New blog

I have a new blog.  It’s not much like this one (it’s wedding/travel related) but if anyone is interested,  feel free to email me at amwfcouple@live.co.uk and I’ll send you a link. Or who knows, we might meet again on the new blog regardless. 🙂

Thanks everyone!

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It’s been a year…

…so where the hell did I go?

I expect a few of you have been wondering where I went. No, I haven’t ditched my boyfriend and am now dating a white guy. My boyfriend and I moved to the South of England, got jobs and very recently rented our first flat together. I got busy and I ran out of ideas for the blog, but most significantly, i’d ran myself into a bit of a hole…

“AMWFCouple” – it’s in the name, a focus on the fact we are a mixed race couple. When I started this blog we were about 1 year into our relationship, we’d been learning about how to be in a relationship and moved on to really getting to know each other. At this point, I was discovering a lot about his culture and background and I found it genuinely very interesting, therefore I had lots to write about, share and discover.

A year on, I came to the conclusion that while I find his culture fascinating, he doesn’t care much about it. He has fully embraced moving to the UK and being British, and that is what he is before being Asian – he is British. He is the same as anyone else here except with a slightly weird accent and an excessive love of noodles. I didn’t want to write purely about being a mixed race couple any more because that isn’t who we are – we are so much more.

The difference between my blog and a lot of other AMWF blog also seemed to be location. The majority of women in AMWF moved to their respective Asian country – if I had done that, I’m sure I’d have so much more to write about. Those are the blogs I find truly interesting.

I’m considering creating a new blog now I have more time and ideas, focusing more on our general lives and our passion for travel. I don’t expect it to be as popular as this, I see it more as a diary for us to look back over in the future. It’s like a new step in our relationship – just over 3 years together now and I can only see it getting better for us!

I’m sorry for blanking everyone completely, and I can’t remember the passwords to any of my AMWFCouple emails, but i’ll try to come on here occasionally just in case anyone wants to chat for any reason. I loved talking to you all and I still enjoy reading a lot of your blogs. Cheers guys! 🙂

Guest Post by Texan in Tokyo – Coffee, Calligraphy, and Comics (my little AMWF Love Story)

It all started with a lot of coffee, a calligraphy brush, and a stupid crush. Well, the crush wasn’t stupid, I guess, because I ended up marrying the guy.

Grace and Ryosuke 4

But let’s back up a couple of years. I met the man who would become my husband the first day of my sophomore year of college. He helped me move into the International Dorm, carrying my heavy trunks and telling me “My nickname is ‘Muscles’ because I have big, large muscles.” I thought he was a bit too silly and carefree; he thought I was a bit too scary and serious.

We became friends, then best friends, then lovers, and then husband and wife.

Somewhere in the middle of that, a couple of weeks before we started dating, we were at a Japan club event on campus. The Japanese study abroad students were teaching dorm-mates how to draw complicated kanji on thin sheets of paper. You could tell who had taken an Asian language class before, there were characters ranging from 人to 龍.

I was stressed from work and classes, so instead of doing more Japanese, I grabbed a brush and said “you draw me, I will draw you.”

He drew a stick figure. I didn’t.

Promo

Growing up, I wanted to be an artist. By the time I got to high school, I realized that was a stupid idea (“You will end up a starving artist” people told me. “Art is fun as a hobby, but not a career.”) and switched to the sciences.

My decision to quit drawing was simple, really. In the summer of my junior year of college, I set out to prove all the “nay-sayers” wrong. I was going to get my work displayed in a gallery, sell a couple paintings, and rub it in everyone’s faces. I rounded up a bunch of prints of my paintings and took them to every gallery in town.

No one would display the artwork.

I stopped drawing that summer. Drawing had lost its magic.

Everyone was right, it seemed. I didn’t have what it took to be a professional artist.

I moved on. I fell in love with internet marketing and politics (don’t ask me why).

By the time I met and married my husband, I hadn’t held a brush in nearly six years.

I started drawing again that afternoon, dying to impress this cute Japanese boy with rock-solid abs and a killer sense of humor.

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I guess it worked. Two weeks later, I opened my door and found him on bended knee with a strawberry ring pop and the question “Will you be my girlfriend?”

