Suspense in Holiday Paris (See You In ‘23)

Aliss Valerie Terrell
4 min readDec 29, 2022

News: That whirlwind Copenhagen trip was fab but freezing and we were all sick.

I got off with a nasty cold cured by our jolly evening at the La Fontaine jazz club but Significant Other and son both tested positive for COVID days after our return to France. Suspense: how ill would they be? Would I get it? Would we have to isolate over the holidays and cancel all plans with our beloveds??

Meanwhile major logistics in home and guest quarters to receive family and friends. Some hadn’t seen each other for 3 years because the pandemic. A surprise deluge from the guest bath ceiling threatened to transform the space into a flooded construction site at the worst possible moment. Strategically placed recipients, negotiations with neighbors, plumbers, insurance companies and then miraculously, no more leak.

More suspense…

Due to extreme cold and airline meltdowns my grown-up child V spent 30 hours in transit trying to reach Paris from the US before Christmas. All Lufthansa flights were grounded in Munich until further notice so my hero husband booked a replacement flight on Air France and V finally arrived at midnight on Friday December 16 sans luggage. Emergency wardrobe had to be ordered online. After a week of calls to incommunicado Lufthansa, hours on hold, internet research, emails and reddit threads, the suitcase was retrieved from a warehouse outside the city, reminiscent of the one in the finale of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Vaccinations and new variants meant partner and son got through COVID faster than expected and both tested negative again just in the nick of time for V’s welcome home party on the solstice, distancing and masking up in the interim.

Flurry of festivities: shopping, cooking, laundry, decorating the tree, visitors coming and going, V and Dad playing disc golf, all of us celebrating the parental wedding anniversary and other family victories at an elegant Parisian restaurant.

Braving the US mega storm, V’s partner arrived early on December 23 rd.More airport hours waiting for baggage. Huge relief and best gift to have both of them finally here with us. A French bistro welcome dinner marked the occasion.

Next day, the young trio walked miles around the city and played escape games at a VR venue. Then a cozy dinner all together at home.

Christmas blast:

Long walks around the neighborhood and big conversations, personal and political.

Mouth-watering food, old and recent movies (from Die Hard to Glass Onion), a high-voltage (new for me) card game called Dutch Blitz, plus music, music, music of all kinds from old fave holiday classics to chill jazz, to (new for me) Funk band Vulfpeck, Brass House street band Too Many Zooz, and (how did I miss this before?) Zombie by Fela Kuti. Dancing, laughing, telling stories.

Recent lessons in global uncertainty have reminded us that these shared moments are too fragile not to cherish above all else while they last.

Then precious visitors departing, time to pack up, clean up, say goodbye and Godspeed until we meet again.

Suspense: In the midst of this IRL action, can film work move forward?

Yes. All copyright permissions are go except one that was refused. In the process I got some very strong drone footage from the Dogwood Alliance (dynamic environmental NGO, much more about them to come). This will more than replace the other visual and add drama to the preview. Now have to rejuggle and redesign around it. Demo-ing options to see what works.

Paid for the music license, waiting for green light to download and sync. Holidays = delays.

Made phone appointment with UGA Dean of Forestry for January. Will keep asking questions, maybe move the mountain?

But, caught in the end of year vortex, my ally/editor is moving house with 2 small children on school vacation plus TV work deadlines, not available.

I hope everyone is having a safe and warm holiday season.

Thank you all again and again for accompanying me on this inner and outer journey.

Stay tuned, see you in ‘23.

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Originally published at on December 29, 2022.



Aliss Valerie Terrell

I’ve had several lives since coming to France: grad student, singer songwriter, writer and filmmaker, marriage and mothering….