Needless Alley, Birmingham
Christmas turned out to be as expected – very quiet, but nice. We followed our plans – Christmas morning, my parents and I packed up the presents in bags, boxed up the food and drove to my sister’s house. My sister had put a lot of effort into making up her house for our family celebrations: she’d put up a tree, and set the table beautifully.
We opened presents and then set about making lunch, eating lunch, and then lazing around after lunch and finishing up with a family game of scrabble, where my sister won over me by 3 points. (3 points!) My sister’s cat was at first overwhelmed, but then quite happy to hang around us, which was cute. By the end of the day she even tentatively came to sit next to me. I got some good presents this year – mostly stuff for my home, as usual. (That’s not an unhappy as usual. I usually request things for my home – it’s interesting to see how people interpret it, and adding those different touches to my house. I like filling my house with things that have an association with a loved one, and/or a pleasant memory.) It was a nice day, but I was exhausted by the evening; as an introvert I can’t take so long spent around people, even my own family. Usually on Christmas I try to retreat in the afternoon, and reappear in the evening. As I was at my sisters house I didn’t feel comfortable roaming around, or retreating, and I felt a pressure to socialise. So I did not get my retreat and recharge time, and it was a little uncomfortable.
Thankfully, for boxing day I could stay at home and ignore everyone. :P
Turtle in a Santa Hat
The next day my sister and I went to Birmingham together. We shopped the sales a bit, had a meal and then went to Sea Life aquarium! It was awesome. Quite a small aquarium, but plenty to see. It was not too busy either, which was really nice. It was especially good being able to enjoy their 360 shark tunnel without the pressure to keep moving to accommodate the crowds. My sister and I spent ages watching the sharks, and trying to spot their turtle (Surprisingly, even a giant turtle can do what my fish do – hide themselves away perfectly, not a trace.) The aquarium had been done up for Christmas – with lights in the decorative palm trees in the aquarium, a Santa hat on one of their statues, and a plastic Christmas tree in their main tank with the sharks. It was kind of adorable. It was another long, tiring day, but lots of fun and it’s easier to be around just my sister rather than dealing with the whole family. (Not including the cat.)
Shark not bothered by Christmas tree in his tank
Since then I’ve come back to the flat and reunited with the fish, who probably didn’t even know I was gone, and met up with my sister in Manchester for more sales shopping. Between those two outings I have managed to buy a lot of nice work stuff at reduced prices, which is awesome. I basically bought several sweaters of similar colors and different styles, but as I live in sweaters+pants/skirt combos at work I think I can justify it. And I finally found a nice smart coat I can wear for my meetings! There’s nothing like putting on your formal wear only to cover it up in a casual coat…Which I’ve been doing for over a year now as coats being expensive, I struggled to commit to buying something nicer. But I found a good formal coat and a good price on it in the sales this time. It was still painful to hand it over at the till, but I can live with it. (And finally I can package myself properly for my meetings, which is pretty priceless to be honest.) I then had a driving lesson today. But mostly I’ve been relaxing and enjoying not having to go to work.
I have to go back to work eventually, of course. I have mixed feelings on it. But whatever, still got a couple of days to myself, and I plan to do nothing and enjoy it thoroughly.
Happy new year!!!
(Pictures are from the trip to Birmingham!)
The Birmingham Bullring shopping center Bull dressed up as a Christmas pudding, because why not