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A Very Kiwi Christmas: 2011 Edition

by Marian Schembari on December 26, 2011

The fact that this was my second warm-weather New Zealand Christmas is a thought that continues to baffle me. And it doesn’t help that for months I’d been stressed about spending the holiday alone. But thanksbetobabyjesus, my amazing new roommate, Alana, saved the day by inviting me to her family’s house to celebrate.

And they were wonderful. Loud and boisterous and welcoming – just like my own family!

We set out the Kiwi version of milk and cookies on Christmas Eve (in NZ it’s beer and mince pies – go figure).

On Christmas morning I went to church and, well, it’s been a looonnng time since I’ve gone to church willingly. And my have they digitized the experience! During the children’s time they actually played a DVD of this adorable little nativity story. You have to watch it. It’s like the guys who made Where the Wild Things Are had a crack at Jesus:

Then we opened presents! I had forgotten how awesome Christmas is with children and it was so nice to have Alana’s niece, Michelle, there to be all excited about her doll house and new swimsuit (or “togs” as they call them).

While I’m still getting used to barbequing during December, Christmas crackers and spending such a family-oriented holiday with other people’s relatives, it definitely was a Christmas to remember. There’s nothing better than new people and being a fly on the wall for others’ traditions.

I hope your day was as special, magical and filled with love as mine turned out to be. MERRY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!


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Before I started moving to various countries, the concept of an “expat” was completely foreign to me(see what I did there?). I imagined the worldly but spoiled children of diplomats, fancy French people having fancy French dinner parties and the occasional mid-twenties backpacker traveling the world to get as far away from America as possible. […]

23 comments You know you want more →

The Blogger’s Fail-Proof Guide to Editing Posts

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Both of my parents are writers. They write for major newspapers, edit articles, have blogs and publish books. My 20 year old brother has written for The New York Times and Complex. My other brother, 21, has taken photos for the Times and his college essay was better than most bestsellers. It’s madness. I come […]

29 comments You know you want more →

Way to Be Thankful

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I realize writing a post on Thanksgiving morning is a) lame and b) not the best blogging decision as no one will actually read it, but I still want to take a second  to wish you all a happy HAPPY  Thanksgiving. Turkey Day is my favorite day because it’s entirely about food and spending time […]

22 comments You know you want more →

Stratejoy Celebration!! A little more about YOU…

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While I occasionally share personal stuff here, the purpose of this site as a whole is to get clients and make some moolah. But when I recently asked you guys how I can make the blog better and more interesting for you, a few people asked for more stories/life updates. Here’s a photo of me […]

31 comments You know you want more →