The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – Our Family.

So… it is Christmas…

One of the major reasons we returned to the UK was for our daughter to get to know her family, or at least those of them that would or could not visit when we were abroad.  A few came, a few didn’t.


We came home for Christmases, but it was always a stressful trawl from one house to another, carting the presents to and from us and them, cast into cheap hotels often as not, as well as summers,  and then we got back and found ourselves blackballed from  all.  Even excluded from family New Years Eve get-togethers.  Beware of this if you are contemplating the expat life.


You are the reason my wife’s in therapy (Really?  From abroad?) ; oh look, silly me, I missed your name off the Christmas card I sent (again); you can come but not into the house with your dog (he’ll have to wait in the car in minus temperatures then you can drive back the 180 miles); you are not allowed in our house (a door was actually slammed in the face of our seven-year-old visiting her cousins from over 200 hundred miles away); I never got your email so was not expecting you (yes you did!)… How did that all happen?  And why?   It is not as if there were no warm welcomes for any who would get a Ryan Air/Easyjet flight out to visit Slovakia or Jordan.  People in the family may say things that upset each other, they may rely on you when they need it, but I was always brought up to believe that that is what families are for.


So now it is the 7th Christmas that still no-one will have anything to do with us and meanwhile it is for our daughter that I feel the most, because she has not the faintest idea that her family should be part of Christmas.  Or indeed her life come to that. She has one cousin who must be two by now that we have never even been allowed to meet.  We are banned from the house by my brother’s wife, my brother who we used to spend so many happy times with, with whom I travelled to Morocco, Zimbabwe, France etc…  and used to go away with every Easter before her arrival; The Grinch Who Stole Christmas is our families.  I wonder if it would be like this if our fathers were still with us?  Nevertheless what has my nine-year-old done to deserve this?


Why the hell did we bother coming back?  Whatever, the result is that it is another lonely Christmas of damage limitation with regard to our daughter, trying to play down the fact that she will not see any of the family we told her that we were returning to be near, and when all of her friends talk of cousins, uncles, aunts and grandparents, meanwhile Tash and I both freely acknowledge that we have actually grown to hate Christmases.  They have been stolen away to replaced by times of pain, rejection.  It actually started when we were still in Slovakia and suddenly found that there was nowhere to come home to.   All I can say is that it would not have been the case had the roles been reversed.  We even tried to invite people out for the white Christmas there.


How has anyone else’s family reacted to your working abroad, I wonder? Is this normal?  Can’t wait until Iona (formerly Mollie – she changed her name to her middle name) doesn’t believe in Santa, then we will just go away for Christmas…  But the hurt caused by the Grinch will not go away.  I never thought I would get to hate Christmas, neither did Tash, but there you are.  That is what they have done to our daughter, and that is how it has left us.  Shame.


5 thoughts on “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas – Our Family.”

  1. They say you choose your friends, but you’re born with your family. I have never had to experience your pain, probably because I am the youngest with older sisters, but I know how cruel my spouses family can be towards her. I can’t understand it, personally. Hope you manage to have good Christmas regardless with your own family 😀


      1. There’s nowt queerer than folk, as they say up here. Just a thought, have you considered jealousy as a reason. I remember returning from a trip once and telling someone all about it, when another family member said, ‘people only go off so they can come back and brag about it’ Hmmmm 😀


  2. We had some problems after coming off the ex pat track but not restricted to Christmas. It is easier for us because we have no animals or children. I heard of one person who was told that the dog could come in but he wasn’t welcome. It is inevitable that you grow apart from people but they are family and you can grow back together again (if you want to) Our main problem is that we have n’t gone to see enough of our family. We are still busy with our projects and have upset people that we have n’t visited. In the end Pete just say Fuck them and start looking at the Times Ed! Love toTash and Iona XX


  3. Verity Ruth
    Pete & Natasha… u r welcome in our crazy house ANY time-the door is always open!
    … that’s me in a round-a-bout way saying ur welcome here for Christmas if you fancy a complete change! ❤️ xx

    Ali MacKenzie
    Our door is always open. X

    Saima Asif
    In tears, they are the ones missing out on this golden opportunity of knowing some really fabulous people. I hope you know that you are someone I admire and value immensely as a friend. Hugs to you, Natasha and Mollie.

    Beverley Caddington
    I know this feeling from family but friends have become my adopted family and these like yourselves I would not have met if I wasn’t an international educator. For these I am very grateful. 💜

    Martin Bellamy
    I’ve just read this and I’m appalled, Pete. We don’t know each other well but from what little I do know about you, I can’t imagine why you and yours are being treated like this. Keep strong and smiling.

    Sally Fulford
    I’m not a huge fan of Christmas either. Too much pressure to conform and there’s nothing worse than trying to squeeze everyone in a car with presents and dogs and everything else! Hence we’ve spent lots of them abroad ( just buggered off and did what we wanted) and they were great!

    Christine Deeley
    Dear god, Pete that’s just horrible. I also suffered a little from expat envy. Friends, family think that expat life is one big party, with huge amounts of money, touring around, not really doing real work! And when you arrive at their door, exhausted, hoping to be greeted and welcomed into a world that you have been dreaming of, relax, catchup, laugh, etc., they turn “cold”, It hurts like crazy. Tears in my eyes just thinking about it now! So Pete and Natasha and Iona, please know that you are lovely human beings, loved by many, many people. Don;t wear other people’s shit!! Think Teflon. big hugs from kiwi land.
    12/12/2017 05:59
    And I have a spare room, a view, a full fridge, card games, no TV, music and sunshine to offer without hesitation,in exchange for your company, thoughts and laughter.

    Lesley Edmonson
    Hello Pete I have just read your post it makes for heartbreaking reading. You are all dog included welcome to my house people have to take us as they find us and our crazy animals and Grandchildren.. I hope this Christmas is better for all of you xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s