From our house on the hill, Easter in Spain is apparently pretty spectacular, a celebration that includes everyone. It is a time for everyone to gather, to be out on the street from sun rise till dark and celebrate. This year it is eerily quiet, but some customs must be maintained, Easter egg hunt and roast lamb, are musts for today.
The last few years, we have had amazing trips in spring: Rome, Dubrovnik and Paris. I love to travel, but never take it for granted. A few years ago I was lucky enough to go to Marrakech, as I stepped off the aeroplane and stepped on to African soil, well I was spell bound. For a girl who spent her holidays in a caravan on the south coast (and I loved the caravan), any trip that includes an airport, thrills me.
If I won the lottery, for the first two or three years I would spend a few months in a whole range of different places around the world. That is my wish. I would love a spell in Stockholm, Copenhagen, Ubud, New York, Paris, Syracuse, Mysore. I think I would settle eventually in France or Italy, probably France, with the hope of finding a vine yard, at the very least an orchard and vegetable patch. I love France, Paris, Bendodet, Colmar, Vendee, Saintes; I have always felt comfortable here, despite the language barrier and the obvious hatred for the English. I can’t help but see that as a challenge! I am gravitated to places, their beauty, their history, their food.
A while back, I looked at my heritage, with my grandfather’s name being Marzetti, I have always believed this to be the singularly most interesting fact about my family. That and he only ever showed unconditional love. Well it turns out that whilst our family name is Italian and originates from Milan, the family passed through France, first Dijon then Versailles, arriving in Whitechapel at the time of the French Revolution must have been something of a culture shock. What I love most that this is all documented and you can understand and feel the passing of generations and history.
For the past six months I have thought a great deal about my purpose. I don’t want to be here just to use up valuable oxygen, water, and resources. I remember reading in Bill Bryson’s auto biography how grateful he was to be alive, that against such unsurmountable odds, he was here, in a time of peace, in a country where all opportunities were opened to him. If I ever feel sorry for myself, I remember this, because it is absolutely true.
IF you have a roof over your head, food in your belly and good health, then you can deal with anything. Sometimes I feel wrought with anxieties, I worry. I can feel sad. I can feel alone. Yet the problem really is something I am unable to control. I cannot make my daughter not have asthma. I will do everything in my power to minimise its symptoms and find ways to help control it, but she is asthmatic. Just as right now Coronavirus is in our midst. Its force is destructive and harmful to many if not the majority. Every day I do my best to keep my family safe, but how much control do we really have?
Life feels uncertain, I can remember driving here and seeing so much space, miles of mountainous land and thinking if we get a tent and live here, well Coronavirus is not going to find us. It is true without contact we are safe. Can humanity be without each other? For some maybe. I can buy in to it to a degree. For my daughter’s health? Yes. It can be lonely though, with decisions that are heavy and have consequence.
Life has to be meaningful; I refuse to live my life by ticking them off on a calendar. I can remember watching About a Boy and how the character Hugh Grant played struck a chord. His life was made up with units of time and he just had to find a way of filling them. I want my life to be more than this, as my children grow up, I feel more determined to ensure I live a life that is purposeful.
I feel women can so easily be put upon with their lot in life. I want them to expect more, demand more. To have dreams realised, and to fulfil their potential. I believe for a man this is almost commanded, expected. Women spend too much time asking permission to make their mark. I know as I get older I will welcome women in to my world, to share their stories and hopes. As a collective we can make progress. For the next generations of women, that they understand their lives are equal, and more than that as they bring their children in to the world, they still cling on to their identity because it will be challenged, but they will fight back and be stronger than ever. Showing their children how the future needs men and women.
There are many that feel equality is already here. It is not. Look at the figures of male/female balance in politics of first world countries. Equality has to begin here. Where our laws are written. It is in government and in huge corporate companies, where things will change. Women must be a part of this. I never got that opportunity, but I will have my voice and what I want to say to all women is ‘Be heard.’