Tag Archives: nostalgia

Back to school with a dose of Nostalgia

I am going back to school tomorrow and am trying to muster up the strength and enthusiasm for the surge of puberty that is going to walk through my door in the morning. I will have to be very grown up and give homework and mark it and teach things. I will have to wake up very very early and eat a proper breakfast and put on make up and a skirt or a dress. The three weeks are over and it is back to reality time.

There was a time when I was a stay at home Mom. I worked, but only part time, so we committed financial suicide and decided I would stay home with Trooper and Princess until they were both in school full time. I look back on those days fondly although I know I was depressed and bored out of my mind for much of it. I do recall a lot of baking and walks to the park and early morning grocery shops and lots of recipe books. There were crafts which resulted in shiny and sticky things all over the dining room table and floor, and lots of coffee in paper cups was drunk with The Sisterhood, mostly all of us on the floor surrounded by small toys. Even when they were bigger there was fun to be had, often to and from school when car-pooling. I have such strong memories of the snow and fitting them both into snow suits.

I know that once I get into the flow of work I love it, but pulling myself out of holiday mode can be tough, especially when I am feeling nostalgic for those old days. Knowing that Montreal is deep in snow, I can’t help thinking about those cosy afternoons in the kitchen listening to the radio and cooking while the girls did homework or drew with crayons. Remember crayons?

Sometimes they say to me “Can’t you stop working and stay home and make cookies like you used to?”

Food for thought…but back to school.

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Goodbye ’09

I find myself planning my life even while I am living it. You see my life resembles the window of one of those fashionable and international shop windows, although Winnipeg proves to be a bit of a blip on the scene.

Trendy Shop Window

Johannesburg  London  Hong Kong  Tokyo NewYork Strasbourg  Montreal  Winnipeg  Port of Spain Kampala

So what is next? And why I am plagued by this interminable inner moving mechanism that ticks and tocks and winds itself around the nerve endings of my brain even when I am perfectly installed and still?  The plan is to stay here for 4 years, to move out of our little box house, eventually, and move into a home with a garden and a gate that opens onto a street where it is permitted and possible to go for a stroll. In this shiny future there is also a car that works, and all my worldly belongings, that will have travelled from the distant shores of a storage facility in Montreal, will be safely installed. I am not one for sitting calmly and waiting, rather I am plagued with a disease called impatience and it is a nightmare for those who live with me. Perhaps this ants in the pants syndrome has arisen as a consequence of all my moves. In any case, change can’t come fast enough for me. I want it all, and I want it now.

The whole world seems to be reflecting on the past decade, it seems we have a habit of looking back when we reach some milestone, or just a year with a zero at the end. I find it all quite nostalgic and since I am connected through my beloved Pomme ( yes, I name inanimate objects) to the Big Shiny West I have been reading all sorts of reminiscing and prophetizing about the cusp of this new decade. (I have also been reading about all sorts of trends, movies and recipes that make me hungry for shops, cinemas and restaurants, but that is another story.) If I look back to the year 2000 I am immediately transported back to a time when I held a crying baby adorable Princess in my arms. The past ten years have seen me embrace two careers, a photographer and then a teacher, and seen my little girls grow into little women. I have lived in three countries and made extraordinary friendships, travelled through the Caribbean, the States and discovered Africa. I cannot fathom for one moment what the next decade holds, but I am convinced that there will be adventure, discovery and a great deal of movement.

So as this year and decade draws to a close I wish for Peace, both outside in the world and inside myself. I wish to spend more time with people I love, visiting those that are so far away it seems impossible. The most shocking thing is that within the next 10 years both Princess and Trooper will leave home, but that is a thought that I will push to the nether regions of my mind.

While you pause for thought and perhaps look back on the decade that was, have a laugh and look at how these people do it.


Wishing you and yours a wonderful and peaceful 2010. Fill it with discovery and purpose.

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A bit like a hippo.

This is NOT a pity party so don’t come with any Kleenex or sympathy. It’s just that now and again I like to set aside my very sunny disposition and famous positivism and wallow.

Like a Hippo wallows in the murky muddy water, except for me the water is Kampala and the murky-ness is the things I live without.

Yes it is a GIGANTIC adventure and yes, it is AFRICA and I will get to see a lion but may I please, just for a moment mourn the loss of my washing machine? You see, I am a little bit Trooper and a little bit Princess myself. I like to think that most of the time I am more Trooper than Princess but every so often I look around my self and I feel those Princessy tendencies rising to the surface, like a Hippo in her murky bath.

