Christmas Eve, Cake, and Red Wine


Potica, a cake with walnut filling

I can’t feel my lips.

I can barely find the keys on the keyboard.

This is how it happened.

I went downstairs to give the dog the Christmas bone I bought for him.  He didn’t want to take it at first.  Finally he did but I don’t know what he did with it, probably hid it somewhere.

My landlady was outside,  gathering firewood or something.  So I say to her, “Vesel Bozic”, which means Merry Christmas.  She says back to me, “Enako” (you too) and a bunch of other stuff I don’t understand.

She comes up the steps and basically I am kidnapped.  Again.

Socializing in Slav countries pretty much revolves around alcohol, which I have a limited ability to withstand.  One or two glasses of wine and I’m officially drunk.

Anyway, I am compelled to enter the kitchen, which is like a living museum of the socialist 70s.  We sit around the kitchen table. She plies me with potica, which is a kind of rolled cake made with walnut filling and everyone here eats it on holidays.  Also she poured me about four glasses of Cviček, which is a local red wine.  We sit around, the dog begs for my cake, I feed him some, we both pet him and pull his ears.  There’s not much to say because she doesn’t speak English and I don’t know more than ten words of her language.

She gives me a slice of something that looks like congealed pig brains.  Luckily it’s wrapped up for later.  I will have to think about whether I want to try eating it or not.

She turns on the local television station, which is showing something about Tibetan dogs and Christmas trees, and I understand almost nothing of it, but I’m so buzzed I don’t even really care.

I had interrupted her in the middle of something and she has to go finish it, so after feeding the dog the burnt part of my potica I make my way, with exaggerated care, up the stairs to my part of the house.  And now I’ve cranked up Joy Division really loud and it sounds really good.

Can’t show you pictures because it’s actually illegal to take pictures of people without permission, and I can’t speak enough of the language to ask for permission!

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