Wrap Up

2019 December Wrap Up… I Guess the Decade is Over!?

Hello friends! I’m still going strong with these wrap ups, and I’m enjoying them more and more! For today, I switched up the format a bit, and I have to say, I really like how it turned out.

The beginning of my December revolved around The Phantom of the Opera

…and no one is more surprised about that than me. Growing up, I’ve always had so much love and appreciation for the theater, and while I don’t get to go as much as I wish I could – mainly because of the ticket prices – I jumped on the chance to view The Phantom of the Opera with a friend. I’ve never seen, nor read the story, but I was excited nonetheless, and ready to be amazed.

Sadly, The Phantom of the Opera did not live up to my expectations. While it isn’t a bad production, my friend and I both came out a bit dejected – her probably more than me, because she is a fan of the story. (Bear in mind that the last play I saw was Les Miserables, hands down one of the best musicals, both as a movie and as a play, in my opinion. So The Phantom had some serious competition.)

My friend recommended the 2004 movie to me, and while I didn’t think I’d get to it anytime soon, I found myself watching it the very next day. Did I love it? No. But there is something about the story, the characters, the setting, and most of all, the music that made me want to go back and get more. I kind of became obsessed with the title song, and I found myself intrigued by the book as well; I needed to know what it was like. I read it in less than two days, and my verdict is still the same – maybe more so than ever, because phew, the book was a ride – this story is so. damn. silly. ๐Ÿ˜‚ AND YES, DESPITE THAT I LOVE IT, OKAY, I DO.

On a positive – and saner – note, I was so excited after coming home from the theater (it is a magical place, even if the play wasn’t 100% satisfactory) that my mom and I immediately purchased tickets for Rebecca. I’m not sure how the heck Du Maurier’s excellent novel translates into a musical, but I am excited.

My finals and the start of the exam period kinda shat on my Christmas cheer.

Guys, I’ve discussed how I’ve lost faith in the uni course* I’m on – you can read about it by clicking here – and that has made it progressively hard for me to feel good about it. So preparing for my finals and exams was worse than ever. I didn’t have a lot of motivation, and while I got 5s (= the best grade) in three of my seminars/lectures, my Applied Linguistics exam could have turned out better (I received a 3, which is like a C, I guess? Kind of in the middle.) Either way, I still have three exams in January, so uh, root for me, please?

*I accidentally wrote curse first, and like, that’s accurate!?

Even so, my Christmas mood was not fully killed.

I went Christmas shopping on three different occasions during the month of December, and despite the crowd, I really enjoyed myself each time. I love present hunting for friends and family (as well as helping out others in their own hunt) and while I grew frustrated a few times, I did not give up.

My mom and I decided to check out two big Christmas faires in Budapest – as we did last year too – and we had a lot of fun just soaking up the Christmas cheer and breathing in all the smells. We walked around, ate roasted chestnuts (a favorite of ours), and bought a few things, such as hand-decorated gingerbread. I adore pigs, so I literally squealed when I saw the pig one. I’ll admit that a few people did get on my nerves – I’ll never understand why anyone would go to a crowded faire and hurry/push people around. The crowd was really big in one of the faires, and people like that certainly didn’t make it better.

As for reading… meh.

December, for multiple reasons, was not the best reading month; the finals, the exam, preparing for future exams and the holidays kind of pushed me into a reading slump. I didn’t even feel like rereading Psy-Changeling, which is when you know I’m not in a good mood ๐Ÿ˜ฉ.

I have a lot to thank to the wonderful Color Outside the Lines, edited by Sangu Mandanna, which was one of the highlights of my month. This anthology features stories of interracial couples, and it allowed me to read full stories in between studying for my finals. I mean, yeah, these are “only” short stories, but they feel complete and complex regardless, which is the best thing a short story collection can offer.

Debbie Macomber’s Twelve Days of Christmas was another great experience. We had to take a 5-hour-long car journey to attend a funeral, and I flew through this cute romance on the way there. I wasn’t very close to my relative, but going to a funeral is (1) never fun, (2) involves meeting with my extended family which ain’t good, folks. Twelve Days of Christmas really helped me cope with that.

