On Christmas Eve, I woke up with a terrible longing for Brussels Sprouts. I’m not particularly crazy about the vegetable, though. It is a Christmas favourite in the West, sometimes bland, sometimes mildly spiced, depending on your taste. They resemble mini-cabbage balls, but cabbages taste nicer, although some people might dispute that.
Brussels Sprouts remind me of our last Christmas in the UK, when we hosted Christmas lunch for friends and my brother and his new wife. We roasted a whole chicken, added chole, pulao, sprouts, a salad and lots of wine. The house gleamed, presents were unwrapped and it did not rain. It was a wonderful afternoon, made special by our secret news that I was a few weeks pregnant (although that didn’t end very well).
My memory of Brussel Sprouts made me long for that afternoon and how happy we were that day. Hosting a party is never easy, but this one felt effortless (or seems that way, years later).
Christmas in England meant carols, church services in the warm church down the hill and mistletoe everywhere you went. The shopping is a bit over-rated, though, because all the good stuff is gone by mid-December.
I miss our local church in England very much; I felt at home there. Home, in fact, for me is my memory of England. It was my first independent home, my first attempt at a life outside of my parents’ protectiveness. I cherish those years deeply and am grateful for the chance of having experienced a life that is so utterly different from ours here. I am grateful for years of quiet solitude, of greenery everywhere, of clean roads, of pavements, of traffic signals and traffic lanes. I’m grateful for having had the chance to run, cheered on by a motley crew of friends and strangers. I’m grateful for public libraries that allowed me to take armloads of books back home. I’m grateful for finding work that paid well and introduced me to a whole new world of medical research and lobbying.
In England, I took to writing for a living. It would not have occurred to me to do it here.
Brussels Sprouts makes me grateful for England and the life I had the chance to lead there.
As 2011 shuts its doors upon us, I’m glad to see the end of it. It has been a good year for my writing. I had work throughout the year and I made it to the WSJ, Asian Age and other leading publications. I worked with some lovely editors and hope to do business with them again in the coming months.
I can’t wait for 2012 to come by in all its shiny newness. What will this new year have in store for me? I don’t want much: just lots of (well-paying) writing assignments, books to review, new friends (online and in person) and hopefully some travel, too. I want my family to be happy and my boy to enjoy his school. And I want flowers in my garden and more paintings on the walls.
Everything else will be a bonus 🙂
What do you hope for in 2012? May it happen for you.
Happy New Year!