Tag Archives: Summer

Autumn has Arrived

22 Sep

There’s no doubt about it: autumn has arrived. Tress are taking off their lively summer garments and dressing in warmer tones. The sun no longer stays out to play between the leaves until bedtime, but retreats not long after dinner. In the mornings, the grass is shining with dew and the last wisps of night mist float between the blades. As I open the windows upon waking, cold air pricks at my sleepy skin and I can barely spend a moment appreciating the flowers before shaking from the moist air.

A few weeks ago my whole body ached with the stuffiness of the house in the afternoon. Shutters would be closed to keep out the heat and walks were reserved for evenings. Today, I can barely change my clothes quickly enough to avoid the damp from penetrating my bare skin. It is now even too cold to sit day-dreaming on the balcony, as I often did in previous months.

Autumn was once my favourite season and I thought that my northern soul could never love the heat waves of the South. But now that the seasons have changed at the blink of an eye, now that short days and sharp winds are ahead, I regret not having had the chance to say goodbye to summer…

I’ve Missed You, Dear Friend

1 Sep

Dear Reader, dear Friend,

It’s been almost a month since we last met. You’ve had no news from me and I have not had the chance to catch up on yours. I’m sorry for my absence; I’ve truly missed you and can’t wait to hear all about your summer. As for mine, it’s been both healing and inspiring…

I spent a month with the people I love, visiting my old homes and my old countries. I watched sunsets, made meals, picked mushrooms, dug earth, killed weeds, took photos and ate fresh fruit and veg. Tired of intellectual activity, I decided to become more active, to dedicate my time to people, rather than to ideas; to actions, rather than to words. I didn’t keep up with world news, I did not read newspapers or magazines, and I did not check my e-mails. Instead, I tried to be more aware of the small details immediately around me. How do my close ones feel? Is there anything I can do to help? Can I make an extra effort to put a smile onto someone’s tired face? What’s more important – doing something I enjoy, or spending that time bringing joy into my family’s life instead?

The less I paid attention to myself, the more I noticed others. The less I thought about society, the more I understood my family. The less I focused on what is expected of a person of my age, sex, race and social standing, the more I lived by instinct. The less I worried about other’s opinions of me, the more I was honest to myself.

Oh, how much I learnt from all of this! In the past month I tried to observe deeper than the skin, I tried to hear further than words, I tried to understand larger than actions. In the past month I wanted to connect not with the name, not with the image, not with the reputation, not with the status, not with the job title, not with the salary, not with the clothes label, not with the CV, not with the awards, not with the face…but with the soul.

I observed things differently and tried to see beyond the surface. I reached into each person and tried to understand them for the eternal being that they are. And when I did this, when I connected with each person’s soul, I found only one thing: love.

I remember reading somewhere that “Only love is real”. At the time, I believed this idea; now, I understand it.

This is not something that can be explained and it is definitely not a concept I could begin to try convey in words. As a teenager, I thought that my wisdom could come from text books, as a young adult, I thought that I would learn it through philosophers; now, I understand that the world’s most important lessons comes from life itself. If you haven’t yet seen, through the swaying of trees, through the laughter of a child or through the deep eyes of a passer by, that only love is real, don’t waste your nights reading philosophy books, just go out there and live: talk to everyone openly and honestly, give time and effort to your close ones, notice the small things that people do for you, see the positive side to every person and situation, and most importantly: love love love.

I’m quite stuck on what to say to you next, dear friend. I want to tell you so much. If you were here in front of me, sharing a glass of wine on my balcony, I would be waving my arms manically, talking so fast that my tongue couldn’t keep up and telling you…telling you everything right from the beginning. I’d have to go years back, to tell you about why I worried, why I was doubtful, why I was shy and insecure, why I was full of hate and frustration, why I lost hope, why and how I started believing again, why I started forgiving, why I began apologising, why I let go, and why I suddenly understood. But now, with not much space, I need to get to the essentials: everything passes, but only love remains.

Oh how I wish you were here with me, dear friend, so that we could take a walk in the park by my house. We would look at the soft sunlight radiating through the golden trees and you would tell me what is on your heart. I would be filled with peace and joy to realise that we understand one another; that two people, with different lives and different experiences, see something similar in all this worldly chaos. I would thank God for showing me that there are other people who see what I see, feel what I feel and believe what I believe. You are miles away, dear friend, but I am still grateful; grateful that you are honest, grateful that you share your soul with me and grateful that you are here, on this earth, at the same time as I am.

I am sorry for having been away so long. I hope that my letter wasn’t too much of a muddle. There are so many other things that I would like to share with you; so many ideas, feelings and, when words aren’t enough, images. I look forward to our weekly meetings; though you may be miles away, you mean a lot to me. Your words resonate in my mind and your visions change my own perception of the world. I understand that you too need ‘time off’, and although your temporary absence may sadden me, I only wish that you never stop writing, never stop sharing. There would be a whole in many people’s hearts if you do.

Speak very soon, my friend.

All my love,

xxx

London vs. South of France

23 May

In my birth city, it is 15 °C; in the city I grew up in it is 20 °C; in my new city it is 28 °C. The weather is not the only difference between London, where I spent 15 years, and the Southern French city where I live now. The geographical distance between these two places isn’t spectacular, but the lifestyle is noticeably different.

The most obvious difference:

1) London: 8 million inhabitants. My new town: 200, 000 inhabitants.

London From Above

London - 8 million inhabitants

Amusing differences:

2) London: you’re lucky if you meet a British person in the city. My new town: I stand out for having a foreign accent.

3) London: everyone has an Oyster card. My new town: everyone (apart from me) has a car.

