Saturday, September 14, 2013

Be good to yourself

Fall is really in the air now....the breeze is crisp later and later in the morning and earlier and earlier in the evening. The days are still beautiful, leaving us soaking up the last bits of summer until there are no more sweet, sunny, and warm days left. The skies have been deep blue with warm breezes. They say it's the best summer in 19 years, I suppose I couldn't have picked a better time to come. The popping summer green in the leaves is slowly fading to hues of yellow, gold, and red. The pears, apples, and plums are in full season, a natural sign that the brink of summer and fall is tetering closer and closer to full-fledged autumn. Leave it to the fruit to tell us what time of year it is. Speaking of, we've got pears, apples, and plums coming out of our ears! It was so windy yesterday the ripest pears fell to the ground, perfect for Valter and I to collect together, instead of having him reach too high for his small stature and pick unripe fruit followed by the celebratory "mmmmmmmm" with a winning smile every time whether sour or sweet. Although, I peak and see his face wince when it's sour, although he still wants me to believe otherwise. We went through this routine while picking plums, tomatoes, and blackberries this weekend. Green plums, tomatoes, and plums were still followed by "mmmmmMMMMM" and a large, proud smile, even if he spit it out after. The color of the plums is beautiful, you could design a room around the mix of maroons, pinks, and gold. Pictures of our produce to follow.

Since I've posted last, most of my pictures I have realized are centered around food. Last week, Anna-Carin and I prepared a Lebanese dinner and a traditional Swedish apple cake for a dinner party. We spent two days cooking and preparing the food, and I was in cooking heaven. I think my favorite past time is cooking with someone, it makes the flavors more intense, the food more delicious, and the aromas more enticing. It's just not as satisfying alone. That's not to say that I don't enjoy baking alone, because I spent close to my entire day today baking three loaves of bread, and making loads of fresh apple and pear sauce. Scrumptious! Not to mention that the house smells amazing! I was elbow deep in pears and apples, and wrist deep in bread dough! Tomorrow I'm making challah and Czech plum dumplings! The girls (my au pair friends) are venturing out into the country here for a picnic to celebrate the last of the warm days wearing dresses and short sleeves and enjoying the scenery of the backyard, not to mention the lake down the road, and the canal as well. I'm excited to "host" a small gathering! We are a total of 6 au pairs from US, Germany, Austria, and Spain.

I've begun running close to every other day either down the road past the stables and to the lake, or along the trail that paralells the canal. Sometimes I stop mid-stride and stand there alone taking it all in, and recognizing that I really am blessed to be living in such a beautiful place, and to have been given a job that is not a 9-5 with a grumbling boss in an office building. I may not be making money out of my ears, but then again, who does straight out of undergrad these days? Every knrona I make is worth the life I have been given for the next 9 months. This is not to say that some days I don't struggle with the loneliness of isolation, or homesickness, or feeling as though I'm not doing a job that is necessarily "building my resume." But I will never have this opportunity again to live in Sweden the way I am now, with a laid back lifestyle under the care of a loving and caring family who treats me like a family member rather than an employee, free Swedish classes, free university classes (in the spring), and a student study stipend (also in the spring). I recognize that I am extremely lucky to be a Swedish citizen in which case I haven't had to worry about visas, work permits, or not being qualified for Swedish class or bank accounts. Right now, I am trying to relish in every moment, happy or sad, rewarding or lonely, because collectively, they will all give me an experience that has challenged me and caused me to grow and learn about myself. It's much like a sabbath year....I guess I'm taking a sort of sabbatical. A time to do research about myself, a time to enjoy myself, and learn to love myself again, because school and learning is great, and I miss academia, but I can rip you apart in ways you couldn't have expected. Not to mention, that our society doesn't foster relaxation and taking time for self, rather it's a fast paced, go go go, be the best, and do everything you can to build your resume lifestyle.

Speaking of relaxation, spending a long weekend on the beach in Skåne walking along the beach, going to lighthouses, and maybe horseback riding. Swedish starts next week!

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