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    Day 626 – Christmas Day in Sorrento…

    Tune of the Day: Mr. Tough – Yo La Tengo

    The first thing I do today is to call my mum, dad and sister back home in Middelfart. Its 9am here on Christmas day, in Denmark it is 11pm Christmas Eve. It is really nice to talk to them all and sense a little Bangsgaard Christmas spirit, despite the absence of family – 60 minutes goes by so quickly. The living room is packed with 11 people, spread over four generations. There is Rhod, his Croatian/German girlfriend Iva, Rhod’s sister Kate and her five months old Labrador Skuba, Rhod’s brother Jolyon and his Vietnamese girlfriend Dawn, her mother and daughter Linh (whom Dawn has from a former marriage) Rhod’s dad Robert, Rhod’s mum Patricia and her father John.

    The Christmas tree is decorated and the dinning table is filled with presents. I’m excited to see how Chrismas is celebrated here, because it is my first Christmas in a English speaking Commonwealth-country, where the 25th of December is the day to open the presents etc. It is not even 10 am, before I have my first (of many) glass of champagne – the day has begun!

    Opening the present is much more chaotic and confusing than what I’m used to at home. In only half an hour, all the presents have found their owner and the paper is ripped off without concern for the love the wrapping paper is surrounded with. 6-year-old Linh is electric with expectations for her Christmas presents and all her expectations seem to be fulfilled – it’s quite a crazy present-frenzy.

    Tiger prawns and more champagne on the terrace. I have a long talk with granddad John, who is 76 years old. He is quite fresh, bright and a fine proof that is it not necessarily a frightening thing to become old.

    In the afternoon half the group takes a beautiful walk down to Sorrento’s Ocean Beach. The sun is shining, the water is green and the rocky coast is amazing, impressive. The whole of the Mornington Peninsula is a wonderful pearl.

    With a couple of cold beer, Rhod and I have a terrace talk and try to catch up. We meet for the first time in 1998 in Utila, Honduras, and later, by coincidence, in the street in San Jose, Costa Rica and again in Cusco, Peru. Later that year, he came to visit me in Middelfart and we had an unforgettable Midsummer Day on my home island Funen. I’m happy about being here, with his lovely family.

    Christmas dinner consisted of, on the meat side: turkey and deli-sausages, accompanied by a huge amount of vegetables, gravies, stuffing and red wine without limitations. Mum Patricia had been in the kitchen all day and the result was amazing.

    In the evening we visit on of Rhod’s old friends. I loose both my heart and soul to his 7 months old daughter Emily. A lovely, little ray of light, who reminds me that I still have a lot of good things waiting for me in my life.

    (Kindly translated by A. S. Jensen)

    On this day..

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