Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Merry Christmas from

Craciun fericit
Hristos se rodi
Kala Christouyenna!
Srozhdestvom Kristovym

Today is Christmas in the Orthodox faith, so if you're wondering why your Greek, Ukrainian, Serbian, or Romanian friends didn't show up for work, that's the reason. Chances are they're still cleaning up the mess made by 5 678 festive cousins who visited last night. For those who don't know, in many Slavic cultures, "cousin" does not solely mean "child of my parent's sibling." A more accurate translation is "I have no clue how we're actually related, if we are related, but someone's brother's cousin's grandmother in the ancestral village gave someone else's brother's cousin's grandmother a jug of Slivo one dry, hot day, back in 1789, when the oxen died and the wheels fell of the cart, so that makes us family." I'm not Orthodox but have always celebrated the holidays. In typical fashion, my Orthodox Christmas celebrations are decidedly un-orthodox. Instead of tossing a special log into the fireplace, I flip on the gas fireplace and slaughter a home-made chocolate Yule log. The Christmas Eve Monopoly marathons of my childhood are replaced by building crazy Lego creations at the kitchen table with my spawn at Orthodox Christmas. Some traditions, such as eating freshly made bread, poppy seeds and cabbage have remained. Come to think of it,no one ever wants to sit near me after I've eaten the cabbage rolls, sauerkraut soup, and coleslaw - wonder why?

Yesterday, I received the best Christmas gift ever. I've been asked to contribute an article for a prestigious publication. The scale is daunting, several interviews, 900-1200 words, quotes, but within a format. Once again, the hockey world has eased my fears. Every one has been co-operative and patient when I'm struggling for words or trying to keep track of who's on the phone.

It's funny because usually I'm the one handing out the gifts, passing around the rum balls and cookies. This year I didn't have money to go all out the way I love to do. Most people got hugs and cookies. 30 hours after this opportunity came into my life, I'm sitting at my desk, shaking my head, holding back tears, wondering what I ever gave the universe to deserve this incredible opportunity - my dream has become my reality.

Merry Christmas.

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