Merry Christmas, I'm off to New York
I got my first ever hate mail this week.
Being a journalist, I'm used to people disagreeing with me or getting annoyed with stories, but actual hate mail dumbfounded me.
The worst bit - it came from the person I sit beside at work.
Why am I being targeted, you ask?
Because tomorrow I will be approximately 14965km away in Boston, Massachusetts.
My brother is studying at Harvard Uni and we're going over to visit him for a white Christmas.
We're spending Christmas in Boston, a few days in Montreal, a week in New York City and, because we still wanted a little bit of a summer holiday, a week at a resort in the Bahamas on the way back.
Usually, my Christmases are pretty low key. I have a very small family and we spend Christmas day at our bach in the Marlborough Sounds, soaking up the sun and eating on the deck.
We spend our summer days firing up the BBQ, clinking some beers and taking the boat out fishing.
This year, it will be the exact opposite. I'm picturing myself making angels in the snow, sipping egg-nog and basically doing all those Christmasy things you see on American movies.
(My brother has told me it hasn't actually snowed yet, so that better happen! A slushy-grey Christmas isn't as appealing as a white one).
For Christmas lunch, we're booked into an all-you-can-eat American buffet restaurant.
I also have to make sure I eat an American hot-dog, a giant pretzel, some New York cheesecake and order a "cawwfee".
Then I'm going to ice-skate in Central Park, watch the time ball fall in Times Square on New Year's Eve and see a production on Broadway.
In essence, I'm imagining my trip as a cross between Sex and the City and Supersize Me.
Now, you can see why I'm the target of such hate from my colleague who has to work over the break.
However, despite the fact I leave tomorrow I'm not overly prepared. Packing isn't really my strong point and I've been procrastinating.
My brother has sent me numerous emails reminding me how freezing it is over there and how I have to be sensible with my packing.
(I think he's remembering our trip to Paris when I was 15. I thought I would pack a series of "chic" high heels for the fashion capital of the world. After a day of walking around the cobbled streets I was crying and he wanted to throttle me).
Sorry big bro, at least one pair of heels is still coming with me (I can't go to Broadway in flats after all!) but I'll try and chuck in some woolly jumpers as well.
As well as the hate-mail, I've also received a lot of helpful advice for the trip, including "put vaseline in your nose to prevent dryness while flying", and "get a little bit drunk so the flight goes quicker, but not so drunk you're hungover mid-flight".
I'll be back in mid-January, a lot poorer and probably a lot fatter. It'll be worth it.
Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and wherever you are spending the holiday period there is plenty of either sunshine or good company.
Oh, and I will be responding to my disgruntled colleague with a similar note - in the form of a postcard.