Grandma, grandpa and a cherry jam!
Hi dear friends!
Yesterday I was looking at my family's old photographs. You see, when I was a child my family used to have a nice tradition. We just were sitting together at home with a cup of tea and were listening to the story of every picture telling by my grandma and later by my mum.
Well, while I was looking at those pictures of my grandparents I was thinking of what kind of associations I have with all of them, what memories are in my mind. You see, in Kazakhstan many children are often brought up with their grandma and grandpa like I and my sister were. I've been living with my Polish-Ukrainian grandparents for almost six years. Naturally, I was kind of influenced by them :).
My Polish-Ukrainian grandparents
People in our neighborhood used to spend their free time sitting with neighbors outside,playing dominoes, speaking about life, mostly political issues (sometimes discussing situation in the USSR), often arguing, drinking tea or beer and eating sunflower seeds. You see, friends, sunflower seeds were an essential thing among women as well as cigarettes among men :). I just can't imagine my grandma without them (I mean sunflower seeds of course). For me, as I was a kid, it was just one of the numerous amusements. But now I really don't think it's a good idea to eat them (may be just without husk? ;)). I mean they damage the teeth although the eating of them is useful. Anyway it looks like a bad habit as well as smoking :). What do you think?
My grandma grew up the sunflowers on her allotment. In the autumn they were harvested and seeds were dried in an oven.
Honestly, I just can't believe now how we managed to eat three huge bags of sunflowers seeds (my grandma often prepared three or four) per year! Anyway the smell of the ripe sunflowers seeds really reminds me about my childhood (it's quite sad but in the center of Almaty, where I live and work now, I can find the sunflowers at the florist's only, without any seeds of course).
Do you like a cherry jam? In our country we call it "varenie". I adore it and the way my grandma used to cook it though when I helped her I wasn't good at pulling pits out of cherry :)). I remember the smell of berries that was fantastic! And it tasted delicious of course!
The "tea ceremony" with my grandparents was my favorite part of the evening especially in the winter. Grandma prepared tea with the different dried herbs - mint, currant leaves, and chamomile etc. And the Russian "samovar" of course was in the centre of our table :)). But we had the "modern" samovar - electric one (in case some of you don't know: the Russian samovar is normally worked with using firewood). So during the tea grandma was telling some interesting "scary" stories in a "World War II" style or grandpa was reading me the "fairy tales" from a sort of "red soviet soldier" magazine. It was quite funny to listen to those stories considering the fact that I understood only a half of it :).
I loved them very much as they were like my second parents :). From them I learnt a lot of important things. It's thanks to my grandfather, Feodor, I became an addictive reader. My grandmother, Evdokia, in her turn taught me how to get by without medicine (or at least to replace some of them with herbs); I often use her recipes of herbal coctails.
Evdokia and Feodor
As to the countries where they were from, I've been only to Poland once. This is quite strange that I've never been to Ukraine as it is closer to Kazakhstan than Poland. But I'm sure I will :).
My Korean grandparents
You see, friends, my Korean grandfather, who constantly had the pipe in his mouth like Sherlock Holmes, was married twice. I never met my biological grandmother who was from Belorussia. I have only the pictures of her.
Grandfather with Belorussian grandmother Maria (and my daddy ;)
But my memories about my step-grandmother are really fantastic! For me she was like a mysterious fairy and looked like a porcelain doll. She was Korean and never spoke any other language that made her more mysterious. Every visit to their house was like a small celebration for me as I visited them rarely. Honestly it was quite a different world :).
First of all I love Korean cuisine a lot especially sweet rice cakes - "chimpeni". The cooking of them is a real art. And I've never managed to do it like my grandma did.
Secondly, she had a stunning clothes and accessories that were from South Korea. You see, in Soviet times people wore the same clothes and looked pretty similar because of the political regime. So it was just unforgettable pastime to play with that grandma's stuff :). The thing that I adored most of all was a big box of Chinese face powder with a smell of violets! :).
There's another remarkable thing that I'd like to tell you, friends. Although my grandparents had the Korean names, people called them by Russian ones. Yan In Hua (grandma) became Julia, Pak Don Su (grandpa) became Mikhail. And again, I've been to South Korea but never to Belorussia :). Quite odd, isn't it? :)
South Korea, Busan
And the last thing, friends. Ashish was asking about a Korean birthday tradition. This custom is quite old and people don't follow it anymore. But as my daddy told me the celebration of child's first birthday has its own history. Hundreds of years ago infant mortality was much higher than now. And every survived baby was treated with a special care. The Koreans used to celebrate the "pek il" when a baby turned 100 days (it means that baby overcame the most dangerous period of life) and "tole" - when it turned 1 year. Traditionally, parents sent the rice cookies to relatives and friends (in return the baby was given the money or the gold ring). But I know almost nothing about "hvegap" history - 60th birthday celebration.
It's just great that you can close your eyes and see the past.
OK, friends! It's time to go now!
Looking forward to your opinion!