A Christmas homecoming: Seychelles for the holidays
Shelda Emmanuel has spent the last five Christmas seasons in Italy, but his year the 23-year-old is happy to be back home with family. (Shelda Emmanuel)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Santa and his reindeer may have trouble landing the sleigh in tropical Seychelles, but at least one Island native is trading in Europe's chill for a taste of home this Christmas.
Shelda Emmanuel has spent the last five Christmas seasons in Italy, but his year the 23-year-old is happy to be back home with family.
“I was so looking forward to come back. I really wanted to spend Christmas and New Year with my grandmother because she is alone and have been sick during the year. My grandma has been my pillar, my remedy in all situations. I couldn’t wait to get to the Seychelles,” says Emmanuel.
It was Emmanuel's last year of secondary school that her mother asked her to come for a visit in Italy. The visit then became a permanent stay as her mother wanted her close. Despite having her mother and aunt in Italy, Emmanuel says the transition was difficult since she had so many friends in this island nation in the western Indian Ocean.
During the past five years, Emmanuel has been completing her studies and working part time. She is now thinking of going to university either in Singapore or Italy.
Emmanuel tells SNA that Christmas decorations started lighting Italy in early December. Italians, who have strong ties to the Catholic Church, readily embrace Christmas traditions.
For Emmanuel, Christmas in Italy usually includes a lunch with her best friend’s family, dinner with her mother and siblings and late night partying with friends.
“My family and I always try to keep our culture, all throughout the year. On Christmas day we always try to include Creole cuisine with Italian ones and play the classic Creole songs that we have in our collection.”
When coming to Seychelles Emmanuel thought that people would not really be in the Christmas mood due to the recent elections but nevertheless she wanted to bring her joy back home.
“People are actually getting into the mood. At home people are playing Christmas songs. I was most impressed with the Christmas decorations in town, I never expected such beauty, “explains Emmanuel.
Christmas is just a day away and Emmanuel tells SNA that she has already put up the Christmas tree at her grandmother’s home at Mont Fleuri and the freezer is packed with goodies for the Christmas and New Year meals.
“All is ready. It won’t be a big celebration but I expect my cousins to come over and bring a dish to make the group bigger. I am not a church girl but I will be going to the midnight mass to please my grandma,” said Emmanuel.
Emmanuel tells SNA that she brought gifts from Italy for her closest relatives.
“Home is where the heart is. Italy is not my land of birth. When I am in Seychelles it’s fun, I may miss my mother but this is my land,” said Emmanuel