In Mexico, the main Christmas celebration is on the 24th; a big Christmas Eve dinner late at night with typical dishes such as bacalao, a rich and tasty cod dish prepared with olives, peppers, tomato, chilli, small potatoes, almonds, amongst other ingredients, romeritos, a plant with long thin tender leaves, which are mixed with mole, small potatoes and shrimp cakes, ensalada de Navidad, a Christmas fruit salad made with cream, apple, pineapple, raisins and pecan nuts, and more familiar foods like spaghetti or ravioli and turkey or leg of pork.
Well, we had none of that this year.
It was the fault of a horribly swollen abscess on one side of my husband's throat that had him in a lot of pain and meant he couldn't eat anything and could barely even swallow liquids. It got steadily worse over the course of the day of the 24th, the pain spreading to his ear and side of his head, and by late afternoon we realised we would have to ditch our half-made plan to go out for dinner. By about 8pm, he couldn't stand it anymore and we decided to go to hospital.
We called a friend of his who lives nearby as Eduardo was in no condition to drive and I don't drive (maybe that'll change next year), so he very kindly came over to help - with driving and moral support. Emma stayed at home with her grandmother. There followed a brief discussion about which hospital to go to: the Seguro Social (free health service) was not an option at this point - having to wait hours and hours before being attended wasn't an appealing prospect. So, prestigious expensive hospital or smaller more economical clinic recommended by friend? In the end we went to a small inexpensive hospital close to home, the doctor on call arrived after a short wait, examined Eduardo and gave him more painkillers through a saline drip, another dose of antibiotic and prescribed more medicine. After about two hours, the pain had calmed considerably, his fears had also been calmed and he was feeling a bit more human.
When we got home it was about 10.30pm and Emma had fallen asleep. I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to give her her new Christmas Eve pyjamas - she got them for Christmas Day instead! I was hungry as I hadn't had any dinner - well, there was no dinner as such. Eduardo went to bed and slept, he couldn't eat anyway.
|Emma on Christmas Eve, with biscuits.|
I heated up some spaghetti, got everything ready for Santa's visit that night and decided to make the pumpkin spice cookies from a packet mix I'd bought a few days earlier. Such a star baker! I hadn't baked cookies in years so this was quite adventurous for me! Despite my doubts, they turned out pretty well.
Christmas Day was much better; Eduardo was still not 100% and having to take two different antibiotics, but he'd recovered enough to set up Emma's new trampoline outside - between the two of us, with some trial and error, we managed to figure it out! It was fun watching Emma open her presents and play with them, she was pretty excited. I'd put out the stocking I made for her last year and she seemed quite surprised to find it stuffed with presents.
We spoke to my family on Skype, just in time to watch us open the presents they'd sent us. It was especially exciting to help Emma open loads of little individually wrapped presents from my sister which were all part of a food and kitchenware play set which Emma was fascinated with. It was quite an event, unwrapping item by item! My parents, sisters and brothers-in-law were all at my parents' house and it was great to be able to see and talk to them all together - almost as if they were here with us. Although trying to give someone pretend breakfast and pretend cups of tea over Skype is a little difficult!
|Emma and her daddy - they look rather like Masha and the Bear!|
Later we went out for dinner - still no Christmas food as it was an Argentine-style buffet, but it was delicious and we ate enough to make up for the previous day! I loved the coconut shrimp with mango and ginger sauce. Happily, my husband had completely recovered the ability to eat and really savoured every mouthful! I took Emma to the children's play area in the restaurant where she had great fun bouncing, climbing, crawling, sliding and playing and exploring in general. That was definitely one of the highlights of the day.
So that was our unplanned Christmas; some unexpected bumps in the road turned all our expectations upside-down and being ill is horrible, but in the end we were able to make the most of the circumstances and enjoy it - Emma enjoyed it, that's for sure!
I was thinking when we got back from the hospital on Christmas Eve about how you just have adapt to what life throws at you without getting upset because its not as perfect as you wanted it to be. Nothing can be perfect, you just have to make the best of what you have.
Or perhaps, if you look at it another way, you'll find that this imperfect reality is much better than perfect (I dare to say that perfect is boring and we all thrive on a bit of drama in our lives...) and the bad times make us appreciate the good times much more.
Here's to imperfection and mess and struggling to make something out of the everyday chaos.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a very happy New Year!