Living out traditions


[Sneak peek photos of our new place: our makeshift headboard.]

I must say, going into the holiday weekend I was pretty stressed. We had 5 dinners/parties attend, a day trip to the mountain and painting to squeeze into four days. And somewhere I really hoped to relax! Sort of like how I never really know what I'm going to feel like eating later on, I never really know how what I'm going to feel like doing any day, so I like to just leave things up to fate and keep an open schedule. I tend to feel overwhelmed when it comes to obligations, a struggle I'm working on, but I'm sure you all know what it's like to have to divide your time between families over the holidays. But hey, we can't always have things our way.

At one of the dinner parties hosted by my two friends Hannah & James, who by the by pulled together a stunning gourmet meal for 8, there was a conversation topic about cultural hospitality. We talked about how we, in California specifically, lack in that area. As a society we are incredibly selfish and self-centered, too occupied and scared to offer a helping hand to someone in need. Even I can't do anything without asking myself, what about me? What's in it for me, why should I give up my holiday for someone else? So terrible, I know it's wrong, but I'm scared of losing time, being in risk of discomfort or unexpected situation. In other cultures, say in South America or even in our southern states, it's okay to be friendly "just because". Because it's the right thing to do, and why wouldn't you offer a stranger a ride, or a meal, or a tour around town. Why does everything have to be planned and convenient? What about the children?

I could go into religious reasons about why California is so different but I'll instead say that in hindsight, I'm really glad I was able to see all the friends and family that I did. That's what the holidays are for, right? And to my relief, not one thing was stressful. I really enjoyed just being with friends and their friends and my family and his family and being able to make tradition. It's important to have some meaning to the things we do, otherwise we lose that sense of community and culture. The meaning for the holidays is to give thanks and share good spirit with others, and less so about the individual. I do still need to relax and recenter myself soon, but I just learned that there's a time for thinking of others and a time for thinking of oneself. Mixing the two up is always going to be more trouble than its worth.

Now we're back to work this Monday, with a few things to look forward to. Friday, I'm volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for the day and building homes with a few of my co-workers. It should be a rewarding experience - I can feel it! My goal for this week is to have a proper dining table. Watch out Craigslist -- I'm about to be all over you.

Special thanks to Jason for all the driving and support and willing assistance this weekend. Happy Monday!