Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Spain and Christmas

Around this time of year, I start remembering my grandmother. She died when I was in college, and I never really knew her, but her loss impacted me more than I ever imagined. Suddenly, we didn't get any fantastic Christmas packages from Spain. My uncle sends a few things, but not like my grandmother did. She'd pack us turron (almond candy), chesnuts, wine (from our vineyard), chocolate, olives, and there would be so much of it it would last us several months. I remember not really liking the turron, but now, as I've grown older, I suddenly have cravings for it. Maybe it's because I haven't had it in several years.

My grandmother died around Christmas time. In Spain, we celebrate the Epiphany, which is in January. I went to Spain during this time to see her in the hospital. It sucked having the entire country be happy while my family was going through the worst possible thing we could ever imagine. My mom never really got allong with her mom, but she took care of her more than anyone else. The first thing my mom did after coming to America was spend her hard-earned money to buy my grandparents new furniture. They being pretty well off as land owners, it was no big deal, but to my mom it was everything. Anyhow, my mom stuck by my grandmother until after the Epiphany. My grandmother had an annurism so they thought she might pull through. About a week after my mom returned home, she flew back to Spain. Made (pronounced mah-day), had another one, and she wouldn't recover. They pulled the plug, and she died a day after my mom got there.

Like I said, I never really knew my grandmother, but I realize now how much her loss impacted my family. My dad, being an indian and somewhat of a rarity in my mom's tiny town, was deeply saddened by the lady who never once showed any sort of racism towards him that the rest of Europe did. My mom, while she had complained about neglect as a kid, fell into a depression that only recently has begun to lift. My uncles became even bigger assholes, fighting over their inheritance, and one of them even threatened my mother with leaving my grandfather to his own devices if she didn't sign over her own inheritance. I never asked her if she did this or not, since he's the brother who lives with my grandfather, and takes care of him, and my mom can't do that. I hope she didn't, but I'd understand if she did.

To me, I remember a few things about my grandmother, nameley the time I was offended when she called me "morena" (dark skin and hair), because I was too dumb and young to realize it was no big deal. Then, during my high school goth phase, when I was putting on black lipstick, and she made a scared face after seeing me. I laughed, but I felt awkward at the time. We didn't speak eachothers language, but she communicated with me enough that I knew she loved me.

I've had this overwhelming need to go to Spain, for the past few months. Getting ready to marry Noj has made me realize how much I miss my own second home. His whole family is here, mine isn't. More than anything, I miss the atmosphere. The heat during the summer, the view of the mountains, the endless stars at night, the smell of chickens and rabbits in the back yard. I miss the cooking, because holy shit, my family can cook. My mom is an aweful cook, but for some reason when she is in Spain, she seems to communicate with my grandmother's spirit and manages to cook the most amazing food imaginable. You can't get that kind of stuff in the US, not even imported, because it doesn't grow here and it tastes shitty if it's not fresh. My eating disorder makes it impossible for me to enjoy any of these memories, because they're coupled with guilt. In my family, food is life, food is love. To me, food is torture. So love and life go hand in hand with torture, making my memories of Spain worse than they should be.

I miss it so much. I'd give anything to take Noj there, to show him where I come from, and why I love it so much. I have a feeling through, that I won't be able to for another few years. That much is about as depressing as my weight.

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