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Transcript: No more Christmas cards?
How long does it take to stop being British? It’s something I think about when the time comes to get in touch with friends who’ve left, to start a new life in a different country.
Such as France. You can see the attractionReizattraction: delicious food, wonderful wine, lovely countryside and colourful clothing — like the yellow jackets worn by protestors.
Almost 200,000 Britons live there. A friend of mine recently went to join them. He sent a Christmas card to say he was to settle insich einlebensettling in — and that it was the last one he’d be sending. The French tend not to send Christmas cards, he explained. It seemed a rapid transformation. He must have started integrating the moment he arrived there and drove on the wrong side of the road. Or rather, de-integrating from the life he had led in Britain. Not sending Christmas cards is the tipSpitzetip of the iceberg. Next, he’ll stop live off sth.sich von etw. ernährenliving off mince piesüßes Weihnachtsgebäckmince pies in the four weeks to lead up to sth.etw. vorausgehenleading up to Christmas. Then there’ll be no more bubble and squeakResteessen aus Kartoffeln und anderem Gemüsebubble and squeak on Boxing Dayzweiter WeihnachtsfeiertagBoxing Day. No loud joining in and to sing off-keyfalsch singensinging off-key when the radio plays festive songs by Slade and Paul McCartney.
Even worse: no grand celebration when things get switched on — I mean the TV, not the Christmas lights. Many people in Britain leave their tellyGlotzetelly on from mid-November to Twelfth Night (the sixth of January).
De-integrating’s only the first step; the next is to re-integrate, and finally to become a citizen of the country that is now your new home. In France, that’s a five-year process, not a game of Happy Families. It would be so much simpler if all you had to do to get a new passport was to swapaustauschenswap a few playing cards with British relatives on them for French ones.
But no, there are to jump through hoopssich ein Bein ausreißenhoops you have to jump through. It seems a lot of trouble to go to just to get out of the chorelästige Pflichtchore of writing Christmas cards. Still, I’d better make a start in case I also feel the need to live on the other side of the Channel.
So, I thought I’d send my Christmas greetings in a slightly different format this year: a pre-recorded telephone message, like the ones organizations use when they want to annoy their customers. It’s interactive, with options you can choose from. Here goes: Welcome to Colin Beaven’s festive phone message. Please choose from the following three options: press 1 to hear the list of funeralBeerdigungfunerals we’ve recently attended. Press 2 for news of our health and the pills we’re now taking. For anecdotes about this year’s foreign holiday, press 3.
There!hier: Da hast du’s!There! I already feel less British. Christmas cards — who needs them? Time now to sit back and wait for the nice old man with the gilet rouge — the red jacket that goes with the big white beard and the sack full of presents.
After all, some things don’t change: Santa visits every country on Christmas Eve. assumingausgehend von der Annahme, dassAssuming he’s not stuck on the motorway as a result of gilets jaunegelbjaunes and Brexit.
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