‘Love Actually’ and Actually Loving Life

It’s Christmastime in London! I suppose it’s Christmastime everywhere, but I mention London specifically because a) I live in London; and b) London is the setting of my second favorite Christmas movie of all time, Love Actually. (In case you’re really interested, my favorite Christmas movie of all time is Elf. Nothing can beat that movie for me.)

Every Christmas Eve — well, every Christmas Eve since I’ve been old enough to watch sex scenes without giggling — my mom and I watch Love Actually. Yes, it’s cheesy, ridiculous, heteronormative and contains aforementioned pseudo-sex scenes, but it’s still a cinematic treasure. Hugh Grant as the charming prime minister who dances across the halls of 10 Downing Street and says “f*** you” to America! Colin Firth as the turtleneck-wearing writer who learns Portuguese so he can woo his hot housekeeper! The little boy who runs across an airport, disregarding all post-9/11 security procedures, just so that he can say goodbye to the girl that he loves! Liam Neeson as the adorable little boy’s stepdad learning to cope in the wake of his wife’s death!

But the movie isn’t just feel-good fluff, there are also some emotional parts which make us all cry. If you don’t weep a little when Emma Thompson cries alone in the bedroom to Joni Mitchell because of her cheating scumbag husband Alan Rickman, then you’re probably a robot. When Emma Thompson cries, we all cry. The point is, I could probably write a blog post for every plotline in that film, especially the creepy one starring Rick from The Walking Dead that has somehow been misinterpreted as romantic.

I’ll be wholly honest with you: when I first came to London, I had every intention of embarking on a whirlwind study abroad romance. Of course, I’m very happy that this did not happen, because transitioning to my life abroad away from everyone you know and love is difficult enough without having to deal with some guy and emotions as well. London hasn’t been a very romantic place for me; it’s been beautiful, frustrating, cold, rainy, lonely, home — but it hasn’t been romantic. That is, up until now, Christmastime, when the natural romance of the city has emerged in the most Love Actually-esque way. There are lights and trees everywhere, Christmas markets, ice skating; merriment abounds!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely excited to go home for two and a half weeks over Christmas break. I am going to revel in not having to cook for myself and having words spelled without the letter u. But Love Actually and the London Christmas experience are reminding me that life in this city can be pretty exquisite — with the caveat that I ignore the mountainous pile of work that I have to do as the end of term approaches.

It occurs to me that this blog approaches on being less entertainment-related and more me-related, but given that my editors are super cool I think they’ll let it slide. (Yes, I’m shamelessly sucking up to Merilla and Rachel, because they continue to publish my increasingly less cogent blog posts.) I suppose that if there’s one lesson to be learned from this blog, and from Christmas in London as a whole, it’s this: “Remember, kids, don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star and they’ll give you them for free!”

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