In my music library on Spotify I find a new folder – “Your summer rewind” (I guess, Spotify creates it by himself – from the songs I listened to last summer. Hello, machine intelligence!). I like to start it when I am working (cleaning) at home. You never know what comes next in that mix. A chill kizomba song, hot Latin hits from last summer, Russian rock from year 2000, some Balcan beat (who listens to it? I share the account with my man – must be his workings. But Balcan beat, really? :))
A fun fact about me: when I was 20, I had a dream of working on the radio. I even got through some competition (sending a cassette with my voice to one popular fm station) and spent an hour on air as “a DJ” (I was just talking, the songs were played by the operator). I didn’t get the job in the end. But it was a fun experience.
I have never worked on the radio since (though my friends call me “a radio” cuz I talk that much), so I use my blog to channel some of that energy :)) A lover of top charts as I am (I loved listening to them on Saturday morning back then), I will make now my own hit parade of this summer. Not of songs, however – but of all my favorite things this season (any radio lovers here, btw? Raise your hand!)
When I worked in the Danish design store of jewelry and living, I liked telling the story behind the product because the story makes it more personal. I would often tell my customers: “When it comes to such things as jewelry, we want it to have meaning: either they are a gift from somebody dear, a heritage, or they have a story you can connect to”. I was not making things up, this has become my own truth too. I would say: “With clothes, I can go and buy some cheap t-shirt and throw it away next summer. With jewelry, I want it to last many years and have some special memory every time I use it. This is why I like when my necklace is a gift, even if I could buy it myself. And it is ok to give presents to yourself too, if you want to mark an occasion that is special for you. It is also ok when they cost some money – choosing and thinking over is all the part of the process. You would not want some cheap thing – it would not have the same value for you over time”.
I have come to realize that my relationship with things has changed. A lot. Growing up in a very turbulent time in Ukraine, right after the collapse of Soviet Union, I was not spoiled by things. I remember wearing my mom’s shirts and my dad’s flared jeans (I was kinda hippie and loved the 70s style). I remember shopping at second hand. My jewelry was self-made necklaces and friendship bracelets which fitted with the eccentric style of my hippie friends. While my girl peers were busy with make-up, pretty clothes and boyfriends, I couldn’t care less about it. I focused on studying and dreamt about getting into the Moscow university, filling my time and fancy with rock’n’roll music, the Beatles, drawing and making up stories with my friend. I was a typical dreamer.
In the previous post I started to write about the movie “Julie and Julia” and was swept away by the inspiration to share the story that has influenced my life in a profound way. But there is one more theme in the movie that is worth writing about. The theme of the work that saved their lives.
Julia Child, played by Meryl Streep, falls in love with France and exclaims: “I feel I AM French!” And, oh, I exclaim it together with her. I too love France, and France in the movie is so pretty and lovable. Julia discovers her taste for the French food, and she plunges with enthusiasm into cooking courses, though she has never been fond of cooking before. With this newfound passion she keeps herself busy in the landscape where it is easy to become a boring expat wife with no meaningful occupation. On her way her interest for this work gives her new meaning, new friends, and later it gives her a professional call and even fame. As Julie Powell says it: “She saved herself by cooking”.
Julie Powell is also saved by the love for cooking. And blogging about it. It fills her grey days with colors and tastes, with meaning and enthusiasm. And that saves her also. Giving her a chance to be a writer as she had always dreamt of, giving her new opportunities.
Last summer I spent three unforgettable weeks in Croatia which I call my personal “Eat pray love” project. There was one week of salsa festival, a week of relaxing, eating and taking pictures in the beautiful town of Rovinj, and a week of yoga retreat on Hvar Island. Yoga would be the pray part, eating and relaxing speaks for itself, and dancing is definitely love. I have shared reasons to love Rovinj here and here, and the time has come to tell its stories. This is going to be the post about the dancing part aka love (you will find more posts about this story under the tag eatpraylove).
I came to Croatia for the first time in summer of 2015 for the salsa festival and it captured my heart forever. On the night of our arrival we were pulling our suitcases through cobblestoned streets, the stones reflecting the light of the lanterns, the old houses towering around us, the laundry hanging from the windows – I felt like I was instantly placed in the setting of a romantic movie, and soon the cameras would roll. The town of Rovinj in the Northern part of Croatia is known as the most Italian town of that region Istria which used to be a part of Italian Veneto for ages. That’s why Italian atmosphere is luring everywhere, in the colorful facades, in the cuisine, in the smiles and jokes of local waiters. And what can be more romantic than Italian atmosphere in summer?
I feel that I stumbled upon some great finds this week – and I feel that I just cannot keep them to myself. Here is a list of books and talks that make me bubbling with inspiration. Their subject is happiness, change of thinking, work and positivity. If you are into it also, let’s go!
If you ask me about the best time to visit Rovinj I would say the end of June, of course, when the salsa thing is going on 🙂 The energy is unique, it is like a all-night and all-day celebration going on. But in this post I want to share my reasons to love Rovinj, even if you don’t own glittering dancing shoes and don’t tremble at the sound of the Afro-Latin beat.
Do you know this feeling of falling in love with a place? Yes, you do, I am sure. And do you know that the same feeling is still there in your heart and it is easy to get in touch with it? I’ve just discovered that going through my last year’s pictures made me nearly as happy as when I was there. I used to watch my old photos with a sigh “I wish I were there now”, and there would be a taste of sadness in this activity. But today, maybe, because it is a sunny day in Oslo, or because I know I will be there this summer – revisiting the photos of my beloved Croatian town made my heart beat with joy and love, no note of sadness in it. And I just cannot keep this love to myself! So let’s share it!