The A.I. Who Loved Me by Alyssa Cole squashed my reading slump 1000%. I listened to it while I was tidying and cleaning my room, and it was so incredible, it made even house work bearable. It’s an interesting mix of science fiction and romantic comedy that involves a woman falling in love with a robot, and man, this was so well executed. I was on the edge of my seat all along, and kept upping the pace of the audiobook to get to the end faster.

A Holiday by Gaslight by Mimi Matthews was the cutest, most heartwarming Christmas novella, and I’ll certainly be looking into Matthews’ other books. Her characters felt so vivid, so life-like that I found myself caring about them from the first page.

The Afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand qualifies as a highlight, but barely. I went into the novel with massive hopes, which were raised even higher because, the audibook’s narrator was excellent. She did different voices for the characters and, in my opinion, also nailed the their accents. I only went for the audio because I wanted to decorate the tree while reading a Christmas book, but man, this really made me interested in audiobooks. All through the novel, I was massively engrossed in the story; however, the ending effectively ruined it all for me. It felt rushed and cheesy and kind of gross all at once, which is the worst combination…

On the movie + show front, I did better!

Before we get into the movies, two tv show things – I’ve gotten super-into Schitt’s Creek, and now it’s gone from the Hungarian Netflix before I could finish it!? I’m genuinely so annoyed, friends! (Cue in David saying “Why would you have allowed this to happen?”)

Given that The Good Place is on a break and Schitt’s Creek was cruelly taken from me, I decided to jump into Grace and Frankie, and I’m loving it so far. It’s not a perfect show by any means, but after the first few episodes I found myself laughing out loud on it.

Onto movies,

Bridget Jones’ Baby was on television, so my mom and I watched it for the first time – she definitely enjoyed it more than I did, but that doesn’t mean I hated it. It was enjoyable and brought back the vibe of the original movies rather well, especially after such a long break.

As for Christmas movies; I had a lot of fun with A Cinderella Story: Christmas Wish*, which is as trope-y and typical as a YA Romance can get, but it was adorable and what I needed at that moment. I watched Klaus with my mom on Christmas Day, and we both loved it – it was a bit weird, a bit dark, but 1000% heartwarming.

I also had the chance to rewatch a couple of movies on tv, such as Crazy Rich Asians, Home Alone 1 & 2, Christmas with the Kranks and Monster University.

I went to the movie theater twice during December. I watched Frozen II with a friend, and I really, truly loved it. I couldn’t tell you if it lived up to the first movie, because it’s hard to compare them: their atmosphere and plot feel incredibly different. I’d say this was way more serious/somber, which appealed to me, but might put off other viewers. “Into the Unknown” and “Show Yourself” were the soundtrack of my December – they are so damn catchy and fun!

I’m seeing Cats on the 30th – well, at this point, saw, but if you’re reading this I haven’t had time to update this post – and I’m scared of it. The only reason I’m going is that we have two free tickets to the cinema, and nothing better to use it for.

*Fun fact: Isabella Gomez, who plays Elena on One Day at a Time, is in this movie.

Let’s chat!

How was your December? If you celebrate Christmas – how was it? Did you have a big family celebration? Did you have a good reading month? Have you watched any Christmas movies I should know about?

25 thoughts on “2019 December Wrap Up… I Guess the Decade is Over!?

  1. My mom loves Phantom. We are a theatre loving family so my sister and I were bound to see it at one point lol.
    I wasnโ€™t impressed. I love musicals that have a lot of upbeat or inspiring songs that I can belt out, and this musical didnโ€™t have it. My sister on the other hand absolutely loved it. I guess it is iconic, but not for me overall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it was, in part, because I wasn’t convinced by the actor who played the phantom. I’m looking forward to watching the Royal Albert Hall performance, although it’s obviously not going to be as good as seeing it live. It’s cool that you got to see the original production!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, your December wasn’t that bad, was it? I mean, at least it was a bit adventurous, what with your theater and fair escapades ๐Ÿ˜‰. Boo for having exams (and more of them later you had to study for) in the holiday period though…seriously, what were those folks at uni thinking?!? Applied Linguistics sounds like a monster, too. We didn’t have it at my uni.

