On Saturday we had the most fun day at LadyBohemia – decided to have a live mannequin in the window display. My author/dancer/model friend volunteered and regally waived, Charleston danced and blew kisses to passers-by all day… Word spread around and soon people came from near and far to see… “Look there she is!” Some took photos, most waived back, many came to greet us… This little gesture made so many people smile and laugh, and inside the shop was all laughter as well.
On that day and after we’ve had even children or elderly gentlemen come in and thank us for bringing smiles and life to our little street. Not to mention the impact when my sweet Bhakti climbed to the vitrine and danced to people… She only has to stand somewhere and people come to tell her she looks like a princess. And children actually believe she is one (she is, of course ;) ). So just look take a look at this…
Our theme song to be danced to by all at the shop was this… So very appropriate :)
Tomorrow – no it’s already today… We have a big clearing at the shop before new arrivals, meaning sales up to 70 %. Plenty of good stuff, including a raffle between all visitors. And do take a closer look at the store window for our live model….
So warm welcome Saturday, we’re open 11-17 on Kapteeninkatu 26, next to the KOM theatre. Even I intend not to be late <3.
These Moonalia chains and a few other items, just in
Our first ever big sale just started… I was, as usual, fashionably late for my own sale and found a little queue waiting outside the shop upon arrival :). Tomorrow still with 50 % off from most of our selection, will also update sales items on Etsy… Then I’m off to welcome the New Year. Don’t know where or how but can’t wait.
A friend of mine is planning to visit Marrakech. I am seriously dreaming of going with her. I’ve been there once – it is the birthplace of one of the most magical experiences of my life.
We lived in a local home, a riad as they call them – house without windows towards the exterior so the women can’t be seen by anyone but family. In the middle, there is a square courtyard where the family can be outside but unseen by anybody else.
Our riad was extremely liberal. Two young gay men lived there together, openly in love, without anybody’s judgement – in fact the other one of them had been sent back to Morocco from France by his family to learn “traditional values”. A lady called Amina took care of us, we become friends with her.
One evening the air was thick with anticipation and festive spirit. A wedding was being prepared in the riad next to us – the preparation had something to do with chasing away illness and bad spirits. They called it Gnawa ceremony, according to the Gnawa people who had been brought to Marrakech as slaves from the Sub Saharan Africa. Amina and the boys belonged to that tribe. Very exceptionally, Amina invited us to join in the festivities… The riad was packed, some 70 locals, my ex and me.
In the main room, there were musicians who played age old instruments. They came from families of musicians, their heritage having been passed on for centuries. Slowly the music changed and intensified. We tried to understand what we were witnessing… But everybody else spoke only Arabic and it was as alien to us as was the scene.
As midnight approached, the music started to correspond to color. And it called out something in some of the people, spirits or source of evil or illness, they explained us. Amidst our Arabic and their French, we understood nothing but what we saw. But when an orange music would start, a person, or many, would make an animal howl or cry. Roll their eyes. Surge to the center of the floor -the rest of us sat down on the floor next to the walls. A wild, primal dance if you can call it so, was kind of pulled out of the person. The dancer was out of any control, falling, wailing, hurling… The others held the dancers in the middle of the room with long orange pieces of cloth, forming a center where they moved to the music. This continued till the dancer passed out. Literally, fell and fainted. Then she was carried out of the circle to the next room where mattresses were laid down. The music would continue as long as any “orange” dancer was still standing. Then the color would change.
Blue music, blue cloth, different people seemingly possessed. Some women responded to color after color. We couldn’t understand how they were physically able to go on like that… Yet everybody around us welcomed this as something completely normal – except for our gay host who had been raised in France, understood none of this just like us, and was terrified. When his boyfriend was “invited” by a color I thought it would be him who would faint first.
Mostly it was women who reacted to the music, from a really large 80-year-looking grandmother to a little girl of maybe 10 years of age. We were seriously worried the grandmother would have a heart attack before she could chase the spirit away. Bathing in sweat, she was half conscious and it went on and on… We were so relieved when she fainted, alive. It took four people to carry her to the next room.
There was no logic, no reason a Western mind could find. They didn’t put on a show for tourists. They didn’t ask or accept any kind of payment. They just offered us the traditional, warm Moroccan hospitality, being kind, serving their mint tea… We even considered that there could have been something in the tea of the people who lost themselves… But it was the same tea served to everybody – even us. So powerful was the experience that we kept on checking whether either of us was feeling anything strange… Worried what to do if the other one of us would suddenly feel this – whatever it was.
It was something wild, primal, animal. We didn’t understand it but having witnessed it, we had to believe this happened.
