English Family The foreign life

The missed celebrations

One of the biggest downsides of living abroad is that you miss a lot of family celebrations. At least if you ask most people, because if you ask Mr. FA, he is quite happy about it, unless the celebration is the wedding of one of his friends in Ibiza, one month after baby number three arrives, in which case he is quite happy to attend.

If I count well, I have missed the First Communion of one of my nephews and my niece, the wedding of one of my three cousins, and numerous baptisms. That doesn’t count my friends’ weddings, although given the allergy they seem to have to marriage so far I still have time to attend a good bunch of those. Still, I would have liked to be there for all of those celebrations, see the whole family together, enjoy the chaos that they normally create.

Since our family here is made of our friends, and they are our age and were already married when we met them, we are not invited to many celebrations. We are generally too busy trying to keep our kids alive as to celebrate anything. Taking all that into consideration, we were very grateful to be invited to the baptism of our friends’ daughter. It was a beautiful and small gathering, that started at 11 am and ended at 11 pm, which is how I like them. One of those lunches that somehow turns into coffee at the house that then morphs into dinner and a movie for the kids. A fun and crazy day, that made me feel like I belonged here a little more and reminded me that this made up family we have here is family nonetheless. That made me very happy.

I think that it is due to that lack of official celebrations that I tend to overbook our weekends, to poor Mr. FA’s dismay. I am scared of having to spend a whole weekend day home. It feels lonely without grandparents to visit, aunts, uncles and cousins to meet with, or friends who can drag you out for drinks (although I always seem to have a healthy supply of those, wherever I go).

This long weekend, for example, started with lunch out on Saturday, buying plants for the patio, friends coming over to the house for a coffee that turned into dinner out with seven kids, baptism Sunday, and hosting another friend for lunch today. My poor plants were lucky that I finally had a few minutes to pot them today. And now my patio really looks like it’s summer. Reason enough to celebrate in Chicago.

There is no summer without hydrangeas in this house.
There is no summer without hydrangeas in this house.

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