Friday, September 24, 2010
Of Peace, Respect and Kisses
Many years ago when Goldie Hawn was asked by a talk show host why she had her first baby at 40, she blinked her famous saucer eyes and said, "Guess I forgot." I loved her total disregard for the tyranny of numbers. Without conscious effort, I "forget" my age most of the time--or, more accurately, ignore it. I don't want special concessions or help when it comes to physical demands. ("Oh, thanks but I can carry that box up to my attic apartment just fine.") My genetic legacy is hearty and I try to maximize that gift with exercise and healthful eating. But I have to say that my Romanian experience has made me ponder this whole aging thing a bit more. In trying to learn the language I'm surprised at how the words and formations I think I know slip from my brain like eggs from a teflon frying pan. It takes many mnemonic devices to make anything stick. And physically, this past week gave me a good kick in the knickers. Sunday I baked to have something to take to the teachers' lounge on Monday (a sort of thanks, I guess, for going along with my Peace Day hoopla). Monday, after a quick trip by car made possible by the principal to the post office in the city to get my packages from home, I spent the day preparing for the Peace Day observance/celebration. The kids and I made 250 white poppies (symbol of peace started in NZ) from cupcake liners, which they had never seen before and which were not easy to find, and blue ribbon which I had split vertically and cut into 250 strips the night before. The students and teachers were very cooperative and congenial and seemed to honor the notion of courting peace. (see photos) Tuesday I made presentations in the media center all day and spent the evening preparing for Wednesday's 4 classes. Wednesday, after the classes and some minimal grocery shopping, I prepared for the 6 classes on Thursday. My school is over a mile from my apartment and within the school are the standard halls and stairs and the typical on-your-feet-all-day necessity of engaging the students. Last night I was exhausted and today I have a nasty cold. So on my day "off" I washed and hung out 3 loads of clothes and made a huge pot of chicken, vegetable, rice soup with veggies I picked from the landlord's garden. I'm thinking tonight I should tackle some Romanian lessons, but I'm indulging in this little whiny report instead. In all honesty, I'm fine and am managing quite well, but I'm not as facile at forgetting my age just now, I can tell you. There's a lovely custom here which has a long history. If a gentleman wants to show great respect for a woman (not necessarily, but usually an older woman), he says, "Sarut mana." Literally--Kiss your hand. At times he actually does. Some of my age-mate colleagues don't like this at all, but I accept it readily and think, "You bet your sweet palinka, this hand could use a kiss."