Well, the fact is that while everyone else is enjoying the warmth of their families around the world, we keep on shooting. On the Christmas eve, we continued the scene we had started the yesterday, and went on to shoot until over 6 pm. Then, we had to wrap, because the production had planned a big banquet for the whole film crew, which was a great little Christmas gift from them. We hadn’t had the halfway-through -party because it’s really not a tradition in Finland, but this time the production decided they wanted to have a chance to thank the hard-working crew and invited everyone for a beautiful dinner held at the La Meridien hotel, just across the street from ours.
Chinese parties are different from the Western ones, I’ve learned. Where as the halfway parties in Europe are mostly about getting wasted and having a bit of food, staying up late and doing things you regret the rest of the production, the Chinese style is much more civilized: everyone gathers into a big room, there’s food, there’s drink, there’s speeches, people go between tables thanking everyone for the work they’ve had and then they go home. It was not even 10pm when we Finn found out we were the last ones in the room still filling up our glasses and having a laugh.
But it was so nice to have a chance to see the crew in a merry non-work-related situation, and great to have a chance to talk with many people I didn’t know too well at all, and to thank so many important people who easily get forgotten amidst all the chaos of a shooting day. We shared so many glasses of white wine with many great people and had a great time, and then, well, back to the hotel (they did suggest we should go to a KTV, but I decided against it, I wanted to have a rest).
We had few more drinks with Mika and Iiris at their hotel room, which Iiris had set up beautifully with lights and Christmas music. But the truth was, I was missing Annika, my son, my sister and my parents more than any other day before. Being thousands of kilometers away on such a great family holiday felt like a sting, and even calling them to say Christmas greetings was hard. It made it so clear that I was here all alone while everyone else gets to be with their families. I always thought I’m not much of a Christmas person, but the further away you are from your loved ones, the more important the day starts to feel.