“I will gladly say that my very first Irish Christmas dinner felt like home away from home” Our international student ambassador, Oluwatobi Ajayi, writes about her first Christmas dinner in Ireland in this heart-warming blog. Read to find out more about how she spent Christmas in Ireland (as well as the many potatoes that she ate)!
Merry Christmas! Tsnobas gilotsavt! Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noel! I am so excited. It has been such a tumultuous year, but I am grateful for the important lessons it has equally taught me on resilience, patience and faith. We will be remembering 2020 in a long time to come for the global shocker it turned out to be. I think most of never thought the situation of things would escalate to the level that they did but like the common saying, ‘’when life throws you lemons, you make lemonade out of it’’, and so I have chosen to focus on and magnify the beautiful moments in this year so far and to dwell on them.
One of such beautiful moments would be my very first Irish Christmas dinner put together by my housemates. I grew up in Nigeria celebrating Christmas with my family and it was always that time of the year to put aside all other things and enjoy being together with family, friends and neighbours. But after I moved to Georgia (Europe), it was a bit different. This is because in Georgia, Christmas and the New year is celebrated using the Orthodox (Julian) calendar which fall on January 7th and January 14th respectively but the majority especially the youths now celebrate Christmas and New Year on December 25th and January 1st, respectively. So, in Georgia, we got to celebrate both events twice but more on the latter dates than the former. In Georgia, Christmas is celebrated with family and friends in what is called ‘’Supra’’ aka feast and is always homely with loads to eat, drink, sharing of stories and songs to sing.
Before heading off for the Christmas break from the school to be with our individual families, my housemates (who are all Irish) suggested that we have a Christmas dinner among ourselves and I was elated and looked forward to it because this was going to be my first celebration since my arrival here in Ireland. The day began with some shopping being done to get some food items and drinks while the house had already been decorated and the Christmas tree had been put up. The day ran past as the cooking was done and, in the evening, we all came together to eat, talk and have a lovely time together.
I was so grateful and blessed to share such a memorable time with my housemates, they were so nice and homely. The food was amazing, and my favourite turned out to be the garlic potatoes, it was very creamy, delicious and I surely ate to my fill. After the dinner, we all had some dessert and ended the day watching a Christmas movie while some opted to go to bed. There were a few things that I experienced newly; firstly, the Christmas tradition of pulling crackers, I had never heard or done this before and let’s just say I had to pull a couple before I got one but I absolutely enjoyed cracking the riddles and gifts in them. Secondly, this would be my first Christmas dinner or any dinner that I had that would have the most potato dishes; there was my favourite, garlic, then the roasted and mashed potatoes but I enjoyed them all.
I will gladly say that my very first Irish Christmas dinner felt like home away from home. Thanks to my housemates for making me feel at home and not having to focus much on missing celebrating with my family. To sum up, this reminds me of one of the lessons that this year has taught me, the value of relationships. There could be loads of money, food, clothes and all these things but they are meaningless without having someone, family, friends or people to share them with. Wishing you all a wonderful happy new year.
~ Oluwatobi Ajayi