Romania is under a layer of snow, which is a joy for children and a nightmare for adults – be it their parents or authorities. But in general, winter is for me a season full of good moments, because of the holiday and of the Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations. At the same time, it is a moment of remembrance. People remember the winters of their childhood or their youth, and for me, in spite of the usual coldness of the winter in this part of world, every year, in my mind, these flashbacks are very bright and warm.
I like to remember my childhood winters when snow made me so happy. Those days my only thoughts were to build my igloo, to eat that marvelous chocolate cake which my dear mother used to cook and, of course, to wait for St.Nicholas’ night with its magic and especially for Santa Claus’ gifts. When the snow layer was thick enough, I used to gather my friends – most of them boys – and build an igloo like we had seen on TV documentaries. Our architectural talents were a nightmare for our parents because we, the builders-explorers, used to stay in the igloos for hours and hours until we couldn’t feel our toes and our noses were so orange red that they competed with the carrot noses of the neighborhood Snow Men.
The Snow Man was as a real piece of art as our igloo was a true architectural structure. After few days in our North Pole under the old oak in our garden, we used to drink a lot of hot tea with aspirins, but, we didn’t care because we were there in the Santa Claus country, even if in our day dreams. “Our parents cannot understand us” we used to think but “ Santa Claus knows us, he knows we were good children and he will give us the gifts we have dreamed of”. So, we had to wait for his arrival and sure enough everyone received the right gift.
Santa Claus gave me once an ugly doll with white hair and cold blue eyes and I, with a very sensitive aesthetic sense …decapitated her. Horror stricken, Santa Claus never gave me other dolls, but, instead he gave me many, maybe too many, velvet dogs, cats and a lot of bears. I had unconditional love for teddy bears and I had a lot of them, but the most precious – which I still have, dressed in my first dress, is a pink bear, quite fat, but with an intelligent look. The gift which every year Santa Claus gave me was doubled by the special Christmas cake created by my mother. Yes, created, not just baked, because that cake was baked based on her personal recipe with cocoa, butter, black sugar, confiture, orange, walnut and cream. …. a delicious and very “baroque” cake which still makes my mouth water when I think of it. Anyway, when I spend my winter celebrations at home I bake that mixed sweet sourish cake. When I grew up, the Santa Claus spell was lost, but the feeling of calm, balance, warmth and joy stayed.
Time passes, but memories are still alive in my mind and every winter I fill my heart with the warmth of the old times. I’m never too nostalgic, I thank God for my wonderful and carefree childhood, for my amazing parents and for those things that remain and enrich my life, whatever is happening: the dreams, the love for the blue grey Nordic sky, the passion for tales, the love for bears, dogs, cats toys and living, the taste of the special cake and a everlasting belief in the beauty of our life at any age. We should thank God for the miracle of being.
My dear readers, I would like to wish you all to share these good feelings during these winter cold days and nights and…Merry Christmas!
By Mariana Ganea, Guest Writer
(photos: sxc.hu, Mariana Ganea)