spread the joy

It's end-November, an unusually warm autumn & my enviroment just began to put up Christmas props a week ago, which they will all put in full activity on December first. Colorful lights, Santas & reindeers in department stores & everybody seems to be unaffected except me.

What's new? It's 35 days to Christmas & the more years I spend it away from home, the more I realize that christmas back home will never be the same anywhere else. Christmas is more of an internal clock that alarms as early as mid-September - although it seems a bit exaggerated & then terrible to say that somehow, sometimes Christmas is just not in the heart. Sometimes, it just really depends where you are.

While driving out of my parking on a wonderful saturday morning, I realized two cars were already vying for my parking space - like two savaged vultures, one in front of me & one behind - when I haven't completely vacated it yet. Asking the crazy old man behind me to give me more space to maneuver my car, with a raging hand, he's gesturing me to go on & that there's a lot of space. I could have provoked him to move his ass, repark my car & decide not to go instead. But we only think of a great way to react after an hour or so.

Still in the same saturday morning, I arrive the supermarket just to pick-up the suit from the dry cleaning & of course I become the vulture. Packed parking lot waiting for people to go but no, people take extra time - it's saturday - extra time to leave that you look completement bête waiting for them. So I continued my hunt to find two old ladies, the younger one shrugging her shoulders while looking at me. She goes out of her parking & I saw she didn't use up all the space backing up & by unconscious cosmic karma, I become the crazy old man earlier & I didn't even bother to budge & it's not like she doesn't have ample space between us. Like any other senior here in France, an unfavorable act is reprimanded. And so I likewise shrugged, parked & was welcomed by Santa Clause & his reindeers by the supermarket's entrance.

On the last leg of my errand morning, since everybody does their grocery in big supermarkets on a saturday, I tried to avoid it & passed by a smaller supermarket just to get a few veggies. Still a little shaken up by how my wonderful saturday morning in end-November is going, it is such a relief to see lesser people until a woman shouted at the supermarket's crew about, of all things, the celery. The poor guy who was happily fixing the veggies on the rack will always have to bump into people like that. We all do. No exceptions. Because a lot of people just live in their own heads.

It's end-November, 35 days to Christmas & there's no evidence of Christmas spirit. It's just so difficult to spread the joy when it is just another public holiday & not an ambiance of celebration - that there's one holiday in a year where there's a reason to be nice. Christmas back home is a sensation, a feeling & not a rush - it's not a stress & not an obligation - it's just a spirit that makes us naturally spread the joy. Just once a year. But I guess, no special holiday nor spirit can interrupt our stress at work & the pressures of everyday living.

I'd really like to spread the joy. I really do. I already plan to get a fresh tree - a live one from the plant shop so I don't have to wait till a week before Christmas. I'd really like to spread the joy. I really do. I won't let vultures or some random outbursts ruin the holiday spirit that's building up in my heart. I'd really like to spread the joy. I really do. Even if how I feel about Christmas here haven't changed since last year. I really do. So forgive me to be so nostalgic in my past entries.

Anybody for a Christmas inuman to spread the joy with me?


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. Cheer up, Makis. I don't know how to make sisig, but I can fry you a crispy pata for that inuman :)

  2. It sounds like you are homesick. Christmas spirit will soon find its way in your home and in your heart. i always get fresh Christmas tree.

    Inuman? Cge, game ako. Tequilla or vodka?

  3. Apologies not acceptable, it's how you feel about Christmas and i'm sure you're not the only one! That's being honest....people abroad feel the same way everytime Christmas is coming! Back home, our Christmas spirit is the best!

    Hey cheer up friend! We'll start the spirit of Filipino Christmas! I can help you decorate though am not a born artist pero puede ng pagtiyagaan;!

    Inuman? Vist us here Leah, I prefer tequilla and don't forget the lemon and salt ha! Isang Kampay dyan !

  4. This entry echoes my sentiments every Christmas spent away from home. It's just not the same.Where are the friendly & smiling faces spreading holiday cheer? Being in the retail business, it is an everyday occurence for me to come across people who are all stressed out & harried shopping for gifts & their party outfits. They even already dread the parties they are going to host or attend . What a way to "enjoy" the holidays!

  5. Crispy pata is good, Apol! I don't eat sisig anyway :) I'll count on that!

    Hi, Leah! Welcome, welcome! It's really more than homesickness na ata :) Sometimes you just get fed up having days like that over & over :) Can we have a Vodka Currant with cherries????

    And Tequilla for Hazel! Hay naku, at first I was so excited for the Christmases here - the big holiday dinner, the snow & the fresh pine tree! Pero sympre after years na rin miss mo na Christms with the family diba? Basta tayo dapat mag inuman soon, ha ;-)

    Welcome, welcome, Gina! I just saw that last saturday & it's not even the rush yet, it's all year-round! It's so true how the holidays stress them out more than speading the holiday cheer with a simple smile & politeness - even just this once!

  6. 35 days to xmas.
    Ako count na 41 days to 2007!
    and lalo akong maging lola, waaaah!

    anyway, basta pasko, masaya sa pinas, malingkot sa malamig na lugar gaya ng france... Winter na, and bukas ata mak, uulan dyan ng malakas sa inyo dyan sa marseille!
    dito meron na last night, bukas just cold, 16° BUT STILL COLD brrr!

  7. Hello Makis. I know it's not going to feel the same now that I am away from home. Wala akong maririnig na ingay at 12 midnight and there'll be just me and my husband at home :-( on the 24th of December. I'd miss getting Santa's gifts for my little boy and my nephew. I'd miss wrapping up all the gifts for my Dad, Mom, brother & sister. I'd miss Mom's delicious Christmas Filipino dishes :-) She cooks biko or ube and makes the most delicious buco salad! Haaay, masasanay din siguro ako just like you guys. I'm not even thinking of putting up a Christmas tree at home kasi malulungkot ako pag nakita ko when I get home from work. Thanks Makis for this lovely post. I've also been very nostalgic these past weeks. -Len

  8. Sympre you made me panic, Francesca! Padaanin muna natin pasko bago bagong taon! WAAAH! 41 days to 2007! Bilis ng panahon! But soon, your kids will be in France soon so I'm sure masaya na rin ang pasko dito sa malamig nating lugar ;-) No rain for us today but a big, bright sun & a damn howling mistral! Kainis!

    I hope your first Christmas away from home won't be too hard, Len, especially away from your little boy. It's really hard to break old habits & like you, I didn't put up a tree on my first Christmas here, heck, until now after 6 years! But I plan to get one on my 6th Christmas this year - spread the joy nga kahit dito nalang sa bahay namin - although we always spend Christmas at my inlaws in Belfort. Just think of it as discovering another culture's holiday, diba?

  9. Makis,

    "but we only know the great way to react after an hour or so..."

    Loved this line. So true. There's a few other quotable lines in this piece!

  10. Hi Geri! Always nice to see here on my blog!