This is one very natural question I get from my friends. I would ask it too. “Do you miss Oslo?” And it would be more polite to answer that yes, of course, I miss some parts, but how can be I honest then? If my sincere reaction is: “Miss what? Snow, icy sidewalks, that long dark period of year called winter? Empty streets, lonely evenings, gray skies and gray faces?” Well, it is different for everyone, but this is the first thought that comes to MY mind. So nope, I don’t miss it, I just can’t :))
In the end, it is all not about finding the perfect place – since it doesn’t exist. But to find the place that is right for you. Your place under the sun. There are people who would love the introverted culture of Norway, who miss this chance to spend long days and weeks alone, without anyone asking them a question. I just don’t happen to be that person. So I am not able to appreciate it either. I am more of the Southern soul, who loves a spontaneous dinner date, a chat with the the neighbor and the cashier man in supermarket. So I found my right place. Even after some weeks here I felt more at home than after years in Norway. There is nothing right or wrong with any of these places. It is just that some are more like you, and some are less.
The good thing about changing a flat is that one can start creating the new space just as one wishes. From the blank page. When I moved in with my husband, his flat was already set, so I had to carve out small spaces for my changes and things. When we moved now to Barcelona, the flat was empty, with very few pieces of furniture (I even had to sleep on the floor the first weeks). So we had to spend some time and money visiting all the interior stores (instead of drinking sangria and eating tapas, like most of my friends thought I was doing :)). The upside of it was that I had more freedom in creating our home this time.
Now, after all stress and mess, I feel content with some results and want to share the corners I like. This one is from my side of the bedroom. It is a sunny room with the big French windows, which are also doors to the balcony. It is so great to wake up and see the sunlight beaming through. And in the evening I like to light a candle and unwind with a book. I close the door and feel like it is my secret garden. Where there is place for my books, my dreams, my jewelry, my inspiration – the place for everything.
If New York is a Big Apple, what is Barcelona? I would go and say it is a Big Strawberry. It is full of flavor, it’s colorful and juicy. Or there is this tasty Spanish word for “raspberry” – frambuesa. La Grande Frambuesa, that sounds good for this city, doesn’t it?
I have spent some time here now, and maybe some of you are wondering why there is no mention of it. I must admit, the longer I stay, the less I feel like mentioning anything 🙂 This city has swallowed me into its emotions, noises, flavors and colors, it has filled me with impressions which I still work on processing.
It is called the Great Enchantress, this city, it is known to have passion. And today I felt like the right color to describe this place would be Red, the color of passion. I have seen it everywhere recently. Even though these images are kind of old, some dating 2 years ago. But they still do the job – so why not? 🙂
Since I have started to notice the black and white theme around me – on the streets of my city and then at home, this combo seems to be popping everywhere. It is even on trend this season, as I came to conclude after walking through some stores.
And though some may have different opinion on black-and-white vs. colors , and even though I have proclaimed myself a color lover ages ago (actually, my second blog in Russian which I started 10 years ago has the name “My Life in Color and Black and White”), I just cannot resist the elegance and prettiness of this simple combination. Let’s do the window shopping with me and see for yourselves!
If you know me just a bit, you know that I am a color lover. Especially the bright colors make my heart bounce with joy, because I find them full of life and optimism. I have shared some collections of yellow, orange and lots of pink. I also collected colors in my city and tried to show that Oslo can truly be colorful.
I would never call myself a color minimalist. On the opposite, the more colors I could mix, the better. I would never be the one wearing total black or monochrome outfit. But recently my eye got attracted to this simple combination of black and white. First I noticed it on the streets of Oslo, then in my home, and now I find it in interior and fashion trends, so it seems to be everywhere 🙂
There was this one winter when we did a road trip in Andalusia, Southern Spain. Driving from Malaga to Cadiz through Marbella, visiting the towns around like Sanlucar de Barrameda, then Sevilla, then Granada, and back to Malaga to fly from it to Oslo. It was late December. In Norway it was all a black and white winter tale. While in Sevilla, lost on just another hidden plaza, we were sitting on the bench and I was tilting my head up and back. Looking at the orange trees above my head.
And then at last I concluded: “This is my favorite type of winter. When there are oranges in the skies”
So often when we talk about a country or a culture, it seems that we compare it with another one and come to conclusion that sums up to: “I’ll stick with this one, no matter what” – or “No, thanks, I’ll go for another one”. It sounds like we choose all the time. But why choose only one? Can we take (and make) both?
I have noticed that my life comprises mostly of the people who come “from here and there and a bit of everywhere”. There are few (or none) 100% Norwegians, or 100% Ukrainians, or other pure nationalities in my life. Maybe, because that’s my natural tribe, reflecting my life choices. I am not amazed, for example, that I, born Ukrainian, communicate with my native Catalan husband in Norwegian language, not native to either of us. It once suprized a couple of Norwegians though.
I can understand them, they didn’t expect to hear the language of their little proud country in some tapas bar in Barcelona somewhere around midnight. Especially coming with heavy Spanish accent and sweet Eastern-European accent, used to discuss a love relationship between those two. Why Norwegian?? They seemed to be falling from their chairs, breaking their backs to turn and see who these two were, using their language in this place.