I found out yesterday that Christmas day will be a normal working day for us here on our project. For the sake of diplomacy, let’s just say I’m deflated about it. However, considering that I wouldn’t be spending Christmas with my family anyway, I just look at it this way: If I’m not spending it with my family, then it doesn’t make a difference if I am working or not.This will be second year that I don’t spend Christmas with my family. Last year, due to reasons which are still beyond me, HR booked a ticket from Abu Dhabi to Lisbon (I would be spending Christmas and New Years in Madeira, before going to Libya) for the 26th of December at 1am. This after promising me all week I would be in Portugal by Christmas Day.
I had received a few Christmas lunch invitations but declined thinking that I would be out of the country already. In the end I felt embarrassed to ask if I could join them for Christmas Lunch. So Christmas 2009 ranks as my worst one yet. I spent it in a mall in Abu Dhabi, where I had lunch (on my own) and then watched a movie (on my own) before heading back home to finish packing and have my last shisha in Abu Dhabi (where I was joined by a colleague).
Thankfully this year, there are a few people who are staying in Libya for Christmas so we will wallow in our depression together.
I’m not going to be one of those people who is going to complain about working Christmas day, as there are people all over the world which have to do the same. I’m no more special than them. Also, this is a Muslim country. What on earth gives me the right to demand that I don’t work on this day? So the best thing to do is suck it up and try and make the most of the situation.
Even though we’re still 10 days away from Christmas, I do feel very sad that I won’t be with my family for the second year in row. I won’t see my mom’s feigned surprised at getting her what she asked my cousins to tell me and my brothers to get her; My dad’s joy at receiving another collectors special edition whisky; My little brother’s joy at getting exactly what he wanted; My little cousins wearing what she received for Christmas; Christmas lunch by the pool.
I guess that not spending Christmas with family is part of growing up and it’s the part I really don’t like.