Years ago, my gorgeous Mum and I would randomly decide to celebrate. We would celebrate life. We would celebrate the ordinary, the days achievements, another day alive, a fresh spring day, really we did not have any significant reason, we would just decide to celebrate, because we could. And I am so glad we did. We lived in the moment, and cherished that moment. To this day, I really value living in the moment, appreciating my now moment, and celebrating as much as possible.
So on Saturday night, without a hot date, I decided to make a nice dinner for my housemate and I, light some candles, and pop a bottle of french champagne and celebrate life. It was great. We had a lovely time, and I really enjoyed our night chatting, sipping on some lovely bubbles from classy tall flutes, and enjoying a delicious meal. When was the last time you decided to celebrate just because you could?
Today is my Dad’s birthday. He would have been 86 today, so that is getting pretty old. I am surprised he didn’t live a little longer than his 79 years as he was very healthy in his 70’s, enjoying golf, gardening, travelling, walks, and good food. Anyhow, we all have only so long on this earth, so it is a lesson in making the most of the time we have.
Currently I am reading a book about a Latvian family during the second world war. It is set in Riga, the capital of Latvia, and focuses on the lives of 3 women; a teenage girl, her stoic Mother and her feisty strong Grandmother. At times it is very difficult to read, not in how it is written, as it flows very nicely. More so in how other Latvians and Germans treat them as Jews. They are turned on by previous close friends, made to feel dirty and hated, and sent to live in a run down ghetto, in awful cold, cockroach ridden, scummy conditions. And they have no food. Everyone is permanently hungry, the home made delicious feasts they used to have in the start of the novel slowly turned into mouldy rotten potatoes, vegetable peels, and absolute scraps, a pig would eat better. Honestly, it is disgraceful. The way it all happened virtually overnight, all this hatred and cruelty is really hard to read about. The fact my own family were directly related to this story line makes it even harder to accept. Previously the young girl was going to school at a dance academy, had many close friends, even a lovely cute boyfriend who she would go to the pool with and watch movies in the cinema. Slowly it all changes, and she is ostracised from her previous friends who all turn on her, only because of her jewish roots, literally spitting in her face. Her boyfriend Uldis appears to be lovely at first, and then ends up turning them in and exposing the hiding place she secretly shares. This results in the shooting death of her aunt and uncle, who had kindly looked after them, and they move to the ghetto as a last resort. I have not finished the book yet, however compelling it is haunting me.
My Father was around 10 at the time this novel was set, as he was born in 1932. His Mother had some Jewish blood, and although I can not remember the details of their whereabouts at this time, I think they just stayed in Riga until around 1944 or 1945, and then lived in a Displaced Persons camp in Germany. I wish I could remember more, and ask him more questions. He was only a young boy, and he never really told me too much about this absolute awful time in history. I remember him telling me the DP camp conditions were terrible, cold, and cramped. They had to share a small space with another family, and burn the bed bugs with hot coat hangers. There was very little food too. But they were strong and resilient and hopeful. I do remember that when they first came to Australia, he over ate, and got a little fat. He was never fat, but the sight of all that delicious available food was too much to resist! He drank too much lemonade and sponge cake, he always had a bit of a sweet tooth. We can never even imagine such poverty conditions in our current privileged lifestyles. We all have so much. The book is called “The Earth is Singing” by Vanessa Curtis. I can highly recommend it, especially if you have a baltic background and want to learn more about our history.
Besides all the reading I am doing, I have been really enjoying time in my garden. Saturday was a particularly productive day, with the sun shining bright after so much wet dreary weather, I was happy to shake off my cabin fever and frolick amongst my flowers. I bought some new purple irises, and planted lots of new seedlings, peony poppies, dahlias, sunflowers and colourful californian poppies. It really will be great to see them all come to life. Gardening brings me so much joy, I absolutely love it. I feel crammed in with the little garden that I have right now, although I really make the most of the space I have, I have big plans for a big expansion one day. I feel really frustrated at times by my limited space, and dream of acres and fields of flowers, and rows of birch trees, and blooming wisteria vines, and abundant vegetable patches. And happy dogs running around carefree. Plus some chickens clucking about. Ohhh, country life. I want you in my reality.
So let’s get celebrating the good times, because you never know what is around the corner. Hopefully lots more happiness, good health and positivity for us all.