Of course I said yes.

As time passed, I started drawing again. I wanted to preserve the magic of our relationship – I wanted to keep some sort of proof that (at one point, at least) I was truly happy with my life. And then I did the unthinkable, I actually showed my then-boyfriend my artwork.

He loved it.

Later, when I was planning for the wedding and running out of time to blog, he told me “Why don’t you just post some of your comics instead?”

I laughed it off. He kept pushing it.

I published my first couple comics on our honeymoon and they ended up being wildly popular. So I kept drawing.

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I drew about us- our struggles in an AMWF relationship, our hilarious cultural misunderstandings, and our daily life.

Now we are married and living in Japan. Life is nothing at all like I expected it turn out.

Things change.

Thankfully, my love for drawing hasn’t.

Author Bio:

Grace_Book_Cover_Portrait - Copy-001

Grace Buchele Mineta is a native Texan, founder of the hit blog “Texan in Tokyo,” and author of the autobiographical comic book, “My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy.” She lives in Tokyo with her husband, Ryosuke, where she blogs and draws comics about their daily life.

“My Japanese Husband Thinks I’m Crazy: The Comic Book” is the autobiographical misadventures of a native Texan freelancer and her Japanese “salaryman” husband: in comic book form. From earthquakes and crowded trains, to hilarious cultural faux pas, this comic explores the joys of living and working abroad, intercultural marriages, and trying to make a decent pot roast on Thanksgiving.

Why do Western Women follow Asian Men home?

I recently received an email from a girl in an AMWF relationship, trying to decide whether her boyfriend should move to Europe with her or if she should move to Asia with him. Being concerned about the way people would treat their relationship in her country compared to his, she included a very interesting question “Why do so many AMWF couples live in Asia?”, or more specifically:

“Why is it that so often Western Woman follow Asian Men home, rather than the other way around?”

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There are many pros and cons of moving to another country or staying in your own which differ with each person, so what makes western women choose to move to Asia? Is it the personality of woman who chose an AMWF relationship, a stronger sense of adventure, a lower sense of family commitments?

Here are some possible reasons I’ve thought of as to why AMWF couples tend to move towards the Asian countries to live are:

1Image. The woman travelled to the Asian country in the first place, then she met a guy, and decided to stay.

2. Westerners in general have a stronger urge to travel and experience new things than Asians. (very stereotypical)

3. Asian culture is very family orientated. The man and his family don’t want him to leave which means the woman has little choice if they want the relationship to continue.

4. Asian culture is more accepting of AMWF relationships than western culture. (debatable)

5. Asian countries are better economically, with more employment opportunities for foreigners, cheaper costs of living and therefore more disposable income. It’s harder for an Asian man to get a good job in a western country.

6. Asian countries are generally more expat friendly.

7. Asian countries have a high quality of life and better weather. (depending on the country and what sort of weather you like!)

8. This isn’t a true statement, it just so happens that the woman who move to Asian countries blog more/comment more on the internet.

I feel like I am in the minority. My boyfriend followed me home. It is possible my situation is rather different than others, as it involved choosing between the North and the South of England rather than 2 different countries. My boyfriend moved from Hong Kong to the UK with his parents, long before he met me. While he may technically be an expat, he comes from a country which, before he left, was a British colony.

I never really considered staying in the North after I left university, even though I was dating him. I’m very close to my family in a way my boyfriend doesn’t seem to be with his own and I always wanted to go home. In the end we came to the conclusion that I would be happier going back to the South than he would be staying in the North, and he would be happier to come to the South than I would ever be staying in the North.

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It’s a completely different story with other countries though. While I could have managed living in the North, I would never in 1,000,000 years have been able to move to Hong Kong. This doesn’t seem to be the case with many AMWF couples though. From my time writing on this blog, I’ve noticed the vast majority of people I come across in AMWF relationships either moved to Asia and met a guy or met a guy, had a long distance relationship then moved to Asia. There are obviously a lot of AMWF couples in Western countries too, but I tend to find that a fair few of the Asian men have been in the Western country for all their lives, or moved at a young age with their parents.

Another interesting consideration would be – does this trend purely relate to AMWF couples? Is it gender based rather than relating to race? Are women more likely to follow a man half way around the world than a man would follow a woman?

