Archive for September 2010
Good morning Sweden! Good morning World!
Good morning golden sun casting light on the lake!
Good morning Basia Bulat’s amazing voice filling up the entire living room!
In a few months they will have a second baby. Mio keeps asking when the baby comes. We tell him Santa has to come first.
I’ve been hanging out here a few days, picking Mio up from kindergarten, playing in the park and preparing family dinners. I get to put Mio to bed and read him stories and he calls me “Len” and I completely melt.
Family life is sweet but far, seeing I:
- Don’t have a boyfriend (and don’t want one either)
- Don’t have a home (of my own)
- Don’t have a job (and not sure what job I want)
I waved goodbye to Mio who was pretending to be a rooster, gave Frida her lunchbox and a hug.
And now, I have the house to myself and yet another beautiful day ahead of me.
My other childhood friend Madelene is coming over in a few hours and we’re going to check out a few second-hand stores in search of old fashioned furniture and funky items for a restaurant that our friend is opening this weekend in Stockholm.
And happiness is in the little things.
Picking mushrooms with my uncle, drinking coffee from a thermos, taking the bike down to town to change grandpa’s curtains, going to the pub with friends, running in the woods, wasting time in the library reading random books just because I can.
Don’t worry, I will send those applications too.
Just after I finish this cup of coffee. I promise.
It is Friday night and I am sipping on the last glass of the lovely fresh white wine that mom and I shared for dinner, with our Halibut in cognac and mushroom cream sauce topped with parmesan cheese. Believe me, it was luscious. It was such a pleasure of a meal, I felt a bliss of happiness take over me as we sat in our little kitchen, my mom’s eyes sparkling from the light of the chandeliers.
I am happy. I am satisfied.
And she tells me not to worry, that I can stay as long as I need.
But I know, time flutters likes the leaves that whirls down from the trees.
And she has already done enough for me.
It is seriously time for me to start moving again. I’ve loved the last two months and the freedom that came with the money I earned in Norway. But after a few road trips, music festivals, a new bed and a trip to Italy freedom is sand running through an hour glass – polvere di tempo…
It’s just that…I don’t know yet. I need more time.
I want to flip the hour glass and start all over.
I have too many options, too many thoughts and dreams, too much ambition.
But I don’t know where to start.
I want to travel, I know that much, but money is short. I would make it to Asia for a couple of months but then what? Where would I go?
Therefore, I am looking at options where I could work abroad for six months or maybe a year, and after that, travel more freely.
Why is money equivalent to freedom? Does it have to be like that? What am I telling myself?
What am I waiting for?
I spoke to a friend the other day and we both agreed that if it truly was about the inner journey all we had to do was pack a backpack, hit the bike and get on the road. But we don’t.
Instead I keep thinking that I need to make money.
I have a list of cruise line companies written down. I have contacts in the Caribbean. I have friends all over the world ready to accommodate me and a family at home rooting for me. I have a passion for eco-tourism and local culture (which is why I have second thoughts about cruises). I have potentials.
I just wish someone would take me by the hand and guide me right.
I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. That is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’
Martin Luther King Jr.
After four days in Rome, mom and I caught a train north to Le Cinque Terre – the five mountain villages in Liguria.
After only 3,5 hours the chaos and constant traffic noise of Rome was replaced by the sound of rolling waves, ringing wine glasses and church bells.
Rick Steve describes the villages in “Europe Through the Backdoor”:
Each village is a variation on the same theme: a well-whittled, pastel jumble of homes, filling a gully like crusty sea creatures in a tide pool. Locals are the barnacles — hungry, but patient. And we travelers are like algae, coming in with the tide.
I’m not sure if his metaphor of locals being the sponge and tourists the seaweed is correct but the tourism boom in the area is evident. Some Italians I met told me that 20 years ago the villages were still little hidden gems where life proceeded like before with fishing, agriculture and wine farming the most important business.
But it is easy to see why the place has become so popular.
The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is a pathway that stretches along the mountain side connecting the villages. Some parts are steep and daunting whilst other are literally a walk in the park. If you do the full hike between the five villages it takes about five hours but you can also stop in any village and catch a boat in the harbour or the regional train.
During the four days we spent there I did it all.
I got to see Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, Riomaggiore and a town reached by boat – Portovenere, although I only got to experience them briefly I can confirm that they are all pretty and picturesque.
Everyone may find their own favourite.
Mom and I chose to stay in Monterosso, the biggest of the five villages, because mom wanted to stay close to the beach.
And actually, I didn’t mind either.
Monterosso’s old town was gorgeous.
And we couldn’t have found a more lovely Bed & Breakfast.
L’Antica Terazza was a true traveller’s dream; clean, comfy, situated on the cutest little cobble stone piazza with daily fresh foccaccia and croissants for breakfast and a stunning roof top terrace where local wine and limoncello was put out for free every evening.
The atmosphere in Cinque Terre is really romantic and lots of people go there on honeymoons. Of course, it would have been nice to snuggle up with someone in the couch on the terrace or have someone to hold hands with while walking on the beach at night, but at this point in my life, I couldn’t be happier to share this holiday with my mother.
On the day of my birthday, our last day in Italy, she woke me up 7 a.m. to wish me a Happy Birthday. While we lay there next to each other (yes, there was only one bed) she told me about the night I was born. We went downstairs and had breakfast before I ran off quickly to an internet café to check our flights leaving from Bologna to Stockholm the next day. 120 new e-mails – most of which birthday congratulations from friends and family.
I was so moved! So grateful!
There was also a pretty sweet message from The Universe. Now, I know, they probably send the same message to everyone on their birthdays, but somehow, I still took it to heart.
You’re the kind of person, Helen, Who’s hard to forget A one-in-a-million To the people you’ve met. Your friends are as varied As the places you go, And they all want to tell you In case you don’t know: That you make a big difference In the lives that you touch, By taking so little And giving so much!
Mom stayed on the beach while I headed off for a few hours of hiking.
On the way I popped into a bar for a coffee and some chit-chat with the local old men. When I mentioned that it was my birthday they insisted on paying for my coffee – and cheek kisses.
I love speaking Italian! And apparently I have a knack for it. A man I met on the hike said I didn’t even have an accent, but then after a while he changed his mind, saying I did have an accent, a Roman accent. I pick up languages and accents like a sponge, it is almost embarrassing.
It was our last evening in Monterosso and our B&B had booked a table for us at one of the town’s best restaurants; Miky. We had a seafood platter for starters and a great spaghetti with pesto Genovese as main. When our desserts came out, the apple pie with vanilla ice-cream had a lit candle in it and they turned off the lights and everyone sang Happy Birthday for me.
A Happy Day it was indeed.