I am a lover of all things French and a self-proclaimed student of art of life. I say, of art de vivre, because for me this form of art is developed by the French to its best expression)) In this post I want to share what I have learnt so far from them and the impressions of our road trip in the South of France.
The start was here, in Perpignan, and I was slightly unimpressed by it. There was not enough Frenchness there to my taste, which is touristic and brought up by the classical images of Paris and Provence. That changed when we came to Montpellier, a pretty city, totally unknown to me. It had all the elegance of the French city, the signature architecture and the color scheme, and I immediately fell in love.
Once I was talking to a friend about my blog and noticed: “Everyone says that the blog must give something, and I don’t know what my blog can give to the reader”. Her answer was: “Your blog can show your search for meaning. And it has value. You are searching for meaning, for beauty in your everyday life – you don’t create those glamorous Instagram accounts, but collect your doors and things you like. Because not everyone knows what he likes. And you can show your way”.
After I have caught an explorer excitement about the city where I live here, I was inspired to share the collections of things that catch my attention. Like my collection of backyards, or balconies, or details of Oslo. In my first years in this city I was sharing my collections of doors, old cars and lights of Oslo on Facebook. Then when Instagram came, and I have seen shots of the beautiful doors, I was again running around the city looking for the pretty doors and facades. My friend even mentioned that I should post more photos of myself than of doors (but I disagree :)).
I also want to introduce the idea of micro exploring. That concept came to my mind yesterday, but I would not be surprised if it already exists (as it often happens with some ideas occurring to me :)). A quick search of blogs here on WordPress led to the Ted talk by Alastair Humphreys who introduces the notion of micro adventure. A further research is to be done. But here I am not to claim the originality of the idea, but to speak my heart about it. I feel that this is what the world needs right now. Or maybe, this is what I need right now :)) A shift of focus. The discovery of beauty in my immediate surroundings.
Recently the world was infected by a new cozy inspiration: the Danish concept of hygge. Suddenly hygge was everywhere. I was reading the British and Spanish articles about this miraculous phenomenon, my Instagram feed was depicting the Hygge Book at homes from France to Russia. And, of course, I myself got affected and bought the book “The Cozy Life. Rediscover the Joy of Simple Things Through the Danish Concept of Hygge” by Pia Edberg. It seemed to be the perfect timing to be Scandinavian!
So as you may know, I call myself a self-proclaimed student of art de vivre, i.e. the art of life (I just like the French way of saying it more). And some time ago I have asked this question on my blog: how do you define the art of life? Interesting enough, have I ever answered this question myself?
I did answered it to myself, and I thought it is important that I share my answer here. But then the summer came crossing over my plans. Festival happened. Guests happened. Life in summer happens – with more intensity. So I found myself forgetting my answer. But it has never left my mind. So what is the art of life according to me?
This Easter we decided not to fly far away from Oslo, like it is a tradition among many – but to visit our closest neighbor, Sweden. Oslo becomes pretty empty during these days, and already on Wednesday afternoon the streets miss their usual crowds. There are two classical ways to spend Easter here: 1 – you leave country for some sunnier place or a big city rush, 2 – you leave for the cabin in mountains to enjoy the last snow (this must be very Norwegian thing, because who else is missing snow in April? :)), go skiing and read detective stories (the genre is very popular here and even got the name of påskekrim, which can be roughly translated as Easter crime). As you see, in any case, you leave the city, and staying in such a forlorn place, with all shops and cafes closed can feel somewhat sad.
I wish that Norwegian spring were more predictable, but it’s not. Before the end of March it is early to speak of the spring altogether – March is a winter month here, with a sudden snow and a biting freezing wind. Thanks to Instagram we have a daily reminder how gorgeous spring can be: there are first crocuses in Germany, and the blossoming trees in Paris and Vienna. While I decided to go check the forest for the first tiny sprouts last week – only to find there the rests of snow. Complaining is my old friend, but it doesn’t help me here, so I learn to reinvent myself and look for the ways to change my attitude. This year I learn not to wait for the spring, but to create it. Here are my tiny tricks so far.