A travelling craftsman is staying in my house while they work at a fair nearby. We share stories in the evenings over food and wine, and discuss the state of the world over tea and chocolate. The traveller is from an Eastern European country which gets headlines in the west for its far-right, pro-Putin ideology, but I am given more context and complexity. I hear family histories of survival and hardships, and share some of my own roots.
What I am given are not my stories to tell, and I’ve been warned about sharing too many identifying details about people on this blog before. But the traveller’s stories inform my own story-telling; the wars, the fleeing, the labour camps and the fear that are passed on through the bloodlines. I am part of a European narrative and history and share a heritage with this stranger, as we come together over a dining table in Cambridge.
Swapping stories inspires me to write them down, to pursue my dream into the future, and the heritage into the past.