Happy Holidays everyone!
I was talking a bit to my parents and sister back home through some emails, and they just had a few of their Christmas parties. This is the second time I’m away from home for Christmas. This year I celebrated with [CM] in our Sydney apartment (all the roomies were out of town). It was nice. About two weeks before Christmas, we decided to go to some “Christmas Factory Outlets” to see if we could get our hands on a Christmas tree somehow. It turned out that all the 150$ models were sold out, and the cheapest thing we could find was close to 200$ for something that didn’t look all that great. Being citizens of the 21st century though, we used the internet. We found a 7 foot tall tree for about 27$ AUD (about 27 American/Canadian dollars) and had it delivered– it arrived about 4 days before christmas, just enough time to spare so that we could buy some tinsel and some ornaments. We cooked like mad for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and truth be told, I’ve likely gained almost double digit pounds over the last week. But ah, it was delicious.
Meanwhile, back in Montreal, I got some less enthusiastic reports. (Don’t read this part if you don’t want to hear griping.)
I remember what it’s like to have holidays back home– it’s a marathon. If you read my blog back from exactly about a year ago, you’ll probably find that every year it’s a similar story. It’s a story of hecticness and family drama. It reaffirms one of my observations about Asian families– they might have really strong Confucian bonds, but sometimes, perhaps it would be better if the clan would just break up and go their separate ways, instead of subjecting themselves to annual, traditional torture.
And that’s what it is, really. Family I mean. The family you’re born into are the people you’re supposed to give first priority to, to take and give the extra punishment to.
For a long time, several years in fact, I was always the peacekeeper back home. I tried to maintain healthy relationships not just between myself and others, but between others and others. It comes down to whether or not people want to change though– I can’t make people like eachother. I can’t make people any less rude, any less annoying, or any more sensitive to eachother, unless they want to change.
This year, my dad tells me that he got really offended at the Christmas dinner because the extended family was making fun of the church that we go to. Now I know that a lot of you readers aren’t religious, and that there’s more than a few Catholic haters out there, but that’s beside the point– if someone believes in something, whether it’s religion, or if they like basketball or football or they do ballet– you watch what you say about it in front of them. Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion. But when you’re in my dad’s house, invited over for Christmas dinner, cooked by my Catholic family? Show some respect. Have some fucking class.
It seems to me that in any situation where you’re a guest, you make a certain amount of effort to be nice to the host. I’m not saying kiss ass or keep up facades, but there are basic rules of tact that say that you be sensitive of what you’re saying, and know your limitations. And of course, at the end of an evening, you say “thank you.” My dad seemed really upset that after cooking basically all afternoon and cleaning up after the event, he didn’t even get so much of a thank you. Nevermind the cost or the time– just a bit of appreciation, maybe?
I know that I am always saying that people should work on themselves, and that we shouldn’t worry too much about what others think, or how we affect them– but I advocate strength and independence of opinion because in most contexts, we’re supressing our own potential. This isn’t the right situation where people need to be strongly opinioned (or, for that matter, offenseive), nor is it the right time to show off independence. It’s Christmas. It’s time to show some connection with family– to make efforts to treat eachother well, because for the rest of the year, we don’t even talk.
I guess it’s a sobering reminder that for all the things in the world that need changing, the truth is that our own homes, our own family clans, are in disarray to begin with. Where are the values? What are they? Where is the sense of pride of becoming stronger, more respectable people?