Wow, OK, I feel like I haven’t updated this blog in a while so let’s start off the new year by talking about last year. Backwards I know.
Christmas was the first time I’d spent it away from my family. Every year since the age of 18 I’d come back to my parents hometown for the Christmas and New Year period, but after spending two months back in England I was itching to get back to India – which may come as something of a surprise for some people!
Christmas in India can be summed up in a word: Understated
The weather is warm, it doesn’t feel Christmasy, there’s no cheesy tunes on the radio or being played in the shops (which could be viewed as a good thing depending on how you feel about Christmas songs!), there are no Christmas trees, no exchanging Christmas cards and no decorations.
Since India is predominantly a Hindu and Muslim country, I’m surprised that they have a national public holiday for Christmas as so few people actually celebrate it. Maybe they are just more enlightened though because they have public holidays for all the major religions here, or, as my friend just pointed out 11% of the population is Christian and 11% of 1.2bn is a massive number.
So, I worked on the 24th and it was like any other day and then for the first time in many many years woke up on Christmas day without a hangover, but it definitely felt just like any other day.
In an effort to make it slightly more special, I had booked a table at a fancy 5 star hotel restaurant. Rs 1,500 (about Ã‚Â£18) per person for all you can eat and drink (including wine and beer) buffet. They laid on all the usual Christmas fair, even pigs in blankets, which were yum! They had turkey, roast potatoes, mince pies, everything infact, except for Christmas pudding. There was an entire BBQ selection outside, loads of cheeses (top tip: edam cheese is horrible) and because Indians are very serious about their desserts (and getting diabetes), several tables worth of cakes, ice cream and other sweets (no ‘profit roles‘ this time though!).
Apparently a lot of the 5 stars in Chennai do this kind of thing on Sundays for lunch, all you can eat and drink for around Rs 1,000, so going to have to check that out!
Once our lunch was finished, I came home, decided that this was a fake Christmas and did my laundry 😀
New Year was another understated affair, there’s not really the going out and celebrating culture that we have in the West and the few bars that there are in Chennai were charging scandalous cover charges just to enter, so that was ruled out. Anyway, turned out my friends either had other plans or couldn’t be bothered doing anything, so I opened a bottle of Extra Strength Kingfisher beer (“alcohol strength not below 6%”), watched James Bond, and forgot about midnight 🙂
Last year I made some resolutions, did I stick to them? What do you think. My Tamil vocab has expanded to around 20 words and phrases and I earned a nice amount from my websites.
All in all, 2009 was pretty good and better than 2008. Even the stressful visa troubles doesn’t seem so bad when I look back on it. I think 2010 will be even better 😀
Do I have any resolutions for this year? Well, kinda, but they are more like goals and things I want to achieve than resolutions, so here we go…
- Save up and buy a car (sorry, mum, I need to get a car and drive in India, but if I die, you’ll get £15,000 from my life insurance!)
- Lose some weight…again. I did well last year until I went back to England and put it all back on again. Bah. Stupid western lifestyles
- Go and see a bit more of India – some people dream of visiting India, I can visit the Taj Mahal in a weekend
- Bump my online earnings up to $1,500 a month. Currently I’m making between $500 and $800 a month, I want to double that at least
- Give more money to charity – I’ve discovered an altruistic side of me in 2009, but I also think the population of India should be doing more to help their fellow people
- Take a holiday to Thailand or Singapore
I think that’s all for now, I’ll let you know in 2011 how it goes!