We've missed celebrating quite a few holidays, so I was keen to make sure we got started celebrating Christmas early … especially since we'd be apart this year for Christmas. Yes, I'm heading home to Boston to spend the holidays with my sister, Lin. David is staying with his demanding mistress, Miss Nine of Cups, in hopes of repairing all we broke crossing the Indian Ocean. When I saw an ad on the Point Yacht Club website for a Durban City Orchestra holiday concert and a luncheon held at the yacht club, I exercised my option for this as as one of our negotiated afternoons off.
There's something about seeing Christmas decorations up in foreign countries that's always a surprise … as if they don't celebrate this holiday the way we do. South Africa certainly does celebrate, although like Australia, it's a summer holiday here and going to the beach for a braai (BBQ) is more reasonable than roasting a turkey in the oven. The downtown main streets in Durban are decorated with garlands and lights and all the shops have Christmas decorations and holiday sales going on.
The festivities were held upstairs in the yacht club and the turn-out was pretty impressive. We had a “cruiser table” which included Finnish, Australian and American sailors. Not quite a United Nations representation, but fun nevertheless. The luncheon was the usual buffet fare; nothing special, but edible (and I didn't have to cook it or do the dishes).
The concert began as soon as we sat to eat and continued all through the meal and dessert. I kind of wished all the meal hubbub was not concurrent with the concert as it was very disruptive and rude to the orchestra. The Durban City Orchestra, with about 40 members, has been in existence since 1888 and is the second oldest symphony orchestra in South Africa. They were quite good, especially for an amateur group.
The arrangements of holiday music performed spanned traditional standards like Silent Night and White Christmas to the upbeat score of Polar Express. A young singer contributed some vocals along the way. I was definitely in my element. I knew every word to every Christmas song and, like many others in the audience, I was singing along. David was tapping his feet and mouthed a few words to the songs he knew. I teared up when they played I'll Be Home For Christmas.
All in all, a good start to the holiday season though I boarded a flight to Boston within hours after the concert finished. I have mixed emotions over being “home” with my sister and not “home” with David for the holidays. “Home” for me definitely spans two continents.