Monday, February 13, 2012

memory lane

This last week Matt and I had the opportunity to go down and visit my grandparents on my mothers side. Now, when I say we had the opportunity what I mean is we decided that if we didn't just do it we'd never find a good time to see them. One of the downsides of living in California. Living a measly 40 miles or so from someone isn't measly at all...depending on traffic it can be the longest, most vomit-inducing day of your life. And my grandparents live farther than 40 miles away. But we love them and I'd been missing them. Plus I can't deny the fact they're getting old and every moment with them is not only a hoot and a laugh but precious.

My grandpa, or Medzhire, is Armenian and grew up in Syria after the Armenian genocide. He is basically the most hard core and knowledgable grandpa you'll ever meet. He's retired now but use to own several antique oriental rug shops. I remember being small and my Medzmire (grandma) taking us all to the beach. It was tradition that we'd always stop at Medzhire's shop and he'd stock us full of goodies and treats and then off we'd go. His shop was amazing! It was completely covered with the most beautiful rugs. I think he loved having all his grandchildren there because he'd let us climb and play all over them. (And these rugs are not cheap!) My older brothers and sisters were tall enough to climb onto of the rugs that were rolled and standing. Me on the other hand... They'd tease and taunt me and laugh while I scrambled and scratched at the rugs trying to get on top where they were. Eventually I gave up and resorted to climbing the piles of rugs laying flat on the ground. Sometimes the piles were so high it felt like I was flying on a magic carpet. So...guess who became Jasmine every time she went to Medzhires? Yup.

One time, I was visiting my grandparents during the summer and I begged and begged Medzhire to let me go to work with him. He'd smile at me and say:

Medzhire: "You'll get bored!"
Me: "No I won't! I promise I won't! Pleeeeeaaaaase?"
Medzhire: "I love you too much. You'll have more fun here with Medsmire."

For the longest time he held his ground and said he loved me too much to let me sit around, bored at his shop all day. But finally he caved! The next day I woke up while it was still dark outside and got ready as fast as I could. I walked into the kitchen and saw him sitting at his end of the table, his books stacked all around and his pumpkin seeds right there. He smiled at me as I told him I was ready and I promised again, I wouldn't be bored. I remember sitting nervously in the passenger seat of his car. Probably because I had wanted to go for so long and suddenly here was my opportunity. I did not want to screw it up and make Medzhire regret bringing me. I was going to show him how big I was.

We stopped at Albertsons on the way and he told me to get some of my favorite treats. After much debate I went with a 5 piece pack of the wrigley doublemint gum. I thought that was a big kid treat. Then when we were in line to check out my Medzhire saw the gum and was surprised. "That's all you want? Go get some more!" I told him firmly no thanks, the gum was enough. I think he knew better because he suddenly remembered a few more items he needed and proceeded to get cookies, crackers and a few other things. By this point I was so excited. I got to go to work with Medzhire!

After 5 minutes of being at his shop...I was bored. I'd already chewed all 5 pieces of my gum. Spitting each piece out when it lost it's flavor and quickly replacing it with another. I remember Medzhire watching me out of the corner of his eye as he sat repairing a rug for one of his clients. I was sitting on top of the tall rugs that were rolled and stacked on their sides. I'd taken all of the pillows and made a fort and without anybody there to try and knock it down or commandeer it my game ended. I laid back and must have sighed because Medzhire stood up and asked if I was bored and wanted something to do, a game to play. I quickly lied, "I'm not bored!" And went back to my fort, restacking the pillows. I think we'd been there only an hour (which felt like a life time.) I'd started a new game and was talking to myself, someone had to talk for my imaginary friends, when Medzhire asked again if I was bored. Glad to tell him honestly that I wasn't bored he laughed and said:

Medzhire: "I don't believe you."
Me: "No, I swear I'm not bored. If I start to get bored I just talk to myself." Knowing this solution works for me and kept me un-bored, I thought it was a very mature thing to do. My Medzhire found it quite hilarious and bust up laughing even harder.
Medzhire: "If your talking to yourself you must be crazy. Only crazy people talk to themselves."

I thought about what he said and decided I wouldn't mention talking to myself again. I didn't want him to think I was crazy. Later, after we'd gone home for the day everyone was asking how the day went at Medzhire's shop. I was beaming with pride after having stayed the whole day and not having complained once that I was bored...even though it was far from the truth. At this point Medzhire decided to tell everyone about me talking to myself. Everyone laughed and giggled and thought it was the cutest thing. I didn't find it so funny and burst into tears. I remember Medzhire quickly scooping me up and hugging me tight, kissing my cheek with his prickly mustache and beard. He told me he loved me and that I could talk to myself whenever I wanted.

I have so many wonderful memories of Medsmire and Medzhire, their house, the smell of oriental rugs, their big yard and orchard of delicious fruit trees. It was so wonderful to get to go back and revisit all my many memories. It made it even more special having Matt there with me. It was such a sweet reminder that family really is all.

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