is very much connected to nature and its serenity – and not one that shoves dead dangling people into your face. I will never get accostumed to the colours and the spectacle that is the American (and now English) Christmas. I am not trying to say I believe the Norwegian Christmas to be superior to that of other places – but I have simply grown up with this notion of what I think Christmas should be like, and I believe everybody has. I know for sure that many confused Americans have come to Norway in December wondering where the hell all the Christmas decorations are.
I have held on to one December tradition – and that is having an advent calendar, despite me being 21 and old in Christmas-years. Sainsbury gave me the choice between Winnie the Pooh, High School Musical and Father Christmas. I was leaning towards Winnie, but decided to be traditional and boring in the end as the advent calendar is the only sign in my room that even hints of it being December, and hence being my only Christmas decoration of the year. I also got a really sweet calendar from Henrik. He drew the numbers 1-24 on a chocolate bar, and I am allowed one little square each day. Here I am proudly posing:
And here is Henrik. He had already brushed his teeth, so he was only allowed to flip my Pucca-calendar:
Now I guess it is time for me to continue with my essay. Haven’t even started writing yet – still on the research stage, and will probably not reach the writing stage tonight either.