It’s the last day of October so time for …

…my sister’s birthday. Aww!  There’s lots to say about my younger-but-taller-always-stylish-recently-become-a-mum sister but not today… (Sorry sis). Because the majority of the world (sorry sis) celebrates Halloween on 31 October. Or do they?

Before kids, I happily ignored this holiday. But now, there are so many questions and viewpoints. Whether religious or not, many parents have differing views on this holiday.

My fundamental concern about Halloween is its apparent one-sided-ness: celebrating the dark and the dead while shunning the light and the living. It’s great this year that it falls around the same time as Diwali – the Hindu festival of light – which unless you are a strict (insert name of your faith) if you’re a Trinbagonian you lay claim to. But I digress…

This is further complicated by guilt, having grown up Catholic in the Caribbean, I have memories of vigil mass as the 1st of November is All Saints Day (saints are those who are in heaven whether beatified or not according to Catholic dogma) and the 2nd November was about going to the graves and/or praying and lighting candles for the faithfully departed who were in purgatory. But I digress…

Instead of being mired in the merde (excuse my French), this is what we’ll be doing:
• dressing up – Superman or fireman – super-heroes or ordinary day heroes
• lighting candles in remembrance of those no longer with us
• stocking up on sweets
• distributing to anyone who knocks
• discussing difference, tolerance and acceptance
• decorating – not – the house
• making memories with friends

Wishing you light, love and blessings whatever you’re celebrating …

For Changalang

I’ll wear pink

I’ll  laugh with abandon

I’ll bawl without care

I’ll hug my kids for a bit longer

I’ll hold my husband’s gaze

I’ll reach out to friends and family

Memories flow

Aunty Patsy’s pow and lime juice at recess

Shooting the breeze on ‘the bench’

Cedros for Mr Archie’s Geography project

You explaining the circulatory system in Human and Social Biology

Our unabashed pleasure of making our balance sheets.. uhm balance in Principles of Accounting

Dissecting the Saddhu of Couva in English Literature

Blissing out in Mayaro after CXC

I’ll be pleased we hooked up that one time

You said it was like your birthday come early

MB had also been in touch

We had lunch bemoaning our weight gain

Chided a certain JAC

For not changing since SJC

In your passing

We’ll live and

Your essence will live on

Guava whippings and writing

Having read Woman’s Weekly since I was about five, I’ve dreamt of being published in this magazine. In the desert, it’s a slice of Britannia which I often have with a mug  of tea(Yorkshire,builder’s).

Having had a letter and a photo published, my holy grail is a short story.  Some sources recommend breaking into Buckingham Palace as an alternative. A writing magazine columnist, who makes a significant portion of her income from selling her short stories worldwide, has had limited success in over a decade. She has neither confirmed nor denied meeting the Queen.

Having perused the submission guidelines, I decided to do one of their writing courses. This plan was scuppered by the Great British Passport Fiasco of 2014.

Deleting this from my Ultimate Wish List has been considered and dismissed, often.

Having read, studied, dissected, analysed, critiqued, examined scores of others’ stories; I have drafted, edited, rewritten and proofed several of mine. Out of many, one was chosen to be redrafted, critiqued and rewritten several times before being polished. Same was done with the covering letter. With a hope and a prayer, both were posted.

Eight weeks later, I received a rejection letter. Gutting but expected – part of the writing life. Two lines stung like the welts of a guava whip: the suggestion that I should read the magazine as the story did not reflect the audience and I should consider their fiction course.

As they say in the desert…What to do yani?

Khinkali, khachapuri and churchkhela

And wine…I love a Merlot or a Colombard or a Rosé – when it comes to wine I’m neither fussy nor knowledgeable. What I do know for sure is that Georgia may be one of the most underrated wine producers in the world. In years to come, Mukhrani, Badagoni and Marani will slip off the tongue as easily as any Western European, Australasian or South American wine house.

Dumplings the size of your palm? Choose your fillings: pork and beef, mushroom, cheese or potato? That’s a khinkali – reminded me of pow (Trinidad Chinese dumpling). These steamed beauties were as ubiquitous as they were delicious. Georgian pizza would be a lazy way of describing khachapuri but after you’ve had one, that’s exactly how you’ll feel. Cheese and bread and sometimes a sunny-side-up egg– what’s not to love?

If you have a sweet tooth but trying to stay away from cakes and pastries then churchkhela is the perfect snack. Dried fruit pulp (think Fruit Roll-Ups) wrapped around walnuts. We noticed the sausage-like stalactites of red, purple and peach outside many shops on the way to Meidan place and had to try it and bring some back.

When we weren’t drinking wine or local spring water, we had Georgian lemonade. This was a misnomer as it came in different flavours. I deduced it was cordial which was added to fizzy water. Our favourites were lemon and tarragon. The latter looked like liquid kryptonite and was refreshingly different.

On our last night, our landlady took us to a traditional restaurant about 30 minutes’ drive away in New Tblisi. In this converted watermill, replete with waterfall, we sat on the riverside terrace and ordered a kilogram of bbq pork and a superb red wine. For checking in on FB to the Tsiskvili restaurant, we got a free bottle of sparkling wine which we had been assured was wonderful. The traditional Georgian music, singing and dancing facilitated degustation.

However, to paraphrase a Trinbago saying ‘we eye was bigger dan we belly’. We took some of the pork home and had it for breakfast the next morning and we gave the sparkling wine as a gift to our host.

This is the third and final of three posts abot our visit to Tbilisi.

Tempted to visit?