A delayed Christmas message

This was a weird Christmas. It rained and as a far as I can remember, it has never rained on Christmas before. Christmas here feels a bit colder than usual but not too much, and the sky is perfect blue without a single cloud. But this year it rained. It rained outside and it rained inside too.

Even with all hard times we have had in the past, including one Christmas we spent in the middle of a General Strike; we have always felt happy during this particular day. Is not that this year we didn’t do what we usually do, we did gather with our large family and gave away presents. But, unlike previous years, we could not raise a white flag to our constant worries. This year the threat and the war that goes inside our heads, drowns in the media, and its constantly talked in the streets; could not have its well deserved Christmas’ white flag. Almost everything we have long feared of, became reality in a matter of just a few weeks before Christmas.

Months before this Christmas I was planning to go to grad school abroad with my boyfriend next year. We thought that for this Christmas we would be more certain of our plans, as we would both be sending off our applications to the same schools. But things turned out differently and for reasons I won’t explain here; he couldn’t apply and I did. Thus I spend Christmas seeing myself in a huge dilemma I never wanted to put myself into.

I don’t want to live somewhere else forever, I want to raise a family here, where I belong. But is quite obvious that right now, I should seriously consider spending some time somewhere else. Due to the political and economical situation; the place I work at is in serious jeopardy of closing so I could lose my job next year or the year after. I could say no to grad school, or save my seat for 2012 but a jobless girl can’t give much help to a boy when they are both thinking on starting something. Therefore, If I get in, and have the possibility to go to grad school abroad, I should do it but; at least in the beginning, I will have to do it on my own. Sometimes I want to get a positive answer from the universities and sometimes I don’t.

“What is going to happen to us next year?”, “How long we’ll have to wait till circumstances let us be together as we want to? “, What is going to happen to us now?”, “Who’s going to keep its job?”, “Who’s going to lose it?”, “Which person sitting in this table will be the next to leave it?”- we all asked to each other. Each one of us looked at each other during Christmas dinner like expecting an answer but no one knew what to say.

We talked briefly the Coup the government launched this month; disrespecting people’s will and installing (finally) a dictatorship. We usually have trouble defining what’s going on in Venezuela and I have always been cautious when using the word “dictatorship”. A part of me thought that maybe, if I didn’t use the world, it won’t come true. But it did. This is not “an autocracy disguised as a democracy”, “a military democracy” or whatever odd name you can come up with. As heartbreaking it is, another part of me feel relieved of finally being able to call things by its name, without having the need to give explanations. The facts speak for themselves.

We spend the rest of the dinner talking about anything else. We turned on Skype to speak with those who already left and couldn’t make it for Christmas. We talked about this new haircut, those wedding plans, how much this baby is growing and that lady who recently got a plastic surgery and now looks older than ever. But I know them well, I know no one could make the necessary Christmas disconnection from reality.

And as rain was pouring and wine being served; I knew I will always remember this Christmas with a bittersweet feeling.

So this was a Christmas message and it turned into a long whine. I thought this was going to be a short post wishing everybody a Merry Christmas but as I kept typing, it became something… quite different.

I hope you all have had the same Christmas I had, and a very different Christmas from the one I spent; all at the same time. I wish you all had the opportunity to look at your family to realize that no matter how crazy, odd, irrational, particular they might are; they are there. They are there for you; they are made to spend good and bad times together at the same table and that’s a relieve. For me; a family is always a table, always a meeting, always a company.

I hope you had the opportunity to presence the kids’ excitement for Child Jesus or Santa, unaware of their parents’ complicated and awful world. I hope you shared their stories of bells and presents suddenly appearing under Christmas tree. I hope you woke up at 4 am, quietly without bothering their dreams, to eat the cookies and keep contributing to their fantasy. A fantasy so beautiful, that shouldn’t be touched or destroyed before is the right time.

I hope you spent Christmas with the ones who love, with that less than perfect man or woman who visited every single shopping mall in the city to find you the perfect present even if they couldn’t afford it. And you opened it with a million dollar smile; gave him/her a hug and promised that despite hard times; even with the panorama of a temporal geographic separation; there is always a light, there is always a way…that we will search for it constantly, until we find it.

I hope you had the opportunity I had, to look at him and say you are not afraid of the future, because don’t know how or under what circumstances; he will be a part of it.

A part of a Christmas without a rain; with a plain blue sky outside and inside us.