Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Festival Season

Yay I finally have some time to blog amongst all the frenzies! I think the last few days must have been some of the busiest days for me in a long while. It's the first time I am overseas during Christmas day, and for the first time in my life I am actually doing something during Christmas. For the past 21 years, Christmas had always been "yet another holiday" as I don't celebrate the event. However, the Christmas season in Melbourne is entirely different.

The festival season blasted off on Sunday. After having some good table-tennis time in College Square, I dropped by Xuan Ni's house to pay a visit. Surprise, surprise, surprise, when I opened the door, I was greeted by faces I wouldn't have expected in Xuan Ni's house. There cheerfully chatting and playing in the house were my friends who teamed up with her to give me a surprise for my upcoming birthday. :D Everyone cooked and brought tons of delicious foods and deserts; a few of them even came all the way from outer suburbs! Thanks to everyone who made it to the surprise party! Haha I don't think I can describe how delighted and flattered I felt on that night. So a big hug and thank you to you guys! :) And to the person who planned the surprise party: Muaks! <3 <3 <) (photos later)

The Christmas Eve on Monday started with myself and a few others doing some scouting in the city shopping precincts. On the Boxing Day (26 Dec) every year, there is always a huge clearance sale in almost every single fashion and electronic shops in Melbourne. Everyone goes crazy on this day, and for some outlets, there are even people waiting outside the entrance in the early morning just so that they could grab all the best deals before the others. So, yeah, on Christmas Eve, we were doing some last-minute scouting to look up worthwhile stocks to be bought on Boxing Day. Unfortunately for us it turned out not as fun as we thought, as we couldn't really find much good and cheap stuff.

At night we went out to Ivanhoe, one of the suburbs in Melbourne to see the Christmas lights. Since the 1950s, many of the houses at one of the boulevards have been showcasing their Christmas decorations. In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the residents made concerted effort in decorating their houses with scintillating lights, santas and reindeers. We enjoyed ourselves tremendously in Ivanhoe while seeing the effort and money put into this showcase. I didn't take any picture on the night, but there is a photo gallery in The Age website with some of the most impressive displays.

As it neared the midnight, we rushed all the way back to the city to catch the actions. We went to the St. Paul's Cathedral which is one of the most stupendous churches in Melbourne, located right across the road from Flinders Street Train Station. There was a midnight mass going on, so we dropped in and listened to a couple of carols. The carols were sung by the thousand-strong mass attendants under the grand Gothic architecture. With the accompaniment of the organ, "Joy to the World" sounded so mesmerizing.

At 20 minutes to midnight, we shuffled our way out of the cathedral embarrassingly and made our way to the Federation Square which is just right across the road. (Image credit: Federation Square website) There we watched a special acrobatic show where two acrobats kind of put up a show synchronized with some computer-graphic animations on a huge projector screen. It was pretty interesting in the first few minutes, but as the show dragged on for almost half an hour, the novelty wore off and we got rather bored by the repetitive actions on the screen. The show was behind the schedule, so when it came to the count-down chapter at 12.20am, the crowd was already rather unenthusiastic. We capped off the night with a supper in the King of Kings Restaurant in Russell Street, which was absolutely mouth-watering.

Christmas Day turned out to be a food day for me, as all we did was to attend a Christmas lunch with a few friends and a Christmas dinner with another group of friends. The Christmas lunch was a cozy meeting between Audrey, Su Min, Xuan Ni and I in Audrey's house in East Burwood. Four of us are in the same unit in the hospital for our research projects. Audrey's family were so nice that they prepared a whole meal for all of us while we just sat there and did nothing. :P Su Min also brought her mango pudding which was better than the one people have in restaurant, and it raised the question of why she is studying medicine. We chit-chatted with Audrey's parents for a few hours, and it's so interesting to see how Audrey grew confused as we talked about places in Malaysia and Malaysia's "internal workings" (Audrey's parents are from Malaysia but she's born in Australia).

In the evening, we rushed to another Christmas dinner hosted by Omiiga. Acherly very boring don't want to write about this. Hah it turned out to be a lot of fun! Among the highlights of the night were the Christmas Pic-tionary game (in which I drew "Christmas Carol" and was guessed right in 20 seconds) and Santa-Clause dress-up competition. Hah Eng Kiat and Yong Chin lived up to the image of Santa Clause so well that they could almost pass themselves off as the real thing. :) No photo again, unfortunately. :( When you are surrounded by so many delicacies, photograph has to be delegated to a lower priority. :P

Today was the much-awaited Boxing Day, but unfortunately I wasn't in much mood to shop for clothes and stuff. While the others happily swept through all the shops' hottest deals, I only got myself a pair of sport shoes. Anyway it was rather eye-opening to witness the rare scene of shoppers literally clogging the street happily parade all their Myer, Nike, Adidas, Target, JB Hi-Fi plastic bags. (Image Credit: The Age) While today must be the big-day for all the retail therapists; I guess those shoppers can only claim the second place as the happiest people today. It's not too hard to guess the first place eh?

Anyway, I made it home after a few hours of shop-crawling, and here I am typing a faithful "report" of what happened to me in the last few days. I know it's boring and long, because I am dozing off myself liao. For those who fell asleep reading this grandmother tale, now you should blame yourself for not realising earlier the reason I write more opinion pieces than narratives. :)

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!


sophisticatedsoul said...

Christmas in Melbourne sounds rather fun, if compared to what we have in Alor Star. Super dry. Hah..

Your narrative skill is not too bad la..I know I can always gain something from reading your grandmother stories.. :P

youngyew said...

Hahaha what do you have to gain from my grandmother stories wor?