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This is where all you guys come in. I’ve made a little survey primarily for AMWF couples so we can find out a bit more. Please respond in the comments and spread this around. (If you’re in any interracial relationship, not just in an AMWF relationship, please still respond. It will be interesting to look at this from a gender point of view.)

1. Firstly, what is your gender and what sort of relationship are you in?

2. Which countries have you and your partner lived in together? – Woman’s, Man’s, Other

3. Where is/Where do you anticipate your permanent residence to be? – the woman’s home country, the man’s home country, a completely different country or unsure?

4. Why have you chosen this country to live in?

5. Do you think white women are more likely to live in the home country of their Asian partner than vice versa, and why?

6. What are your opinions on the idea that women are more likely to follow men to another country?

Looking forward to the responses!

What I thought being in an AMWF relationship would be like vs reality

When I first started dating my boyfriend I thought that him being from a different country would be amazing, interesting and I would get to learn a lot, but I also thought that because he was Asian, his culture and his family life might be too different from mine for me to cope. In reality, you can’t know how a relationship will turn out.

Here are some of the things I thought would happen in our relationship vs the reality:

1. He would whisk me away to lots of new and exotic Asian countries.

Reality – His parents invited me to Hong Kong, all expenses paid, when they went a few weeks after we got together. My boyfriend didn’t even bother asking me and told them I would hate it because it was too hot. And he was probably right. (We did go to Hong Kong the Christmas after and it was amazing but I don’t think we can afford that again any time soon.)

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2. Asian people place a lot of value on family and have big, extended families. I would have to meet them all and be judged by them.

Reality – I’ve only met his Mum, Dad, brother and cousin. His parents like me and his brother and cousin are pretty much like him (but slightly more into Asian culture) He won’t let me meet the rest – clearly embarrassed of me! 😉

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3. He would love Asian culture and he could introduce me to lots of new, awesome things!

Reality – By Asian culture, my head was thinking of Japanese culture – I thought he would be really into anime and manga. While he does watch anime from time to time (we’re currently re-watching the original Pokemon series together) but other than that he isn’t into anime culture. He even told me he thinks Studio Ghibli films aren’t very good! (I almost dumped him at that comment) He has cosplayed with me a couple of times, but I think that was him just being nice…

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4. He would teach me Cantonese.

Reality – Cantonese is DAMN HARD, especially for someone like me who is useless at languages. Not only that, he can’t remember half of it any more, nor can he remember how to write it.

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5. People would comment and look at us because AMWF relationships aren’t common.

Reality – People DO look at us and comment, but it’s rare. A lot of the looks tend to be from Asian guys and the comments seem to be from ignorant, young, chavy white people. I hope we’re getting to a point where interracial relationships are 100% normal.

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I prefer reality. I do hate the hot weather, I hate social situations, I have to be in the right mood to be interested in anime, I’m too lazy to learn a new language and I certainly don’t want people looking at us! It’s just a normal relationship and I like being normal.

What did you think it would be like being in an interracial relationship and was it different to reality?

All images via Google Images – labeled for reuse

Update on life…

Hi everyone! I’m finding it hard to think of things to blog at the moment…or to even have the time to write them. Here is just a boring update on life while I think of something interesting to write about!

BIG NEWS! My boyfriend got a job! A real proper actual job that isn’t in a shop or anything. He is getting an actual graduate salary rather than minimum wage. I’m so happy for him! But also slightly annoyed that he got a worse degree than me yet managed to get a decent job before me. His first day is tomorrow, while i’m upping my work times to 4 days a week. Unfortunately, the lights in the shop I work in have been giving me major headaches and all the machines cause the air to be very dry which is making my skin peel off…I need a new job as soon as possible!

Next Saturday will be our 2 year anniversary! Yay! We will probably celebrate by acknowledging it in the morning before I go to work.

