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The perfectly imperfect Christmas holiday...

The perfectly imperfect Christmas holiday...

I had no plans for this year! And particularly I had no plans for Christmas! But by the time tickets became ridiculously expensive my dear dear family decides to meet up in Paris on the 24th of December! And my Mom finally decides to come from Portland to visit me in London for New Year! Such encounters do not happen very often, as I was born in like a 3 times recomposed family, where cousins live in the US, aunt is from Australia, grannies are in France, brother in the South American jungle, father grows olives in Mallorca and I live in London! All this beautiful but scattered people don’t make Christmas easy… it usually involves a lot of money and logistics to have everyone from their respective continent meet in ONE place for more than 24H. The more the merrier of course (and the more expensive you’ve guessed it!)

And so it is with mixed feelings that I buy my Eurostar ticket … Excitement and financial worries shall keep me company during these holidays! Gifts’ budget? 10£ per head! Skinnydip.com is a life-saver, and Phil Night’s autobiography a good way to inspire the men in my family! My way of telling Dad we could be millionaires by now had he not invested all his money in dodgy (but definitely fun) business!

Ah family! Such a paradoxical experience it is to spend the holidays with the ones who share your blood! You love them, yet you wouldn’t live with them! In a way I am perhaps blessed to have such a globetrotting family. Christmas together becomes a dream, a project that sometimes takes a whole year to organise! Something close to a miracle I may say! It becomes a special day (sometimes 3 days) where we get to pretend we are a normal family!

Hélas… while I put the Moët & Chandon to cool down, a stingy comment from nan is enough to trow me off my feet, perfectly pedicured for the occasion! Something about me not being stable… I thought I was immune! But instead, I was hit by nan’s bullet and now I shall bleed quietly! I call my boyfriend to complain… He says what I’m experiencing is perfectly normal. Perfect is what I was going for…but it never occurred to me that we could be normal… Then suddenly it dawns on me:

  • 1 - I am perfectly happy on my own in London…

  • 2 - All I want out of Christmas is to have a beautiful memory with my family!

15 minutes spent refocusing in Grandma’s miniature Parisian toilet and I’m back in the game!

For me memories involve taking photos! So I grab a camera, have some champagne and start shooting! My family gladly plays along, we have a laugh, more champagne and I end up with beautiful Christmas photos!

I overheard my little brother say he wanted to see the Jardin du Luxembourg, so I take the opportunity and suggest a family photoshoot the next day! Everyone is up for it, even Nan. I realise that family is what you make of it! I wanted to have a beautiful memory with my family, and so I got it! But I had to take responsibility and create my own experience! Otherwise someone else would… Nan for example…or the kids…

A walk in the park you say? What a perfectly normal way to spend the day with my family! We were just like any other French family in the park that day: absolutely imperfect and absolutely normal! Astonished by my own creation, and freezing to death in the Jardin du Luxembourg, I decide to close the day and invite everyone for a cup of tea at the local bistro. Kids are tired and cranky, grandma says I should stop now with the photos… Camera goes back in the bag, but I don’t care, I got what I wanted!

Next day I’m back in London, where another side of the family awaits! I told you it’s never ending! Mom is coming from the US with my step-dad, I pick up my childhood friend from the Eurostar, and we manage an impromptu breakfast at Gail’s with the whole of the British side of my family! My Polish flatmate is invited, and my boyfriend meets the whole lot at once! I catch up with aunts and cousin, we walk up to Pimrose Hill and share the last 2018 lunch at Carluccio’s.

I immortalise the moment with some more photos. New Year’s eve is spent in a British Pub, with good food, too many champagne glasses and finishes at 4 am in my living room with a bucket of chips and fried chicken! Happy New Year!

I am grateful for the moments spent with all these people I love, family and friends who have become like family. I have missed some of them, as this was another Christmas where not everyone could be there. I love you all and still think we are not a normal family…I think we are way more interesting than that, and I think that however abnormal we are, we are perfect as a family!

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