‘Tis the Day After Christmas


26 December 2011

Phew — made it.

Every year, during the month that starts at Thanksgiving and ends after Christmas, I feel like an undersized running back at the two yard line (deep in my own team’s territory), working my way down the field.  I keep hoping that the quarterback will hail-mary us to the end zone in one gorgeous, painless swoop; but it ends up being more like piecemeal progress, fending off tackles, a little achey and bruisey.

There’s just too much expectation around these holidays.  Some of which I feel unable to meet, some of which I am unwilling.

In a few days my homage to Giuseppe di Lampedusa‘s The Leopard will go up at The Millions; and in it I write about how much I sympathize, and even empathize, with Don Fabrizio, the novel’s middle-aged Sicilian protagonist, a Prince circa 1860 no less.  What could I possibly have in common with the Prince of Salina during Italy’s Risorgimento?  Well, principally this:

I belong to an unfortunate generation, swung between the old world and the new, and I find myself ill at ease in both.

My family life is not conventional enough to conform to holiday expectations; and I suppose I am not (yet) unconventional enough at heart to truly feel free from all those expectations.

Anyhoo — officially, we (if you happen to relate to this) can now come out of hiding.  It is okay to be doing non-holiday things — like work, correspondence, etc — without seeming too much like a sad weirdo.  Here is a bit of what we did on Dec 25, here in Buenos Aires, Argentina:

Parque de la Memoria (for The Disappeared) — “To Think/Contemplate is a Revolutionary Act”


Kitschy Nativity Scene, outside Congreso


Quiet subway platforms — a gathering of tourists mostly!


Families fishing along the Rio de la Plata


Football (soccer) stadium, River Plate Team, the rich team (think Yankees)


In Once (OHNsay) – an immigrant neighborhood centered around a place called Plaza Miserere (yikes) that reminded me of Queens (and not really miserable at all)


And what did we eat?  Leftover Chinese takeout, sauteed gai-laan, leftover peach pie (homemade, by a lovely young expat  who hosted us for Christmas eve dinner), and flan from the corner bakery.  Whiskey and soda, cheap Malbec. Good stuff.


2 Responses to “‘Tis the Day After Christmas”

  1. Robert Fay Says:

    I’m excited to hear that you’ll be writing in the Millions about “The Leopard.” I think it’s one of the most sublime and neglected novels of the 20th Century (although it reads like a novel that was written in the previous century). My guess is that your essay will win many new readers for the novel, which it so richly deserves. Best of luck to you in all your writing endeavors and I hope you have a productive and profitable 2012. -Rob

    • sonyachung Says:

      Thank you, Rob – hope you like the piece on Lampedusa. Best wishes for 2012!

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