The Holidays Done Manila-style

Around ManilaMisc.
December 22, 2009

Ah, what a strange time it’s been lately.  Holiday events wrapped up around the 15th because 50-60% of the expat population was going home.  I was doing really well up until the activity stopped and have fallen Grinch-y place over the last few days.  It’s just not fun when all the things you associate with Christmas are missing – like snow and sweaters and fires and wild rice casserole.  And then there are the strange things that show up – like the fireworks show pictured above that takes place right next to us each and every Friday in December.  So weird – Christmas & fireworks?  WRONG HOLIDAY PEOPLE.

Yes, I’m crabby.  And homesick.  But it will pass (because I’m working on an attitude adjustment).  There’s just so much ambiguity surrounding this first holiday away (and my first one EVER with Nick).  Nothing like longing for the familiar when you can’t have it.  And so we adapt.  Here’s our current schedule for the 24th and 25th:

Afternoon of the 24th: See Avatar in 3D
Evening of the 24th: Open 1 Present (Nick’s stupid rule- I’d open more), Dinner at a local Hotel & 10 PM Mass
Morning of the 25th: Skype with our families, Open the rest of our presents
Afternoon of the 25th: Host an Open House potluck for anyone that doesn’t have a place to go for Xmas

Seems like it should be a decent itinerary for our first year.  I wonder which traditions with stick!?

This week I treated myself to the ultimate in massages, the one I’ve been saving for the perfect occasion, just like a bottle of good wine.  Being that I needed a little Christmas pep-me-up, I decided the time was NOW.  I went over to my second home, The SPA at Greenbelt and requested the Twin Massage.  That’s right, you guessed it, two massage therapists working on me at the same time!  And for the unbelievably low price of $30!

SOOO indulgent.  One on the top half and one on the bottom for a full 60 minutes.  So unique…

It was borderline sensory overload for me.  Since I already have problems focusing for any amount of time, it was virtually impossible to try to ease myself into a calm place with that much activity going on.  But boy did my body feel good afterwards, even if I didn’t get to the “ohm” place that I usually find during a massage.  Definitely a must-try for those of you coming to visit!

PS- I added in a whole bunch of links to other foreign service blogs!  You’ll find the hyperlinks in the right column.  Enjoy!

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  1. Caroline says:

    In Nick’s defense, my family has had the 1 present on Christmas Eve rule for years and has served us well, especially as children. Plus, if my parents strategized correctly, it gave us something to do to kill time before midnight mass (at 10:30 pm).

  2. minnesotagal says:

    I still think it’s dumb. We used to get 5…

  3. chad says:

    It’s really lonely during holidays when you’re far away from your love ones and you don’t have the things familiar to you.

    If you’re spending New Year in Manila, prepare something that could cover your ears. There would be firework and sounds of firecrackers everywhere. It will the same on February for the Chinese New year.

    I really do hope you enjoy the Holidays!

  4. Chris Coleman says:

    Hi Sarah – I don’t know whether to curse you or thank you for listing a million more blogs that I can read. It’s definitely a love/hate relationship that I have with these blogs. Love reading them so much, yet hate that it takes up so much of my time. I do know that judging from the few I’ve read so far, yours is by far the most creative and well written.

    Have a great Xmas.

  5. Jennifer says:

    We’re thinking about you, Sarah! We miss you, too. I have this week off work, so let me know if you want to Skype on the morning of the 23rd or 24th. Hope to talk to you soon!

  6. Elise says:

    Hang in there lady! It is always hard to be away from home, no matter how far, but you guys, as you said just need to establish some of your own traditions. Sadly the one present thing on Christmas eve runs wild in our family, I’m with you I’d open them all, but bah! Paul won’t even let me open one! Scrooge! Have a Merry Christmas! Much love…

  7. Caroline says:

    How many presents did you get, total? And what in God’s name did Santa have left to bring you?

  8. minnesotagal says:

    I think we got about 25 total. It was nuts! Our parents really spoiled us this first year… as if we needed anything! We’re definitely not planning to return Kindle #2 though… :)

  9. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks Elise- Merry Xmas to you and your family! So glad you can be with Robert and Joyce. Wishing you a fast and painless delivery!

  10. minnesotagal says:

    Sorry Jen- just saw this… I’ll try you in the next week!

  11. minnesotagal says:

    Thanks Chris- Can I have a prize for being the best written? Maybe a trip to MN??? :) Merry Xmas and thanks for reading…

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