Merry Christmas everyone! Or at least to everyone who celebrates Christmas on December 25th. It’s such a strange thought that to some people today is just another ordinary day. But I can’t imagine today being anything other than Christmas Day, even if there aren’t lights and trees and decorations around. I guess it goes to show how much your culture gets ingrained in you, especially when you actively indulge it by participating in traditions and other activities which openly display the culture (as opposed to being oblivious to it).
Unfortunately Christmas Day didn’t start off in the best possible way. We woke up to find our roommate had locked the door (there’s only one key) and left. So we were locked in our room. After waiting a while, I was fed up and simply wanted out. The room was quite small and it didn’t make any sense to wait all day for her to return. So we ended up calling the front desk and they sent someone up to release us. Ironically, our roommate showed up about five minutes later.
When we went outside we found that almost all the shops and restaurants were closed as well. There were hardly any people out and the city seemed so quiet, deserted even. It didn’t help that we hadn’t planned and were all starving. A group of us went roaming around, trying to find a restaurant or supermarket so we could have some semblance of a Christmas dinner.
It was such an odd sensation though, that we were in one of the most beautiful and most romantic cities in the world at what some may consider to be an equally beautiful and romantic time of year, yet there was nowhere to go. It was quite frustrating to be out and actively looking for a place to eat but finding nothing. I kept asking myself how in the world it was possible that we were here, in Paris of all places, and yet there was nowhere to go and nothing to do. It was a real shock to me. I tried to remember if it was similar at all in America but I realized I never really paid attention. Although I’m sure we still have some supermarkets which are open 24 hours a day, regardless of holidays.
All I could think was that it must be a cultural difference. I know the French are much more religious and Christmas is considered a religious holiday. So most shops and restaurants closed, people were going to church and were staying home with their family as opposed to eating Christmas dinner at a restaurant.
Nonetheless it was a very interesting experience to be there during it all. We had Chinese food for dinner and ended the night on a very quiet note. I even managed to call my family from a pay phone using my credit card. Not your traditional Christmas but a great one regardless.