After starting out the month by spending a week sharing a room with roaches and mosquitoes, I was glad to arrive in Minnesota and be welcomed into a warm, cosy house. Meghan’s family made me feel like one of the family when I stayed with them for two weeks over Christmas and New Year’s. It was my first Christmas away from home. After 22 years around the same fireplace, I knew it was going to be different this year. It was my first white Christmas.

WalterOn Christmas day Meghan and I built a snowman called Walter. With his open arms, charcoal eyes and Mexican hat, Walter stood proudly in the garden, facing us through the kitchen window, happily embracing the cold. Walter made my Christmas.

My mum had sent me a package for Christmas that had my stocking in it, so it still felt a little like the Christmas I’m used to. Although we didn’t open our presents until 10pm, but that was unusual for everyone. Meghan’s grandmother said, “I’m 82 years old and this is the latest I’ve ever opened my Christmas presents!”

I went skiing for the first time in Minnesota, and loved it. I was jealous of all the little kids who were fortunate enough to have snow every year, and were doing tricks and jumps off snowboard ramps, while Meghan was trying to show me how to put one leg in front of the other and walk.