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.
I love writing gratitude lists to the leaving year and usually I use the first week of January for that. I also write visions for the new year (but not New year resolutions), plans and goals. As much as I love those activities, I never used to share them on the blog because that would feel like bragging to me. I am often concerned about the literature value, hehe. Like: “what would the reader get out of it?” However, doing the post about the best pictures and moments of 2017 felt so right to me – and I hope, that it felt like a positive sparkle to you. So I just have to complete that list and share the rest of that year – in pics and highlights!
I always make sure to walk through the flower market on my way from work. It is there even in the late evening hours, flowers keeping strong in the cold. Today I haven’t seen the usual orchids, and those red and pink beauties, today there were small fir-trees and wreaths with pinecones. Their message was clear: November has moved out, December is now in. At this very moment the church bells chimed through the square, making everything feel like a cozy Scandinavian fairytale. And I was thankful that I didn’t plug headphones in my ears like I usually do.
The Christmas lights hang across the street, and every time there is someone reaching for his phone to snap a picture. Christmas music sounds from the shops, and I think: “Nice try to make it all look cozy and nice. When it is biting cold, and the streets are icy. And the dark hours are more than the light ones”. Then I hear a kid passing by talking joyfully about “the yummy pancakes”. In that moment I envy that kid’s energy. Where do they take it in this dark period? I usually never have this feeling – but now I would like to see the world with the kid’s eyes. No Monday blues, no winter blues, no knowledge about melatonin and serotonin and their effect on our mood, no longing for another place I have seen in December, that was full of sunlight and singing parrots. Just eyes wide open, with the reflection of the Christmas lights in them, and touching the Christmas tree set up in front of the church – which must appear just the size of that church in his eyes. Not afraid of the ice on the streets, but sliding cheerfully on it. And not thinking about the distant sunny place – just living in the moment.
I received the book at last! It just took me a couple of months waiting 🙂 Apropos waiting. I find it a great way to prolong joy and happiness. It depends on the type of waiting, of course. But what bothers me is the fast-paced culture we are living in, when everything must happen pronto: fast food, fast fashion, 4G network, 24-hours delivery. Isn’t it crazy how quickly we get used to the speed of things, which would take long time – just a decade ago? And I wonder if with all the bonuses of speed and comfort there are side effects. I find, there are. We get stressed, impatient and ungrateful, when we take the fast delivery for granted. While I want to come to the old-fashioned truth: “Waiting for things is as happy, or maybe more happy, than receiving things”. As we move into the holidays season, it is easy to understand. It is not the Christmas Eve that makes us so happy, but also all those weeks of preparation, hearing Christmas songs, joyful expectation that make the season so priceless. I would not hop directly to the December, 24 now – would you?
So I decided to view waiting for this book as an exercise of joyful expectation. And I enjoyed every bit of it. And, oh, another bonus – the book tastes so much sweeter after all those weeks of waiting. The book I am talking about is “A Paris Year” by Janice MacLeod. I was writing about how she seems to capture my dream of Paris and make it true here. I made a wish for this book for my birthday in September, I made a research about which bookstore in Oslo sells it and got a gift card for it from my friend. Some time after my birthday I joyfully (hopped) walked to that store – and found that the book was not there. Neither was it possible to order it in the online version of that store. So I walked out, sat on the bench, made an order on Amazon – and got an estimated delivery period of almost 2 months. Uii. I could choose the faster option for sure, but I thought: ok, this is a present, it is not something you need urgently, so you can wait and find happiness in it. And guess what – that was worth it. Whenever I would think of the book, I would feel happy. And when it finally arrived last week, I even waited a day to unwrap it. I find this version of events even luckier than if I had found it in the store on that very day.
Two years ago we went to see an apartment for sale and ended up on the roof terrace with a terrific sunset view. Thank you, Facebook, for reminding about it with this picture. The apartment block used to be an office building before. It had some 14 floors, boring flats, and a roof terrace. We asked for the terrace keys and unexpectedly caught an amazing nature show, in all colors of the dawn.
Today I want to share my thoughts about the ability to find and create small adventures and look at the world with wonder.
“There is no bad weather, only bad clothes”, goes the popular Norwegian saying. That is right – and it is also wrong. I would say, that there is a weather that makes you feel down. While the sunshine makes the body to produce another happy hormone serotonin, the darkness leads to production of melatonin, a hormone that makes us tired and passive, which is necessary at night so we can fall asleep. In autumn there is less light which makes us feel down, sleepy and passive. That’s why it is important to meet the season prepared, with good knowledge of yourself and some strategies.
During those few days I was in Barcelona it was so easy to wake up and feel enthusiasm. Even though it was hard to fall asleep because of the unruly thoughts about the political situation, it was enough to see sun rays through the window and feel the rush of energy. When I was landing in Norway, my eyes were so in love with the colors of autumn, and I joyfully breathed in the cool crispy air. Few rainy days later and I was afraid of S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) creeping on me as it used to do in the past years. Luckily, I had made a list of activities that I was looking forward to this autumn. My list of joy. I feel moved to share its ideas here – maybe, you can borrow some for making your autumn better and brighter. I want to keep myself off the beaten path and leave out the things like warm teas under fluffy blankets. These tips seem to be well known, and I am sure, that we all do them in autumn 🙂