Today we helped IB and AI move into a completely refurbished 2 bedroom apartment half a block from the lake. The weather was not too hot and everyone’s mood was upbeat. After we toted, dragged, lifted, piled, carried, heaped, pulled, coaxed, heaved, and moved boxes and furniture into the U-haul and then toted, dragged, lifted, piled, carried, heaped, pulled, coaxed, heaved, and moved the U-haul’s contents into the new space, we took a short break sitting atop boxes and random sundry chairs in the new air-conditioned apartment.
That’s when we gave IB and AI our bag of wishes for them in their new home, a Romanian tradition my grandmother had always shared and that my family has continued to follow. In the bag a freshly baked loaf of bread (cranberry walnut) to assure there will always be bread on the table, a bottle of honey (dark buckwheat) so that there will be sweet experiences in the new home, salt to bring wealth (because both IB and AI love to cook, normal salt wouldn’t do so we got Hawaiaan Black Lava salt, Red Alea Clay salt, Portuguese Salt Cream sea salt, and Pink Himalayan salt). (By the way, salt is where our word “salary” comes from because salt was a very valuable commodity as it preserved food. Roman soldiers used to be paid with it.) My grandmother used to always add to her explanation of the symbol of salt, “And, of course, to be aware that there will be tears too.” And last but not least, wine so that there should always be joy in the new home (a bottle of Pacific Rim Riesling and a bottle of Quickfire Zinfandel).
It was the perfect touch to an already more than an exhausting day especially for the two of them who have been stressed out with packing and weeding out their belongings for several days now. Bread, honey, salt, and wine—tangible and significant (and Romanian) wishes for a young and tender relationship.