Thursday, December 30, 2010
One good friend gave me the following advice: whatever you do, don't complain about the weather.
Most other repatriates said: be prepared, your friends are not particularly interested in your adventures in Bali/San Francisco..where were you again during the last five years? You were really away that long?
And. They continued. Maybe good friends will tolerate one evening of reminiscing: listening, smiling and saying, that sounds great, but when it comes down to it, it is your experience to keep and treasure. This may be hard.
I don't blame them, who wants to hear too much about someone else's sabbatical in the tropics?
I have therefore wrapped Bali up carefully in hand-pressed-batiked tissue paper and slipped it under my bed, to take out when needed.
For now, we are still in a rainbow coated bubble, filled with happy gas, which is rolling us through the streets of Amsterdam.
The kids both had a huge grin on their faces coming from the airport as they looked out of the taxi at the snow lined tree tops. They skated on natural ice at Christmas. At this point, this is what we call exotic. They got presents.
We have all been gorging ourselves on fresh brown bread from the bakery around the corner, sticky on the inside and crunchy on the outside, spreading it with hagelslag (chocolate bits) or smeerworst (sorry foodies, it is animal unfriendly and maximally processed - I will not translate). We have been eating cheese and chocolate and drinking red wine daily. It is Christmas after all.
This will have to stop soon, we have good food intentions, but we have to get it out of our system.
Before we left, I was reading some Dutch opinion magazines that guests had left behind, and every article seemed to have a negative and/or sarcastic slant to it. Oh no, I thought. I have either been in America too long or, I am now seeing the Dutch nature as it truly is.
But so far the "I smile, you smile back" principle" generously applied in San Francisco is working here too, and even the Amsterdam taxi drivers appear to be happy people, just to confuse us.
It is sale time, and we need winter clothes, so there has been some that.
Housing? We still have a whole week to get that organized. Schools? I think they start tomorrow. Income? Lovely winter weather out there.
I realize we are still in vacation mode. Real life hasn't started yet, and I will do some grumbling next post, but for now, just letting you know: this city girl is happy to be back in town.
Happy New Year to all. May you be healthy, happy and free.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
That is what Rosie asks. How many more days before we go? The day after the day after tomorrow. She is excited but I doubt she realizes what awaits her. How long are we staying in Holland? She then asks. For a long time, I say.
My last havianas have snapped with a dramatic flip and a flop. This is a sign, I think.
I am making a list of things to look forward to: drinking water out of the tap, cheese and red wine, clear thoughts in crisp cold air, while savoring the things we will miss: the green, green, the tri-weekly massage, and being able to text with my doctor.
There are other things: certain yoga teachers, the Greenschool and Bali friends. But no time to be sentimental. We have some last minute nasi campur to eat, photos of palm trees to take and gekko/frog symphonies to listen to.
How is it in the real world?
Monday, December 6, 2010
Greetings from the deep middle european continent, again. Its 4 p.m. and it is dark blue outside. It is snowing. A lot. It's cold. VERY. The predicted minus ten has been reached.
So here I present you with a little guide on how to keep warm :
wear lots of woolly jumpers, if you can wear a pair of tights under your trousers then do so, two pairs of socks , fleece jumpers and lithuanian hanknitted mittens, a woolly hat and hood on coat and wrap a woolly scarf around the half of your face. Then waddle out of the house, catch a tram and woddle to school. Whilst waiting for the tram , which can take a long time due to the snow delays then I strongly reccomend jumping about on two legs. Basically , when it is this cold you should try to adapt gymnastics to your everyday life where ever you are.
Here is a french man demonstrating the possibilities of gymnastics in everyday life. Its a little bit silly but it made me laugh , which is also a great way of keeping warm :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
How to keep the cold out !
Its funny , but did I mention that my most important subject for the first three years in the Fine Arts Academy of Prague was gymastics ? If I was to fail this subject I would have been kicked out of school, so it's a good thing I quite enjoy a bit of excercise.
Anyway, long live gymnastics and keeping warm and happy ! All my love and I'm very much looking forward to christmas and seeing you all ! Here is a little song to get you into the mood for our festive family reunion.
Take care and have a peaceful end of year.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
If I say, I have been taking the first steps towards skillfully creating banks around a pool of internal energy, in order to make a river of Consciousness, that flows back into the ocean of supreme bliss, what would you say?
You might say it is time for me to return to a continent with four seasons.
Or you could say, wow, how was your yoga retreat? That sounds amaaazing.
It was very nice in fact, thank you for asking.
Learning about the tantric, non dualistic principles underlying anusara yoga, in which I was being immersed for five days at Desa Seni village resort, I found I could say yes, okay, uh, huh, to most things. The inflated language occasionally made my big body shudder, as it sometimes does when the G.- word is used a lot, but once we got past the definition obstacles, I was encouraged by it all.
Encouraged to learn more, dipping my toe into the swamp of eastern spiritual literature, which you could say is a little late, two and a half weeks before returning to the northern hemisphere. A. jumped into the swamp many months before me and has already pulled himself out by his tanned yogic arms, to embrace other focused books like "Crucibles of leadership", "Crossing the Chasm: marketing and selling technology", "The Facebook Effect" and similar page turners.
So, as I sit on my meditation cushion overlooking the green, green, frogs croaking, bells tinkling in my ear, my husband is making excel sheets for a new internet start- up idea, that he is tossing around.
We are being Bali about our departure, or return, depending on how you look at it. Hopefully with less suitcases than with which we came, we will arrive in Amsterdam with our lives wide open once more: housing, schooling and income all yet to be decided.
Maybe I will take a few more massages before we get on the plane then.