“Happy Merry New Christmas Year”! This is what you say when your planned End of Year celebration becomes a Christmas Party and then a New Year’s picnic due to delays and restrictions from Covid-19! But our incredible volunteers Dori, Vivian and Lily were determined to make it happen, and what a fantastic day we had 😊
The weather forecast had threatened rain all week, yet a cool and cloudy morning turned into a gorgeous day as we set up our picnic blankets on the lawn of the Royal Botanic Gardens, with views out to the Sydney Harbour bridge and beyond. Our original meeting spot in the Rose Pavilion had been reserved for a wedding, and although it had curious appeal, we decided “Happy Merry New Christmas Year and CONGRATULATIONS”! really wasn’t going to be appropriate so we took advantage of the shade (and shelter if needed) from a huge tree nearby.
Everyone had contributed food from their culture, and the generosity of womens’ efforts was obvious since once the dishes were spread out on the blankets there was barely any room for ourselves to sit! As more ladies continued to arrive, we were completely spoiled for choice from the seemingly never-ending supply of traditional cuisines plus a few favourite treats.
Dori announced there would be a photo competition with prizes for the top two entries, so throughout the picnic it wasn’t surprising to look up or turn around and see you had been captured on camera. We also had the usual ‘round the table introductions’ (which always seem to get side-tracked into the most interesting and hilarious conversations along the way)! played a couple of games, and at the end the event came the raffle. Thanks to the great planning of our picnic organisers we all got a prize, which I thought was really thoughtful and ended the event with everyone taking away something positive – literally.
There has been much to reflect on with the unexpected events of 2020 and the ever-changing environment we are currently living in, knowing 2021 is likely to be another year of unpredictability. This is where Key Into Australia absolutely shines, providing a community of support and friendship to multicultural women. The New Year Celebration picnic was a perfect opportunity to share in our successes and make plans for a rewarding year ahead. As we caught up with familiar faces and welcomed new ladies to the group, I felt a sense of security and optimism, knowing that no matter what happens in the wider world, with KIA I have found a place where I can truly belong.