Posts Tagged ‘Xmas’

            Does it happen to you also as you move forward in your life (this is a sort of euphemism instead of offending people by saying that you grow older) you change some beliefs? It happens to me quite often, of course it does, even the great earth does not sit for nothing, it revolves around the sun all day long.

            The big epiphany stroke me during my last sky holiday in Austria. I would like to mention that I am not a fanatic skier. I am a ten days per year skier. And then I limit myself to a couple of down hills per day, sprinkled with a bit of adrenaline and a lot of staring at the beautiful mountain ridges. It is the third consecutive year when in Austria we don’t have snow for Christmas. Everything is green as if the snowdrops will bloom soon. Still, the sky industry cannot afford to sit for nothing at the mercy of global warming. A lot of money is being pumped in creating an artificial fairy tale landscape in which snow strips descend into the valley from the top of the mountain like a kindergarten child drew them with a paint brush. You don’t do this, auf wiedersehen tourists in the next season. Because since we multiplied like rabbits and forgot to die from a plague or simply from old age, it is a big fight on resources and everybody book his sky holiday since summer. Nobody waits for the first snow to fall cause you are left without accommodation. I remember when I was a young skier in Romania. If there was enough snow, we skied, if not, we were having parties in the pension or we stayed in Bucharest. As it says, we lived in harmony with nature. We got what nature gave. In this way, somehow life had more depth and more beauty.

snowing

            The same with food. How delicious was the first spring salad made from fresh radish, green onions and fresh garlic! After a long winter full of pickles, potatoes and jams, with the crocus and the first leaves, my stomach got some raw food and enjoy it like a child. Nowadays we have all year long vegetables and fruits with taste made in laboratory by some ancient people like me that tasted real food when they were young. Since this epiphany stroke me, I make sure I mostly buy products according to the natural rhythm of nature. Ok, sometimes I reach out for some delicatessen grew in a greenhouse or wherever they come from cause I dislike extreme behaviour.

            But let’s come back to the sky topic. You have already understood that I would prefer to burn at the stake all the machines that produce artificial snow and sky only when the heaven wants us to. Maybe in this way I can get rid of the feeling of quantity and would receive in return some quality. While I write about snow, my thoughts run to some effects of prosperity related to seaside visits. In the old times I associated the sea with the summer. Either in the car or in the train, I was so much longing to have a glimpse of the sea after passing Constanța. I will never forget the profound joy when my eyes were suddenly struck by the first waves. This deep feeling was possible because: 1) the rest of the year, nobody afforded to fly towards warm countries besides the cranes, 2) we did not visit the Black See so often as today simply because we did not have enough money.

            Do I suffer from acute idealization of the past? Certainly I do. But more than that, I wish we can live again in harmony with nature, even this nature already destroyed by us, the greedy ones, in which during the summer you build a sledge and during the winter you apply creams against sun burn. As I write these words, outside my window started to snow with big snowflakes that melt in the palm of your hand or in the open mouth of a thirsty child. And what do you think? I don’t have an appetite for skiing or for sledge because I did all of this already the other days on artificial snow. The snow produced with a financial effort to make the customers happy, customers that paid a lot of money to be here. Among them, full of new beliefs, I find myself also.

As the years go by, traditions become more and more important to me. Especially that now I am the one who needs to preserve them, reinventing them sometimes. I do prefer spending Christmas and Easter with my family, rather than embarking on a sky trip or on a Mediterranean cruise. Maybe a Christmas or an Easter sort of emptied from the religious meaning or rituals.  It doesn’t matter. The meaning can be adjusted according to your own preferences or beliefs. In the end tradition can represent just a repetitive ritual, wanted and welcomed.

 

What’s important is the freedom of choice. Not something pre-determined, imposed and in total disagreement with who we are deeply as human beings. If we don’t like it, even more we totally dislike it, honestly it’s not a nice tradition anymore, but a nightmare. What is my neighbour going to say if I don’t wear new clothes for Easter (a Romanian tradition implies children to have new outfit for Easter)? How am I going to be seen by my friends and relatives if I don’t buy presents for Christmas? Are they going to think of me as stingy if I offer them something small and symbolic? Why should I buy Christmas presents out of social obligation without any feelings involved during the acquisition process? How many times I heard people saying: „I do not have money for holidays anymore cause I MUST attend several weddings (in Romania is accustomed to give consistent money presents when participating to a wedding)? Some years ago my reaction would have been: why do you do it? The response I always got was two big rounded eyes full of disagreement and the words I MUST, spitted out with indulgence for my lack of understanding when it’s about life and social obligations.  Nowadays I just don’t react anymore, I listen, keep my mouth shut and pass on to the next topic.

santa_claus_in_red_192851

Recently I had a conversation with a friend coming to Nederland from a Muslim country, but not a very orthodox one. I’ve always perceived her as a woman of our times, a pleasant partner for chatting in front of a cup of tea. She was complaining about the cooking effort that was needed to be put in celebrating her son’s birthday. She wished to organize the party at a playground, not in her house. I said „Great, just do it”. „Yes”, she said, „but I cannot do it. Cause there they serve only ordinary food while everybody expects me to cook some traditional long cooking food „. It did not matter that we were talking about a children party, there were some untouchable social norms to which she needs to obey. I felt a punch in my stomach when I saw the sadness and tiredness in her eyes. But it was clear for me that she was dealing with a deeply rooted constraint. It was not the moment for me to erect into the liberator of her chained spirit. We both moved on by passing to a topic that makes me furious ever since: to have sex with your husband/partner just because that’s what is expected from you, not because your mind, heart and body want to do it. Cause isn’t it that biologically speaking a man needs sex more often than a woman and if you don’t respond affirmative he will look for alternatives outside your house? Every time I hear this, my veins get thickened with tones of feminism. Starting from the basic principle of freedom and equality between two partners, why can’t you just sit on the couch with a glass of wine, trying to reveal together the reasons why you are not interested in his proposal? To find solutions together, to understand each other, to help each other. How come we are talking about offering your body as a sacrifice on the altar of your marriage? In the third millennium, somewhere in Europe…

 

This conversation brought back a scene witnessed few years ago in Romania in a friend’s kitchen together with two women, both mothers of boys. One of them was pregnant with the second child, another boy. I started to comment that I really love little girls. The reaction I got immediately left me speechless. The pregnant woman said: „I am very very satisfied to have another little boy because women have a tough life. For example, they must obey sex (I quote approximately) everytime their husband feels like doing it.” „Yesssss, you are right”, said the other mama, „it’s so true”. In the next minutes I left that apartment with a sudden head pain. You need to understand that those women were middle class ladies with bachelor degree and non-stop access to information. Not some women from rural areas in Romania, illiterate and poor. Even so they did not discover the freedom of mind and the right of deciding for themselves.

 

I still declare myself a partisan of traditions. The smell of fresh cooked sarmale during the Christmas eve (a balcanic dish consisting of minced meat folded in cabbage leaves), the beauty of colinde (romanian Christmas songs), the lights of the Christmas tree, breaking painted eggs during Easter morning, men spreading perfume over women during the second Easter day. Everything lived with conviction and joy. Any tradition that subjugates me, makes me sacrifice or hurts me, I reject it from the bottom of my heart, no matter of the social consequences.