(Note: there is a chance “Awaiting the Solstice” is an Enya song title. I didn’t check.)

I have a very complicated relationship with Christmas (called “Xmas” further on).

I grew up in a country that is considered 105% Catholic despite the fact that only about 35% people actually believe in God. My entire family consisted of atheists or agnostics. Nevertheless, we always gathered around the table twice a year: for Easter and for Xmas, which we actually called either “Holidays” (with the capital H) or “Gwiazdka” (“Little Star”). There was a tree, generally a plastic one, full-on decorations, tons of food and drink, but mostly – when I was still a kid – the important bit: PRESENTS!!!

Our family habit was that you had to try all sorts of food on the table. Even if you didn’t like something, you had to eat a tiniest bit because it was a tradition. I actually don’t know whether it’s a Catholic tradition at all, but it was what our family did. As kids we generally ate everything at record speed, but still, the presents had to remain wrapped under the tree until the last person tried everything. To call us slightly impatient was an understatement. We knew very well there was no Santa, but there were PRESENTS OMG HURRY UP WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU OLD PEOPLE!!!

As the years have passed I didn’t even notice that I, too, began to turn into an Old Person (i.e. over 15 years old) and started to pay more attention to the food than the presents. This might or might not have been related to the fact that my grandma 1) always gave me longjohns, and 2) they were always too small. The food, however, was always delicious and a lot of the dishes were prepared exclusively for Xmas. The extra plus side was that it was prepared by people who weren’t me.

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I am currently spending some time at my family home, with mom and brothers (and husby, of course). And…I have no motivation to write. AT ALL.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal. But since I started on Storytellers on Jan 1st, 2017 I haven’t stopped writing for longer than 2-3 days when my health issues made it impossible. This is my first actual “vacation” from writing in two years. Brain’s all like “we are on holiday, bugger off, I refuse to do gramer en spelink”.

I forgot how it feels to actually take some rest. I always told people writing relaxes me. Which it does, but perhaps after two years of going nearly non-stop a week off might be a good idea…? It’s not burnout, although had I gone at this pace further I might have reached one. Brain is just not interested. There’s snow, there’s my mom’s food, my brother’s kids (send help – 7-year-old twin boys), a new tattoo tomorrow. Even when we were in Iceland I kept writing, in fact being there gave me extra motivation. Right now? Nope. I do absolutely nothing useful, don’t bother getting dressed before noon, eat tons of sweets. (Note to self: you WILL do extra workouts when you come back home.) I don’t even read anything more serious than music magazines.

Do you find it easy to take an actual break? A real holiday without either feeling guilty about not doing Things And Stuff? I’m new to this and need pointers…

Since I first visited Iceland in 2016 I never stopped missing it, thinking about it, reading, gawking at photographs. We spent almost all of April 2017 there and it didn’t help. I am homesick for a country I never lived in.

 

Part I: Poland

I was originally made in Poland. I never met my biological father. My Mom raised me as well as she possibly could, but she had no influence over the ever-present homophobia. I left that country in 2006. While the LGTBQIA+ organisations grew and started to fight for our rights, so far results are rather unimpressive. I mean, it’s lovely that there are Pride parades gathering thousands of people. It’s just that they don’t really affect anyone except those who partake in them. When Husby and I visit my Polish family, because of the Polish law we are not only considered not married, we’re considered to be total strangers. We always buy extra insurance to fly us home in case there is an accident because I wouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions on behalf of my husband.

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