I read this book years ago and then watched the movie. I needed a third foreign language film to fulfill the Experience Passport task. I decided to see if I could find this movie and lucky me, it was available on Amazon Prime.
It is an interesting love story between the youngest daughter of a traditional family and a young man. Tita is forbidden by her mother to marry Pedro because as the youngest daughter she is required to stay unmarried and care for her mother until she dies. In order to stay near Tita, Pedro marries her sister. Of course she is broken-hearted.
She puts all her emotions into her cooking and in turn the food is filled with her emotions. The diners are affected by some mystical connection to Tita’s emotions. Strange things happen. Some sad, some funny.
In today’s busy world I think we often times forget the power of food. The power that a homecooked meal shared with family and/or friends can hold. It offers a chance for conversation and connection. Real connection and not a quick text message. I even have fallen into the trap of texting rather than actually picking up a telephone. Being in the midst of a major life change, I think the lesson I can learn from Like Water for Chocolate is that it’s important never to give up on family and love.
As part of my Experience Passport I am watching 3 foreign language movies. I watched Farewell my Queen. It is a French film. But rather than selecting another movie, I decided to watch some episodes of a foreign TV show. As a subscriber to AcornTv, I chose Helppo elämä, a Finnish TV show.
Immediately I realized that nothing about the language sounded remotely familiar. Of course there are subtitles, but I didn’t expect the language to sound so “foreign”. I know that sounds silly but I’ve tried to learn French since I was 12 and I live in Texas so I hear Spanish everyday. I also hear variations of other languages but Finnish is definitely the most unique language I’ve heard.
I searched online and learned it is most closely related to Estonian and Hungarian. Now my ignorance of geography was highlighted. I had assumed because Finland is Scandinavian that the language would be related to Norwegian, Danish or Swedish. I pulled up a map and saw that Finland is just north of Estonia and a mere 240 miles (approximate). That is half the distance from Austin to El Paso. Now it made sense.
The storyline is unusual. It follows a family in which the father is a criminal because he has a 4 million € tax debt and therefore can’t hold a regular job. Each family member has problems including a strangely vindictive mother. What I have found most unusual aside from the language, is that everyone is white. Living in a multi-cultural and multi-racial country makes life like a beautiful quilt and each piece is different and unique. I’m not criticizing the show because there are a lot of countries that are not racially diverse. And as we have slowly learned in the US, television should be a reflection of the people. While we aren’t there yet, we do have more diversity now than when I was growing up a 1,000 years ago.
It’s been fun watching a culture that sounds so different but looks so similar in clothing, furnishings and autos. Lots of Volvos and VWs. Take a chance and view the world through a new and wider lens.
An insecure girl with wild hair
Wandering in a new place, a new school
Struggling to find her way
A name no one knows
You’re not Lisa, Michelle, Karen or Kim
Then I discovered you in Mythological stories of Greek gods and nymphs
You are a nymph loved by Apollo
He promises to care for you forever
Now no I’m longer the girl with the strange name
I’m a beautiful Greek nymph loved by Apollo the ideal of all a Greek man should be
And my beloved you saved me
I’ve always heard they we have a twin somewhere in the world. No one has ever said I look like someone they know or someone famous but my daughters are told they look like two actresses. And they must because there is never any variation. It is always the same two actresses.
You can even find photos online of stars that look eerily similar to another star. Then there are the stories of families that swear a new child is a dead relative’s reincarnation. If your doppelgänger is someone bad does that mean you might share the same characteristics? The same evil soul? It would be interesting to find out how many traits look-a-likes actually share. So what do you think of the doppelgänger in the photo I posted? Eerily alike don’t you think? She even has a huge wart. My photo is posted after this photo. Do I have a doppelgänger?
Have you ever read a book that is timeless? I believe Poldark is just that.A book written in the 1940s about life in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in Cornwall, England. The struggles faced then are as relevant as the ones we face today. Ross Poldark is a soldier just returning home from a war which was lost. He learns not only has the love of his life, Elizabeth agreed to marry his wealthy cousin Francis but his father is dead and his small estate in ruin.
