Food! Yes, I smell food every time I opened the door of this country house, whose Christmas decoration and toys almost blocked me from making any movement. There was a huge dining table laid across the living room, with unusually pleasant looking plates and cutlery. The white candle, surrounded by the bright red and contrasting green Christmas garland, was placed in the middle of the table for the aesthetic purpose.
However, the main attraction was not the table, nor the large deliberately decorated tree, but the kitchen, in which all sorts of mesmerizing ingredient were prepared.
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I was told by my host parents to be seated at the table, and wait for this marvellous Christmas Lunch. Fortunately, for my utterly low-quality Italian, I was actually surrounded by kind-hearted English speakers. We chat about random things from my life in Cambodia to football, which I pretended to know a thing or two about. Then, the feast started with everyone being treated with some right-off-the-barrels wine and the Veneto’s prestigious Prosecco, but I was not lucky to be there at the right age as I was 16, then, and was not allowed to obtain any alcohol. Regardless, there were plates after plates: antipasto, primo, secondo, contorno, and dolce.
I almost cried about how good the food was. This was the largest and most amazing cuisine I’d ever had. This meal did not stop there; it continued for weeks. I was about to pop every time. What I found most fascinating was that the ingredients were similar but the different uses were immensely priceless.
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Now, Christmas somehow evolved itself to be all about children, and in fact, I became a baby sitter. There were kids of every young age in the families. I had never been good with kids, never. However, I thought that it could have been an intriguing experience to try to know them.
I have learned from my youngest brother that kids have the blankest curiosity that projects many controversial notions in the adults. That is why I decided that it could be an interesting experience to be with them. I started my babysitting job at Christmas by drawing and watching children movies. They all are very cute and annoying sometimes, but overall, they procured me an overwhelming amount of nostalgia.
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Being in Italy for two years, I have missed many important events with my younger brothers. However, it was all of the sudden that those kids started crawling all over me; they were poking my ears, my face, but luckily not my nose. It just reminded me a lot about how beautiful it was to have someone to play with, how innocent, and how fun it was. A house could never be home if you do not know what elements are to form home. This Christmas I spent with my host family could never be better because I knew it was at the brightest corner of my brain, and it brought me back to appreciate the love and never forget what family means.
I would like to also take this chance to thank my host parents for having given such a warm and beautiful Christmas experience in Italy.
Sithis Yim Samnang