“Hey, it’s our 2 year anniversary”

“Oh yeah, cool”

“Yup, cool”

“Ok, see ya”

And finally, I discovered that the new much anticipated film “The Fault in Our Stars” seems to be a rip off of Cantonese film “Funeral March”, but with teenagers instead of adults. The TFIOS book was published in 2012 whereas the Funeral March was released back in 2001! Suspicious!!! No one else seems to have realised this so I feel the need to tell everyone. It’s a revelation!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ItBvH5J6ss http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qyy9za93k4U

Part of me wants to read the book or watch the film, but most of me thinks there is no way in hell I will manage to cope with something that depressing. Whenever something horrible and upsetting happens to a couple on TV, in films or in books, I imagine it happening to my boyfriend and I…which is why I’m reading Divergent instead! (Yes, I know what happens in the end but i’m going to just have to deal with it!)

Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

After a great morning at Lantau Island, we took the MTR to Hong Kong Station, then a mini bus (bit scary) to Whampoa, where my boyfriend used to live. We took this opportunity to buy phone cards just in case we lost each other. They are around 50 HKD each and have 50 HKD credit on them so they’re definitely worth buying if you visit in case of emergencies. We checked out some of the shops and had lunch; my lunch was from McDonald’s (I haven’t had a McDonald’s since Hong Kong and I don’t think I want to have another, really made me hate them) and my boyfriend had some meat and rice from Maxim’s, a Chinese fast food place. The only plus side of McDonald’s was the cute toys you get with the Happy Meals! We then went to Hong Kong Toys R Us and Wonderland, where I bought some things including a Totoro toy and a really cute rabbit money box for just 9 HKD (Around 75p)

P1150084Whampoa

We then went to see where my boyfriend used to live. It was a flat close to all the shops and really cramped in with other flats. A lot of Hong Kong is very cramped but I never realised the extent. The windows of one set of flats were just metres from the window of the flats next door – if I lived there, i’d never want to open the curtains or the people across would be able to see in! It made me realise just how small and populated Hong Kong really is. He pointed out his exact flat, which was very high up. I’m not sure there are many flats in the UK that would go up that high.

P1150089The block of flats where my boyfriend used to live

Once we were finished in Whampoa, we took the ferry to North Point. I didn’t have my travel sickness pills with me so I felt a bit unwell, but luckily it was just a short journey and I managed to take some nice photos of the HK skyline. We dumped our things at the hotel before taking the MTR to Causeway Bay.

P1150105The view from the ferry

Causeway bay was very busy. For some reason it was filled with big Lego statues. The reason we had headed to Causeway Bay was because my boyfriend knew there was a shop here called “I love rabbits”…and I really do love rabbits! Sadly we couldn’t find it and think it may have closed down or moved, so we headed back onto the MTR to Tsim Sha Tsui (which I learnt how to pronounce correctly…but have now forgot)

Tsim Sha Tsui is the home of the Avenue of Stars, an Asian version of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located on the Victoria Harbour waterfront. We knew that at 8pm, they would have a Symphony of Lights show that we really wanted to see. The buildings on the other side of the water lit up or had lasers coming out from the roof, all in time with the music. Sadly, I think all the Christmas lights didn’t help the show, it made it a bit hard to see in places, but it was still fun to watch.

P1150126Watching the Symphony of Lights show

We then walked up the Avenue of Stars and found Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan’s stars, the only two people I had heard of! Sadly I hadn’t realised just how awesome Jackie Chan was at this point (I have realised it now!). I definitely need to watch more Hong Kong films so that I will recognise more of the names next time I visit.

P1150142Bruce Lee’s Star at the Avenue of Stars

We finished the day with a trip to Harbour City shopping centre, browsing the shops and eating a pretty amazing brownie and cream crepe. We also found more gashapons! We then headed back to the hotel as we were pretty tired…and I was starting to feel a bit unwell…

More posts on my adventures in Hong Kong here:

Day One: My first trip to Hong Kong

Day Two: Lantau Island

Day Two: Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

Day Three: Hong Kong Disneyland

Lantau Island

We woke up early today to head to the Ngong Ping 360 cable cars and the Tian Tan Buddah on Lantau Island. My boyfriend struggled to speak Cantonese to the woman selling the tickets, so she ended up talking in English to us. I think my boyfriend was just a bit rusty, because he seemed to do a lot better later in the holiday. He got 10% off the ticket for being a Hong Kong citizen (bit jealous). There were two types of cable cars we could have taken; a crystal cabin with a see through floor or a standard cabin. The waiting time for a crystal cabin was 40 minutes, so we decided to go on the standard one (next time we’ll go on the crystal one!)

