Thursday, November 27, 2003

I just came back from having lunch with my mother and her friend Dusanka who is visiting for 6 months from Serbia, and going back in a couple of weeks.

My mother is already consumed with Christmas issues.
She says:
“Evo Bozic, samo sto nije!”
Literal translation:
“Here’s Christmas, it’s just that it isn’t”

December 25th, not January 7th.
“Vat to by for Da Meester?”
“Vat to by for Baba? (The Mister’s mother)” and so on.
There is no convincing my mother that no one needs her to spend her money.
Dusanka has the right idea.
The problem is that Dusanka has the Serbian idea of Christmas.

Dusanka says:
“Go mit da big battle ov goot Konjak, an a nice cake”

My Mother says:
“Ma, yu kan doo det! Tis is no hou da Kanadian pepl do dis!”

That started a long diatribe on North American life.

See, Dusanka has been here for about 6 months.
She’s been observing and making comparisons, as visitors from other countries are wont to do.
Now, it’s natural to look for the negatives in the country you are visiting because, after all, you’re used to something different.

The problem is that as I sat there listening, I recognized me, and my whole life as seen through her eyes.
My life and maybe yours too…

She said:
“Back home, we work to live. Here, you live to work.
I watch you, my daughter and the people here, running, running, running. You drive one hour in traffic to work, you work 8 hours, and then another hour in traffic to go home…that is 10 hours, then you cook and clean when you get home, another 2 hours. That’s 12 hours before you can sit down and even consider yourself human.
If you have children to take care of, not even then. Then you get up before dawn to run to the gym to exercise and do the whole thing again.
Then, Saturday comes and you spend Saturday and Sunday running to do the things that you didn’t have time to do the rest of the week.
Yes, maybe you have more things in your life, nicer things in your house, but when do you enjoy them?
Back home, we don’t live like this.
I get up like you, I work until 1pm and then I come home and lay down until 4 and then I work again until 8…not all this run, run, run…and I retired at 50 and collect my pension. Here, you can’t live long enough to collect the pension you pay in to all the years you work, and even if you do collect, it’s not enough for a human to live on.
If this is your Capitalism, Jebo te Kapitalisam (translated literally = Capitalism fucked you.) then you can call me a Communist!

But I am a Communist with a life.
You are a Capitalist with no life.”