this is the archive for the ‘just life’ category:


no choice is good choice

it’s been a few months that we’re back in berlin after our spring stint in celorico de basto, a place hidden in the middle of vinho verde land.

everyone thought that we, the globetrotters, were going to hate being holed up in there for two months.

minho

well, the truth is… it was oddly refreshing. i wasn’t expecting it to be so soothing, and i think a big part of that stemmed from not having much to chose from. there was one of everything: one restaurant, one supermarket, three bakeries (this is portugal after all) — and that was enough. it was just pure simplicity, those unadorned, undemanding days where we did the only things we could do.

plus, our internet allowance was limited and thus kept strictly practical: no videos streaming, no music playing in the background, no images cluttering the pages. we did our job and then switched it off and went outside. the inbox got close to zero a few times. my skin regained a bit of its southern shade.

(i had the same feeling once, on a tiny apartment we stayed in where everything was white, clean and uncluttered from the usual paraphernalia that seems to sprout on every surface. no superfluous decorations, nothing in sight… everything was there, but hidden in its right place. i, the queen of messy desks, felt relieved, serene, in peace.)

levada

of course we missed lots of things: friends. the convenience of online retailers, combined with the efficiency of deutsche post. our bed. reliable film shops. the café around the corner. diversity. proper internet. a quiet place to call our own…

but it was strangely refreshing to be away and really focused on a task. no main distractions going on. everything was secondary to the main goal and so every decision became easy, barely a yes or no process.

i don’t know if this makes sense for anyone else… i just wanted to remember this feeling.

one second every day – august 2014

august was made of cats, adorable newborn babies and friends.

what else could one possibly need? :)

a list update: 22% done!

i’ve crossed quite a few random things off my 101 things in 1001 days‘ list in the past few months, so it’s time for a list update. let’s see…

- riding a paddle boat: check!
i spent my birthday this year in amarante with friends, munching on traditional sweets and paddling up and down the tâmega river. the trick to paddle boats is to go slowly! don’t put all your muscle into it, just relax and take it easy :)

- make cheese: check!
we made delicious cottage cheese! the hardest part was locating fresh, unskimmed, unpasteurized milk…
cottagecheese

- reduce our energy consumption in 10%: check!
in 2013, we spent an average of 7.44 kWh/day, but in 2014 this number dropped to 5.32 kWh/day, a 29% reduction! :D

- visit an island: check!
guernsey was all kinds of lovely and we must go back someday.
vrguernsey

- see Daniela get into a university: cheeeeeeeeeeck!
all of that studying back in june/july paid off! the kid managed to get into the nursing school closest to her home, which means she now has a proper chance to finally get out of the village, and do something for herself.
sometimes it’s still hard to believe i saw her come to the world 18 years ago, changed her first diaper in the hospital and all… and now, she’s become this amazing person, a fighter, someone who knows what they want, someone able to make a plan. i’m currently bursting with pride! :)

wiksten tops

i bought a sewing machine some years ago, and despite my good intentions at the time, ended up using it only for hemming stuff. it felt like a waste, and i wanted to do more, so one of the things on my 101 list was sewing something i could wear. worst case scenario i thought, i could always make a scarf or something simple like that…

but then summer came and the lovely wiksten top my friend C did for me some years ago became my favorite piece of clothing: it was fresh, simple, not too tight… it seemed perfect for a first sewing project, so i asked her if she could pretty please show me how to make one, and make sense of all the instructions – and she did!

pablo, rolling in the pattern

we went fabric shopping on the turkish market and then got cracking! for a whole afternoon we cut, pinned, ironed, fought the sewing machine… even our guest pablo wanted in on the action.

in the end, the wiksten emerged, and it was a thing of beauty. who knew i could sew with a little help!

wiksten #1

it turned out so nice, that the next day i immediately started on wiksten #2, this time sans professeure and with a darker fabric – so you cannot see my mistakes and the times the sewing machine jams! :)

wiksten #2

it turned out slightly wonky, but equally nice. they’re so light and practical that i don’t think i could ever buy an ill-fitting t-shirt again! i feel empowered and i want one for every day of the week… and maybe a tova as well :D

one second every day – may 2014

may was… all over the place! :)

some highlights:

- a short (but lovely) trip to guernsey, to launch their postcrossing stamp
- making cheese for the first time
- and then relocating to the countryside, studying, clocking in lots of family time :)