April is a month of surprises. In Germany they used to say “April, April macht was er will” (April makes what he wants). Here in Barcelona they say “April – agues mil” which means “April – thousand of waters”. It hasn’t been a thousand yet, but I can confirm that after some three months of stable sunshine, April is suddenly surprising with many rains.
The weather has been weird the last weeks. I listen to Radio Hamburg and today they promised +21 and total sunshine. While here, in the South, it doesn’t go beyond +17 and the whole week is filled with windy forecasts. I guess, we all need to go to the Northern Germany right now 🙂 Even more ironic for those tourists who came here for the Easter week and discover that the weather is better in their Northern parts back home :))
However, I find this weather quite enjoyable (not the windy part though). When it rained everyday on the Norwegian West coast, it was very frustrating. But when the rain breaks up those weeks of sunshine, I don’t mind 🙂 I welcome the change and get back to those cozy activities I learnt back in Norway. I here I want to share some things that inspire me right now on a rainy day.
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.
Winter is the season when I feel the acute need to hunt for the light and color. Today my memory brought back to me one nice winter experience that I want to share here.
Two years ago we were doing a road trip through the Southern France and stayed one day and one night in the town of Aix-en-Provence. I wish we had stayed there longer because this one is an especially pretty town, though every town on our itineary was pretty. We had come to Aix-en-Provence after four French towns, and, to be honest, we were more tired than impressed. This is when we felt that traveling is not just all excitement as most of us use to believe. Sometimes you feel more hunger for your own home kitchen and your couch than for another restaurant and hotel :))
I guess, I was more hit by the beauty of Aix-en-Provence later – looking at my photos of it, than in the moment of walking those streets. Maybe you know that this town was a favorite place of many artists, Paul Cezanne being one of them. I am a great lover of impressionists and I can see why many of them were inspired by Provence. And after studying the photos of Aix-en-Provence I can imagine where their inspiration sprang from. Join me if you want to feel like that artist! 🙂
The turn of the year is always a special time – and a difficult time to blog. Not just because we are all so busy packing, unpacking (gifts or suitcases), visiting families and having a good time/food and some drinks (sometimes too many). But I also feel a need to write something special – and the most remote idea runs away at this wish.
I used to make summaries of the past year, to write thanks and wishes – but this year has been so evidently full with events and changes that I don’t even feel like summing it up in my little notebook. Feeling lack of inspiration (and trying to chase some of those runaway ideas), I was scrolling down through the photos of the past year. When my eye caught a pattern – this year was full of especially one thing. Or better say – of one color. And the color was – tada – pink! (anybody surprised here?)
Well, I would never say that I look at the world through the pink glasses. But it looks like my life is more rosy than I dare to admit it :)). So I want to celebrate its pinkness with you! As I wonder, which color will fill my life in the new year 🙂
I have discovered recently that I love small simple things in my life. I really love them – that is, I feel a sweet emotion when I see them, use them, touch them. When I can throw a lip balm, a mobile and a card holder in my little bag and go – I feel small wings behind my back like those of a butterfly. I believe I can fly :)) No, I don’t feel like flying. But I feel appreciation of all the simple things that work in my life – that give me space to breathe and think of other things (which are not things-things).
I came to value simplicity. Surprisingly for myself :)) In my post “Pack lightly. Travel lightly” I dwelled on my philosophy of it. Here I just want to share some actual things, small simple things, that keep me happy.
The past month has seen us doing the job of fixing our home. More of it here. At the same time, it has been a good practice of simple living. As we had to get rid of most of the personal things and hide away some stuff, I found myself in a dream minimalistic setting. Here is what I have learnt so far :))
The soul is asking for color while the world outside is black and white. It’s been weeks since we’ve seen the sun. And then it popped out – for the whole day. Luckily, that day was Sunday so everyone took his skis and went skiing. We went for a walk around the lake Sognsvann, with hundreds of other sun-thirsty souls, who created a traffic jam around the parking space. But it was ok because – the sun! The nature in winter is so beautiful, I was sighing with regret of not having taken my camera with me, while simultaneously freezing my toes off. I didn’t check Facebook that day but I am sure it was full of happy sunny pictures with a capture like “ut på tur, aldri sur” which means “out for the walk, never sour” (a very well-used phrase that has become a cliche, but people still use it – without irony).
As I went to check the winter sale and see what’s new in the shops (my favorite activity), I was so happy to discover multiple shades of pink and red on display. At last! At last we can throw off our gray and black clothes this spring season. Norwegian street style is very careful in color palette, and it is great when fashion makes us wear red and pink. Some years ago it was considered way too girlish. Now it is officially in, and my inner child, who has never had a Barbie in her life, is rejoicing. Let’s rock that Barbie style! Let’s bring color to the streets!
It has been a while since I made a post for my hashtag “5 things”. I can’t even remember the last time. April? But these days I got inspired by the pretty details at home and collected them for this post. The most color-hunting I did at home was for pink (are you surprised? Me not). I hope also to go out for some color-hunting and share it with you. But for now let’s enjoy the small pleasures of inside life which feels so natural to lead in the winter season.