10 December 2011

The war was terrible

This afternoon I walked into the local alimentara (market) just down the street to get some butter and eggs for the spritz cookies that I want to make this afternoon (and I'm still impatiently waiting for the butter to soften!!). There were two old women sitting on a bench and talking, which is a common site here, with their long skirts, "warm" vests, wool socks and rubbers shoes, and scarves over their heads. They looked to be about 70 years old, but that is something that is hard to tell because people age so much faster her. Anyways, we were chatting about their grandkids and how well they learn in school and whatnot, when all of a sudden one of the women said, "they have so many different types of food here now. You can get whatever you want." While I disagree because I could really use an avocado or some spinach right about now, I was curious as to what she meant by that. Lucky for me, she kept talking. Her eyes did that thing, you know, when you are telling a story to someone and slowly you look past them and it's like you're living it all over again. She said that she only studied through the 5th grade because after that the war started and her teachers all fled to Romania and by the time the war was over, she should have been in the 10th grade but was so far behind in her studies (as were all of the kids) that she didn't go back. Then she said it was something terrible. She remembers the hunger- everyone was hungry. The woman sitting next to her, who was 4 at the start of the war, says she remembers the hunger, too. There were people dying in the streets, she said... with no food. They were given some wheat to ground into flour at home which didn't last very long. (As a side note, my host mom told me once that one woman from the village had no choice but to kill her infant because they couldn't feed it and they also needed to eat...). Being as that it is winter now and overcast and slightly raining (yes, raining), I just felt transported to that time, although it is something I really cannot imagine because I have never been close to that in my life, nor is it something I hope to understand in the future. But it just sounded so horrible, and for a child to remember the pain, the sadness, the hunger, etc... it must have really been that bad. Oooouuufff.

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