It’s been a few days of celebration – punctuated back at home by spurts of painting my office. Last week it was the surprise 6th birthday party of Latifa, the little daughter of Elvira, who has now been living in the UK for almost a year. Throughout the period where we worked on our book,Â Elvira and Me, the pair were separated, but one lovely spin-off of selling a few books was being able to help her finance a trip back to Romania to collect the girl. Latifa is doing brilliantly at school and almost speaks English like a Mancunian. This was the first birthday she had shared with her mum since 2009 so it was a special one for them both.
Then, yesterday, it was Orthodox Easter Sunday â€“ another big date in the family. Last year I visited the previous day when they were cooking but for some reason couldn’t make the day itself. This year I was told to come round for about 10.30am and much like Christmas Day we first went to visit Elvira’s relatives to eat from their Easter table. Having stopped eating meat, days like this – when practically every dish on the table contains flesh â€“ generally result in me eating my own body weight in cakes. Romanians have a tradition of dyed boiled eggs â€“ two of you bash your eggs together (the older person’s egg on top) while saying “Christ is risen!”…the person with the unbroken egg will apparently live longest. Wikipedia says this tradition exists in the UK as well but I’ve never heard of it. There was much dancing and we all then traipsed back to Elvira’s, where her relatives ate her food. Video is the only medium which really does justice to the dancing – at some point I will edit what I recorded as it’s pretty amazing. Â For more please check out my project site www.theromaproject.comÂ