Wednesday, March 27, 2013

life: how did you become so surreal?

Do you ever wonder, when you look at your life, how you got where you are in life?

Don’t get me wrong, I have a great life and I’m very happy, that’s not where this post is going.

But some days I wonder what my 16 year old self would think of my 36 year old version of me. There are some things that I think she’d be cool with, but others that I think she’d be thinking: WTF!!!?

Take for example, the Slovenian part of my life.

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I don’t think my 16 year old version of me would have ever expected to be at a church based event, watching Slovenian folk singers and folk dancing on a Friday night. You know? That I would marry a man who played in a band, sure that was on the table, but that I would marry a man who played polka music in said band? Hells no! Or, to marry a man who owns a pair of lederhosen. And not ironically!

But then again, if you know anything about my history (or rather childhood) you might not be as surprised as you’d expect. Because, after all, my 6 year old self was hanging out with my Mom’s Ukrainian friends, watching Ukrainian dancing, eating perogies, and watching pig roasts and perogy making parties. Little known fact that most of my teen friends didn’t know about me, I’m sure.

So in some ways, it’s not surprising that when Paul introduced me to this reality, I was nonplussed by it. It was familiar in it’s own way. This little Dutch girl had seen her fair share of cultural fairs and folk dancing, from Scottish to Ukrainian, because of her Mom’s friends. That said, my Mom’s friends also had me in gay pride parades (ok, only 1, but you get the point).

So when I see my husband dressed like this:

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Part of me wonders about the strange reality I have stumbled into and part of me isn’t all that surprised.
Suffice to say, since wandering into Paul’s Slovenian world, I have learned many new things that I’d never heard of before, such as:

Name days: As in, celebrating the day of the Saint you were named after instead of (or in addition to) your birthday. Thus, as Marya, which a variation of Mary, I would celebrate on Aug 15th.

Dober dain. Ana cupitsa vino. Falla. Nosdrajvia. (my attempts at phonetic spelling)  Good day, one cup of wine. Thanks. Cheers! All the most important words, really. But now that I’m pregnant, somewhat limiting I must admit!

Polka. Yes, I know how to polka, sort of. It kind of makes me sick and I’m not great at it, but I know how to do it and even did it at my wedding. Who knew!?

Cleaning etiquette: That your car must be clean and your sidewalk leading to the front door, washed, even after a rainstorm. Especially before a wedding or event in which your family will see said car.

Big hall weddings: With 5 course meals and open bars instead of big casual backyard parties. And so much food that you don’t eat before the wedding if you hope to eat the entire meal.

Speaking of food: Big family meals that require at least 2 meats, in huge heaping quantities. And leftovers to feed an army. And the constant running gag over saving the best cuts for me, the family vegetarian is who is inevitably always served at least 2 starches (usually potatoes and pasta) in any given meal because what else do you feed a vegetarian?

It’s funny really… I look at where my life is and wonder about how I got here, married into a family SO different than my own, with customs and behaviours that are so odd to me sometimes, I always come back to the same conclusion. Despite the fact that there are things I don’t understand in this world I’m living in, and despite the fact that it seems so comical that the new age hippie dippy girl who is anti-Catholic, anti-traditional gender roles, anti-well just about everything, has agreed to this life of lederhosen, polka and family values.

Despite loving my husband and his family, I can’t help but wonder what happened between 6 and 16, and 16 and 36 to make this journey turn out the way it did!

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