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Monday, December 9, 2013

Life these days... - Blog post by Miss Natasha Enquist


Getting your energy, your power, your strength back after surgery is surprisingly not that easy. You think you're Superwoman, you think you're immortal, invincible, you can lift accordions over your head into the overhead compartments on airplanes, you are the Accordion Girl - Accordionista Saviourista - Saving the world with the accordion!

But these days... Wait a second... I need to sit down... I'm too tired to stand for that long... I'm going to need a stool to perch on while I play...

It's okay, it's getting better all the time. I have to be very thankful as well. My Spanish Nurse was so helpful with taking on the weight of my accordion, and getting it to my gigs with me. This made things possible since I'm without my own car, since living in Europe, and their are taxi's, but if you've got someone offering you a hand when you really need one and public transit is as convenient as it is in Berlin - you do things this way.

I had a few fun gigs over this past weekend. On Friday night I was performing at the Das Hotel. It was an intimate environment, and very welcoming. Saturday night's "Absinth Aperitif Soiree" at the Ehemaliges Stummfilmkino Delphi Berlin, was fabulous. I managed, with little effort really, to have far too much fun ;-)





This theater, where we were all performing at on Saturday, is quite special to Berlin and German cinema. The area where this theater stands was the film district in Weißensee, known as "Little Hollywood". 

Photography by Dario-Jacopo Lagana
http://www.norte.it/

To perform in this historic building, which has so much charm, and has only been slightly refurbished - keeping it's spirit alive and well, is a real treat for a performer in Berlin.



When you live in Berlin, you get asked the same questions when you meet new people at a party, or wherever. "Where are you from?" and "What brought you to Berlin?". The same answer is: Ich komme aus Kanada und I was needing adventure, to be inspired, but also - to connect to my roots. I feel I'm honouring my family, relatives, ancestors, by being here and using German (sometimes) and traveling and finding a connection from where my family was from. Seeing the familiarity in the faces of strangers here, to my relatives.

My German Grandmother, Meta, was the eldest of 4 siblings (Meta, Senta, Natan and Elli). She passed away in 2007, which had a huge impact on me with the direction I wanted to go with my life after that.


Back row: Aasoff - son from my Great Grandfather's previous marriage
Middle row: Meta, Hulda, Julius
Front row: Elli, Senta, Natan

Senta had passed away first, and I had only met her once in my life. She was the only sibling that stayed behind in Europe, when the other three chose to immigrate with their spouses, children, all the way to the prairies of Canada. The huge downside of her staying behind to wait for her husband, who fought in the war and then fell in love with his nurse, was she was then left alone with her children and became a prisoner of war. She was stuck in Siberia, and then in Russia for 40 years or so, until she and her family were finally able to leave Russia and move to Germany.

Then it was my Grandmother Meta, and then my Unkle Natan passed away just a few years ago. I learned late last night that my Tante Elli passed away yesterday. She was the last of this original family, which is the core of my German history from my Mother's Mother's side of the family.

I heard so many amazing stories from them during my childhood. From the beautiful life they had growing up in the Ukraine, to the heartache that was caused when Communism overthrew the government - and were forced out of their beautiful home, having to move further east, and my Great Grandfather was wrongfully imprisoned for 5 years, during which my Great Grandmother grew very ill and with no vaccines - the children had to stay away from the hospital. Not able to see either parent, and living in a Russian town and only able to speak German, they then were taken care of by my Great Grandmother's sister. After 5 years they were all together again, and returned to the Ukraine, in Katharinenthal - a German settlement once again.

The siblings married their spouses, had many children, those children having children, and so on... Stories from their early years in Canada, the adventures they all had, and mixing the stories all together between what happened over here and what happened in Canada, filled my head as a young girl.

My Tante Elli was probably the best cook and baker out of the siblings, but I didn't know my Tante Senta's cooking as I only met her once in the 90's when she was able to visit Canada for a few weeks. Elli made a lot of Slavic food, punchkins filled with poppy seeds, and borscht are the things that stand out in my mind the most, and her amazing garden - which all my relatives had and were passionate about.

My Tante Elli was super bubbly and out-going, and loved to laugh. I have great memories of her and my Grandma talking up a storm together at family gatherings, full of opinions, stories, and passion, and making us all laugh.

They grew up in Volhynia - a German settlement in the Ukraine. This explains why when I hear eastern European accents, they sound like my relatives, even though I only heard them speaking German during my childhood. Makes sense? It seems to make perfect sense to people here from the Ukraine, Poland, the former Yugoslavia, and Germany, which is really nice since it confused people when I explained this back in Canada. I was certainly named "Natasha" for a reason, and was quite tickled when the instructor of an art class I was modeling for, here in Berlin, asked if I had Slavic roots. Finally! It was becoming clear who I am, with living here in Europe.

I like being a second generation Euro-Canadian, and celebrating what my history is, because that is a big source of inspiration and identity for me. So, with knowing this, I would love to travel to the Ukraine and Sweden in 2014, since I have already made my way to Poland, Hungary in 2012, and am living in Germany.

I don't think I've told this story very clearly, I know my Grandmother's biography, and am mixing it with my Tante Elli's slightly.

I hope my family and relatives are doing okay back in Canada, during this time of loss.

Much love,

xo MNE









PLEASE NOTE: All photos (with the exception of the photo by Dario-Jacopo Lagana) are property of Miss Natasha Enquist, and not for use without permission.

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