The differences that a Londoner, who is used to having anything/everything at any time, is finding hard to get used to:

4) London: the nearest grocery store was three minutes away from my house. My new town: the nearest grocery store is a twenty-minute walk away; add ten extra minutes if it’s a particularly hot day.

5) London: within a ten-minute walk from my house I had: a grocery store; 3 gyms (including swimming

Cat lying down in garden

My new neighbours

pools, dance/yoga/martial classes); 3 libraries; a dozen restaurants, bars and cafes; 3 bookshops; a park; several hotels; a museum; clothes shops, banks, etc. etc. My new town: within a ten-minute walk from my house I have: a football pitch, a small park, a post office, an organic food store…and hedgehogs, cats and owls.

6) London: shops are open from early morning until late at night every day of the week, including Bank Holidays. My new town: shops are closed at lunchtime, on Sundays and any other time they choose.

7) London: life never stops. My new town: everything stops between mid-June and September, when everyone goes on holiday. Students leave the city, all evening classes are cancelled and the sun drives the only remaining people into the coolness of their homes.

8 ) London: it would take weeks to count the number of galleries and theatres in the city. My new town: I can count them on one hand.

And the differences that a Londoner is greatly appreciating:

My new city centre

9) London: the buildings reach up to 253 m, soon to be 310 m with the completion of the Shard London Bridge tower, the tallest in the European Union. My new town: buildings are mostly around five-storeys, with a lot of houses in my area being bungalows or two-floor homes. Apartment blocks vary from two to six storeys, with only a handful of tower blocks on the edge of the city.

10) Following the point above – London: we appreciate nature through a square meter of sky directly above us. My new town: a 360° view of the sky!

11) London: you’re lucky if you get eye contact from…anyone, really. My new town: passers by not only look you in the eye, they actually smile at you.

12) London: you haven’t even put your change into your purse, but the check-out assistant at the supermarket is already screaming “Next!”. My new town: the check-out assistant makes a comment on the delicious food you bought, says thank you and wishes you a nice day.

13) London: with double-glazing and closed windows I could hear the incessant noise of traffic, fire brigades/ambulances/police cars, drunk people singing in the night, bus doors opening and closing, cars beeping, delivery

A cycling route in the area

trucks unloading, garbage men cleaning the streets. My new town: I can hear birds and the wind, and sometimes a rodent rustling in the bushes.

14) London: ride a bike at your own risk. My new town: ride a bike at your own pleasure.

15) London: after two years of living in the same place, I had no idea who lived in the flat opposite me. My new town: I know four of our neighbours; two of them helped us out during our move, the third gave us DIY advice, and the fourth invited us for drinks at their place on several occasions.

16) London: if you blow your nose after a tube journey, don’t be surprised if your handkerchief turns black. My new town: during the first few weeks here, I got lightheaded after every walk, because of the high quantity of oxygen in the area.

17) London: silence is golden in public transport. My new town: communication is appreciated and even encouraged.

18) London: complaining about the weather, the public transport, the tourists, the parking wardens, the queues and the prices is a daily practice. My new town: the weather is nice, everyone owns their own car, tourists are far and few, parking is permitted pretty much anywhere, there are no queues and prices are reasonable. No wonder everyone always has a smile on their face.

~

Every place has its advantages and inconveniences, and it is always an enriching experience to explore the rhythm, the rules and the visions of a life that is different to our own.

More about this change is lifestyle to come soon…

Spring is Here!

21 Mar

Spring is in full bloom in my new town (and new country). I am feeling a little disorientated, seeing as I’m used to spring arriving at least a month later. Spring is quite possibly my favourite season, so I am loving the extra month in which I get to enjoy the smell of blooming flowers, the sounds of nesting birds and and the warmth of the approaching summer sun.

These days, I don’t leave the house without my camera; the flora here changes almost daily and I love capturing each stage of nature’s reawakening. Here are a few snaps of spring in my area.

What I Love

6 Jan

There is an uncountable amount of things we love in life, yet we don’t even realise it!

Seeing as I am writing a blog about love, I sat down and made a list of all the things I love. The list took me half an hour to write and is almost two and a half pages long. Wow, I didn’t know that there were so many things that inspire me and bring me joy! It’s funny how we don’t even realise just how much something means to us until we sit down and make a list of it.

But, as proven, even making lists has its own beauty: it has opened my eyes to the things that I treasure in life…and the fact that my current life hardly encompasses any of these things at all. Time to get out there and start experiencing the things I love!

I L♥VE….

the sea

soft warm sand

piano music …. Ludovico Einaudi

trees

all things natural

softness

making people laugh

dacha

sunsets behind the field

white nights

spending an afternoon in the park reading

playing hide and seek in long grass

growing my own food

wild flowers

hidden streams

listening to live music

singing

guitar

people with a passion

when someone’s eyes glow as they talk about something they love

dancing

performing on stage

making collages

langauges

snow

vastness

the smell of sun on my skin, the smell of clothes that have dried in the sun

raspberry jam

pancakes

opera

writing

walking barefoot on the earth

long walks

receiving and sending handwritten letters

bikes with baskets

fireworks

being very silly

drawing colourful pictures with fat felt tip pens

my pillow

physical contact

the smell of freshly cut grass

the smell of rain on a summer’s day

autumn

waking up early, when the sun is rising and everything is quiet all around

cheesecake, carrot cake

poetry

books

small independent book shops

milky, sweet coffee in the morning

birches

huge pine tress

secret lakes

balconies and French windows

rye bread with butter

children

yoga

the echo of footsteps in a museum

feeling in the flow