It’s been a while since I wrote. As usual, my thoughts go through drought periods. Or maybe sometimes I just enjoy the solitude of my own mind and I avoid having any visitors there.
This Christmas, as quarantine was no longer an obstacle, I decided to go to Slovakia and celebrate it the real village traditional way.
My 80 year old Catholic Grandma, or what we call in Slovak, Starka, had prepared traditional christmas gingerbread cookies. Her ornamental hands no longer serve the extreme details of decorating, so I took over for the very first time in my life, the task of decorating what will be later served to everyone on Christmas. I barely had 20% of her beautiful artistic imagination. And with my young 29 year old hands I shook more than her, and drew more distorted images than her 80 year old shaking hands would ever draw.
Back in Lebanon, we all celebrate Christmas. Disregarding the religion, the tree, the lights , and the gifts are always exchanged. A BBQ is set, some tabbouleh and home made fries, along with the traditional Hummus Baba Ghanouj and perhaps some Lenanese red wine or Arak. We dine, we give gifts to the young children in the family, and all is set. If you are Christian, then a 12:am church prayer takes place.
Despite my love for Lebanon in all its seasons, part of me has always enjoyed Christmas in Slovakia.
As I sat on the bed in Starka’s kitchen, parts of my childhood came back, a feeling of safety and security, and a bit of home gave warmth to my heart.
We visited my grandfather’s grave, to give peace and holiday blessings, I stood reading the “Fatiha” , or what is known to be the first verse of the Holy Muslim Quran, for the peace of a dead one’s soul,as my eyes saw other people crossing their fingers on their chest while standing at another grave. I knew I was in my mother’s village, but I did not know if its the right place for me. I continued to walk with my uncle as we greeted some of the neighbors, my uncle pointed at me saying ” its my niece” , the woman thought I was my aunt’s daughter, and her husband replied:” can’t you see she is her mother’s”.
And for the first time in my life, I felt the pride to be “my mother’s” and not just “my father’s” as everyone describes me to be. And part of me reconciled with , reconnected, and restored my partial Slovak identity. A flashback of my Slovak childhood came back and I was able to see clearer.
I am both Purple and Bohemian…
To be continued.
Leaving you with a picture of what I’ll call grandfather’s rainbow, the moments we visited the graveyard.