Many moons ago, in what seems like another life but was actually only 3 months ago, I had a dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, Cuisinart Magimix, Osterizer, and a gorgeous espresso machine. I also had my beloved girl, friends, a TV, the best housekeeper/cook a person could wish for and Cassandra. I had all my furniture and possessions, including paintings, photographs and mementos that reminded me from whence I came; I had wireless internet, a job I loved and a beautiful home. I had a car with a CD player and air-conditioning, a glistening mall and a beach just 30 minutes away.

We arrived here with 7 suitcases and shipped some boxes filled with essentials so basically our life has become somewhat sparse. In time we will have curtains and furniture, we will rebuild the home we left behind but some things will never be the same.

Each night we hand wash our dinner saucepans and plates with cold water (only the showers are fitted with water heaters) all our clothes are hand washed (ok, but not by me), our kitchen is minimal. Living the simple life does make you think. We take for granted so many of our mod-cons, so much of what keeps us ticking each day. It is only when they are taken away that we realize how lucky we were.

But I miss nothing as much as I miss my friends.

Ok. Wallow over.

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A little indulgent nostalgia.

I am sitting here listening to James Taylor. Carolina is on his mind.  I have a genius playlist made of memories. Nostalgic is my state of mind. 

 

I have packed and moved so many times in my life. Often the only time I go through old letters and photos is when I am shuffling them from one old box to a fresher one. Why do we hold onto all this memorabilia? I cannot let most of it go, I am attached to it like dust to history.

 

Today one old diary bit the dust. Most of the time it is too embarrassing to read through old ramblings and diary entries. Maybe the entire lot should be chucked. Imagine someone going through all that once I am gone and realizing that I was just a sentimental, desperately-seeking-love-20-something? My old diaries are not the best representation of who I am today.  Earlier I found a whole tome dedicated to one failed relationship. It felt good hitting the bin. Others, especially ones that I wrote while pregnant I have held onto. Every time I move the purge is more intense. It is not that I look back on these artifacts often, in fact it has been a while this time. But I like just knowing they are there. 

 

I leafed through some old letters I wrote 17 years ago. I was writing to my husband, except at the time he was only my boyfriend of a few weeks. After meeting in Egypt I went to India and from there I wrote him pages everyday. In those letters are everything I saw, felt, read and thought. It was an unequaled writing opportunity. Despite the fact that they initially scared him off ( I came on pretty strong if you read all 9 letters in one sitting as he did) they are now incredible evidence of our young love.

 

Caught in the minutiae of everyday life it is easy as pie to forget what brought two people together in the first place. 

 

Once my genius playlist ends I might take myself back for another walk down memory alley. Sitting cross-legged on the floor I am transported back in time. I can see that girl in school, the eager traveller setting off for the airport, the boyish man I found there, the worries and nausea of pregnancy, the horrors of early marriage. I am finding that young girl in the papers and letters, diaries and photos strewn on the floor and I am forced to look at her.   

 

Sometimes taking stock of the past is a good idea.   I am on a bridge. Behind me is my past, ahead is Africa. Beneath me, the crumbs I let go.

 

 


 

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Filed under How old am I?, personal

Bells, whistles, prunes and Chow.

Do you ever stand in front of the fridge in true contemplative stance, one hand on door, one hand on chin, knees bent; looking with all your might for something to magically appear that would satisfy every craving?
I have found that food. Sweet, spicy, soft but crunchy, touched with garlic and vinegar, sugar and chili peppers. That food is Chow. It can be made with mangos, plums, any fruit that is soft enough to absorb flavours but my personal favorite is pineapple chow. The fruit is cut into thick chunks and left to soak in a jar of marinade until it turns into Chow.
1 pineapple or 2 full half ripe mangoes, peeled, chunked
2 lemons/limes, juiced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper (or hot peppers) to taste
If you puree the Mango version it becomes mango chutney. I love the combination of sweet and salty. Speaking of which, the funniest thing occurred the other day.
When I was very small and living in Hong Kong I ate these, what I thought were, candies and I recall them being sweet, salty and chewy. I left Hong Kong when I was 9 and despite never eating those “candies” again, I often remembered the taste and wondered what they were. When I arrived in Trinidad I thought I might find that taste again but had no idea what to ask for or where to look. I thought that the land of Chow would certainly have that strange, memorable and tasty sweet.
The other day in class, a student offered me a dried sweet prune. It was like a shriveled ball, rolled in a dusting of white powder. I popped it in my mouth and bells, whistles, cymbles and alarms went off. This was it!! That strange tasty memory I had been searching for. They were sweet prunes. I was immediately transported back in time and I laughed out loud.

Sweet.

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Filed under I love food, Travel, Trinidad & Tobago