It’s 2.30am in the morning after the first day of Christmas. Although my Christmas this year was quite low-key compared to the family gatherings that took place all over Australia, it was nevertheless a charming one.
Let’s start with December 24th – taking a break from processing my thesis data, I agreed to drive some of my friends to explore the places around South Australia. So along with Yani, I had Sigit, Windy and Michael as my passengers – Michael wanted to visit Strathalbyn, a quaint little town that I really adore here in SA before his flight to Indonesia on Tuesday. So we took the Freeway to Hahndorf and had lunch at the Hahndorf Inn where I surprisingly bumped into an ex-colleague with her extended family. I had calorie-laden cheese and chilli kransky sausages with sauerkraut and potatoes – good for my tummy line! We continued our journey to Strathalbyn via meandering road that certainly tested my driving skills – at least it was much better experience for my friends compared to my driving style back in April! 😀
Our first stop in Strathalbyn was High Street where we explored the antique stores there and stopped for milkshakes and ice-creams. Michael bought himself two old keys that he planned to use as ornaments. I grew up with such old-style keys when I visited my mum’s hometown in Bogor – and some of the keys at the house where I grew up were also pretty old. Time is catching up fast with me! We then spent some time at the Soldiers Memorial Garden before we drove south to Goolwa – a town at the mouth of the River Murray. We opted to drive across the bridge to Hindmarsh Island and explored the Murray Mouth. It wasn’t long before we decided to head back to the township as we were getting thirsty and we had enough of the wind. Unfortunately as it was Christmas Eve, a lot of the shops were closed already. The Saltwater Cafe was still open so we stopped for some water and again, some ice-creams. As it was getting late in the afternoon, we continued our journey through Middleton and Port Elliot – I spotted the bakery that I believe is very well-recommended by locals and frequent travellers to the area. It was already 5.30pm and the store was already in the process of closing and offloading their stock for charity. I quickly looked at the tips in Foursquare and read that their chocolate donuts were apparently the best in town. All of us ordered the same thing and were busy stuffing our mouth afterwards. I wholeheartedly agree with the tip. The chocolate donut is great!
It wasn’t long before we hit Victor Harbor – we took some picture from the lookout near McCracken before we continued our journey and immersed our feet in the warm water. By then most of the shops were truly closed, so after we spent some time wading in the water, we got ready again and headed back to Adelaide before it got dark. I suggested that we should do a detour via Myponga – years ago, I was driven there by a friend of mine and I remembered it as a very beautiful spot to visit. So we did just that, took a right hand turn off the main road and travelled up the hill to the lookout overlooking the Myponga Reservoir. It was a special moment to feel the wind and to hear the bird chirping just as the wind picking up some speed. There’s something about moody, changing weather that I love.
We drove over the causeway and headed back to Adelaide with the golden sun streaming through the back of the car – with every bend on the road, we caught a glimpse of the sun glimmering on the reservoir. The light was also beautifully reflected on the gumtrees and the pines – it was truly magical. Unfortunately as we were in the main road already, we couldn’t stop to take photos – we did stop at the lookout near Sellicks Hill, catching the last of the setting sun over the water and the hills. We were pretty hungry by then (even after the German lunch, ice-creams and donuts!) so I took the Southern Expressway to Marion Road where we had our dinner at Ginling Chinese Restaurant. I didn’t realise at that time that we had actually done quite a comprehensive tour of the Fleurieu Peninsula!
Understandably, after such a long drive, I was pretty tired on Christmas morning. I got up nevertheless and rather than doing the whole gift-opening, I tackled the day head on by ironing the shirt that I was going to wear for church while Yani took her shower. 🙂 As the Indonesian church is already on recess, we decided to visit the Edge Church in the city, a church that I really like as well, as they have great praise and worship to complement the solid and sincere preaching. After the service, Sigit, Windy, Yani and myself were invited for Christmas lunch down in Dover Garden. Jakki and Agus Abanat are dear friends of ours and they had kindly invited us for Christmas lunch. So we brought along some chocolate and some cornbread that I baked the night before (after a brief post-trip rest).
It was a great Christmas lunch with Ibu Jakki and Pak Agus preparing traditional Christmas meal – prawns, salad, ham, turkey with bread. Ben, one of their boys, also set the table nicely along with our individual nametags and label for each of the dishes. He’s going a be a good planner one day! We even had some Christmas pudding and some rocky road afterwards so we were pretty full by the end of the afternoon and were feeling pretty sleepy. It was quite a ‘United Nations’ Christmas lunch as well with a Sri Lankan family, a lady from Hong Kong, and Ibu Jakki’s big brother Nigel. I enjoyed lunch a lot – it was what Christmas celebration should be like, surrounded by friends and loved ones with the focus on the fellowship and not on the presents or anything superficial.
By the time we arrived home, Yani and I were dead tired so I had a nap in the bedroom with Indy keeping watch next to me, and Yani sleeping on the couch (ever since we got married, she has claimed the spot as her own … haha). I knew that Indy wanted me to take him for a walk, so I did just that at around 8.30pm – passing houses at the last stage of their Christmas dinner celebration. Yani was still asleep on the couch when we returned from our walk. Hearing some funny noise from the aquarium, I knew that I shouldn’t neglect it anymore so I proce
Only after all of those activities, Yani and I could sit and relax in our living room – and opened our presents. I bought Yani an outdoor lounge chair, and Yani got me a boxed DVD set of three classic Tintin movies. I know that I’m not the easiest person to buy presents for, so I appreciate any attempts from anybody, especially Yani. 🙂 I also bought some dog treats and toys for Indy – his first Christmas at our household. Haha!
And so that was Christmas at the Tanusondjaja’s this year!