The first week of January was low key but things are quickly picking up!

The long weekend was too short and this week is quite full. 

I decided to call today a little sabbath and recharge. The plan has not yet crystallised but I am thinking yoga, minimal or no cooking – got things prepped- and minimal dishes. Maybe do some projecting and planning, maybe not. The keyword is relaxation.


I am starting the countdown to zénitude having missed a train and comforting myself with hot tea. I do avoid takeaways but today it will do…

Epiphany. A day of revelations.

The first thing I realised today was that one pair of woolen socks does not suffice  when the temperature drops down to -15 degrees Celsius. This was made quite clear on my 40-min walk from the central station to the yoga studio this morning to attend a workshop.

I passed by a Roma woman who was sitting on the snow, her legs covered with a layer of plastic for some well-needed insulation. As my toes were going numb, my heart went out to her. If begging for alms seated on a thick layer of ice is considered an option, there can’t be that many good alternatives to fall back on.

My toes eventually thawed and the yoga session felt great; on the train back home, I  was watching the white landscape unfold before my eyes and felt uplifted and content; not much beats a post-yoga train-ride through a crisp winter scenery. I was sipping on my tea, reveling at the experience, there and then.

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I got home in the early afternoon and started cooking for five grown-ups and a baby girl. As usual, my niece took my apartment by storm. A little hurricane of joy and toddler energy, she tirelessly entertained us and herself for several hours.

We finally managed to have the dinner we had had to postpone due to sickness  and my guests all seemed happy with the meal. My youngest invitee asked for a second and third serving of desert and drank red tea out of a big cup.

Speaking of epiphanies, she sure is one. It is quite amazing to watch her learn and grow into a little person with whom you can converse.

Her vocabulary grows by the day with new verbs, substantives, adjectives and mini phrases constantly surfacing. Call, clean, wave, sleep, bang, clap, cheer, shower, jump, sit, thank you, eye, mouth, nose, ear, belly, hair, doll, ball, chair, teddy-bear, (pony)tail, bangle, ear-ring, watch, flower, lamp, cheese, egg, sausage, ice-cream, water, milk, pain, desert, all kinds of animals and animal sounds – the list is long…

Her eighteen-month big hug is the sweetest of all things sweet. She points her finger and touches my eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hair as she verbalises what she sees. She plays with my ponytail and laughs. She plays hide and seek. She feeds her stuffed animals. She makes them read books, puts them to sleep, tucks them in. She climbs up and down my armchairs and sofa and makes herself comfortable on my pillows.

Children really do remind us of the essence of life and that’s a cliche worth saying aloud, because it’s true. Quantum leaps, time capsules and baby nieces. The Universe moves in mysterious ways and winks at us as it manifests through the seemingly mundane.

And now, the weekend…

In the end, Christmas eve was quite a magic day. I woke up in a tidy apartment, practised yoga and had breakfast in my very own kitchen.

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I walked to the city center and a bit past 9 o’clock I arrived at the same place as last year, a community center where I volunteered as a kitchen aid for a Christmas luncheon organised for those who are alone, or do not have the means and energy to celebrate in another way. Just like last year it felt really meaningful and important.

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And then days have just gone by, one after the other. I had some ambitious projects with long lists of things to do. Getting organised, going out for coffee, taking long walks, practicing yoga, entertaining….

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I think that tiredness caught up with me and I have been a bit jet-lagged. Waking up at odd hours, not managing to quite adjust to the bohemian spirit of the days.

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I have managed to finish some projects though. I have sewn curtains for the living room and bed-room and a long projected pillow case. I have framed posters ordered online. I have cooked a lot of vegetarian food and have had lovely people over for dinner. I have washed stash after stash of dishes, walked a lot and practiced yoga almost every day.

So what’s the status on this last day of the year at 14:06 pm? The overall mood is good, it is an extremely grey day and I am getting ready to walk to the centre to run some errands and then relax ( see collapse) with my favourite family unit.  Once I get out of the door, after a quite active morning, I will take the day off and savour the last hours of 2016. Everything looks neat and tidy and now I am ready to chillax.

Until 2017 dearest readership….

 

 

Has the Christmas spirit kicked in yet?” a friend asked me the other day.

My spontaneous answer to the question was no, because quite frankly, it has not manifested yet. Maybe it has lost its way somewhere between train rides, lunch boxes, yoga sessions, organising a new home, etc., etc.

I do suspect it might not  make it on time, because tomorrow is already Christmas Eve and I am not sensing anything particular in the air.  The fact that I am behind schedule does not help.

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I’m telling myself that the festive season is not about a date, but about a time of the year and a state of mind. And it is not a big deal  if fireworks do not crack, because true magic is in everyday life. Being here, being healthy and surrounded by my loved ones. Still my mind is racing making lists of things to do and planning family get-togethers.

Last night I went to bed early, thinking I could do with some beauty sleep. It only resulted in me waking up  at 03:30 am. I got up, made  myself a cup of hot cocoa and finish up sewing a set of curtains (by hand). Am I subconsciously stressed, secretly excited, or is my system just running out of melatonin?

Mornings are pitch dark and so are afternoons.  The light is elusive. Nevertheless it is this introspective absolute calmness of early winter that I really appreciate. Despite the fact that my vitamin D levels must be as low as the breasts of a ninety year old woman.

A bit before 06:00 am I was ready for my 4 km  morning walk to the station on my last day of commuting for the year.  Please read the word yippee between the lines.

Christmas spirit or not, I am thinking that  this weekend is only a lead-up  to the 7th of  January whereby I will be in full celebratory mode as per the Gregorian calendar.

 

 

 

 

 

I was in Finland some weekends ago and it was still November. Now it’s December, a week before Christmas and time goes by unnecessarily fast.

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Right now, I just want to get organised, spend some quality time nesting and catch up with myself. Looking back at the pictures of my recent trip to Helsinki reminds me of what a nice thing it is to travel knowing that you have a home to return to.

 

Monday after a weekend of mini visitors, leisurely yoga, long walks in daylight and in the not so bright early afternoon, late breakfast, cooking, baking, washing dishes and meeting family for an advent fika.

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A kind of Monday when landing behind your desk in the morning feels just a bit out of place.

After work I had decided to run some errands, but I sensed my own reluctance and secret wish to beam myself home to reconnect with the base unit. That’s the backside of modern, urban life – schedules, minutes and minute planning slowly corrupt our systems from within. 

I decided that I might as well slow down and savour time, including that spent sweating in a queue to return an item at a store. I put the future aside and enjoyed every meter of my 4 km walk back to the “village”.

I quite accidentally dug into my pocket and found a handful of kryptonite. And what’s more, on a regular dark December Monday, just because I decided to think a bit differently and take on a tiny challenge. I shall remember not to forget this.

I recently moved after a temporary, yet long, stay at a flat on the fourth floor of an apartment building. As of a miracle, my new abode is located within a stone’s throw.

I live on the same street, only two numbers further away.

My new apartment is on the same floor and it has the same number. It is of the exact same size and orientation.

Of course, there are also differences. My flat is differently laid out for example. My building goes in terracotta colours, as opposed to the various shades of green of my previous home.

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Also very importantly, I formerly used to bump in to this amazing fur-ball, Max the cat, who would sit at the staircase, overlooking the lobby, radiating the purest of zen qualities.

Tonight, as I walked through the entrance of nr. 16, I was met with the realisation that there is such a thing as a parallel universe…

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The proof has four legs and a long fuzzy tail.

 

 

 

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