Day 8 – Home Comforts
Last night after my usual indulgence of a caramel egg accompanied by an episode of Game of Thrones I settled down to sleep. I had been asleep a while, but was aware that the night was early when I heard Sofia’s small 2-year-old boy crying loudly. The crying went on for some time and I could also hear Sofia’s raised voice and that of her estranged husband Azaan. I learnt this morning that Sofia, at the end of her tether with her 39 plus weeks of pregnancy, an unwell child and a horrible cold, had an understandable meltdown when Ebo was restless and unwilling to sleep.
“She was fast becoming a much loved surrogate daughter and I wanted her to feel better.”
In desperation she had called Muna to come for support. Azaan had seen Muna arrive at the house from his location, visiting his mother upstairs. He had come into the house and taken the little boy from Sofia in a supposed answer to her stress, which upset Sofia even more and she had spent a first ever enforced night away from little Ebo. She looked tired, drained and sad, and instinctively I put my arms around her and held her close. She was fast becoming a much loved surrogate daughter and I wanted her to feel better.
As an outsider I could see the dynamics of everyone’s feelings and points of view when personal issue came up for discussion. Of course my 100% sympathies lie with Sofia, but when a young couple meet in their teens, parenthood is also hard on a young man of 21.
“Often the beautiful melodious sounds of him singing his favourite Adele songs can be heard echoing through the building.”
So today Sofia understandably wanted to spend as little time as possible in the house where Azaan works and her in laws live in close proximity. As well as being a film producer, Azaan is an accomplished musician and singer, and often the beautiful melodious sounds of him singing his favourite Adele songs can be heard echoing through the building. Add problems of love to the situation and I could empathise with Sofia’s desire to escape. So at noon it was off to Muna’s house we went. A nice picnic on the grass in the garden discussing all aspects of post-natal care whiled away the hours of a quiet Sunday. I had taken my laptop, thinking that a quiet afternoon may mean I would watch a movie of some sort, but I kidded myself that they wouldn’t have something planned, and by 4pm we were in the car being driven to meet yet another family friend who “would love to meet Virginia”.
Auntie Arlya was a lovely woman who had lived a lot in USA. She and her husband had 4 kids ranging from 19 to 5 years old. All dressed very western and in a lovely big house behind yet another high wall, I was intrigued by the accomplishments of the children of parents who encouraged them to be responsible entrepreneurs. One of the boys of around 13 kept chickens and made chicken feed that he sold, one kept a vegetable patch, and the 16-year-old daughter made exquisite high end sandals. They showed me her workshop in the basement and the shoe collection. All very beautiful with amazing decorations and adornments of glass stones and beads in various colours and designs. All the different kinds and colours of leather was spread out on racks, as every pair of shoes is hand made. The prices however were not cheap for being made in Pakistan. A pair I very much liked were £30, and in Pakistan that’s a lot of money, so asked why they were so expensive? The answer was that they were being sold to high end Pakistanis and they could afford it! Fair play to her I suppose.
Accompanied with our tea we were served delicious homemade cottage cheese. Delicate mounds of mouth-watering softness with added herbs, spices and flavourings. Look out family of mine; I will be trying the recipe myself because it sounds very easy to make indeed. Whilst chatting about food the topic of sweets came up, and I happened to mention one of my favourites is liquorice. Oh boy I should have stayed quiet! Cue driver and we are off on a mission to the imported sweetie shop to find Virginia her home comforts. In a little side street, typical with small higgledy piggledy shops (although surprisingly free of the usual rubbish and filth) we came to a brightly lit modern shop, the contents of which made me long for home and my sofa in front of the TV.
Full from ceiling to floor with every confectionary Sainsbury has to offer, even Sainsbury’s own brands. Every chocolate biscuit and sweet I could very wish for filled the shelves. Unfortunately, the much craved for liquorice was nowhere to be seen, but knowing Muna as I have come to, I suspect it won’t be long before she tracks some down.
And so after a day that had an emotional start we ended on a high and a fun evening chatting and laughing. Little Ebo thought it would be hilarious to use the air pump needed for pumping up Sofia’s birth ball for pumping up mummy’s tummy instead… a tummy my enquiring hands and eyes noticed had grown considerably in the week I had been here!