December 10, 2008
Salt and Pepper.
This weekend I was looking for a particulate Christmas ornament and I found a “salt and pepper” shakers set in one of my cabinet drawers. Well, I did not find it, as I knew it was there, but seeing it again brought back sentimental memories.
I was 24 years old when I set on a journey that took me not just away from my family and friends, but also my hometown, the country I grew up in and – away from Europe. I left the continent I called home and relocated to America. I do not think I was really aware of what I have done until the TWA plane landed in JFK airport on a cold January afternoon. I felt a bit lost. I remember clearly how alone I felt, when I tried to buy a soft drink at the airport with $50 bill. The guy at the stand stared at me suspiciously and finally handed me the bill back rudely and said that he only takes one-dollar bills. I said that $50 bills were all I had, as that is what the (stupid) bank gave me when I exchanged my currency in Europe.
My last salary I ever received in Sweden came to $300 and that was given to me in $50 bills. My plan was to live on this amount for the first few months after my arrival in North Carolina. Yes, that is what I thought. I think that money was all spend immediately as a deposit on setting up a bank account. But that is another story entirely. In any case, I had to go thirsty.
I was completely exhausted when the turbo prop I traveled on from NYC finally landed in Raleigh airport, where my new employer, who I never met and whom I only talked to on the phone a couple of times, picked me up.
In the morning the next day when I woke up in a hotel room I finally broke down when I unwrapped the last gift given to me by my mother; two cute pigs, making up a salt and a pepper shakers set.
In some odd way they remain to this day a symbol of the notion that life is what we make it. The meals life will serve us might at times –most of the time - taste of nothing. It is up to us to spice them up.
Someone once said, that in life we never get what we want the most of all. Well, perhaps that is true. I however firmly believe that we hold the power to spice up what ever we get.