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This Sylvester/Hogmanay week we went on our long planned winter holiday back to Ellmau, which was once my parent’s second home, a home from home, that I long at times to go home to from my normal home. Not sure if this makes any sense. But basically, what I want to say is that sometimes I want to go home from my home. My home now is of course our family home in Huntly, but then home is also where my language is, my cooking, my jokes, my friends, my agonies. And then when I have tanked up enough of this, I need to go back home from home. Still not sure if this makes sense. But one gets enough of all those things one longs for when away from home (sometime they even become agony again) and longs for the things back home: my work, my garden, my other language, my jokes, my friends, my agonies. Always homesick where ever one is at home, or always at home.
Every time you come to Ellmau, its moved on. More people, more houses, more slopes, more toboggan runs, more ideas, more, more, more. It’s like a More-machine, a More society. If you come home here after a few years, you find it difficult to recognise. But what’s so astonishing, is that at the same time it preserves its culture, like few other places. Every restaurant features its Knödel diversity, its homemade Strudels and its music. Jesuses feature the way sides, the church bells ring quarterly and the annual calendar is speckled with traditional festivities. This week it is Heilig-Drei-König (Epiphany) when children dressed as the three holy kings going from door to door singing and collecting money for good causes. They leave their initials C+M+B initials on the door frames, which shows that the house has been blessed for the year; but also that the proprietor has given their collective duties. The day after that Fasching starts, the carnival season lasts till Ash Wednesday, when the fasting season starts which ends in a whole variety of Easter events; after that its Pentecosts and then Fronleichnam (literally translated Happy Corpse Day, but also Corpus Christi). You can’t be mistaken for where you are; the church bells, the Knödel, the Zithermusik. But what is it that preserves it in all this Moreness? Is it the masses of tourists that demand for it, or is the indigenous farmer cum skiliftproprietor cum Knödelrestaurantowner that presents it? Or is it the dialectic between the visiting expectations on the one side and fulfilling of the expected hospitality on the other?

Winter 2012-13 013

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Happy New Year from Home from Home

Happy New Year from Home from Home

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This entry was published on January 13, 2013 at 5:53 pm. It’s filed under At Home, Away and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.
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