You can start throwing your tomatoes at me – but I will go and say this thing: I am happy it is autumn already!
I am not one of those blogger babes who start talking about the cozy knitwear, pleated scarfs and pumpkin spice latte with the first days of September. But living so long in Norway has turned me into a true Scandinavian, I notice :)). And all the Norwegian girls I hear sigh together: “It is getting more autumn like, oh so nice! Ja ja, mm.” Yes, I am one of those who pulls out my favorite sweater and starts wearing it with everything (like a kid). And seeing gloomy skies can mean a sudden dive of the mood (just the hormones, I explain to myself) – but it also means no need to run out, but a chance to open my favorite fashion blog, or just any blog, to find that cardigan and socks, and the cookies hidden somewhere in the kitchen.
I know that in some weeks I will regret this enthusiasm. When the autumn sets in for real, with winds and rains, with gloomy skies and wet shoes – I will pronounce some f-words and wish it were all summer again. But so far, I want to embrace autumn like my sister.
The last week of summer is the perfect time for a coffee and a catch-up (in Norway it is called “late summer” but it really reminds more an early autumn). It’s been a while since the last time. Getting back to my favorite format: chatting about everything at once :))
If we were having coffee, I would tell you how I feel about blogging. I’ve been grinding many thoughts about it lately. My biggest revelation is that: I don’t want to work hard on blog because I already have my job. To be honest, when I just started this blog, I was playing with the idea of making it into my income source. I was tired of my career path, unsure where I wanted to move next (a bit burned out and out of motivation). I quit my job, walked into unemployment for several months – and at the same time I started this blog. Of course, I imagined myself being this cool blogger, sitting in some nice Italian inspired cafe, posting exciting content, building my platform (growing popular, oh yes).
With the time I realized there was more work to it than “just create awesome content” (which is the popular advice for new bloggers). First, how do you make it awesome especially when you are new? Second, it is not “just”. There is so much work to it. And I didn’t want to study a new profession and work hard on it (remember, I had just finished working hard and wanted a break). I wanted to play. Then my thoughts were crystallized when I read an Instagram post of a Ukrainian girl who has the following of 100k but doesn’t want to become a blogger. She said: “People say to me: “you have so many followers, why don’t you become a blogger?” But I already have a profession I love. And being a blogger is work, just like any other”. This is when I thought: bingo!
Some weeks ago we were walking through the woods – and I suddenly got the flashback of my adolescence. We were visiting friends outside of Oslo and took a walk to the beach. Through the woods which went up and down, with a little river and a bridge over it. This spot brought a vivid memory of a similar place in other woods – in the village where my grandmother lived. I walked there, some 14 years old, and that place seemed just charming to me. Why? Because I thought, it would look perfect in the photo. At that time my pictures could be taken by the old black-and-white analog camera, difficult in use. Why did I want those photos? Passion for photography at such a young age?
No, it was not the passion for art. It was a wish to show something to my classmates. And how did I get inspired? So, there was this popular girl in our class, Irina, and in the back of her day-book (an obligatory book where we noted our schedule, homework and the teacher put our marks into it) she had some chocolate wrapping papers and photos. Yes, we were showing each other the papers of sweets we ate. Asking each other: “Did you try Mars? Did you try Snickers?”
I have returned home from my favorite craziest adventure – Summer salsa festival in lovely Rovinj – and I keep on repeating one phrase. “So good to be back”. Wow. I am surprised.
Usually I turn my nose away from the everyday reality (from the need to clean the house, shop my food and cook it myself :)). I post the vacation photos, the feeling of missing it already playing on the strings of my heart. This time, however, I just feel loads of gratitude to the place and the event – but I don’t want to get back into my past emotionally. I enjoy every moment here. And I want to live in my emotional present. To connect with my life which is only happening here and now.
This year – like never before – I am love with my home, my city and the country I live in. I am so used to the feeling of “yuck, this gray and cold place again” – that I even get surprised by my sudden “oh, Scandinavia, how lucky I am to experience this my Norwegian adventure” (adventure? Since when has it become an adventure??? :)) And here are my reasons to love it.
I am a firm believer that the art of life is created by small steps. Small habits, small adjustments. I have never been a fan of resolutions like “From Monday on I start a new life”, but advocated for the small changes one can make – first as an experiment – in order to change one’s quality of life.
I believe in the health and happiness that start from the inside out – from our mind and soul. I have tried to set big goals for myself, like meditating for 20 minutes every day, but I struggled to keep it as a daily routine. However, the small practices seem to stick with me. Today I want to share those that work for me.
If we were having coffee again. This kind of writing – partly catching up, partly me rambling about everything – feels very natural to me. Though I consider myself a bit introvert – I prefer to talk more than to listen. And, of course, talk about myself 🙂 Many look really sceptic when I say that I used to define myself as an introvert – and I understand why :))) So this is another post with a hashtag “if we were having coffee” – about everything and nothing special. Just the way I like!
Cactus life. My cactus seems unhealthy to my eye. I bought it last year and was so happy about my first cactus at home! Totally hipster home now 🙂 But now, after only one year, it doesn’t look ok, having lost its nice green color. And tell me, how can you neglect a cactus?! Isn’t it a kind of plant that suits best all those who are disasters at taking care of plants? I watered it once a month like I was told in a shop – not too much. It missed sunlight, standing on my table, so I moved it on the window sill. But how can a window spot help when the winter lasts five months and the sun is so seldom? I guess, the heart of the cactus just couldn’t bear it anymore. And, I tell you what, I have so much empathy with it. Dear cactus, you reflect my attitude very well. Just that my face is a shade greener than yours 🙂
I have written for a while under a tag “expat” – but the more I was writing, the more I understood that this doesn’t apply to me. There is a taste to the word “expat”, sweet and free, that is unfamiliar to my palate. I am more an immigrant and less an expat in Norway. Somewhere I have read a discussion of the differences between immigrants and expats, and since then this thought hasn’t left me. How would I explain that difference? In my post “Thriving in Norway” I made a try of explaining – and I feel that I have so much more to say about feelings of an immigrant. And how they differ from other kinds of foreigners.
We, foreigners in Norway, often view ourselves as a big group as opposed to the group of native Norwegians. But we tend to forget that this big group is not homogenous, and as we experience difficulties understanding the locals – we may also face difficulties understanding other foreigners with whom we identify us. I get a skin-close experience of it since I live together with another foreigner – and sometimes it feels like we have lived in two different countries, though we have lived in the same city in the same country of Norway for the past 11 years (20 in his case). Let me explore the differences.