Heartbroken Ross pours himself into his farm and reopening the mine on his land. Unlike his cousin Francis and his wife Elizabeth, Ross was never separated apart from the people on his father’s land. He grew up with the sons of the miners. They were his friends despite the huge difference in their social status. Ross’s experience in the war has given him a clearer perspective on life and the injustices he sees everyday in Cornwall and England.
Miners are forced to poach game to keep their families from starving while the gentry live a life of luxury which is paid for on the backs of the workers, the miners. Justice is only justice if it serves the gentry well because while they say all are equal before the law, that is not how it is actually carried out.
Ross finds himself torn between what he knows in his heart is right and what the people of his class tell him is right. It is the unexpected love and faith he finds in a young girl, a miner’s daughter, that helps Ross find his way.
He stumbles. He fails. He succeeds. He’s torn between love for two women. He carries on doing his best.
Aren’t these the same challenges we face today? The divide between the rich and poor growing. The idea that some are born to succeed and others to fail. Aren’t we struggling to find true justice in our court systems? Not justice for some but justice for all? Aren’t we fighting for education, jobs and the disenfranchised? Aren’t we working to save the men and women who return from war some broken and scarred changed forever? For soldiers who can’t find employment and face poverty? Aren’t we seeking our voice and our right to be heard even if we are poor or a minority or just the plain forgotten?
When Winston Graham published Poldark, World War II had just ended. His country was facing the very same challenges Ross faced when he returned from fighting the American War of Independence. The only difference is Britain won WWII and lost the AmericanRevolution but the returning soldiers faced the same fights as Ross did 150 years earlier. And now in the 21st century we are facing our biggest battle, the fight of ideology. Will we win this world war of terrorism imposed by the few on the many?
This is absolutely my favorite book series and I hope you find the time to read not just Poldark but all twelve books.
“We envy a man for something he has and yet the truth may be he hasn’t got it after all and we have.” Francis Poldark PBS
We live in a world where the message is what you have isn’t enough. We are taught we need to be ambitious, make more money, attain a higher status, just get more. But does stuff and more money make us happy? Does it make us envy our friends and neighbors more or less? Do we ever reach a point when we’ve reached the pinnacle of success and feel satisfied or are we on some endless road?
I think the character Francis Poldark from the Winston Graham book series Poldark’s worcs ring just as true now as when Mr. Graham wrote them and also when Francis was supposed to have said them in the late 1700s. People don’t change. Status whether it’s brought by money, a beautiful wife, a big house or a successful business is a temporary fix for what we all desire on a deeper level.
Things are temporary. Jobs are temporary. Relationships can be shallow. Money comes and goes. But what if while we are so busy acquiring and envying others we miss the joy we already have in our lives? Studies have proven money doesn’t make us happy. It makes us comfortable and offers security on one level. I understand how devastating it can be to lose financial security. I’ve lost all the financial security I had when I divorced. I understand how devastating job loss and loss of a relationship can be. I was married for 30 years only to be tossed aside. It hurt. It still does. I see my friends’ lives and the security they still have. I feel envious. I feel cheated. I feel angry that my ex could discard me and our daughters like yesterday’s trash.
But what I’ve realized is that if I spend my time envying the life I had, the lives of my friends then I cheat myself out of recognizing the blessings and joys that I have in my life now. I have close and loving relationships with my daughters and son-in-law. I’ve learned who my true friends are and that the appearance of happiness doesn’t mean they are happy. I have peace of mind. I no longer wonder in what new way my ex husband was going to betray me and hurt me. I’ve learned I’m strong.
So Francis is right. We’ve had it all along.
Listed in no particular order as all of them have touched me in someway equally.
- Anne Shirley created by Lucy Maud Montgomery
- Demelza Carne Poldark created by Winston Graham
- Melanie Hamilton and Scarlett O’Hara created by Margaret Mitchell
- Claire Beauchamp Randall Fraser created by Diana Gabaldon
- Elizabeth Bennet Darcy and Emma Woodhouse Knightley created by Jane Austen
- Jo March created by Louisa May Alcott
- Madeline created by Ludwig Bemelmans
Any of the strong southern women created by Mary Kay Andrews
- Heidi created by Johanna Spyri
- Margaret Simon by Judy Blume