The smell of burned sugar slipped through the house. My mouth started watering. In a trance, I would see myself opening the kitchen door. My face hit by the delicious heat inside. Bowls, floor, and cracked eggs spread through the buffet. In a corner, under the pale yellowish light, my mother would skillfully flip pancakes in a worn-out pan. She would place the fresh one on a pile next to her.
I hastily opened one of the drawers searching for one of my grandmother’s house-made gems: cherry, quince, or apricots? All from the garden, she planted with my little sister when she was 5. My fingers, not that are not that skilled would end up full of blood after thors scratched my skin; nonetheless, I always help her pick them up… In the kitchen, I would spread the sweet paste on the pancake, roll some for me, a few for my father. This used to be one of our Sunday moments.
… no matter how hard people deny it, we are fundamentally different from one another …
While on the verge of telling my friend that all of this is ridiculous and that is not the way you should flip a pancake! Just before gracefully ruining our night I realized that there is not the right way to make pancakes, sorry creps, pancakes, no creps… who cares? There is my way, and there is his way, both equally correct. This time we are going to do it his way. With some maple syrup… ashamed to admit… delicious!
Since I moved abroad, surrounded by both eastern and western Europeans, people from Asia, Africa, or America, I’ve seen countless ways to be and live. I realized that no matter how hard people deny it we are fundamentally different from one another. We may work, eat, shop, laugh, and party together, but there will always be a hole between us. That pit is made by our past, a side effect of the fact that we don’t have a common history, we don’t have yet stories and mythologies that bind us together.
There are some common experiences we all have as humans (our first kiss), some common experiences we have as a generation (playing video games), some common experiences we have as members of a culture (eating cozonac for Christmas as a Romanian) and some experiences that are unique to us as individuals (as a child, reading in my grandparents garden during summer). These are our degrees of separations, and from this perspective to some extent, we are always alone.
We may work, eat, shop, laugh and party together, but there will always be a hole between us.
However, bridges can be build and ties knotted. It requires kindness and gentleness, to be open and compassionate, curious with a drop of crazy. Many times, in the eyes of others, we are the ones that are peculiar. You truly value your uniqueness once you learn to treasure that in other persons too.