It’s been a strange, strange week in these parts. I see everybody getting into the Holiday mood, with freshly chopped Christmas trees and fairy lights (YES!) but we’re not quite there yet. We’ve got a tree of our own only once and while it makes the house look 100% cozier than normal, I gather it’s all in my head. We’re not going to be in India for Christmas, but we do have almost similar weather plans. My mind is still in Goa though and I’m not sure that will ever change. I don’t want it to. It’s not a flaw.
This past week has also strengthened the part of me that’s been working on the meaning of empathy. Understanding the feelings of other + walking a mile in their shoes + not being an asshole. Deep, right? When I first moved here, I found it strange how complete strangers asked me: “How are you?” I was fine, of course. But not always. They were doing their job but I was secretly getting tired of answering. I actually wanted to know how they were. Everybody walks around, carrying burdens that they wish they could share. Life is not easy. When your cat dies, you can’t take a bloody sick day. If your cat dies though, I’d like to tell you I know how that feels. Maybe I could do it with a look or by actually giving you a few more seconds of my time to tell you that it will be okay, that it’s all just a moment in the grand plot, that it feels like forever and it will get better. So much cliche. I’d pack it all in. I want you to know I don’t walk around without analysing the process of existence. It beats within me. Yesterday I wished I spent two more seconds with the man I saw holding up a “need help” sign. He told me he liked the painting I was holding and I thought “what a fucking idiot I am”. He needs more than I can ever help with and what did I do all day? Justified to myself that this (print of a) painting was worth it. It was worth it. It was beautiful. I wish art could save us all. I wish everybody had that opportunity to be saved.
That’s all it takes really- one chance. Sadly, empathy is something that severely lacking. We make excuses like “the begging mafia owns all the kids”, rather than just talking to them. Same with the people who can’t afford to eat in America. I sometimes can’t justify why I blog about food. I’m not an extravagant person an I find amazing amount of comfort in potatoes. The fact is, not everybody can afford the same choices as I do. I empathise with that. I don’t see this blog change into a thrifty one just because I do. What I do hope is that I can talk to more people and talk to people about food. I’ve had a lot of conversations with people in Seattle lately. People in the middle of the most difficult part of their lives and little chance to change the course of it all. I don’t live it but I get it. I can talk to you and learn your story. Stories never leave you.
I read something recently that said charity is selfish. That we do it more for our own karma (promounced “karm“) than for another. It completely rejects the theory of empathy. Charity has no guarantee. Humanitarian workers know this first hand. They do it anyway and have their hearts broken more each time, but for that one moment. This season of giving, I’m counting my joys. I’m listening more already and asking you about you because I want to know. I’m sprinkling more gratitude on each meal I share and thanking my family for the choices they let us have.
Have a blessed season.
The recipe for these pear and dark chocolate scones can be found on Smitten Kitchen. I’ve linked them and just changed their original name apparently. I found that I needed to use more flour than what the recipe called for. This could be due to the pears’ being slightly more ripe than what Deb used. I didn’t measure the amount of extra flour I used. I just kept throwing more over until the dough took shape and was easy to cut through after being shaped. The scones were mixed (never over-mixed) completely by hand. I need to remake them to see what I can do differently 🙂
The crème fraîche recipe can be found on The Vanilla Bean Blog. The photos on Sarah’s blog are always my favourite.
Happy Sunday. Xo.
I love what you wrote here. I think this season brings up so many things for so many people: some are on autopilot and just do what they always do, and do the things they are ‘supposed’ to, either by habit or expectation. Others are awash with thoughts of lost loved ones, past memories, or filled with empathy and compassion for those less fortunate, and it can be a difficult and emotional time. I’m luckily going over to England this holiday season with the young ‘un, for the first time in 14 years (first Xmas for him)…I usually am very far away from family, and in the past I even said I ‘hated Christmas’ because of it. I was just bitter and jealous that other people could be near family and didn’t have to think twice about what they had. But I really am filled with gratitude this year. And I am particularly excited about having my mum’s roast potatoes.
That’s great news, Katherine! I know exactly what you mean. It’s not the same with the whole lot of family around. The last time you went home was 2012, right? Or was it early 2013? Fourteen years is a long time. I hope Christmas is just like it was back then. Roman is so lucky. He might not know it yet. Enjoy the roast potatoes! I love anything potato. How long will you be away for?
I meant “without the whole”.
Roanna Fernandes says
Everything you wrote here… I know it! I feel it, too. Lots of LOVE! And your blog is such a happy haven, filled with warmth, and real, good stories and just hope. I love it! Disabling my Facebook page today for the blog, it’s useless and I don’t need it. I was a fool not to know it before, but the thought that I want to do it now feels so good. Makes me feel better. Hahaha, okay bye…
I am slowly catching up on your older posts. They are all wonderful but I felt the need to thank you for this one – I so likes the way you worded your thoughts here. And I really know what you mean about blogging about food… But I think we can be/do both. X
😀 Thank you, friend. I feel like we haven’t “seen” each other in such a long time. I got caught up with life. I wasn’t even blogging much. But I’m happy to know you’re still out there doing what you love.