I’ve come home every day the past two weeks drained, sore, and exhausted from being on the picket lines. As glorified as the tactic is within labour movement history, it requires a significant exertion of emotional energy and can be pretty mundane. It’s tough being away from home and away from Virtute and Gumption, but I feel as though it’s a responsibility we have as current graduate students to fight for a better deal for those who will come after us.
This morning, I spent some time in Roncesvalles picking up some Polish food items that my grandparents used to feed me when I was little. While I have been eternally grateful for the generous students, faculty, staff, and supporters who have brought delicious treats, snacks, and morale to the lines, it was important for me to take the time to prepare foods that remind me of home.
As many of you know, Virtute is a bit of a foodie, so I asked him if he had any foods that helped him through an especially emotionally draining time. He stirred from his morning sun worship and thought before responding, “Yes. Absolutely. As you know I enjoy various types of foods, I like wet canned food, dry kibble, anything that is in Gumption’s bowl, and an assortment of other strange things, but there is nothing I enjoy eating more than mama Jenny’s steamed fish with soy, ginger, green onions, and garlic. The moment I smell the fish steaming, I make my way to the kitchen to let her know how lovely it smells, and when I get a small morsel to nibble on, I feel truly a part of the family. Food helps to feed our bodies, but it also helps to nourish our souls. I always try to show my gratitude to her with fish-breath kisses.”
I told him that I picked up some Makowiec for dessert this evening and he smiled. “It will help you go back on the lines with care and love in your heart. Though your kisses might smell more like poppy seeds. The greatest struggles are won through expressions of deep love. I’m glad your grandparents’ old recipes have shown you this path.”
And so we reminisced about our favourite treats for another half hour as we watched the snow begin to melt.