On our arrival to Bali, we were met at the airport by Sarah’s mom Deborah, known to the kids as Mimi-Cici, a name Cian created when he was a toddler after Deb’s dog Cici. She had flown in from the States just a few hours before us. It was the first family we have seen outside of Skype in five months, and what a pleasure to share Christmas with a grandparent. Deb stayed for ten days, which became a great blend of relaxation at the villa and a sampling of what Bali has to offer. We watched traditional Balinese dancing, toured temples, laid on the beach, ate fantastic meals, and did lots of shopping. (please note- due to copyright infringement laws, there are no pictures of Deborah on this blog.)
There had been a hotly contested debate between the kids as to how Santa would get into the villa and where Santa would drop the presents. To be honest, we weren’t sure either. After years of a New England Christmas, Santa’s actions in the tropics were vague. An open air villa did give Santa a certain advantage. We thought Santa would find a nice tree to decorate and place his gifts for all the nice girls and boys underneath, but three days of rain made that a soggy, muddy choice. There was talk of Santa coming down the shower, up the stove, and behind the back of the villa like a common criminal. But rest assured, Santa would come- Dad even helped pick out extra special cookies at the store that he knew Santa would really like when they were left out. The biggest concern, however, came from Cian- he was sure he was on the nice list, of course, but he was seriously concerned Áine was on the naughty list. It was a concern that we all had, but Cian was the only one brave enough to voice it.
Despite the unknowns of a Bali Christmas, Santa came, and set up a nice display of presents on the TV table- he even decorated it with lights. Christmas morning contained the usual frantic excitement from the kids followed by the methodical tearing open of wrapping paper- it was all over in minutes, but with two very satisfied children. The rest of the day was quiet and peaceful at the villa, with the usual five minute jump from new toy to new toy that accompanies the morning followed by a swim party in the pool- something new for all of us on Christmas Day.
We made reservations at Alsace À Table, an ‘oh la la’ French restaurant owned by our villa next door neighbor, Pascal, for our Christmas Dinner. He and his lovely wife use a combination of native ingredients and imported foods to create a truly French menu and specialty food store. Thankfully, all of their cheeses are imported- Indonesian cheese (even the Kraft Cheddar) tastes like thin squares of plastic. In a mystery that defies science, the cheese does not melt, even when making grilled cheese sandwiches.
The meals were presented with a gastronomic explanation from Pascal and a flair only found in the French (and my mother) for food. Sarah and Deborah had a deep fried camembert wedge with fresh potato pancakes, and I had delicious broiled escargot served with crostini from homemade bread. The kids had real beef sausages that were a huge hit, especially when dipped in ketchup. A quick stop at their bakery/deli to buy more sausages for tomorrow’s lunch and homemade merengue cookies ended an exquisite meal. We will be back for some real French Brie shortly.