♦ “Mourning Christmas in France”
Julie 48 years old, expatriate in Seoul (Korea)
“We canceled our visit to France for the holidays, almost two months ago. It didn’t seem safe to us to come as a four of us, with our two children aged 11 and 15. In Korea, the fortnight is compulsory when returning from a foreign country. And if you test positive for the coronavirus, you are isolated in a hospital, for several weeks, without being able to communicate with the outside. We didn’t want to take the risk of being separated.
→ READ. Our dossier on Christmas 2020
Usually, we return to celebrate Christmas, in Normandy, in my family, on December 24, then in that of my husband, on the 25th. The cousins meet, seven on each side. This is the first time that we will be just between us. And it hurts our hearts to have to mourn a Christmas in France. The children are sad not to see their cousins and grandparents, especially since we did not come back last summer, due to the health crisis. They have learned to live from day to day.
We are not in control. It’s up to us to adapt. The prospect of them being able to see their friends there helps push the pill. On the Christmas Eve menu, we are going to indulge ourselves with foie gras, lamb. But neither capon nor turkey, uncommon here. We will connect with the family through Zoom. Our daughter managed to find a real Christmas tree at a plant market. We do not know if we will attend a midnight mass because churches cannot accommodate more than 30 people. Celebrating Christmas all four has never happened to us, everyone tries to be positive. We will surely play Settlers of Catania, a board game that we really enjoy. “
♦ “One of the most difficult moments of the race”
Romain Attanasio 43 years old, skipper in the Vendée Globe 2020
“This is my second Christmas at sea and alone. Four years ago, during the previous edition, this period was one of the most difficult moments of the race, the one where I felt the distance and the loneliness. When I received a photo of my little boy opening his presents at the foot of the tree, I cried.
Due to a strong storm on December 24th and 25th, I waited until the 26th to open the traditional container that all Vendée Globe skippers take on their boat. This container contains small gifts offered by family and friends, Christmas decorations, a small table tree, a red cap, a festive menu. For this 2020 edition, we can communicate more easily, thanks to WhatsApp.
→ MAINTENANCE. Samantha Davies: “At sea, reading gives me more rest than sleeping”
Following her accident at sea, Samantha Davies, my wife, is now out of the race. At the time, I admit that I thought she would spend Christmas at home with Ruben, our 9 year old son, currently looked after by his grandparents. But I was careful not to tell him. I know his commitment. And going back, like she did, was the best thing to do. As for me, I will be in the Pacific Ocean. It will be a Christmas that is neither bad nor failed, but special. For sure, a moment of solitude, introspection, emotional intensity. Sam and I will communicate for several minutes by opening our respective gifts. Then I will stay connected by thought with my loved ones. “