Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friendships 1

Pauline & Sugar Plums

Some friends you meet accidentally. Sometimes these friends are among the best you make.

These are Pauline’s sugar plums (well, what’s left of them) that she makes each Christmas to send to her friends, of which I am lucky to be one. They only arrived last week, because as she said in her eagerly-awaited annual letter “I’m a tad behind”.

No apologies needed. Pauline. It’s lovely to have a New Year treat as good as these – she flavours them with spices and citrus and each is not only a melting mouthful, it is a reminder of how we met, shared a couple of fabulous weeks and have continued a long-distance friendship through e-mails and long letters.

Long distance is definitely a motif. We met in India and Pauline lives in Iqaluit, Nunavut, where she works, and travels a lot, as a manager in Visitor Experience for Parks Canada.

Here are a few of her watercolours she includes in her Christmas letter each year, celebrating the North.

In 2006 I went to India for yoga and Ayurveda studies. Pauline was halfway through her year of travel, something she promised herself since she was 18. A talented amateur artist she wanted to visit art galleries, museums, interpretative centres and experience food everywhere. Before her more than 25 years with Parks Canada, she had been a commercial cook. You can see where the sugar plums, plus jam, breads and dinner parties come from.

In Kerala, Southern India she met up with two friends, also from Iqaluit, who were part of our yoga group. So began our getting to know each other. Later on that trip we met up again in Goa. We shared an interest in the old Portuguese-inspired architecture of the area, almost got caught up in a demonstration and loved every minute of the colours, textures and sounds that abound there.

I don’t have a photograph of Pauline to share, but she is vivid in my minds’ eye. Sitting in the restaurant in Goa, red hair loosely caught up, enjoying the fabulous fruits and juices with evident gusto.

Pauline’s heart is large. Each year there are additional gifts with my sugar plums. This year she sent a copy of Salman Rushdie’s ‘Midnight’s Children’, which I haven’t got round to reading, and a lovely Zen Calendar. Last year the calendar featured Inuit art. These are two of my favourite months from that I’m planning to frame.

Feathered Friends

Curious Bear

So India and yoga come together again, entwined in our friendship.

Thank you, Pauline.

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