Posted by / Category Cultural Differences /

One Of My Cards Designs: Do You Like It?
Is Christmas the time to be nice and helpful? Or is Christmas the time to tell the truth? I sometimes wonder. Right now, I have to admit that I am tired of being nice. Shattered. Exhausted. Don’t get me wrong: I am a glass-half-full sort of person.  I just feel that it might be time to be more French and less British, and get out in the open all the things that bug me.  Shall we call it a much-needed Christmas mind detox?

Right, where do I start? I received a phone call from a French acquaintance. I was pleasantly surprised to hear from her. Then, she told me that her family was spending Christmas in London, and wanted to know if they could stay in our house as she assumed we would be in France. Rent free of course. I managed to keep polite and say no. What I wanted to say was: how dare you? We haven’t talked in 18 months and all you want is my house? No need to call me. Ever. Again.

Every month or so, I get a request from a friend/an ex-colleague/a friend of a friend looking for a French au pair or whose daughter wants to become an au pair in London. I usually reply politely with some links to various agencies. And the exchanges suddenly stop, without so much as a Thank You. Right, let me spell it out for you: I am not an au pair agency!

To make matters even worse, my mother is staying with us for a couple of weeks. She is starting to get on my nerves because, in a bid to rewrite our dysfunctional family history, she keeps boasting about what a good job she did with my education, my upbringing, and so on, and so forth. In order to maintain some appearance of familial unity, I shut up. The truth is: I can’t take it any more. She didn’t protect me from a bipolar father, and I still resent her for not standing up for me.  I just have to suck it up. It is Christmas, for God’s sake. At least that’s what I keep telling me.

This year, I am also wondering whether I am going to send any Christmas cards at all. I used to send at least a hundred of Christmas cards. I used to design my own Christmas cards. Well, I have stopped now. I got tired of receiving 25 cheap supermarket cards in response to my lovely cards. I am really toying with the idea of not sending any Christmas cards. I know, I am going from one extreme to the other. I will find a middle ground. At least I think I will.

So, tell me, how does it work? When do you stop sucking it up? When do you start voicing your opinion in no uncertain term (i.e., the French way?)? The funny thing is that I have the reputation of being direct. That said, I feel like I keep a lot to myself! Sigh.When does it get easier?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London