By Caroline Taïx
Many foreign correspondents are now freelance. Most of the time to be a freelance means working by yourself, quite isolated, in your home, in a café or in a library. Some people enjoy this lonely working lifestyle, some don’t, and yet others get used to it.
But as Christmas approaches and friends begin discussing office Christmas parties, one can feel envious. However, I didn’t this year, thanks to the FCA!
FCA members were invited to celebrate Christmas with friends and families. I almost didn’t make it as finding a baby-sitter for our one-month-old baby, Eleanor, was proving rather difficult. I really wanted to attend the party as this was our second Christmas away from family in the northern hemisphere.
A late night SMS to Neena put my mind at rest. Baby Eleanor was very welcome to join the foreign correspondents from countries far and wide.
We had the entire top floor of the iconic Oxford Street restaurant, Micky’s. On arrival, I realised that I was one of the newest members. I had joined the FCA in October 2015, but this was my first interaction with other FCA members.
I started with the welcome drink, introducing myself and my husband to the other very welcoming correspondents. It was a lovely place, with a relaxed ambience and Eleanor slept peacefully in her baby basket below the tinsel.
I had arrived in Australia only 18 months ago, and I had found it very difficult to meet other journalists. But during the course of the evening, over a sumptuous three course dinner, I had met colleagues from Germany, Switzerland, Spain, India, Japan, Pakistan, Vietnam and Turkey.
Conversations extended from Malcolm Turnbull to Australia’s hidden gems. What an enriching experience it was!
And as Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the gifts, Neena became Santa for a few minutes with the lucky draw of gifts presented by Tourism Australia, Incredible India, and Maya Vegetarian restaurant.
It was a joyous night and I can’t wait for the next FCA social event.
Caroline Taïx is a Sydney-based freelance correspondent, working mostly for the French newspaper, Le Monde. Before arriving in Australia, she lived in Paris, working for Agence France Presse. She is married to Franck, and has two kids, Adam and Eleanor.