Last week there was a lot going on at home and in my personal life. Just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse they did. It left an almost sombre feeling in the house. Our house at the moment is all over the place, our whole family is moving in less than two weeks! There are boxes absolutely everywhere, we are rarely at home at the same time and we all just seem to have our own things going on.
I have found though, despite the situation at hand, family is always the number one priority no matter what. Last week I had a bit of a health scare. I was rushed to hospital for an anaphylactic reaction. I hadn’t eaten anything out of the ordinary but for some reason by body reacted. I broke out in hives all over my body and felt like I was going to faint. It was definitely an experience. My whole family came together to just spend time with me and support me that night. My sister even stayed the night with me just so I wouldn't be by myself.
The following day my aunties, uncles and nonna’s came to make sure I was alright. It felt so nice to be surrounded by family. I find that at this time of the year everyone is just incredibly busy. The functions, Christmas shopping, hours of cooking and last minute work to do means that it is really hard at times to find time to see people. It meant so much that they could put their life on hold just to see me. To be honest though, this event (as crazy as it was) was not nearly the saddest and hardest part of the week.
My parents have always showed us the importance of helping others. No matter what the situation they are always willing to put what they are doing aside to help their loved ones. Every day last week, we watched them take time to talk through issues and just be there to listen and give moral support. These are qualities that have really inspired me throughout my life to take time out from what I am doing to take care of the people I love.
On Saturday I had my last exam. Usually before an exam I am in full stress mode. Last week I was so relaxed and just took everything as it came. I didn’t put too much pressure on myself and went in knowing I was going to pass. I have been on ‘study break’ for almost a month now. Long days of just hours and hours of study. It is really a testament to how motivated and productive you can be when time is so limited. By the time it got to the last one I was done. Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I don’t think it is any coincidence that the anaphylactic reaction happened last week. A bit of a shake to make sure I am taking care of myself.
I went back to work on Friday and was greeted with the warmest smiles. It is such a wonderful feeling to feel valued in the work place. I actually felt well rested before going to work and knew that I would really be able to channel my creative energy again, something I thought I had lost.
As well as being exam day, Saturday was the first day of Summer and the festive season!! Christmas is undoubtedly my FAVOURITE time of the year! There is something truly magical in the air. Mum and I spent the early morning singing “In Summer” from Frozen. We laughed and sang at the top of our lungs, much to dad’s dismay. It put me in the right frame of mind to sit my exam. I got the most beautiful surprise when I got to uni. My gorgeous friend Victoria, who I hadn’t seen in nearly five months, was sitting an exam too. It was the perfect little reunion. My friend Jess was sitting the exam too and planned to catch up immediately following the exam. Open and honest conversation with the girls was a great way to wind down after the exam. Being able to share vulnerable thoughts and experiences with the girls really puts into perspective why we all want to get into the health industry. We all have such unique visions for our futures but they all align with a passion to help others at the core.
Saturday night was when it really started to feel like Christmas to me. Every year in early December my family has Christmas dinner with my godparents. This year they hosted. My godmother is one of the most creative and thoughtful people I know. The house was completely decked out in Christmas decorations, right down to Christmas toilet paper (I am totally getting that in my house one day). She started us off with a delicious orange drink before dinner. Dinner was amazing! My godfather is Greek and made pork and lamb gyros for me and my family. My godmother made three beautiful salads to have with the meat, and other little nibblies to go with it. We were all literally stuffed before dessert…but there is always room. Ricotta cake, baci gelati, biscotti, guandi (Italian doughnuts) and custard cake. Sitting around the table talking and laughing all together was the perfect way to start the festive season.
As if Saturday wasn’t a big enough day as it was, Bruno and I finished the night with his friends at a birthday. Quality, deep and philosophical conversation was the best way to finish the night (or early morning).
Waking up on Sunday, not having to stress about uni was the best feeling of them all. A relaxing day with my family was much needed! It can be so easy at this time of the year to get caught up in the hustle but what I think is most important is quality time with loved ones. Making time for others to spend time together is where my heart will be this holiday season. Christmas comes around only once a year. Why spend the time stressing when you can spend the time celebrating? The real memories are formed not in the stress of having the ‘perfect’ Christmas but in the simple things. Cracking open bon bons, telling bad Christmas jokes and eating way too much food is what it is all about. I really don’t care too much for the presents, to me the greatest gift is in gratitude and appreciating the people you love. Things can change in a second, life can turn sometimes in ways that are unexpected. Living in the present moment is a way to really treasure what we have. If you are starting to freak out. Take a deep breath and remember what you are grateful for, it brings love back into the heart and puts into perspective what is really important.
"The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other." – Burton Hills.