I should have written this before. I actually wanted to write about “Joys of Being Back” in my first weeks in Oslo. But love is felt at its most when it’s time to say good-bye, ironically – and as I sit on my return ticket I feel more for expressing it now :)) Plus there is such a lovely sunny day in Oslo. Plus I had such an amazing night yesterday, meeting one of my best friends for dinner and going out to dance salsa later.
Before it is too late – I want to share my reasons to love Oslo. Now or never :))
The turn of the year is always a special time – and a difficult time to blog. Not just because we are all so busy packing, unpacking (gifts or suitcases), visiting families and having a good time/food and some drinks (sometimes too many). But I also feel a need to write something special – and the most remote idea runs away at this wish.
I used to make summaries of the past year, to write thanks and wishes – but this year has been so evidently full with events and changes that I don’t even feel like summing it up in my little notebook. Feeling lack of inspiration (and trying to chase some of those runaway ideas), I was scrolling down through the photos of the past year. When my eye caught a pattern – this year was full of especially one thing. Or better say – of one color. And the color was – tada – pink! (anybody surprised here?)
Well, I would never say that I look at the world through the pink glasses. But it looks like my life is more rosy than I dare to admit it :)). So I want to celebrate its pinkness with you! As I wonder, which color will fill my life in the new year 🙂
It takes only three days to be away – that I come back as a total Oslo patriot. I suddenly discover this: I love this city. I am even surprised. With all the sadness and hardships I had to experience here, with all my negative reports about Oslo – here I am, calling it one of my favorite cities. Well, hello!
Last weekend saw us driving to Bergen. 500 km over the mountain, as they say it here. In any other country 500 km is a fast, boring and anonymous ride on the motorway. Not in Norway. No way in Norway. Here it takes 8 hours. Yes, 8 hours of roads through villages with funny names (and speed limit of 40 km/h). Up on the mountain plateau, Hardangervidda, which is also a national park. Beaten by the rains, down through many tunnels, along the fjords, next to waterfalls, sharp rocks and rocky rivers. Mysterious and breathtaking landscapes.
Here I understand why the notion of humble (ydmyk) is so popular in this culture. Living between these high mountains, dangerous rocks, deep waters and dark rains – how does it feel to be a human? Well, humble. Where would the arrogance come from when you are reminded every day about how tiny you are. This is the Norwegian nature at its best. It is not about bunnies and flowers here. At times it can even feel overwhelming.
I have returned home from my favorite craziest adventure – Summer salsa festival in lovely Rovinj – and I keep on repeating one phrase. “So good to be back”. Wow. I am surprised.
Usually I turn my nose away from the everyday reality (from the need to clean the house, shop my food and cook it myself :)). I post the vacation photos, the feeling of missing it already playing on the strings of my heart. This time, however, I just feel loads of gratitude to the place and the event – but I don’t want to get back into my past emotionally. I enjoy every moment here. And I want to live in my emotional present. To connect with my life which is only happening here and now.
This year – like never before – I am love with my home, my city and the country I live in. I am so used to the feeling of “yuck, this gray and cold place again” – that I even get surprised by my sudden “oh, Scandinavia, how lucky I am to experience this my Norwegian adventure” (adventure? Since when has it become an adventure??? :)) And here are my reasons to love it.
My blog has turned one year some days ago. It turns out it was created on the day when they celebrate Los Reyes (Three wise men) in Spain. The 6th of January. Which is also Christmas Eve in Orthodox countries like my own Ukraine. So I have to divide my attention between three celebrations now. Not a bad problem, really 😊
A month before this little anniversary I started thinking about what I will write. I’ve seen blog birthday posts in my feed celebrating number of followers. I wish I could write: “And suddenly there were 2.000 followers, thank you guys for your love”. But nope, not possible. No thousands. And writing: “Now I have totally 180 followers” would sound funny, but not everyone will get the irony of it. Second, I don’t connect love and numbers. I tended to get caught in the numbers game, but not anymore. Well, only while playing bingo. But I lost the connection between feeling good and getting numbers of followers and likes since I got off the Instagram. Instagram has even created a turn-off for numbers after I learned about mass-following: all those people who follow you so you will follow them back. There was a person who followed me three times. Wow, she really liked me! I wonder if the same things exists on WordPress. Do you think people follow you just to wake your interest for their blog? And those likes, omg, how I missed the like-button for years on Livejournal blogging platform! And now I feel like saying: “take it back! Turn it off!” The same reason: sometimes it seems to me that people hit the like-button even without seeing your post. Why otherwise can there be more likes than views of a post? Is there such thing like mass-liking here? Like you know, on Instagram you get likes from shops and other marketing platforms connected to your post.
