‘So for xmas we have two options. If the weather is nice we can go to the beach. And if it’s not we can stay in Ubud and do what xmas is about. Namely eating.’

‘Actually Christmas is about Jesus,’ John reminds me.

I raise an eyebrow at the heathen grinning at me across the table. ‘We can eat all day, touring restaurants, then have a two hour massage,’ I say.

‘What about Alula?’ John asks.

‘We can get a babysitter for the day.’

John pauses to look at me, fork half way to his mouth.

‘Oh, yeah, right’, I say, ‘Christmas. Family. Babysitter bad.’

We agree that there will be no turkey. And instead of presents we will buy a family drum. Because what this family needs is a drum.

‘Actually I need a bookcase more than a drum,’ I say.

‘Ok, we’ll get a bookcase.’

John and I have taken to prioritizing what we’re going to buy in January when we have finally been paid and have money flowing in. Top of the list was a drum. Now relegated to second behind a bookcase. John wanted to buy a car so we don’t have to drive around in a smashed up tin can anymore but I like our jeep and if we have $10,000 I’d rather spend that $10,000 on these things:

Speakers. A projector. Outdoor furniture. A sofa. A sofabed. Oh, and a swimming pool.

‘But a car’, John says, ‘will hold its value over here.’

‘Not once I’ve totaled it, it won’t.’

I move on and John doesn’t argue.

‘I think we should do something like volunteering in an orphanage on christmas day.’


(guess who said which sentence).

‘Why not?’ John asks, ‘It’s the kind of thing I want to do more of.’

‘Well I worked for a volunteering charity for 8 years. I’ve done my bit. I’ve earned my karma, I never have to volunteer ever again.’

‘You just fired people and hired people, that’s not exactly volunteering.’

‘That’s not true. I set up projects and um – yeah, whatever. So which beach shall we go to?’

John just shook his head. Sometimes I really think he wonders why he married me.



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