Sunday 30 November 2014

Thoughts about stuff

Left: the box containing our stuff being loaded in Bangalore. Right: our stuff arriving in Gracisce.

Having experienced three international moves in the space of seven years, I have a few thoughts about stuff. You know, the stuff you tend to drag around from one home to the next. The stuff you keep in boxes in the basement or an attic, which simply takes up space. The stuff you either have to face by sorting through it and deciding what is indispensable and what isn’t, or the stuff whose real or imagined utility you don’t question at all and instead just move it to another basement or attic where it sits until the next move.

I’ve learned that you don’t need most of this stuff but you end up paying to pack it, move it, store it, and sometimes even to dispose of it.

I’ve learned that life is simpler without stuff.

I’ve learned that it’s very liberating to get rid of stuff. When I wrote about my experience packing up my previous life in India I mentioned the feeling of liberation and how after purging years of accumulated stuff, I felt lighter.

The reason why I’ve been thinking about stuff is because over the past few months I’ve been sorting through all our possessions, unpacking the boxes we shipped from India, and those we had left in storage for the past 8 years.

Of course emotions are invariably linked to stuff too. I felt a burst of nostalgia when I opened up the boxes packed with my Indian clothes, the smell of India still there. Unpacking the moving boxes I had packed up in London eight years ago (which we had stored in Brussels and transported to Istria recently) felt very strange… like I was handling artifacts from another time. And I was delighted to be reunited with my books and enjoyed the ritual of lining them up on new bookshelves.

I’m happy to finally have the unpacking, sorting and purging behind me and am glad to now have all our stuff in its place, in one place.

Now that the unpacking is done and the house renovations are over, I finally feel like I have a home again.

Wednesday 19 November 2014

It’s marenda time

When I have errands to run, I’ve learned not to expect to get anything done between 10:00 and 10:30am.

10 o’clock is ‘marenda’ time you see, a sacrosanct time of the day when workers across Istria are taking their morning break. Since most offices and workplaces start their workday at 7am, 10am is usually break time.

So now I know not to bother going to any administrative office, the electricity board, or even to the shoemaker between 10 and 10:30am because I’ll just be wasting my time waiting for them to come back from their Marenda break. Sometimes Marenda can even stretch to 11am, so 10-11am is a ‘no-go’ time!

Marenda comes from the Italian word merenda and this habit or custom must be a legacy of Italian times. While in Istria marenda is a snack or light meal eaten between breakfast and lunch, in Italy merenda is usually an afternoon snack.

Many local restaurants in Istria have a special marenda menu at a set price meant for workers who’d like to have a cheap and filling meal. In restaurants in the nearby town of Pazin (there are only two!), marenda is super cheap at 28 Kuna (3.65 Euro). For this price a hot meal of a main dish is served with two side dishes and often a small salad. The special marenda menu usually has three or four main dishes to choose from.

Since marenda is a light meal eaten between breakfast and lunch, this means there are four mealtimes in Istria. Breakfast is a very light meal (or some skip it entirely) followed by marenda, while lunch is the main meal of the day, and dinner is again usually something light.

Four mealtimes – why not? Any excuse to eat is a good one in Istria!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...