P1140926Our view from the cable car

It took about 20 minutes on the cable car to get to the top. We went over the sea and a huge forest on the hillside. We also got a good view of the airport. Half way up, you could see the huge Buddha that we were heading towards in the distance, really showing it’s size! There were lots of shops when we reached the top which we walked through on the way to the Buddha. It really felt like traditional China which is something I really wanted to see coming to Hong Kong. It’s interesting to see this side of the Hong Kong culture, even if it is still very touristy.

P1140959Walking through the shops towards the Buddha

P1140947The Tian Tan Buddha

P1140962The entrance to the Buddha

I’m not sure if we’re just very unfit but the walk up the steep stairs to the Big Buddha was a lot of effort. We had to keep stopping and pretending to take photos to have a break! It was a fairly warm day which made the climb even harder. Apparently there are 240 steps. Once we reached the top we got an amazing view of the Buddha, it really was huge! Apparently it can even be seen from Macau on a clear day. There was also an amazing view of the mountains, which really reminded me of Japanese landscapes in old paintings. Underneath the Buddha was was a room full of name plates of people, I assume Buddhists, who had died.

P1140980Climbing the steps

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Statues presenting offerings to the Buddha

P1150003The mountain in the clouds

P1140990A close up of the Buddha

We headed back down. There were loads of stray dogs around (at least I assume they were stray) sleeping in the sun and begging for food. They were very cute but I felt sorry for them too. We then walked to the Po Lin Monastery which had lots more Buddha statues which I actually found a bit creepy. Lot’s of people were burning incense sticks, because they believe that the Gods consume the smoke. It’s a shame that they were doing building work on the monastery because it looked very spectacular, and very Chinese. We went back to the shops and had a look around, getting some ice cream on the way as it was so warm. We also found some Gashapon machines which we went a bit crazy over. I think by then end of the trip we had spent about £20 on them, mostly buying little pokemon figures. We took the cable car back down and in the shop at the exit, my boyfriend bought me a cute little panda toy which I have named Buddha Panda. It’s basically a cuddly panda with a Chinese style shirt!

P1140963Stray dogs sunbathing

P1150037The Po Lin Monestery

P1150038A fantastic view

More posts on my adventures in Hong Kong here:

Day One: My first trip to Hong Kong

Day Two: Lantau Island

Day Two: Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

Day Three: Hong Kong Disneyland

My first trip to Hong Kong

I’m going to write about my trip to Hong Kong. My boyfriend and I booked this trip just 2 months after we’d started going out. It was my first trip out of Europe so it was slightly scary (mostly because I wasn’t sure how well I’d cope on a 14 hour plane trip), but having someone from Hong Kong who could speak Cantonese certainly made me feel better.

P1140814Our journey on the plane

We went in December 2012, just before Christmas, because I’m not good with heat. I get sunburnt in the UK, so I would have no chance in Hong Kong in the summer. We took the plane from Manchester Airport for my first ever long haul trip and I was pretty excited! My boyfriend found it hilarious that the air hostess spoke English to him, but German to me as she hadn’t realised we were together. He now likes to tell me i’m German all the time… (We flew on Lufthansa via Frankfurt so it was understandable – I could have been German!)

We’d left Frankfurt at 10.15pm so we slept on the plane at a normal bed time for us. We hadn’t managed to sleep too much on the plane so we were a bit tired, therefore the time difference wasn’t too much of an issue for us. We arrived in Hong Kong at 4.10pm so we could just have a short first day.

P1140836View of Hong Kong from the plane

The heat was too much for me straight away. We took a bus to our hotel, an Ibis right next to the North Point MTR station, which took about 1 hr 10 minutes, giving me a chance to see Hong Kong for the first time. It was interesting to see that the hotel missed out a lot of floor numbers, which my boyfriend explained to me was due to Chinese superstitions. For example, in Cantonese, the number “4” sounds a lot like “death”.

P1140855Lots of British food in the supermarkets!

