In this little blog, I am going to share with you some of the heartfelt things that hapd to me during my study in the U.K. back in 2014. I have some of the fondest memories from this trip that I will remember for the rest of my life.
So, when I was studying in the UK in 2014, I once lived with a Christian host family who lives in Cardiff, Wales around Christmas time. This couple and their family are truly the world’s loveliest folks – Hello James and Jenny if you are reading this! 😀
They had prepared a big Christmas feast for all their relatives and they booked a little hall in the local church to celebrate it. On the day of the feast, my friend and I were helping out trying to organize all the tables and chairs, putting them all together to make them look like the long dining tables you see in the Great Hall in a Harry Potter film. We were bringing in all the delicious homemade food and desserts they made at home – and I mean a lot of food. As in one can see in a buffet in a luxurious hotel, all prepared by Jenny. What a gem. And very soon the relatives were coming one by one. It was a big family.
I was essentially introduced to James and Jenny’s whole extended family and it was just the loveliest sight one could ever wish for at a Christmas feast. They were just the nicest people ever. They were very curious about my friend and I and we were very curious about them. We chatted, we laughed, we made the babies smile, we helped ourselves more food … by the end of the night I was so full that I had to stand up a bit otherwise I might fall asleep blissfully. You may think this whole dinner feast is already heart-warming enough – not nearly there yet! This is where the true essence and meaning of Christmas gets to shine.
After such an wonderful and blessed night, when the relatives were leaving, they all came up to my friend and I and said their goodbyes and blessed us. There was this one little kid though. This one little kid, not older than 7 years old I suppose, already looking so cute from the coats and beanie he was wearing, he literally made my heart sing.
You see, I was sitting on the far end of the long table – in fact, the furthest away from the door. And I remember I was so oblivious to what he was up to, I just knew and saw from the corner of my eyes that the little kid and his family were walking out the door and about to leave. And then something caught my curious eyes (again). I saw a little figure, when he was so close to the door already, he turned around and then slowly squeezed himself through all those chairs through the long table and walked all the way to the far end of where I was sitting, and looked me in the eyes, he shyly said, “merry Christmas,” and extended his little chubby hand to me.
I was so shocked. I was not prepared for that. That was literally the cutest thing ever. Just the way he said “merry Christmas” and the way he shyly shook my hand and his pink little cheeks and the fact that he took all these efforts and literally walked across the whole hall just to get to us and say ‘merry Christmas” to us? How amazing is that?! … Goodness, my heart literally melted with how adorable he was. To the little kids’ parents, you’re doing GREAT parenting.
After shaking his hand I was trying to compose myself but I was bursting with “awwww” in my heart of heart and trying so hard not to tear up. I said “merry Christmas” back to him and he shyly smiled and it’s everything to me. This sounds dramatic, but keep in mind that my friend and I were essentially the only strangers in this Christmas feast with this beautiful family, two-young-quirky-Asian-girls-sitting-quickly-in-the-corner sort of thing. Christmas is a big deal in the Western culture, it’s the equivalent of Chinese New Year to us, and being privilege enough to sit on the same table with them and be treated as part of the family is one of the best thing that happened to me during the time I stayed. For them to extend such a welcoming gesture to us was a great and amazing thing. It should be a great deal to anyone, nonetheless. I was just reeling with love and warmth on that night.
I am forever grateful for this family and for the experience and memories that I made during those times, I feel so fortunate and they are truly one of the most precious families I met during my time in the U.K.
And that is end of my little story! It’s not a big or dramatic one, but typing this out still puts a smile on my face as I recall all the lovely memories. I love this family.
So, until next time!