Home > Travels, Tunisian Life > Starting the Holidays Right!

Starting the Holidays Right!

I will preface  this by saying my goal is to make my blog less rambly. Please let me know if I succeeded in concision! 

Anyhoo, my last night in Tunisia was a beauty. We created a little winter wonderland in the living room of a teensy apartment. The aroma of cinnamon and stewed fruit from Anna’s addictive mulled wine hung in the air as we enjoyed ourselves …and my holiday mixes! It’s incredible to me how we can recreate home. An earlier attempt to fashion Thanksgiving for 15 people- with a dinky gas stove and no proper ingredients- turned out to be well above our expectations. This night followed suit. The ambiance from the decor,  the dishes spanning Romania, Poland and Germany and of course, the perfect company made the night one of dreams! 

Feeling the effects from the night before’s ADB gala, I passed out at midnight and revived myself two hours later with Karim’s music. A favorite part of my life here. We’ve spent many a late night crowded around Karim as he strums his guitar and gives us renditions of whatever we chose. When our ‘encores!’ exhausted his vocal chords, we took turns singing impromptu pieces of that relished our present holiday spirit. 

I went to bed at 5 am and then woke up at 9 am to do a bit of last minute shopping before Omar took me to the airport. I have had zero problems with Air Tunisia thus far. Cross my fingers that this oddity persists! 

I got into London and was greeted by my mamu, mami and darling little Ankit.  I think one of the best feelings is seeing familiar, smiling faces waiting for you at the arrival gate. We have been planning the holidays for over a month!
We got back to their house, and within 2 minutes, were off to my mami’s sister’s house to celebrate her 40th birthday. 

I had minced pies with more mulled wine to stoke my appetite for the preceding South Indian feast. We went to an East London restaurant where I had my first udapam (loose translation: Indian pizza). Shiva, Ankit and I shared a mango lassi afterwards to cool our tongues from the crazy spicy sambar. After, we  cut the cake and popped open a bottle of champagne. A nice way to kick off my holidays! 

Of course, the next day I wouldn’t have minded dying. I went to my nanima’s where I knew I would have the luxury of sleeping at 7 pm if I wanted. And did. My nanima and I got up early, had tea, did yoga together and then made a  breakfast of her health creations. I love staying at my grandma’s. It’s the house I was born in and a neighborhood I know too well. She has such a stereotypically quaint British home with a wonderful set of neighbors and friends surrounding her and a tiny community of movies where everyone knows everyone . All day long people will be popping in and out. My grandma is very active in the community here and I’m always amazed at the latest she has done or is doing. This time, she had a fresh photo album of pictures from a large scale Asian Women’s event she organized with the mayor of Gravesend. I also saw pictures from a trip to Dubai she organized for retired people. I can only hope I’m still functional at 72. 

Another reason I love going to my nanima’s is because I get to spend time with my favorite family friends. A wonderful thing, of many, about being Indian is that friends are family- except in their case, they’re even more than family! (Proximity could have a role to play in this.) They live two doors down and the eldest, Prit, just got married. His wife, Sanj, has certainly got the touch: since she’s come their house has been rapidly turning into a Martha Stewart ideal.

I wasn’t around when the courting dance happened so I really wanted to get a chance to do some bonding with Sanj. Sanj’s mom runs a fish and chip shop nearby so I went over their to meet her and have a coffee. Then Sanj came around with Priya and we went off for a shopping spree at Bluewater. Once we shopped till we dropped, we headed back to my Nanima’s where she had prepared a scrumdidilyumptious Punjabi feast. God I miss Indian cooking. I ate till I burst, no regrets. 

The next morning, I stayed with my grandma wrapping the last batch of presents and then my mami came to pick me up to bring me over to hers. She had gone with Arjun to the countryside to pick up a fresh, free range turkey as well as load the car with Marks and Spencer delectables. We are going to cook ourselves a proper British Christmas, yorkshire pudding and trifle inclusive! Cannot wait!!!

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  1. gillis@ccf.org
    December 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    is masala turkey an established British xmas delectable now with the advent of the eastern hordes? Seems like you are having fun. We all missed you on xmas and enjoyed the skype encounter

  2. December 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    so funny you said that. im actually going to write about my christmas dinner tomorrow while I’m lounging/digesting nilu masi’s grand dinner. my turkey was stuffed with parantha.

  1. January 3, 2010 at 4:05 pm

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