I read Slavenka Draculic's book "How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed" this summer while on sabbatical. I had long wanted to read it and I'm glad I did - its a bit dated but her look at the fall of communism and the rise of capitalism through the prism of women's eyes was much needed. She spoke about talking with women about the lousy way men have treated them while they sit in similar kitchens all over the former Yugoslavia cooking noodle soups. So many disappointing men, so much noodle soup.
Last night when I watched the miserable returns of the 2016 US Election, I felt broken hearted - its the strongest and most emotional I've ever felt about a political event. I was upset and shocked as the returns came in and I fled to be by myself as I often do when confronted with awful news. That morning (for it was 4:45am when I realized where it was going), I treated myself gently and just let sleep heal me. But everytime I woke up, I was reminded of the unpleasant news. I felt simultaneously like there had been a death and a breakup. The realization and the resulting emotions were shocking to me and I felt so sad - for the world will change in a dramatic way soon and not for the better for the people I work with - refugee women and children and the poor and vulnerable around the world.
So I turned to something comforting. I decided to make my family's famous spaghetti sauce. Just like the broken-hearted women of communist Croatia - it was time to retreat to the kitchen and cook and let the smell of spices and onions and broth and tomatoes comfort me. I will feed others and take care of myself and start to feel healing myself.
I made my father's famous spaghetti sauce. And listened to music and as the meal came together, a feeling of comfort and my old strength to fight is beginng to flow inside me.