Oh, I didn’t mean my anniversary post to be about numbers and blogging frustrations – but it looks like it becomes just about this. Lovely 😊
I love writing gratitude lists to the leaving year and usually I use the first week of January for that. I also write visions for the new year (but not New year resolutions), plans and goals. As much as I love those activities, I never used to share them on the blog because that would feel like bragging to me. I am often concerned about the literature value, hehe. Like: “what would the reader get out of it?” However, doing the post about the best pictures and moments of 2017 felt so right to me – and I hope, that it felt like a positive sparkle to you. So I just have to complete that list and share the rest of that year – in pics and highlights!
Yesterday I was re-reading the horoscope for 2017 which promised that this year would be one of my most favorite years. Well, what can I say? They didn’t lie :). The leaving year has been amazing for me. And as the December rain is washing the rest of that year away, I decided to look back and pick my most favorite photos and the best moments of this fabulous year.
My favorite picture of the winter 2017 is this shot from Barceloneta, a beach neighborhood in Barcelona. This is how February in Barcelona looks like: sunny and bright, and surfing boards blending in with the winter coats. I love this game of outfits and meanings, and I hope that my life will be more like this: the sea, the sun and the colors, and surfing easy among winter-clad people.
I am so grateful for the conversation on the blog! Sometimes I read the blog posts that say: “thank you for 1000 views!”. There are people celebrating the number of new followers and the number of views. Sometimes I find myself also caught up in the numbers game. This is the world we are living in. But I really enjoy when I don’t care about the numbers (I also found that less time on Instagram helped to beat that habit :)). I would not mind 1000 views too, but I’d better exclaim: “thank you for those 2 comments you left under my post!” They are more meaningful to me than numbers. Because they sparkle a conversation, they help me think and change and grow, and that is so precious (which maybe great number of views provides too, I just lack the experience of it :))
November is not an easy month for blogging. It is getting darker, the days are so grey and so short. My inspiration gave me a lot of ideas some weeks ago – and disappeared for a while. Then again, I got caught up in writing about interesting subject on my blog in Russian. And what makes me come back to this blog, in the times of low statistics and poor light conditions, is those meaningful conversations. Thank you for them, dears!
Do you have a story or a hero that has changed your life? Can you say that some of them have saved you? I think, I have, and I am lucky to have it.
Two days ago I watched the movie “Julie and Julia”. It is a history of two lives, both real: one is of Julia Child, an American lady who lived in France, fell in love with cooking there and wrote a book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. The second one is of Julie Powell who seems unhappy about her work and moving to Queens, so she starts a project of cooking all the recipes in Child’s book during a year while blogging about it. Her story becomes a book too, and a movie, as we see. According to Julie, Julia Child had saved herself from falling into bored expat wife in Paris by discovering her passion, and she saved Julie. While Julie’s husband says: “No, you have saved yourself”.
Last week my interest for exploring my own city was rekindled. This week I have spent in excitement and inspiration, falling in love with the place that I thought can hold no more surprises for me. So if you feel a bit stuck in your relationship with a place you live in, grab your camera and go out for a walk. For me taking pictures is like a ritual of appreciation. When I notice something and stop to snap it, I feel so alive. It is like showing gratitude to life for all the beauty it sends our way. A happiness-boosting process it is.
Another inspiration came from searching through blogs here on WordPress. I found a post “Oslo is colorful” by Kjersti Lier and was instantly obsessed with her project and her images. She has made the series where she shows that Oslo truly is a colorful city. Go check her vibrant collection, it is so lovely. Can you believe that I used to see Oslo as Northern, bit boring and gray place? I cannot believe it myself! Because Oslo is really full of colors.