    I wish you a great new year in every field (it might involve some work on our part, but we both deserve it, so let’s do what we can to make it happen!), and I hope to see Ruzi back at your side soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, it looks like you did a lot in December! I also saw Frozen II recently, and although I liked Frozen I better, I have to admit that “Into the Unknown” has been stuck in my head for a while now. I’m sorry to hear that Phantom of the Opera was disappointing– I had the opportunity to see the show on Broadway as part of a school field trip a couple years ago, and I was blown away by the special effects in the theater. This year I had my first semester of college, and I also experienced a *slight* damper in my holiday spirit because of exam season. Good luck with the rest of your tests! Happy new year! ๐Ÿ™‚

    claire @ clairefy

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I used to really like the music from Phantom, but, over time, I just couldn’t get over how creepy the Phantom is. He’s clearly manipulating Christine, but there are women who find him romantic. Just, ew. And I think the book is kind of a boring mystery. At least the musical tried to add more romance and drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the Phantom is 1000% manipulative and controlling. I like him as a villain in the play/musical, but he is no love interest… I agree, and weirdly, the characters also feel more developed in the musical. I expected the book to have more well-rounded characters, but boy, they were two-dimensional and annoying.


  5. So sad that the production of Phantom you saw was lacking. Phantom is actually my favorite musical and Iโ€™ve been lucky enough to see it several times (twice here at home, Las Vegas, and London). It never gets old. ๐Ÿ™‚ Something about the story just speaks to me. Best of luck to you in your exams this month! I know youโ€™ll be so relieved to have them behind you. As much as I enjoyed the first two Bridget Jones movies, I havenโ€™t seen Bridget Jones Baby. I canโ€™t decide whether to bother with it or not. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you loved Phantom so much! I’m really excited to watch the Royal Albert Hall performance – obviously, it’s not going to be the same as being in the theater, but that one looks very promising. I think if you love the first two movies, you should give a chance to the newest one! It’s definitely entertaining, although this “will they, won’t they” have gotten a bit old, haha.


    1. Thank you!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ll love Phantom if/when you’ll get to watch it in the theater. ๐Ÿ˜€ Klaus was GREAT, but it did feel somewhat dark for a Christmas movie, haha. And some of the people were basically evil, which was also weird.


  6. A lot here so let me do my best to remember. I liked the musical for the Phantom of the Opera but I was young and did not for the life of me understand or grasp the story. but the Phantom of the Opera song enthralled me and I was captivated by the voice range in the opera so that was enough for my music loving soul. I love Rebecca and I am SO curious to see how it does as a musical and what you make of it. I am so sorry about the uni stuff and fingers crossed for you surviving those last exams. You’re doing well! Ahh the Christmas fairs must have been so much fun ๐Ÿ˜€ I need to try an Alyssa Cole novel because she sounds wonderful. I have been hearing mixed things about the afterlife of holly chase and that makes me nervous as I do have it on my kindle as well ;.; As for films I have to say I watched A Cinderella Story wish one and I hated it :(( I thought it was awful and the autotune was killing my ears?! I still need to watch Klaus though and I am very hopeful for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The voice range in the Phantom of the Opera is pretty unique compared to most musicals, and yes! The Phantom of the Opera song is one of the best songs from a musical imo. I’m so excited for Rebecca!! We’re seeing it tomorrow, and I’ll definitely talk about it in my January wrap-up. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚ Alyssa Cole writes the most incredible romances, I do hope you’ll have the chance to read her books one day. Argh, The Afterlife of Holly Chase was so good during the first 90% and then it became rushed and weird, I’m curious to see what you’ll make of it. Haha, that’s fair! I had like, two brain cells left when I watched A Cinderella Story, and it suited me just fine at that point. With that being said, the music was laughable – the way everyone kept saying she has a wonderful voice…. girl… Klaus is amazing, I hope you’ll love it! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry to hear that university has been hard, definitely all the best luck with your upcoming exams, you can get through it! ๐Ÿ’• I’m glad to hear you still managed to feel the Christmas cheer and got to watch a lot of great movies – December is when I watch most movies as well, though I haven’t gotten around to watching Frozen 2 yet ๐Ÿ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree that Les Mis is one of the best musicals out there! I’ve only seen the Phantom movie, but I hope to see a production…eventually.

    I started watching Schitt’s Creek a few months ago but I think I’m still on season 2. I really liked it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Les Mis is so damn good, I’m glad you also love it. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you’ll enjoy the Phantom if you get to see it in the theater. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Schitt’s Creek is excellent – I had a bumpy start with it, but I’m so fond of the characters now. ๐Ÿ™‚


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