Monthly Archives: February 2016

A good thing about getting older is knowing what you want. Likes tend to crystalise and become tangible.

As my birthday was coming up, I started thinking of how I wanted to spend the day. I knew I did not want anything big, but I do like marking occasions. The elements that make my birthday my kind of day are of course very subjective and personal, you’d have to be in my head to know. This year’s anniversary was overall a fine-tuned affair and I am sharing some glimpses with you…

Birthday breakfast:

How you kick off your (birth)day is important. My requisites are hot chocolate, bread and orange marmelade. So, after a morning session of yoga, I had a wonderful, vegan, glutenfree and sugarfree variation of all of the above. Check.



I have a penchant for fresias that I associate with early spring and this favourite month of mine.  If you think I sound unflexible, read this: I compromised with tulips, because they are easier to get hold of, and because they happened to be on discount. A totally OK flower choice. Check.


Tender Love & Care:

After my homemade power breakfast I went down-town – sounds more exciting than it actually is- and dived into the swimming pool. Gee, it felt good to be back in the water! The first two lengths I was gasping for breath, but then my body remembered. I had rythm, I had flow and as I had forgotten to bring my earplugs, I also got a thourough washing of my ears. After  a session in the sauna, which I think is one of humanity’s greatest inventions, I went to the hairdresser’s. I came out renewed and if not completely happy at least quite content. Check.


Spending time with people I really like is always on top of my list of priorities. Living far away from most of my close friends is not ideal, but the incoming wishes and video calls were truly heart-warming. As for the  company on place, I can really not complain. I had a big lunch salad with my favourite gang. In the background my niece was practicing her bababas and dadadas. Next year she will be singing for me.


Contemplation time:

After lunch, I invited myself for a decaf in the company of a book. I got entangled in the philosophy of yoga, all while taking in the impressions around me. Relaxing and letting my mind wander. As I sat there, I just realised how my body was working like a clockwork, a seemless integration of all bodily functions. I made a note to self never to underestimate. Check.

Birthday cake & co:

Last but not least, cake, candles and playful colour schemes. Dark pinks, orange, turquoise and yellow. Think carneval. I made banana pancakes, stacked them a bit clumsily – was a bit tired by then – and decorated them with candles that actually helped keeping the tilting tower together. After a certain age there is not enough cake for all the candles and anyway, there is a reason for which candles are sold in packs of 12 or 24, so why fret?





These days I am reading  “The Crossing: my journey into the shattered heart of Syria” by Syrian writer Samar Yazbek whose glimpse I caught on TV some time ago. Quite immediately I looked her up on the internet and reserved the book at the central library.

The Crossing is a true tale of the author’s visits to her home country after her Parisian exile in 2011. In a fairly chaotic manner Yazbek conveys the dramatic state of a country ripped apart by a ruthless regime, revolutionary factions and imported jihadists.resa_in_i_tomheten_2016

Sometimes the story is hard to follow. The many names of people and places does not make it easier for a person not acquainted with the local geography. What is clear though, is that by reading this book one gets a precious insight into how the revolution that started in spring 2011 has culminated into a bloody war against an intransigent political monarchy.

Yazbek’s several journeys back into her birth land, landing at the Antakya airport to be smuggled through the Turkish-Syrian border may be marked by devastation, but not by solitude. On the contrary, the pages brim with human encounters and the warmth of friendship.

At her sides she has a group of young revolutionaries who, despite of her being an alawite, loyally accompany her around the battered inland to meet with local women with whom she is engaging in civilian support activities. But of course, a lot of the stories conveyed belong to men. Former construction workers, architects and farmers who have become warriors and taken up arms to defend their right to freedom and the dream of a country ruled by law.

The sound of grenades, air-strikes and oil barrel bombs echoes without cease. They are part of the daily treatment of the insurgent by the national regime-controlled army.

At the same time, the well-financed and organised fundamentalist factions appear in stark contrast to the landscape of fragmented battalions who have to resort to manufacturing their own makeshift artillery all while being rained on by fire from the skies.

Foreign fighters become more and more visible. Returning to the same area in 2013, after her 2012 visit, she is appalled to find them at checkpoints along the way to Saraqib. Iraquis, Yemenites, Saudi Arabians. Bubbling with rage she wonders what these strangers are doing in her country.

So little is known in the west about what is really happening in Syria where civilians are being bombed, mutilated, starved and suppressed on an everyday basis.   The country seems to have been transformed into a battle-field for anyone with an agenda.

Our official reactions to the ordeal of the Syrian population tend to contain the word bombing as if more bombing could solve any problem in a country that by now must look like a gruyere cheese. It is clear that some people are making a lot of money out of all this. I am also wondering which big international companies are going to reap the fruit of reconstructing a country ripped to pieces. Who is financing all those trying to gain advantages in total disrespect of human rights and of the will of the true players of this revolution?

We need more stories like this one because the only thing that comes out on our end are the terrorist-threats and the masses of fleeing people. At the same time, a gruesome Guernica is being painted with the blood of the innocent. And the silence around it is embarrasing.




An evening yoga class, dinner, a movie and then I thought I was ready for my hostel bed.

I ended up counting the hours to dawn. Practically enough I could admire the nice view, the cars driving in the small hours and get a constant update of the time and temperature by watching the big electronic display. I have a blank around 02.00 am.


Do not know exactly what it was. Was it the person in the same bunkbed who snored through the night? Was it the heat?

Eventually I figured out I could open the window above my head to let some fresh air in. But not how to shut up my neighbour.


I don’t like leaving.

This does not mean that I do not like arriving, traveling or returning. But leaving always stresses me a bit, most probably because of everything I want to have done before.

I like to pack as orderly as I can and leave some kind of order behind me. So today I finished packing, waxed my legs, vacuumed while swearing profusely at the disobedient vacuum-cleaner letting off some steam and washed the dishes. I showered, blow-dried my hair and had lunch. I placed my lunch boxes in my ruck-sack and shook out the tiny gravel that inhabits our shoes these days.

Here I want to add that I am going away just around the corner for a yoga weekend workshop. I am looking forward to it, that’s not the issue. Once I am there, I will love it, but right now, I would much rather cuddle with my little baby niece.

Well, what to do? We all have our small weak spots and traumas. Mine comes from the millions of times – exaggerating of course – that I had to part from family during my child-and early adulthood. So yes, most things have a reason…That said, imagine how it must feel to leave everything behind to save your life and that of your family’s. Bears no comparison *watch this*.

Now I am winding up things and feeling almost cool. A few details need to be taken care of….and done! Now things look neat, I don’t look bad myself and I am soon off on a walk in the sunshine to the train station.

Wishing you all a lovely weekend!


Four years of blogging and I still love Februaries. I mean, I did love the month of February long before blogging was even invented – yes, I am that old…

Why I love February? Well, let me put out the connotations that make this month so attractive to me, in arbitrary order.


My birthmonth. The beginning of carnival and the kick off of lent. Fresias. Breakfast in bed. Winter spring. Cold weather. Long bright days. Birthday cakes and serpantines. Friends’ birthdays. Valentine’s day because I like red hearts and the celebration of  love, despite all the commercial cheesiness – you can always remove the raisins from your cereal. Almond flower blossoms. The Chinese New Year. Semlor. The unique 28 days and the 29th bonus day every four years. Orange yellow tulips and the fond memories of departed family members.

So, that’s it. I don’t know if I have managed to convice any of you February sceptics out there, but I know that I want this February to last long.




Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

taking a moment, having a coffee, writing down some thoughts