Two practical things my grandparents taught me

Not that they are perfect or anything, but I am lucky to have the family I have. A family I, of course, love very, very much. Over the years, I found myself struggling to understand different decisions and, at times, actively opposing the way things were, (loudly) asking for changes.

However, in my quest to improve the situation, I was not blind to the good things around me. And what I love most about them is that these good things are still part of my life when I am approaching 30. For one thing, in our family we always spoke openly about our problems and I, for one, was always sure that I will be supported during my struggles to make the decision – because I was the one to make the decision, not anybody else.

Same now. When I am very upset or uncertain, I can call my mother, talk to her, make her worry and then I make my decision; no input needed, there is just the need to vent. It’s funny how I might be stressed out by something, I call her, tell her this and that are stresssing me and in a couple of days when she asked me how things went, I am like: oh, that old thing, sure, it well went fine [perhaps it would be a good idea to start analysing things more before I put them out in the world, just saying; I am good at making my mother worry for no real reason].

But something even more important than that was the fact that we were lucky enough to have my mothers’ parents around; my grandfather for (my) seven years and my grandmother for (my) 28. Both these people have taught me and my brother unlimited life lessons and many useful skills. Two are crucial to my life now:

  • How to boil eggs

I remember my grandfather spending a lot of time at our house with us kids (my little brother and me). One morning, we were boiling eggs. I could barely see the flame of the stove when I asked him what could I do to always have boiled eggs the way I like them [that being soft; and I am pretty sure I asked a simpler version of this question]. And he said, just count down from 100 to 0. In Romanian, of course. So, some time after that, we were in my grandparents’ kitchen boiling eggs and counting every time we made eggs together.

I stopped counting loudly after his death. I sometimes counted in my mind, but the eggs were not boiled enough and the whites were not done [too soft for my taste]. I guess that, with time, I learned to count faster, so I changed my pace. It isn’t always the right kind of soft, but I keep experimenting with it. Anyhow, any time I boil eggs I think of my grandfather. That ‘boils down’ to once every other day.

  • The habit of starting the day right

My grandmother had more time to teach me all sort of things. When I was growing up, we have definitely had our differences. I don’t understand what is this thing with women, always expecting so much more of other women than of the men. She definitely had a clear picture of how I should be. Despite the differences, however, I think she was happy with how we turned out, as when my brother and me finished cleaning her house in about an hour and a half, for Easter one year before she died, she said: “Oh, you really know how to do things”. I was 27.

So, one of my dearest memories was the smell of coffee in the morning. She had always drank coffee and when I was a child she used to buy coffee beans and ground the beans herself, just after I woke up [if I remember correctly, she may have be grounding them at the time she thought I should wake up, as the sound would indeed, at first, wake me up. With time she needed to actually talk to me and turn up the blinders, which was such a lovely way to wake up a teenager upset about something – yeah, about being woken up at 10:00 during summer].

Now, we ground our beans, as both me and my bf are coffee lovers and are never tired of trying out new ways to improve our coffee. Every time I get to ground the beans, there is this moment when the coffee smells so intense that I say to myself “yeah, you must love this amazing life circle” [I must have gotten this from Gilmore Girls]. And a few minutes later I enjoy my first sip, grateful for my grandmothers’ efforts to make something good of us kids.

Family isn’t easy. But there’s certainly lessons and, in the end, it’s definitely rewarding.

Leave a Reply