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Last week I traveled to the west coast archipelago, for the first time in my life, for some days of insular yoga – the kind of yoga practiced on a piece of land surrounded by sea.

I did not plan it long in advance, as things are a bit fluid right now. It bad been at the back of my mind for a while though and I am very content with my decision. The thing about taking up an interest is that it takes you places; mentally, physically and even geographically.

We spent our days doing yoga twice daily and exploring the constellation of three islands connected by bridges. I mainly on foot, and my yogi friend by bike. The days were sunny and windy. The kind of windy that is so special about Sweden and which means having the recurrent sound of leaves trembling in the breeze, rustling like sheer silk paper in your ears constantly.

And believe me, there is a lot of space for wind in these latitudes, because skies are very high here in the North – it’s an undisputed fact. When I look up to the skies it is like peering into a dome raised by its creator to meet the infinite…

After I got back from the island, which our rbnb hosts jokingly referred to as Hono-lulu letting the umlauts of Hönö disperse in the wind, I have been getting some things done at home, such as tending to the wuthering heights of my balcony and the plants that live on it. I have also been on a series of daily excursions for “business” and pleasure alike.

Juicing summer, resting, ticking off a list of things to do, that is where I am at right now. The feeling of total release, of holiday, of just being in the moment is a mental state. For it to materialise, I know I will have to make a conscious effort and let my self soak in it until it impregnates my cells. Once there, I do not want it to be lost to the days of dark and cold that are not that far away…

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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….

 

 

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.

Last week would have been my grandmother’s ninetieth birthday. The youngest of four siblings, she was born and raised in a small northern town.  Her mother was a widow and a hard-working woman, providing for her family. As a child, my grandmother spent a lot of time with her grandparents who were running a bakery cum coffee shop which was a pit-stop for trading traffic. That really explains her great fondness for coffee and cafes.  

She left us in January but she had been gone already for a long time. Despite her solid constitution, she finally stepped into immortality; hadn’t it been for her dementia, she would have been  a remarkably youthful ninety-year old. 

She never called for attention, but she was the kind of woman whose presence does not go unnoticed. Petite and slender, but not frail. Rather classically feminine and strong despite her small size. With dark hair and the most beautiful eyes; big and of a colour deserving a poetic name like violet or azure. Eyes that would so easily well up when we had to say goodbye. The azure would overflow and trickle down her crease-less soft cheeks.

If I had to use one word to describe her, I would say refined. She artfully filtered beauty through practical moderation to produce an approach to everyday life that made the mundane less ordinary.

Making a three course meal was not only reserved for special occasions and the table would always be beautifully set. She was coquette, but in a down-to-earth way. She inhabited every piece of her clothing, filling it with her personality. I remember her light blues and pinks, her bright greens and earthy yellows. She could miss-match patterns and still look stylish.

Grandmother had a special kind of humor. She was verbal and witty; not particularly talkative and any way, my grandfather would use up some of her speaking quota as well when we were around. 

My grandmother adored us, but her feelings were greater than her words. My grandfather verbalised the big emotions. He would say I love you, I miss you. My grandmother’s love could be read between the lines. In the letters that she wrote us. In the Christmas packages she sent, in the picnic bag packed with cucumber sandwiches, tea and cocoa. I understand; the big words can break you if uttered aloud.

Grandfather and grandmother had great love and respect for each other, but he would always take a bit more space. Once, while visiting us, my grandmother really decisively put grandfather in his place, responding to something he had just said.

Appreciatively, I told her that she obviously had some temperament, whereby she responded: “Well, if I did not have a temperament, I would probably be milking cows somewhere in the middle of nowhere”.

You always tried to be correct, but you were never boring dear grandmother. And yes, life took you on a journey from the north to the south of the country and also to many more exotic places and destinations. You were open to what life had to offer and adventurous in your own way. You were loyal and non judgmental.

I so cherish the image of you in your long nightgowns, your softly permed brown hair framing your face, your beautiful eyes alight, your lips always in a light shade of artificial pink, coming to wish us good night. No matter how old you are, a grandmother is always a grandmother.

You are loved and you are missed. You have put a dent in the universe of all those who loved you. I hope you feel and know that, wherever you are. And also, I do wish you had told us more of your story. But maybe the most important things are those that have already been said.

I would most probably not visit Mykonos if it wasn’t for a standing invitation. I have a good friend, a  photographer, who works on the island during the extended summer period. This year, on his third season here, finally everything clicked. We arrived on the island last Monday, starting out from Thessaloniki via Chalkidiki.

Somebody commented on facebook that they did not expect me to choose Mykonos for a holiday. I would rather say that Mykonos chose me. This cosmopolitan place might be associated with parties, socialites, the lgtb community, etc, but once here, one discovers a quite diverse crowd of people.

 

Also, as my friend and I realised, lifestyle is something you take with you anywhere you go. A certain interaction between person and place takes place, certainly, but a new location is yet another backdrop to our temperament, habits and character.

We have been kicking off our days with a good breakfast, quite necessary when planning long days filled with both business and pleasure. “It is important to eat a solid breakfast” has become one of our mottos these days and we have been swearing by it…

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People around us say that the turnover is not as good as it usually is this time of the year. 

Bad tourism some say, referring to visitors that do not spend much while on the island. 

Bad tourism” we jokingly comment to each other when eating our home cooked meals on the beach, or the house patio without any sense of remorse. That’s what you do when you’re a hybrid between a tourist and a local.

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The biggest paradox about this barren island is actually the flow of money. On the one hand there is the affluent elite, the expensive brands, the luxury villas and exclusive entertainment. On the other hand, the folklore museum is falling apart, the archeological museum is closed for restoration in the middle of the summer, roads are quite badly maintained.  

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 In an ideal world, sustainability and infrastructure would be a priority. We are not there yet-sigh.

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In the meantime however, I am a grateful recipient of what my stay here has to offer, and that is distraction, variation and great company.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention mosquito bites. 

I may not have come here with an intention to party, but my winged tormentors are feasting on my blood all night long leaving me sleepless in all the wrong way!

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 Mykonos never sleeps.Why should I be an exception?

I am  in the land of myth which is plunged in deep crisis. This must be the sandbox of a capitalist experiment, because no matter what is said in the media there is ni will to help this country come out of depression and develop.


I landed well however, and I have had the time to see people I really care about and do some useful stuff before setting out on a road trip to the south with a very important pit stop in Chalkidiki -worth googling.

sofiawise

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

The Chick on a Pea

Clockwise, otherwise & likewise

Buttercupgoeswest

Buttercup is a newborn and we are taking her on a 5000 KM journey from Ahmedabad to Kanyakumari

Sadness Theory

Music with passion for the environment

zee pause café

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