At some point they closed all the lights, all the candles. A different color started, the animal howls in total darkness. The woman next to me understood I was afraid. She took my hand, caressed my back, repeating something (comforting?) in Arabic… I whispeared my boyfriend, seriously meaning it “Do you think there’s any chance this might involve human sacrifice?”. Everybody was as kind and welcoming towards us as ever possible… But the inhuman screams in the darkness… My engineer-rational, everything estimated based on likelihood -boyfriend grabbed my other arm firmly saying neither of us would move an inch before lights would come back.
The colors, music, dance went on till 7-8 in the morning. The musicians never stopped, till the last person of the last color had dropped.
Speechless, we wandered to our own riad to go to sleep in the morning. There were and are no words to what we’d experienced. We tried to talk about it with my father-in-law who had lived in Marrakech for years and spoke perfect Arabic.. But he was blocked in the idea that it was a fix for tourists. Or hallusinogens were involved.
I disagree. Even my ever so rational engineer ex-husband disagrees.
Maybe you don’t need to be able to explain everything in words.
There’s nothing like Paris. First, coming from the airport, the taxi driver, an elderly gentleman: “May I ask what perfume you’re wearing? It’s so enchanting”. Of course, I wasn’t wearing perfume. The French sure know how to flirt but in a way that’s not imposing or annoying, just makes you smile.
Second, when I arrived at my most beautiful and romantic hotel, they told me “Bienvenue a la maison!” Welcome home. My smile was as bright as the sun outside.
Not to mention the feeling after having spent the evening wondering the cobblestone streets of Quartier Latin… Stopping at cafes, art galleries, little boutiques… Candlelight dinner… I must have smiled even in my sleep.
The connection between me and my sons never ceases to amaze me.
Just the other day I was chatting with a person I’d never met but who had discovered my little blog and found it interesting. His way of expressing himself was very poetic… I found that interesting. The second day that we exchanged messages my son Joel looked at me funnily.
He came to sit very close to me, looked me deep in the eyes and asked “Okay Maman, who is he?”
I need to travel to Paris for business tomorrow. Which is wonderful and I can’t wait to wander the streets of the city of lights in all her Christmas glory… And I’m not afraid for myself because of the recent attacks… But my little boys are terrified. “No we don’t let you go!” “Maman please stay with us…”. “What if there is another attack and you die.”
What do I tell them…The answer needs to be both true and comforting. And in this case the truth doesn’t comfort them one bit. That I believe nothing will happen… That I will be careful… That the police are going to be everywhere and very alert…
And my eldest son reads (and quotes to me) Le Monde’s predictions of a possible chemical or biological attack. My little boy cried himself to sleep in my arms two past nights. And still I have no choice, I have to go.
Before Paris, they didn’t know about Breivik, school shootings, September 11th… And now they ask if I’ll fly with the same kind of normal passenger plane that was crashed into the World Trade Center. That do I know there is an island in Norway where children were on summer camp and somebody knocked on the door saying he was a police officer… And then he shot and killed all the children. To this, Luca says “I’m not afraid for myself but for you Maman.”
I so wish I could have protected their innocence, even if only a little bit longer.
At the moment of my divorce, I had nothing. I was forced to stay in my former home, now having become my ex-husband’s home, for months after the break up, without even funds for a rent deposit or a moving van. A period of despair and loneliness.
Until the most unexpected happened. When my father passed away, he left me an inheritance in the form of the family’s summer place. My mother swore to never sell it – they had owned it for some 30+ years and absolutely loved the place. Then four years after we had lost dad – that very summer of my divorce – she suddenly announced it was time to let go . The place was sold. And I was saved. Was finally able to find a home for myself, a safe place where I and the loves of my life, my two little boys, could recover and find some solace.
At that moment in time I got a most simple and clear sense of my father’s hand reaching for me, pulling me through when I had no more strength left in myself.
And a déjà vu reflection of another moment between my father and I, some 17 years earlier. A Christmas dinner for our family with some friends of my parents… Friends who started showing photos of our traditional dinner from previous year. In each picture, there were me and an ex-boyfriend – the wound from that separation was still bleeding raw. I went through picture after picture and to my horror, my eyes welled up. I so didn’t want to cry in this company, none of them were very kind people. I swallowed my tears the hardest I could… Nobody noticed I think… Until my dad sitting opposite to me at the end of the big table winked me to come after him. He pulled me to the other room and just hugged me without saying a word. Confronted by his kindness, I was no longer able to fight my tears.
Nothing was said. It was the only time I remember him hugging me as an adult.
And now, even from the other side, he managed to send me a strong hug bringing me to safety, at a moment when I was most shattered and torn.
Not a day goes by that I don’t miss him.
I don’t even have a single photo of us two together since my childhood… But it’s okay.