Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Back again.... February 2013

Funny, the last time I wrote here was during my last vacation. Next week I'm headed off on another - maybe it's something about vacation offering time to muse? There's been plenty of thinking over the last few months, but not as much musing; not as much time or interest in sitting still and reflecting about life.

And a lot has changed in life in the last four months. Since then, I've started moving towards a minimalist lifestyle, doing yoga consistently (while listening to the Bible in audio form - interesting combo), and have eating primarily vegetarian style. Having the time on vacation to think about what I value the most, and then moving to a new city helped me transition into a more purposeful lifestyle, instead of a 'take what you can' one.

I got home from vacay to a new apartment, with our boxes still decorating the rooms after our speedy move. I did felt guilty that my husband had been left with figuring out the last details while I went on vacation, even though it had been planned for months. I was proud that we'd gotten everything packed up and moved so quickly after the perfect apartment became available, though not so proud when it was time to unpack and find places for everything. I was happy that we'd gotten rid of a lot of stuff (mostly hand me downs), but once we arrived, I had to get rid of even more! Our new house is literally half the size of the old one, which I like, but it did make (re)furnishing a challenge. Our living room, for example, is relatively large for a Dutch apartment, but everything that fit in our old living room looks cramped if we stuff it in this one. So minimalism is blossoming and our house is getting emptier and more graceful by the week. 


I had my headphones in and was trying to - methodically - work through a shopping list for this weekend's festivities. Unfortunately, the clever Albert Heijn smartphone app only has the "sort items into route order" for its own supermarkets. Which means when I'm shopping at a their competitor Bas, I  have to mentally sort all the items into their locations on my own. Are balloons or broccoli at the entrance? Is the milk or the marsala midway through the store? And so on.

So there I stood, looking down at my list and trying to figure out what I needed to look for first so I wouldn't have to backtrack down the same aisle more usual. And then I realised someone was talking to me. A small someone, holding up a toy for my inspection. "Look what I have! It's an Ironman toy!" At least, that's what I think the little boy said, since his voice was a semi-muted until I pulled out my headphones. But since I have watched Ironman 1 and 2, I recognised the toy and smiled back at the eager face as he continued, "And there's a button here - this makes him go REALLY FAST!" "Cool! Is it new?" "Yes!"

And then off he wandered, still happily holding his bright red action figure. A lady who I think was his grandmother followed him, and gave me a polite smile. Of course, it could have just been the last person he'd tried to show the toy to. Maybe she hadn't been impressed, or maybe she thought *I* wouldn't be introduced to the beloved Ironman replica.

I've seen plenty of action figures over the years, and plenty of children (not many of them well-behaved) in supermarkets as well. But the happy combination of the two this morning made me smile, and it made the rest of my shopping much more enjoyable, knowing that not everyone was in a hurry or worried about the financial crisis....

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Intimidation. Of the most innocent kind.

That's why I don't blog more. Because everyone else seems to be doing it [and life] better and cooler than me. I have one friend who blogs with almost excessive doses of hilarity, humour, and humility about being a mother and a TCK at Ink Blots, for example. Another blogger, Ali Rae, whom I would love to meet some day is aboard the Africa Mercy and blogs about life-changing operations in Togo and the fragile, beautiful life moments between life and death and hope. Other bloggers send out challenges to live intentionally in eastern Europe, California, and so on.

And if I had the guts and/or discipline I'd be blogging about life here in Holland. About the way I hoist my bike onto my shoulder to carry it up the stone bridge stairs, and hope that the two Muslim women in full black robes behind me don't think I'm a shameless girl. About the way I make a mental note every time I actually see someone in wooden clogs (once or twice a year.) About how the job(s) I hold alternately fascinate me and drive me insane. About how, after two years of living here, I am lucky enough to have found one girl friend to share frustrations and excitements with (preferably while enjoying the 1-euro breakfasts at Hema.)

Once I start talking, or writing, there's always plenty to tell. It's that first mental block that does me in.