I’m sure that everyone’s festive preparations are well under way by now, and if not, you really ought to shake a tail feather and put yourself into fifth gear! Last minute shopping during Christmas week is not a pleasant experience, trust me, I will openly admit I am one of those annoying people who insist on waiting ‘til the last possible moment to buy cards and presents; and I still haven’t finished! Uh oh!
The final couple of weeks before our Winter Holiday flew by! Hayley and I were so busy completing various Academic exams that we had little time to kill. After many nights of sitting and memorising lengthy Russian texts, I am thrilled that I achieved a set of 5’s and one 4 in all my exams to date. I hope I can maintain the standard in the New Year!
At the weekends we would venture into Central Moscow in order to buy some small Christmas Presents; I have to say, Hayley was far more successful at this than the rest of us, we didn’t have a clue! On one of our trips, Hayley, Daniel, Matthew (New American Boy) and I went to TSUM department store. In the central column of the store was, in my opinion, a Christmas Wonderland! It was so beautifully decorated that when you stepped into it, you felt like you were entering Santa’s Grotto! Daniel was eyeing up a grand Music Box, which told the story of the ballet ‘The Nutcracker’, but for 50,000 roubles his only choice was to walk away empty handed! Maybe save and try again next year Dan?
During the week, Daniel had begun going to the Music rooms in the evening. He is teaching himself to play various songs on the piano; he is actually surprisingly good! I decided to tag along a couple of time, but this far from pleased Dan! I don’t think he appreciated my rendition of ‘Can you Feel the Love Tonight?’ and ‘Tale as Old as Time’. Just you wait, after a bit of Christmas practising I will return to Moscow a Piano Pro, the modern day Beethoven even… well it’s nice to dream!
The last week at the Academy was very relaxed. Most of our teachers were absent for various reasons, so Hayley and I only had to endure ballet and Russian every day, after which we were allowed to spend our time as we pleased. So Hayley and I chose to nap! It may sound silly, but it was the best feeling in the world; returning from a long ballet class and just jumping back into bed for a few hours, while Heather looked on in ore as she shuttled herself off to all her classes! I am not portraying myself and Hayley in the best light! I should mention that after our naps we jumped into the role of ‘Domestic Housewife’; we tidied our room, did the shopping, washed our dirty crockery and cutlery, changed our bed sheets and did our laundry and drying! We were well prepared for our return home – or so we thought!
Upon collecting our washing from the drying room on our final night, we found that the window had been closed, meaning that none of the clothes were actually drying at all! Typical! So I spent part of our last night hair drying my laundry before joining Hayley and Dan for a final sushi meal!
In the early hours of the 16th of December, after being waved off by Daniel and Alex, Hayley, Heather and I hopped into a taxi to the airport and boarded the 6.35am flight to London Heathrow. I was extremely excited, not just to be going home, but to see the look on my Mummy’s face! Since October, when we booked the flights, my mum had been under the impression that I would be returning on the morning of the 21st of December, but instead I had booked a flight for the 16th in order to surprise her on her birthday!
As soon as we touched down at Heathrow, Heather and I jetted off to baggage reclaim – I am sure people thought we were training for the Olympic’s Speed walking race! I was greeted at the airport by Michael; he drove me home and then accompanied me on the train journey to London to meet my mum!
A work colleague of my Mum’s met us at the entrance of the building and escorted us to my Mum’s desk. It was great to see my mum and give her a squeeze; I don’t think she really understood what was going on at first! But she definitely looked over the moon to see me! So thrilled in fact, that she summoned me to join her on an errand to Tesco to by 20 boxes of Mince Pies for her work! Makes you wonder whether she was overjoyed by my return, or simply to have found an extra pair of arms to carry such a large number of pies?!
That evening, the entire family reserved a table at Zinco’s Restaurant to celebrate her birthday. It was so nice to be surrounded by family; it was especially great for me to spend some quality time with her sister and her new man, as well as surprise my Grandad! I sneaked up behind him and pretended to be a waitress guiding him to his seat; there is no fooling my Grandad because he is the king of pranks, he clocked on straight away and smothered me in cuddles!
That weekend I spent time catching up with my mum, dad and sister. My sister has just had a serious knee operation to secure the knee cap, so currently she is waddling around in crutches!
On Saturday, I went to see Kerry, one of my oldest friends! Kerry and I have grown up together, shared so many experiences and she really does know me inside out. We both screamed when we saw each other through excitement and disbelief! 16 weeks is a long time to go without seeing your friends and family! We chatted for a while and then went to meet Jacqui from work. The troublesome trio were reunited! We went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner where we were joined by Connie and Racheal. We have all known each other for years, as we grew up together at Gypsy Booth, so I love when we get together and just act as silly as we did back then!
On Tuesday, my dad, his girlfriend and I went to Winter Wonderland! It was so good to spend a full day with my dad; It is rare because of my busy schedule and his hectic shift work that we are able to spend long periods of time together. We ventured all around the German Christmas market and he took us on the Big Wheel. It was like babysitting two big children! They were absolutely petrified on the wheel, which I found highly entertaining, but they soon began to appreciate the beautiful views of the London horizon.
Wednesday was my Grandad day. It was excellent! We went to Milton Keynes shopping centre in the morning, so that I could be well and truly spoiled; my grandad has spoiled his Grandad children since the day we were born. He relished the times where he could hype us up on sugar and buy us outrageous toys and then ship us off to our parents where they would have to deal with the consequences of too much sugar in our systems! I still have a human sized cuddly Lamb he bought one Easter; I can still remember my mum and Granny’s face when we returned with it – not impressed!
After shopping, I joined him and his friends at ‘Afternoon Tea’. I had an excellent time socialising with his friends, there are some excellent characters! And I was privileged enough to meet a man who not only loves the arts but was my Granny’s boss for just over a decade.
Oh gosh! This blog could qualify for a novel soon, so enough from me! I need to dash off and finish my Christmas shopping! Happy Holidays everybody and I hope that the New Year brings all you hope for.