After checking in, we went to the Hong Kong supermarket “Park N Shop” which my boyfriend loved – all that Hong Kong food he can’t get back in the UK! It had a lot British food too so I was happy, even though it was a bit more expensive than normal. We had to stock up on lots of bottled water because the water in Hong Kong isn’t really drinkable. We also went to a very cool shop called “Wonderland” which is full of anime/manga things. One issue we had was that my boyfriend’s Hong Kong debit card kept being rejected because he completely forgot that the pin numbers are 6 digits, not 4 like in the UK! That caused us a lot of hassle, with him having to go to the bank to sort it out. We went back to our hotel for a snack before heading to the MTR.

P1140869My first real view of the streets of Hong Kong at mid-levels

My boyfriend gave me an Octopus card, a lot like London’s Oyster card, which made travel very easy. I was amazed at how cheap the transport was! We headed to Central where we went on the world’s longest escalator called Mid-Levels. It’s over 135 metres from top to bottom. I was expecting one massive escalator, which on reflection was a bit stupid of me, because it has lots of gaps so that people can get off. On the way, we found a pub called “Yorkshire Pudding” which made me laugh. (My boyfriend is from Yorkshire!)

P1140880The streets in Lan Kwai Fong

We then went to Lan Kwai Fong, a square of streets in Central which is very popular with tourists as it’s full of pubs, restaurants and clubs. We weren’t that hungry so we didn’t stop for any proper food, but we did get some Hagen Daz ice cream from their own shop – expensive but tasty! We headed back down the escalators and towards the International Finance Centre for a quick look. As we came to Hong Kong just 2 weeks before Christmas, there were lots of Christmas lights up on the massive buildings, which was very impressive to see. We then went back to our hotel for sleep. My first day of being in Hong Kong was over, and I was loving it already!

P1140894Christmas lights near our hotel

More posts on my adventures in Hong Kong here:

Day One: My first trip to Hong Kong

Day Two: Lantau Island

Day Two: Whampoa and the Avenue of Stars

Day Three: Hong Kong Disneyland

It’s Christmasssssssssss! (Almost)

I’ve been busy…again! Graduations. Doctor Who. Work. Illness. Blah blah blah.

December is coming! Christmas isn’t a really big thing in my family…but it’s certainly a thing! My boyfriend however has never received a Christmas present from anyone except me because his family just don’t celebrate it. This year he’ll be celebrating with my family and will get to experience Christmas like I think it should be for the first time.

On the 1st of December, we get cheap £1 advent calendars to count down until Christmas. It’s purely for the chocolate. We put up the Christmas tree and decorations. We also recently bought a light up reindeer that goes outside in our garden.

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My parents have informed me they are banning stockings this year (ruining the fun 😦 ) because me and my brother are too old and they’d have to make one for my boyfriend too. We used to wake up each morning and spend an hour opening lots of tiny presents in there while we let our parents sleep for a bit longer before going downstairs for our main presents under the tree.

We then spend the morning eating pain au chocolat’s or croissants (breakfast treat!) and opening our presents under the tree. After that we spend a bit of time just messing about with our presents before getting ready to go out to our Grandparents house. This year I think they are coming to our house though.

We have a massive Christmas dinner, usually of beef because none of us really like turkey, with lots of vegetables and roast potatoes. We have crackers and all wear the funny hats that come out of them. We then have puddings; things like jelly, Christmas pudding or cheesecake, which normally none of us really want because we’re too full. The leftovers usually last us the rest of the week.

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We then just relax a bit or play games until tea time. We have a mini buffet because we’re all still full! Just things like crackers, cheese and crisps. We then all watch the Doctor Who Christmas Special and any other Christmas-y TV that is on.

Everyone then goes home and we all go to bed tired! I hope my boyfriend will enjoy it. I always feel like Christmas is something you can look forward too all year. I wouldn’t want the feeling that there is nothing to look forward too.

How do you guys celebrate Christmas in your family, and in your country?

(P.S In December 2012, I went to Hong Kong for the first time with my boyfriend, so I’m going to be posting about the trip over December this year. Sorry if you’re not interested in Hong Kong but that’s probably all you’re going to get for the month!)

Image: the-pink-vodka.deviantart.com, christmasstockimages.com