Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Mardi Gras! Welcome, Lent.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday. Late, this year, but then almost all the more welcome. This year more than ever I am feeling nervous about Lent. Perhaps it’s because we don’t have friends here that go through the same experience, and that it has been a while since we did. Will I be able to keep up what I set out to do? How will I get through this? I am thinking about the big questions, all that is, while trying to prepare. I feel like this is a time that I am supposed to enter celebrating, but despite efforts, it’s more difficult than ever.

To mark the occasion of Mardi Gras – or Fat Tuesday as it is called in Swedish - tonight we had a nice home cooked Chinese dinner, wine, Swedish “semla,” and pumpkin pie for dessert. When we lived in Belgium, our friends or we would throw a huge Mardi Gras party every year. We would invite a bunch of friends, listen to music, talk, and most importantly eat and drink ourselves sick, making fasting the next day no big feat, or even desirable. Still today I think of some of the things we’d serve with a nostalgic, mouthwatering yet almost sickening feeling. Little French pastries filled with cheese, cream, onion, and bacon, anyone? Washed down with everything from Galliano shots to Margaritas? Mmm and yuck!

Since our move we have had trouble finding friends with a similar tradition, but have nonetheless kept it going within the family – albeit not as decadent (it’s just not possible) - and today was no exception. Sending out thoughts to all our friends out there celebrating Mardi Gras tonight, we raise our glasses in grace, and say our goodbyes to all that takes our minds of what is important, while welcoming a time of contemplation, thought and effort.

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