independent

Friday 18 April 2014

But not everyone is coming home this Christmas

Warren Butler pictured with his girlfriend Rachel Rafferty

How will our emigrants who aren't coming home, celebrate their Christmas?

Bondi beach doesn't feel very festive

SUNBATHING on the beach isn't the most typical Christmas tradition for Irish people, but that's what thousands of emigrants enjoyed in Australia this year.

Roscommon native Aoife Gannon is spending her third festive season in Sydney, and she said it just doesn't match up to home.

"Honestly, it doesn't feel like Christmas Day when you're lying on the beach," she said.

The 28-year-old will celebrate the day with her Kildare-born boyfriend John and other Irish friends.

"Over here your friends become your family, so we all got together for the day.

"But Christmas at home is all about getting together with family and eating too much turkey and ham -- I miss my parents and our traditions," she added.

Aoife has been helping to bring home comforts to her Irish friends through her work with Taste Ireland -- a company initiated by an Irishman and which imports some of our best-loved food products.

Heartbroken families who missed their loved ones so far away snapped up teabags and Tayto crisps to be delivered in time for the holidays.

"Christmas feels so different over here so it's nice to have a little taste of home to cheer you up on Christmas Day, and make the festive season a little bit more Irish." Aoife has no immediate plans to return to Ireland.

 

KFC instead of turkey in Japan

WHILE we enjoy our festive feasts with all the trimmings at home, Matthew Jones will dine on a fast food chicken dinner in Japan on Christmas Day.

The Baldoyle native, who has been living in Nagasaki since 2012, told the Irish Independent that his festive holiday in Japan will be filled with Tayto, his mother's Christmas pudding and some classic selection boxes.

"Christmas, or 'Kurismasu' how the Japanese pronounce it, is a little odd here. Apartments and homes are much smaller, and generally don't come with ovens. So, KFC puts on a special menu of roast chicken," Matthew explained.

The 23-year-old will join the thousands of families in Nagasaki dining on the KFC Christmas meal tomorrow, but will enjoy a traditional roast with some friends later in the day.

Matthew is currently working with the Japanese Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET) in the city of Nagasaki, and said that he has "loved" it since he arrived there last summer.

He made arrangements with his family to make the day as traditional as possible, and he will spend Christmas morning opening selection boxes with his siblings through a video call

"I've asked for one of the 'Merry-Crisp-mas' Tayto boxes to be sent, along with a selection box and some other assorted goodies.

 

Dubai is great but it's not home

CAMELS, sand dunes, Irish bars and turkeys – that’s how Warren Butler will spend his Christmas.

The Waterford man relocated to the sunnier climes of Dubai with his girlfriend Rachel Rafferty (both pictured) over a year ago. And, despite the fact that he loves his life there, he said nothing would come close to Christmas at home. “You will

always go back to one thing, and that’s that you miss your family on Christmas morning.”

The 31-year-old revealed that the one person he misses the most is his goddaughter

Gracie, and seeing her reaction as she opens her Christmas presents.

“I have an eight-year-old niece at home. She’s my goddaughter. And before I moved here, we were very close; we were nearly inseparable.”

Warren has been working in an Irish bar since he arrived in Dubai, and said that the Irish community was “very strong”. On Christmas Day, he and Rachel will be working in the pub, but they will manage to fit in a traditional turkey dinner. He explained that bars open on Christmas Day in Dubai, and that it is treated as a huge celebration. “The Irish community is very strong here. You see people that never met before, and here they’re best friends. It’s like family.”

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