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I come from a country, a place, a culture and a society, which doesn’t really celebrate Christmas but is all in to celebrate the first few weeks of snowy and cold winters with excitement, joy and happiness. As I came to this country this year for my postgraduate degree at the University of Chester, I really wanted to experience this beautiful, festive season which I really didn’t get to witness before in my 24 years of life. I was extremely excited as I’d heard over the years that Christmas in the UK is a whole new level of happiness, where people just dance away all their worries and celebrate this season in full swing. And as expected (or even more than my expectations), I got lucky and saw all this with my own eyes. IT IS BEAUTIFUL!

By the third week of November, the whole city got dressed up in twinkling fairy lights and blooming decorations across the streets. People started to come out to cherish the beautiful Christmas Markets which were set up in the heart of the city. These were beautiful, cute, little wooden cottages which were embellished with jewellery, scented soaps and candles, woollen caps and a wide variety of food items, like hot chocolate with marshmallows and raspberry fudge being my favourite. Being a foodie myself, I got hyper and just couldn’t resist after seeing all these mini food huts which were a treat for my sore eyes.

As well as the Christmas markets, I got to experience my first Christmas parade! My…what a parade it was. From detailed costumes to dancing together as one, to hours of practice and coordination, it was a remarkable parade which really set up the Christmas mood. Santa, in all his glory, welcomed us with heart-warming fireworks and jingling bells.

A few days back, I just took a bus and treated myself with going to see the Lantern Festival which is held every year in Chester Zoo during this season. It’s like you’re in another world; walking through some kind of festive, animal universe miles away from the city of Chester. It was magical. It was beautiful!!

As I am a person who loves to travel and wants to just experience all colours of this season, I travelled to Liverpool to witness their Christmas markets as well. As it’s a bigger city with people travelling from different corners of the country, the Christmas market there was a bigger version of Chester’s. By taking a ride in a Ferris wheel, I got to experience a sight which I’ll never forget… the whole city of Liverpool was lit up with lights, happy noises and December mist.

There are some days here in Chester when I just cook some comfort food and call my friends over. Many of us can’t go back to our home countries, so we just sit together and cherish these moments. Make a home away from home, because Chester will surely give you all the right reasons to be the perfect place for it.

I’m a nostalgic person and this festive season does give me moments of sadness due to being away from family and not getting to experience this with my loved ones, but you need to remember that these days will not come back. This is the prime time of our lives and we should just compel ourselves to enjoy and live in the moment. This city and this country have a LOT to offer, so don’t sit back at home in your cosy blankets and be comfortable. COME OUT and see everything with your own eyes. I promise, you will not be disappointed.

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