Daisy could never have predicted how many Christmases she would be away from home when she booked her first flights to New Zealand on the old computer in her dad's study. The plan was to do some fruit picking, possibly work in a vineyard or two, a ski season in Queenstown and then home via Asia, taking in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and wherever else she still had the funds for.
She had had her arguments lined up like soldiers ready for battle, but to her utter surprise her parents were all for it. Go, they said. Enjoy yourself. You're only young once. With a backpack big enough to hold a small person in, they waved her off at London Heathrow two days after her twenty-third birthday.
***Daisy sighed as she opened the small box of Christmas decorations she had accumulated over the years. Her mother had at least three times as much and still insisted on getting a real tree. Stu had bought them an artificial one, with the lights already woven into it, the first Christmas they spent together in their small Auckland house. Every year she pulled it out from under their double bed and decorated it, sipping mulled wine despite the outside temperature being around twenty degrees Celsius.
She had met Stu in Queenstown six weeks before she was due to leave. She had been working as a ski instructor when she fell and pulled something that caused an excruciating pain in her back. He was also working the slopes that winter, and was finishing his physiotherapy degree the following year. Daisy went back to Auckland with him and never left.
***This time of year she missed England the most. Cold days, long dark evenings, candles, roasted vegetables, mulled wine, hot chocolate, Christmas telly. But she had Stu, who she loved, and her little girl, Skylar. As long as they were here, this would be her home.
©2013 Laura Besley
Flash Fiction Diary
I wanted to write a piece on the theme of Christmas and as an expat living abroad (and not going home for Christmas this year...boo hoo), this is what I came up with.