Sunday, December 12, 2010

Drinking Rituals

I drink Bosnian/Turkish coffee every day at 6am, often at 11:30 and then at 4:30 with the Queen when I get home. Sometimes I drink coffee in between, if I visit my Bosnian friends or if I happen to be home and not working and friends come over. Most of them are not American. I wish they were though, Americans are much more fascinated with the coffee and the story telling than people who do this coffee drinking all the time and have it in their blood. Which is to say, almost all Bosnians and including my family aunties, all of grandmother's neighbors, my gaggle of Slavic/Middle Eastern/Greek friends in town, the friends I've made in the refugee and immigrant community. We all drink Bosnian/Turkish coffee and have (seemingly) meaningful conversation while we do, smoke a lot of cigarettes and then we turn over our cups and tell the stories that we see appear out of the coffee grounds. We read each others because reading your own doesn't seem to work as well, the imagination runs dry. (even though we all try).

I've taken cup pictures for years and so I thought it would be an interesting subject for a 'Weekly Photo' here on the blog.

When I was fourteen, I moved to Italy with my family. I started drinking coffee at sixteen I suppose, the same time I started drinking wine. Living in Italy, espresso was de rigueur for years. Bosnian coffee in Bosnia, but that was the exception and I hardly ever went there because who wanted to go to Bosnia when you could go to Paris, Ibiza and Rio? I had not found my Bosnia passion yet and it was long before the shock of the war pulled me in deeper.

Then, right after Dayton when the refugees started streaming in from the camps and the broken hamlets, the ruined cities and the bloodied Drina -  I drank coffee in each and every home every day that I visited in my capacities as a case manager at a Resettlement Agency. Often twice.Often from morning till midnight. I became a Bosnian coffee addict. Long after, around 2003, my friend M from Sarajevo, who is deaf and a whiz at reading cups inspired me to do more with what she was teaching me during our afternoon coffee cup readings. Her old husband gave me 'secret information', typed up on an old typewriter they found somewhere and handed it to me with a grave stare, like he was giving me the holy grail. And indeed, maybe he did.
I started trusting myself, noticing interesting pictures, recognizable symbols and I began my documentation. T

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