Today is Christmas Day. I just spent the one third of it, sitting at a dinner table. Drinking half a bottle of champagne by myself, trying to not to engage in the multiple arguments going around: my sister yelling at her kids, my mom yelling at my sister, my brother-in-law yelling at my mom, the kids yelling at each other… Yes, a lot of yelling.
My dad’s strategy is retreat. He simply pretends to be tired and leaves the house. My sister’s in-laws’ strategy is to constantly have a something in their mouth, solid or liquid. My grand-mother’s strategy is to keep on smiling and pretending everything is alright. My strategy: more champagne.
The ghost of Christmas past
With a light buzz on, I discreetly turn my phone on under the table to look at other people’s Christmas, thinking that under all those beautiful pictures of well dress children in front of trimmed trees, there’s probably as much drama as there is in my family. And good old Facebook does the unthinkable: it reminds me that a year ago, I was in Patagonia and I was feeling the best I have ever felt in my life.
Bad Facebook! Bad!
Fast forward later today, I’m quietly sitting on the couch with my mom on my right, frantically switching between channels on TV and my dad on my left snoring in harmony with the dog, on his lap. I feel obliged to be here, with them. It’s Christmas. That’s what good girls do on Christmas: spend time with their folks.
At that moment, I’m thinking about Jaime, Colin Firth’s character in Love Actually whom enters the family house on Christmas Eve and just goes: “I can’t do that”, drops everything and turns around to go ask some Portuguese girl he never had a real conversation with to marry him. At that point, I wish I had the gut to pull a Jaime’s some day and just go “fuck off, I’m out!”
Let’s be real. I’m hardly a good girl anyway.
Is it a conspiracy or what?
So, I’m sitting here, minding my own business (in my head) while my mom goes wild on the TV remote; when it appears, out of nowhere on the Replay channel: a documentary called Exploring Patagonia.
I think the entire media world has conspired to remind me how great life was a year ago, when I was far far away, on my way to the end of the world.
The documentary follows some german scientists in their Patagonian adventures. Some are looking for dinosaurs bones, some are studying the glacier Grey (magic place in Torres Del Paine National Park), one is trying to re-forest the Pampa, a woman manages gauchos and a cattle. And everywhere it’s majestic. It’s wild. It’s beautiful. It’s windy. It’s grand. It makes my heart beat faster.
This was my Christmas present to myself last year, it was the moment I realized that I had found inner peace. Despite the wind. Despite the crazy wilderness. Despite the exhaustion from hiking for hours on. This is IT for me.
I realize how lucky I am to have found my IT. To have lived that perfect moment. But I’m in trouble now. I want more. I want to go back.