How To Enjoy Yourself During Your Winter Holiday in Yakutsk

When I just arrived here in August, I had big plans for my Christmas break.  I was going to take a trip to another part of the country, or maybe try to go further north in Yakutia.

But every plan I tried to make didn’t go past the thinking stage because of prohibitive cost, bad timing or other obstacles.

Eventually, I became too busy at school to worry about it and decided that I would spend my holidays in Yakutsk, finding things to do around town.

This plan especially sounded good when I found out that someone else at school, who was also looking for ways to pass the holidays locally, was starting a holiday activities WhatsApp group among our colleagues in order to accumulate ideas for things to do and organise those activities that were agreed on.

But first, I went into hibernation.

I spent the first five days of my holidays lying in bed.  This surprised me because I’m not usually the type to willingly lay around in bed unless I’m sick or a really good book is involved.

I wasn’t sick and I wasn’t enthralled to a really good book.  I just needed the rest.

My last day of work for the term was the last Tuesday of December.  All of my kids turned up for class and I taught all of my classes as usual, right up to the end of the day.

When I left school that night, I went home, got into bed and stayed there for the next fourteen hours or so, not counting bathroom and food breaks.

My only obligation for the next day, Wednesday, was the company Christmas party in the evening.

I got out of bed near midday and popped out to run a quick twenty minute errand then got right back into bed and stayed there until it was time to get ready for the party.

The party was fun.  The food was delicious.

The MC, who was the other vocalist in our little musical group, did a brilliant job.

And although the DJ for the night wasn’t anywhere near the level that I’m used to seeing as how I’m from the land of DJs, he played nice music and many people danced up a storm, including me for a little while.

The Secret Santa part of the evening was climactic.

My literally boss screamed when she realised who her Secret Santa was and she ended up in tears when she opened and understood her final gift.  It was all worth the time and effort that I put into it.

At this point, I’m a little sorry for whoever gets her for Secret Santa next year.  With God’s help and with no intention of arrogance at all, I’ve gotta say that the bar got set pretty high this year.

As to our musical performance that night, it was mediocre, at best.

We did our best and we had fun but we weren’t great.  Our sound was off at times and the DJ/sound guy was no help at all since he didn’t seem to notice that sound levels needed to be adjusted occasionally.

Also, it was my first time singing into a mic and we hadn’t rehearsed using one, so with the sound levels being off I’m pretty sure I was off key sometimes too.  We all were.

Anyway, we’ve collectively decided to get back on that horse, so we weren’t irreversibly scarred by that experience or anything.

We actually got good feedback from our audience of colleagues, one of whom said to me, “Kristine, you sing so beautifully!  I can’t sing at all.”  So maybe some people thought we were good because they thought they would have been worse.  Hahahaha!

Anyway, I got home from the party at around 2 am on Thursday morning and didn’t leave my flat again until Friday, when I popped out to the supermarket to pick up that bottle of wine and snacks for the New Year’s party.

Then it was back to bed until Saturday night, when I went to the party.  Back at home after the party, I spent the entire first day of January in bed and didn’t surface again until Tuesday.

So what was I doing in bed for those several days?  Different things, actually.

I spent some of that time studying Russian because my teacher told me that she’s giving me a test early in the new term and, while I was doing my homework all term, I wasn’t doing much studying (setting a bad example for my kids!).

I spent some of that time reading a book that a teacher at school loaned me months ago that I’ve been too busy to get into.

I also spent some of the time actually sleeping.  I slept solid at nights and had an afternoon nap here and there, which is not something that’s normal for me.

Most importantly, I spent some of that time reconnecting with God in ways that had fallen away from my daily life because of the busyness that consumes me sometimes.

For example, over the past few months, I haven’t been writing in my prayer journal much because I haven’t had time in the mornings before I start getting myself together for school.

But I re-instituted that practice over those lazy days in bed and I’m glad I have because, even though I never stopped saying my prayers out loud, I hadn’t realised how much I missed that practice of writing down my innermost thoughts as conversations with my Father.

It’s a highly reflective practice which helps me go deeper in understanding myself and draws me closer to Him.  So as the new term begins, I’ll wake up even earlier so that I can continue this practice that’s very important to me.

Finally, I spent a good chunk of my hibernation time watching Hallmark Christmas movies.  Yes, people!  I found my Christmas spirit after Christmas.  Hallelujah!

Maybe it was missing because of my busyness, after all, and not because of any leftover Christmas related emotional issues.

In Christmases past, even though I was very busy, I had people depending on me to deliver a good Christmas so my Christmas spirit had to come alive.

Right now, I have no-one depending on me for anything so I had the luxury of waiting until I had nothing else on my plate before letting my Christmas spirit shine through.

Over the course of those days while I was laying around in bed, I caught up on almost the entire two months of Hallmark Christmas movies that I had missed.

So basically, I spent the first week of my holiday just resting.  It sounds boring but it was exactly what I needed because I hadn’t realised just how tired I was.

Then it was time to get back to life.


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