Posted December 27, 2005on:
Plans are made to unravel. And so in spite of all my recipe huntings, I found myself not having to cook at all this Christmas. Instead Christmas celebration has been a little bit original this year, in that we celebrated Christmas at a Muslim friend’s home, amongst many Muslims, eating Central Asian food. That’s right : there was no ham, no salmon, no turkey, no oysters stuffing, no eggnog.
The crowd spoke two handfuls of languages and all continents and major religions, revealed and unrevealed ones, were represented… I practiced my decidedly rusty French :-). They were an exceedingly well traveled bunch, who taken together, must have set foot in all countries on earth and I am not exaggerating.
For once, I did not find myself the most exotic creature of the crowd. No, I found these desert dwellers very exotic with a real East-meets-West appeal. They eat lots of rice and speak a language close to Turkish, but their features are very Chinese-like, and they are (lapsed) Muslims…
I almost blurted out to one guy that he looked like the Genghis Khan of my history book. Instead I asked if it was true that 0.5% of the male population carry Genghis Khan’s DNA and the conversation veered towards the Human Genome Project.
We were wished a Merry Christmas. Most of my Buddhist and Hindu friends tell me that back home Christmas is celebrated too, and unofficially a holiday (in China), officially a holiday (in India), even though the majority of the population is not Christian. It’s a legacy of colonization and a by-product of globalization and commercialization that Christmas has become a truly worldwide celebration. So I abandoned all misplaced PC-ness and wished all of them a Merry Christmas, too. Nobody took offense. 🙂
We left ZazaKV home unfortunately. But he accompanied us to a post-Christmas visit we made to Malagasy friends. It’s good to have a bunch of non-Malagasy friends and another one of Malagasy friends, and to keep the two groups separate. I used to hang out with very international groups and not at all with Malagasies, but now that I have a kid, I suppose the meaning of “roots” takes a less abstract sense, and well, if you want your kid to speak your mother tongue and experience your culture even though you’re thousands of miles away from your homeland, it’s recommended to hang out with your people.