…the end of the year. There, I´ve said it. I am in seriously short supply of Christmas spirit as I count down the days on the calendar until we leave BA for a visit to VA. The 90º heat wave, eminent pool party and sandals on my feet are not helping me get in the spirit either.
“Mommy, why is there snow at Christmas?” asked Chip the other day. Oh my, where to start?? Explaining that the hegemony of Western culture has created a massive marketing gimmick around a holiday that began with Coca Cola´s Santa ads back in the 20s (for more info on that, provided by Coke itself and not some liberal conspiracy site, read here). No, no, that will never do, I´ll surely lose him at hegemony, so I try a different approach.
“Well, in some parts of the world it IS very cold at Christmas, places like where your grandmother lives. Here, on the OTHER side of our planet (think big hand gestures here), where we live, it´s actually very hot at Christmas.”
Skeptical look from the peanut gallery…..
Not bad, right? Except I didn´t feel like I had really answered the question, which seemed to be a bit more nuanced. And for the first time ever, since moving here, since having children, since making a ton of important life decisions that are influenced by my choice of locale, I thought to myself “man, I am going to have to explain this and hundreds of other small cultural differences away a million times over in the coming years and not all of my explanations are going to be to his liking.”
Having made a completely autonomous decision to move to Argentina, back during that brief glorious period in one´s life when one can be autonomous (ie no more large parental obligations to fulfill, no life partner to consult, just ME ME ME ME ME) it really never occured to me just how I would explain such a choice to my children. Yes, I have explained it to my family, to my friends, to myself a hundred times over but I have yet to script how I am going to explain to my little ones my decision to chose for them a place and even a culture that was once upon a time not my own. And once I provide that explanation, am I opening the door to the kind of thinking that will one day make them make a similar choice and move far far away? (I´m afraid so, it was just that kind of explanation from my own parents growing up that gave me the courage and confidence to end up where I am…)
Humm…better get working on that. Just another thing to add to the growing list of things to do before I get on that plane. Or maybe on the plane itself. Or maybe the next time it actually comes up. If it comes up… See, now we all understand how I never got around to thinking about this in the first place. I guess if it ain´t broke….
So, about those reindeer and in light of the fact that the polar ice cap is melting, can I get a consensus on where Santa lives these days?