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May 28, 2024

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Home for the Holidays

Team Member Anna Bryant and Her Family

Having lived in different countries, no two holiday seasons are the same for Membership Team Member Anna Bryant and her family – and yet they always feel at home for the holidays as they make time to gather and celebrate together as a family. No matter where they are, Christmas is always spent doing a fun activity, from cycling in Copenhagen, hiking in Singapore, to skiing in Austria and Japan.

Please introduce yourself and your family.
We are a family of four – Bill, Anna, Erik (21) and Kayla (20). Bill is from South Africa of Swedish heritage, while I was born in Krakow, Poland and raised in Australia. Erik and Kayla were born in Australia and grew up in Germany, United Arab Emirates and Singapore.

What made you and your family decide to relocate to Singapore?
We relocated to Singapore from Dubai in 2014 for Bill’s work. It’s our second time living in Singapore – the first time was from 2005 to 2009.

How do you usually celebrate the holidays with your family?
We enjoy being outdoors and active during the December 24 to January 1 festive period. December 24 is the most special day for our family. Every Christmas Eve, we do something sporty and fun together as a family during the day. Then in the evening, we enjoy a traditional meal and exchange gifts which we’ve placed under the tree, following our Swedish and Polish traditions.

For the past four years, we have spent the festive season in Singapore and visited these places on Christmas Eve:
• Hike to Bukit Timah Hill and onto Hindhede Quarry, Singapore Quarry and Dairy Farm Quarry
• Clementi Forest along the Railway Corridor to Gammon Quarry
• Trip to Raffles Lighthouse at Coney Islet, Pulau Satumu (which translates to “One Tree Island”)

Prior to moving to Singapore, we enjoyed some great holidays during the festive season: skiing in Austria and Japan, bridge climb on the Sydney Harbor Bridge, hiking to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, scuba diving in Wakatobi, cycling in Copenhagen and San Francisco, Segway tours in Warsaw, and spotting the “Big Five” on game drives in game reserves in South Africa.

Have you ever had any memorable or unexpected experiences while celebrating the holidays?
Our most unusual Christmas was in 2014 when we moved to Singapore for the second time. We arrived on December 22 to a house full of boxes that had just been delivered. Our Christmas Eve was spent unpacking boxes and dinner was at Pasir Panjang Food Center, where we enjoyed Fried Kway Teow, Barbecued Chicken Wings, Sambal Stingray, Claypot Tofu, Cereal Prawns, Sambal Kang Kong and Fu Yong Omelet, ending with Fruit Rojak. Delicious food but certainly not our usual Christmas dinner or attire.

Are there any specific foods or activities that you associate with the holiday season?
When we are in South Africa, we follow Bill’s Swedish heritage and enjoy traditional Swedish Christmas dishes like Sylta (head cheese made with meat and spices), Bakad Potatis (baked potato), Inlagd Sill (pickled herring). We sing traditional Swedish songs and participate in traditional Christmas dances. When we are in Australia, we enjoy the Polish way of twelve traditional Christmas dishes.

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