A Grinch who learned to love Christmas now wishes you a great year ahead!

Having been at school for the last 12 years meant that the festive season had always been the busiest time of the year for me, but not in the good I-have-to-bake-cookies-and-buy-presents-way.

For us students, who were sitting at the wrong side of the desk, it felt like the teachers wanted to torture us by squeezing as many tests, exams and presentations as possible into the weeks leading up to Christmas.

No wonder I could not enjoy advent as much as I would have liked to. I would even say that the experiences during those years had brought up my inner Grinch, meaning that I could not listen to songs that included the sound of sleigh bells without pulling a face.

Not necessarily the best condition for Christmas in London, is it? Especially since people here start celebrating it the minute Halloween has passed. Suddenly you are surrounded by cheesy plastic decorations, illuminated pink glittery trees, polar bears wearing Santa hats in shop windows and by far the worst of them all…the check-out counters in some supermarkets that impersonate Father Christmas.

But here at PiP I am really enjoyed the Christmas season. Which wasn’t hard regarding all the fun activities we have done, like decorating the Christmas tree while rocking around it, dancing, sing-alongs and watching films.

And then there was of course the Christmas Carol singing at the German YMCA Christmas market. We were given the chance to perform a good mixture between traditional carols and modern classics. It was so cool to see how enthusiastic and energetic the music students were. I dare to say that all of us, or like Marcio would say it “EVERYBODY”, had a great time singing and performing.

But the highlights for a hangry person like myself definitely were the Christmas Lunches! For me these were the perfect opportunities to learn more about British traditions and at the same time fill my stomach with lovely food. And I really like the idea behind gravy: if you do not like something on your plate (or even if you do enjoy everything on it), just drown your food in this fabulous brown sauce. And voilà, problem solved. Now everything looks homogenous. You Brits really are inventive!

Now at the beginning of a new year, it is the perfect time for me to say thank you to everyone at PiP for making me feel so welcome. Though I struggle to get up in the morning because I am and will probably forever be a true morning grouch (ask anyone of my friends and they will confirm), I look forward to coming here every single day. You are an amazing team and I am so grateful to be part of it!

I wish everyone a great year ahead, full of fun activities! I can’t wait to find out what volunteering experiences at PiP this year will bring me… – Magdalena