We have a book which must have been bought for Blake two years ago entitled My First Christmas. It's very basic but we've been reading it every couple of days or so, and Blake likes to stop and question me especially about the details of the nativity scene - what's the story behind Mary and Joseph, who the wise men are, where the shepherds were taking their sheep. I think he may be struggling slightly with the fact that Jesus is the baby in the story, since he thinks of Chris and Anna's Joseph when he thinks of a baby and the name Joseph.
Anyway, telling the nativity story last Tuesday evening, I had to wonder about how many people could tell correctly the story of the baby Jesus's birth (whether I could do it myself is questionable!). I had been that day to Westfield London, a veritable temple to consumerism on a normal day but seemingly in overdrive with Christmas shoppers in droves. The reason for my going was mainly to try to procure some sort of coordinated (but not matching!) outfits for the boys for a family photo shoot we were doing on Thursday, but I managed also to get sucked into several toy stores and the Disney store. I almost bought Blake some Toy Story undies for our upcoming potty training over Christmas, but there were literally about 30 people waiting to pay so I decided he might have to get less interesting "big boy pants" as I wasn't going to wait that long in line. I was feeling somewhat depressed after being amongst the masses of shoppers, which is pretty typical for me. I had also hoped to find something new for myself for the photos, but it didn't go very well. And, well, I just hate shopping, simple as that.
Fortunately after that retail hell I could head to something more pleasant, and that was to meet up with 2 other Hickory natives, Laura and Mollie. Laura is doing a PhD based in York, in the north of England, (with Peruvian/American/British husband, 4-year-old son, and baby on the way in January!) and Mollie is living in London with her Italian husband and 2-year-old daughter Eleanora. We met at the Tate Modern and it was nice to catch up on our lives since the good old days of Hickory High School! I had seen Mollie about a year ago so I had already met her sweet daughter, but Laura and I think it's been since 1996 or 1998 since we last saw each other. That is a long time!
It was a busy day, but seeing people from home in London made me remember what a small world it really is. If only the malls weren't so big...