After a slow start for my freelancing business, when June came around things took off, and before I knew it all my hours were booked with a lot of responsibilities for the rest of the year.
With a busy, new routine drawing me in, I hoped to eventually learn to manage my time in a way that I had more time for myself. I was hoping to recover from some personal issues, finishing up painting projects and in general, just enjoy life again.
Finding myself repeatedly failing at it, stress started to take the best off me – again. It scattered my focus as well as put me back into some bad habits. Spending money – since I finally feel like I do not have to worry about money. Eating unhealthy – since feeling stressed all the time, makes it easy to justify. Although I have accomplished a lot more in this short time than I imagined, I am longing for proper breaks along the way.
And that is what B and I are trying to do more of. ( Btw, B is my new boyfriend if you were curious. He lives in London but is around in Oslo until the holidays). I am glad to have him around to unwind together. And last weekend we had our first walk together in Østmarka.
The fun thing about going for walks with my lovely B is to be constantly challenged to walk off the beaten path, in the literal sense. Once he heads off the trail, there is not turning back. Until I start complaining about my wet shoes and desperately needing to pee.
In the end, I really appreciated the unknown parts of this beautiful landscape. It was really my kind of “zen”- experience, a beautiful opportunity to feel more in touch with the senses. And when I thought I knew a lot about Østmarka, it turned out to be a walk of small discoveries for both B and me. A bonus was coming home with both our cameras full of photos, and that has not happened in a long time for me!
Not many things have changed since I last posted here. Things are moving along job wise, but I am waiting on settling a project so I can start focusing on trying to get back to a routine. As fun as it is to break routines once in a while, or even often, I do enjoy rebuilding new and good ones.
This weekend I took time away from the city and visited my mother on the countryside. My favourite thing about visiting her in the spring is to see how much the garden around our house has grown compared to the last time I was around.
In the month of May we have the gorgeous cherry tree blossoms.
Beautiful tulips in all shapes and colours. Our house is situated in a mountain valley, so our tulips come quite late.
My mom gave me a bouquet of Lilly of the Valley when I went back to Oslo yesterday. I completely understand why my great grandmother chose a bouquet of these as her wedding bouquet. They are just so sweet, lush and simple at the same time.
Buzzing bees in the rhododendron blooms make me happy.
And admiring these black tulips from the warmest spot in the garden. While reading and having coffee.
The blooming cherry trees are astounding this year. We pruned our trees earlier this year, and weather conditions so far have been perfect. If everything goes well from now on, we should have a lot of cherries in July and August.
But for now I will enjoy the fresh rhubarb that I brought with me back to the city. Hopefully I will have time to make myself a quick rhubarb crumble this weekend.
How I like those little sunny marks on my sofa coming through the window.
I am completely cheating with having strawberries this early in the season. But I was too tempted. And I’ve rediscovered having passion fruit for dessert.
And not mention the gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous blossoms happening in Oslo at the moment. It is happening a little soon, when you think it’s Norway and it concerns me a bit thinking about all those fires going on in different parts of the country. People are happy with the warm weather, but I am hoping for a little rain soon.
Big apologies for the continuing changes of style on the blog. I am trying to figure out how it should look and experimenting a bit. I will go back and forth a bit, so bear with me. Hopefully it will look great in the end!
Getting up early to find rays of sun streaming through the mountains and illuminating trees of catkins. Almost as if they were tiny Christmas lights. (I wish I could have managed to take a nicer photo.)
Having the most quiet nights without waking up to either the tram outside or my own alarm set at 6.30.
It feels a little surreal that I am soon to finish my third gratitude journal. Keeping them has been such a rewarding journey.
I started my first journal the summer of 2017. I was ready to put some serious effort into becoming and staying happy. I got myself an empty Moleskine, just to get a little fancy, and named it “Gode ting” in Norwegian – “Good Things”.
Since then I started taking 30 minutes (almost) every evening to write down at least three good experiences that have happened to me during the day. At first every effort to find something good felt forced, and I can’t say that I consistently kept up the practice. But with time, it became almost an instinct, something that has infused my way of looking at the world. Which was just what I hoped for.
Within the next eight months my first Moleskin was finished. On most days I had at least 5-7 memorable experiences to note, everything from the smallest impression, to big milestones at work or personally. It feels rewarding to flip through the earlier journals. I now have permanent reminders of a lot of the good thing that happened to me, and I am better at noticing new things.
Here are some moments from my journals:
MARCH 18TH 2018
I moved the last things from my old apartment with the help of my closest friend. What a relief it is to finally be completely done with the move. And what I relief it was to know I was never alone in this process.
I followed my mom’s advice and made myself a nice hot chocolate. But a healthy version with almond milk and honey.
The weather has shifted, and it feels like spring is really here.
APRIL 13TH 2018
It is Friday again! Yay!!!
My colleagues gave me really nice feedback on a presentation. It was improvised. I had almost no time to prepare it and felt extremely nervous about it. Supposedly I managed to communicate clearly and made the topic sound interesting.
I finally started learning French on Duolingo again. Why was I overthinking it so much before? It is so much fun!
APRIL 28TH 2018
How nice it is to start a new project at work. It feels so fresh and motivating.
I visited an old friend in the evening and we chatted about absolutely everything.
I had the loveliest long walk back home. The sky was pink, violet and blue, and the cloud had formed a beautiful foggy haze.
My “Good things” journal helped me searching positive experiences, but also helped me stay positive during difficult times. Practicing it on those days matters immensely. It is important to keep up the noting, even if the only experiences you can think of seem very insignificant.
Have you ever tried to keep a gratitude journal? What experiences made you happy, that actually surprised you?
What better way relax in the spring sun than to discover blooming treasures in the Botanical Garden? My little flat in Oslo is located right next to it, which makes anytime a good time for a brief visit, but warm April days are simply the best.
The park is about to be covered by fields of spring flowers.
The greenhouse has a jungle with exotic plants that bloom all year. It is nice to come here in February too. Just to get a little warm.
These tiny orchids are just adorable.
And the best thing about the Botanical Garden in Oslo: there is no entrance fee! Happy Sunday ^^
Things finally feel brighter. I have stumbled upon so many good things to be grateful for the last year.
Waking up one morning in late March, I thought to myself: “I am just where I am supposed to be”. As crazy as it may sound, it was a victory to let myself think this. Even if that means that not everyone that I care about is happy, even if things always can be more difficult – I trust in my ability to find things to make myself feel happy,
The sight of spring morning dew. Putting on red lipstick before going to work. The smell of Baptiste’s roasted potatoes with French herbs for Sunday brunch. Living in my tiny 12 square meter flat, which actually rooms all that I need and a lot, lot, lot more. Doing art again. Watching crocuses appear in my mom’s garden. My liberties. My financial situation. My friends supporting me on starting my own business and going freelance. (Oh, that last one I can’t overstate enough. I am so grateful for my friends.)
And the list goes on, and on, and on.
I would always feel that each season is reminiscent of that same one last year. But I hope that this spring holds a lasting change in the air.
Get yourself the year’s first bouquet of tulips. A little reminder of sunnier days to come.
Last week went from tiresome and sad to full of laughter and good experiences – something I truly needed. Energy levels are elevated and I am starting this week with full force. Wishing all out there a lovely week!