Ashtray Wednesdays - Sand of Wonders

Thursday, April 5, 2012

This was a random pick, I swear! 

I keep all my ashtrays wrapped in bubbles in two baskets that sit on the top of my kitchen cabinets. 
For this week's ashtray, I climbed on a chair, stretched out my arm and grabbed the first one I touched. I unwrapped it and voila! Maja's ashtray from Dubai!
So what's the big deal, you ask. The deal is that Maja gave me this ashtray exactly 2 years ago! I have already written a post about her and how important her understanding and support have been to me for the past couple of years and I don't really believe in coincidences. I believe in what Carl Jung referred to as synchronicity, "events bound by synchronicity are connected by similarity, by meaning, by resonance, rather than by causality." 
To my understanding the meaning of this ashtray is that instead of talking about Maja I have to reveal a few more details about that very challenging period between April 2009 and May 2010. 

So here it goes... A few months after I turned 30, things started to fall apart. We had just moved to Zagreb and before I had the chance to learn how the public transport worked I had to pack again and head back to Athens for an intensive session of preparatory courses for an MFA exam. In the meantime the ever present back pain decided to become even more annoying and I ended up in a doctor's office hearing that I was at stage 4 of disk protrusion (stage 5 is surgical removal of the said disk). I  admit that I did not pay the required attention to his warnings and I set off for Athens, where my schedule was so hectic that within two weeks my left leg went completely numb. 

To cut the story short, the runaway disk between L5/S1 vertebrae was "successfully"  removed on 17 June 2009. After that you'd expect that I would be cautious and take care of my injured spine...Well I did take care of something but that was not my spine! 
In the first two months after the operation I went to a U2 concert (and jumped around like there was no tomorrow) and on a 7 hour (back and forth) train trip to Vienna and the subsequent museum hopping and shopping spree that a visit to Vienna entails. I went about my everyday life in my usual back surgery ignoring way until one Sunday afternoon I decided to take on the only advice I got from my doctor and go swimming! 
Now there are many styles that creatures like us who don't possess gills and fins and tails swim. Mine is more like "the frog" style. Useless to say that this is the completely wrong way to swim if you had a back operation. By August 17th, I was in such a bad shape I could not get out bed, the pain was excruciating.  There was no painkiller available that would make the pain go away. Believe me because I tried them all! Then a second operation was scheduled for the 17th of September (here's Jung's synchronicity again in all its glory!). This time the doctors were painfully explicit in their advise. I had to do everything right otherwise they would have to put screws in my spine and who wants that, not me for sure. So this is where Maja comes in. She was given the very difficult task of educating, comforting and generally standing by me and my injured body. She healed my muscles but she also helped me heal my soul. She gave me this ashtray after a trip to Dubai with her lovely husband Janko for Easter 2010 which was on April 4th!

Dubai is a truly wondrous place, the epitome of innovation, grand ideas, even grander constructions, luxury and for some, kitschness. They have the tallest building in the world, a ski centre in the middle of the dessert, two  man-made constellations of islands, lots and lots of sand and camels. Maja and Janko had a great time when they were there, as did me and Georgie, but this is another ashtray and another story!

P.S.1 This was meant to be posted yesterday 4/4/12, but I fell asleep while writing it. Anyone knows what Jung might have said about that?

P.S.2 If anyone is interested in reading about the not so shiny side of Dubai here is very informative article by Johann Hari of the Independent.