Wednesday, January 09, 2008

There's No Place Like Home

There's no place like home, the story tells... And there are many good things in the world; but nothing compares with Fridays.
Fridays, bringing the scent of a well deserved weekend. The scent of my Nana’s freshly baked bread. On the Country side, you need to think both practically and globally. If you’re going to start up the oven, then you better do it right. You can’t just make bread every day or every second day. You can’t bake too much, either, as it would go stale. So she worked out her own calculations and found out that a weekly operation will fit best our house’s needs.
In order to feed the whole house for about a week, you need around 4 or 5 kilos of flour. This was a serious thing, to wake up early in the morning and make the dough. She never used a mixer or any of the modern technology. Just her palms. And few drops of oil, poured on her hands, so the mix won’t stick. She’d knead the dough at ease, smiling, with the same serenity, every time. She made it seem a child’s play. At times she’d raise her arm against her forehead, trying to wipe a drop of sweat. Still smiling. After a while, she’d put the dough to rest for few hours and start preparing the pans. For me, this was always a mystery: two handfuls of dough in each, this will result in beautiful, big, round breads.
But there was never too much time to think about it; as soon as the bread was out of the oven, her hands were breaking the first one and shared it to us, all the kids gathered around the stove.
I was about 5 years old, when I started my first exploring adventure. I took the bread, still warm, I stuck it in my pocket and I head out to the hills surrounding the house. The path was somewhat steep and sinuous. Soon enough, the house was out of my sight – I was somewhat afraid that I won’t find my way back home, but I kept walking, driven by the thought that I am going to bring her the most beautiful flowers that she had ever seen. My hands launched into a veritable vegetal pogrom – I must have been walking for hours and hours, picking up flowers, because I entered the porch together with the dusk.
She never grounded me for being out late…she smiled, when I returned. And so was I…
That day, I had discovered that suddenly there were no borders anymore; no boundaries could keep the world away from me. Since then, I never stopped exploring. But every trip refreshes in me this memory, lingering on…a somewhat forgotten crusty bread aroma.
I am a natural – born traveller. My days are always fast and always on the move. Generally moving…wherever on the World’s Chart. Today, there’s no freshly baked bread to start a great weekend. In fact, I hardly have left any notion of weekend, but up to these days, on Fridays, there is the memory of a certain scent. The scent of my freedom.
I have no pictures left of my granny's house. In fact, I haven't been there in many years, after the house was sold, afraid of what I might find. But Transylvania has many similar places and I found one where I was really happy. And everywhere I go, the memory of my special place will follow.

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