Mulled Wine and Cinderella
The rude awaking of an unforgiving school bus schedule and new term wrenched us from our tinsel- strewn, mulled wine fragranced hibernation this week! The three- week break did hold promise of some travel but as we leaned into Christmas, the motivation to travel seemed to entirely disappear. We swapped stuffed suitcases for stuffed bellies, hiking for board games and sight- seeing for movies. It sounds like a proper slobathon and it was, but it was the first Christmas we have experienced in four years where we were actually at ‘home’ (in a non- mouldy one at that) and weren’t under some kind of subliminal pressure to globe-trot like normal expats. We did go to Shanghai- Disney, though, first time for Gideon, Emily and I, second for Mike. Managed to get a socially distanced photograph of Emily and Cinderella, where Emily had to stand in a purposefully designed square made from masking tape, so she would stay a safe distance from Cinderella. My propensity for denseness really shone at that moment when I took it to be normality at Disney land that one would be required to distance themselves from the terrifyingly beautiful and untouchable princess, until one of my children kindly pointed out to me that it was actually a covid-19 measure.
So, Christmas took the shape of a fair amount of hospitality involving eating, board game marathons and late night wear wolves sessions. (Wear wolves is a similar game to Mafia, but with a few more characters). Christmas this year seemed to include a hormone-releasing excessive pursuit of baking, much to everyone’s delight. If you would like any of the recipes, including one for home made mince meat; (mince pies are scarce in Suzhou), then drop us a message in the comments below!
On New Year’s day some Suzhou Striders organised some Strava Run Art; (it’s a thing now). They planned a route and 19 of us ran the shape of 2021, spanning just under 20 km. Fun isn’t the word, but with the aching ankles, it brought a sense of achievement. So, thank you to Martin Crozier and Katarina Weng for organising it!