Orphans' ChristmasFriday, November 14, 2014
I am often an orphan during Christmas season.
I can't remember the last time I spent Christmas with my own, biological, family. It's not because I am an ungrateful daughter who would prefer to spend the holiday with others, on the contrary. It's not because Christmas isn't celebrated in our little family with Asian roots. In fact, as practising Christians (which most French people here find unusual, I must say), we always attend mass on Christmas eve.
No, it's just because I, or my family, often find ourselves on opposite sides of the world.
Last year, while I lived in Melbourne, Australia, I visited my hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand, to spend time with my parents. Alas, literally one day before my arrival, we received sad news from our extended family back in Korea. Mum and Dad hurried over to be with her siblings, but I unfortunately couldn't join them. My younger sister was working on the ski slopes of Canada at the time, so I got to spend Christmas with childhood friends and their families. It was still wonderful of course, stuffing ourselves with festive foods and games and laughter.
The year before, I was working in Seoul, Korea. I lived with my grandmother, but she decided she wanted to spend Christmas in LA, USA, with Uncle E's family. It's warmer, and we have more family there than in Korea, so fair enough. I spent the white winter Christmas with friends who came to visit from New Zealand, luckily for me.
This year? I am in France, and my parents in New Zealand.
I wasn't sure where I'd be, or with whom. A Kiwi friend was planning to visit me, but the plan got cancelled. Boohoo. Perhaps I'll spend it around the fireplace of a good friend's, just outside of Bordeaux? Perhaps I'll join a French friend in Paris? Or my housemate's family? Hmm, should I go on a solo trip overseas, instead? Then, I got invited to join my French family to go to Turkey with them.
Such an usual place for Christmas, but I am very excited. The only Turkish word I know is Merhaba, from my favourite bartender in Auckland. He has already sent me a list of things to do and see and eat and drink.
Hopefully I will be with my real family, celebrating Christmas with them, next year. Perhaps we will welcome an orphan of our own, then. But being an orphan isn't so bad, as long as you aren't alone, that's the main thing.
Already counting down until Christmas ;)