Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas in a Campground

For my friends who think I’m still in Nepal, because my blog is, let me update you—just for Christmas. 

I’m writing this in a very noisy game room at a caravan park by a beach at South West Rocks in North New South Wales, Australia. It’s the only place with wifi. Kids are playing the TV at full volume and pingpong games are slamming. But it’s Christmas! Time to be with family, friends and tradition.

So, what do you do when you’re traveling alone and those you love are back home?

Well, you celebrate the small things:

Like, these are happy kids on holiday. Its summer in Australia!
The caravan park, unlike my usually roughing it in the woods, has wifi, water, toilet and a shower.
The family next camper over just invited me to share in their Christmas dinner. And when their little son Jack saw I was a little tearful after a call back home, offered me some M&M’s.

I bought a dozen oysters from a truck last night and cooked them in ramen noodles for a solo Christmas Eve dinner. A relative yummy!

My family will skype me for their Christmas dinner.

And you celebrate the small things in advance leading up to Christmas:

This lovely lady, Bronwen, helped me celebrate Christmas a week early. She and her husband took pity on me at a restaurant and invited me home for a shower! Did I smell that bad? No, she was just passing on some kindness that someone had done for her a week earlier. (Generosity is generative.) Yay!! What a gift! And a hand-dyed washcloth by her daughter of an apple orchard in Bilpin.

My own Christmas basket, from produce and apple cider in the Bilpin area.

And a special snuggle with an orphan. (What big knees you have!)

And you appreciate the decorations, which in rural Australia are sparse but unique.

You rejoice in not dealing with Christmas cards, shopping, and the overstated commercial hoopla. Camp living is simple.

And you celebrate the big things, like … I survived!

The workman cleaning up the debris this morning called last night’s storm “cyclonic!”  This neighbor who had camped here each Christmas for 20 years said, “It was one in a million.”

There were dead cicadas littering the ground, kookaburras looking disheveled and disoriented ducks. Last night my tent shivered and shook. I was seriously worried about lightening striking the trees above, as one did nearby. (Right, I picked this site because of the shade.) I should have been more worried about the falling branches! Eucalyptus trees are notorious for shedding their branches in the wind!

But… it didn’t leak. Yay for not buying a cheaper Kmart tent! 

See the big branch that just missed me.

So, as the storm wound down in the afternoon, we celebrated in Aussie style. 

Turkey, ham and prawns. Beet-root salad. Ending in home-made boiled Christmas pudding with mince pies, custard and cream. 

And cracking “crackers!” Little explosions with these English treats, toys and silly hats. 

And jokes—“What does an angry kangaroo do? Get hopping mad!”

So, my friends, my Christmas in a campground was “one in a million.” 

I learned to appreciate dry shelter,  generosity, little hoopla, a sweet little boy and the kindness of strangers. Maybe a little like the first Christmas?

Wishing all of you the heart warmth and inner light that this Season offers!

Now, back to Nepal…

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