December 24, 2012

Wonderful Moment In Time...

For the first time in years do I get to celebrate Christmas with children.
There is that wonderful atmosphere in the air, the one that the mind of a child brings to this time of the year - the sense of utter enchantment and anticipation and that special joy that the adult mind lacks.
Yet the one that is so very contagious...

Sneaking away from the busy preparations, I would like to wish you all, my dear friends, the same moments of wonder and joy that are saturating my world today.

from my home to yours

December 21, 2012

The Reign Of Night.

The day of the winter solstice is a time of celebration for all of us here in the cold North. It indicates a conclusion of the reign of Night and the end of the period of perpetual twilight, which has ruled our world for the past many months.

The shortest day is upon us - yet slowly, by each week, light will commence its return, signifying that the best lies ahead.

Nevertheless, until the reign of light fully announces its presence, we take comfort in another kind of illumination - the multitude of candles that spread joy and create that one of a kind atmosphere throughout our homes, signaling that Christmas is almost here.

December 15, 2012

Reflections In Snow.

View From Our Kitchen
I sit once again in my favorite spot, in our kitchen, looking out onto the bare birch tree, as it stands so very still in the snow. I try to savour the stunning wintry images as much as I can. Despite the fact that the alabaster blanket is several feet deep, a major thaw is on its way, robbing us most likely of all hope for a white Christmas.

I have mixed feelings about snow - driving in it is a true nightmare and the adrenaline rush cutting through my body as the car wheels start sliding uncontrollably is the most terrifying feeling imaginable. Add some evening fog to the mix and I become paralyzed with fear. Night fog is in my opinion the most horrid condition to drive in. Especially thick fog banks that come out of nowhere and force me to slam on the brakes as I suddenly hit a wall of total nothing and visibility of zero.

Views During My Daily Drive
Thus in the past two weeks, following snow storms that made it impossible for me to set out onto my long daily commute, I have been confided to the house for some days here and there. Yet, as the roads cleared and the sun came out, the drive to work turned into an enchanting and visually stunning experience and the views of the snowy landscape touched me almost to tears...
Therefore I will truly miss the snow, as it illuminates the darkest months of the year, creating so much beauty. Almost every morning this past week as I sat behind the wheel, the only though occupying my mind was "I wish I had my camera with me and I wish I could stop and capture all this endless brilliance of nature and winter at its very best..."

With barely a week left to Christmas I wonder where the time is going.
I find myself so out of it and am becoming increasingly disorganized.
I, who used to live by routines and had every week meticulously planned in advance am now living from day to day, where my reality is improvised and spontaneous. My life is a wonderful mess and there is an intensity in it that makes me feel alive.
Carrying boxes with our Christmas ornaments out of our garage the other day, falling knee deep into the pristine snow in the process, the sight of the garage interior made me gasp. So much stuff! And it all has to be sorted out, packed into boxes or disposed off within the next month. It will be a difficult task to do in the midst of a cold winter.
Perhaps the thaw that is coming is after all heaven send.

Our Decorations Detail
Later, when I decorated the house, it struck me that this was the last time I did so here. Next December, I will be decking the halls in our new home. As always, I felt nostalgia grasping my heart - every ending is sentimental and everything that concludes usually comes across as bittersweet, no matter how much we look forward to what is to come.

Sometimes I lie awake late at night, when everything is so very still. My mind starts racing, my thoughts run like wild horses. Facing two mortgages in the future, how will that go?
Being a landlord, I am still connected to my past through the white house on the hill. It is an odd feeling, knowing there is a property out there that belongs to me on paper, yet which I never see, only maintain. Here and there something breaks and I am asked to repair it, which means I make a call and a craftsmen is send to the house. It has been months since I last visited the property that I own. The other day, sending a Christmas card to my tenant, writing my old address yet another name on the envelope, I experienced a truly surreal moment...

Our Entrance
For most of my adult life, I have been alone.
Every problem, every decision, every hurdle - I had to overcome them and solve them on my own. That notion still envelops my being and I still become anxious and apprehensive about the difficulties that the future holds.
Yet as time moves on, I am slowly learning to live in the present, something my husband is greatly proficient at. His smiling face and loving arms reassure me at all times that I am no longer alone.

Taking risks and taking action -  these are what brings us forward, enriching our experiences and our perception. However hard it is for me to accept that the uncertainty of the future is the only certainty there truly is, simultaneously I am realizing that this very fact is the essence of a rich, full life in progress.

View Of Our Backyard

December 09, 2012

In Ivory.

There is nothing more enchanting than the first snow.
December snow is the most alluring precipitation, creating christmas card like atmosphere, adding to the the spirit of the Holidays.

We have been under a heavy snow blanket for over a week, as the first few snowstorms of the year swept over the country - the latest one last night - leaving us with stunning views of a winter wonderland. Yesterday the weather gods granted us a short break, with clear skies and a fragile sunshine, beckoning us to set out on a short drive through the white landscape.
The soft winter sun momentarily drenched nature in a platinum light, making the snow sparkle and the contrast between the alabaster white fields and the azure blue December sky so very obvious.

The ivory views passing the cars window clearly reinforced the fact that we have stepped into the third season and the reign of Lady Winter has truly commenced.

(All images in this post are taken with my iPhone through the windows of our car.)

December 02, 2012

Everything Is Illuminated.

As we step into December, the weather has turned bitterly cold and the first snow of the season has fallen - as if on cue - with the onset of the first winter month.
Embarking on my long commute after work the other day, three hours into a dark winter evening, I left the traffic of a busy metropolis behind and set out onto the deserted freeway. Driving along, I experienced a sudden sense of enchantment.
The darkness subsided and the full moon peaking occasionally through the clouds cast an alluring silver light onto the road ahead, while my favorite musical piece kept playing in the background.

I felt as if suddenly everything was illuminated.

Thus yet another unforgettable moment formed in my perception - an occurrence that is fairly common these days.

My dreams and hopes are all slowly become reality and the future indeed seems bright.
In a couple of months we will begin the process of moving into a new house - a place that will become our home.

Sitting in our lawyers office this past week, getting through the last administrative paperwork before signing the dead, my mind went through a short flashback to almost exactly a decade ago.
Seated in a similar office, in a another part of the country, I was signing a deed to my very first house, the white house on the hill, having an entirely different future planned ahead off me. I never thought then that ten years down the road I would be embarking on a novel journey once again. I find this to be the most alluring aspect of life - not knowing what the future holds.
One thing remains the same though - I feel equally excited about the prospect of the purchase as I did then. When we walked into our house for the first time, both me and my husband, without any communication between us, knew in our hearts we have found our home.

Giving in to the wave of changes, I have taken the decision to change my citizenship.
It is an important step, one that I take gladly, but one that is leaving me full of nostalgia.
I am giving up a country where I was not born and where I have not lived for over two decades, yet where I spend twelve very important and formative years. It is a country that took my family in and gave us shelter and a promise of a better future. It was where I spend a blissful childhood, where I went to school, where I had my first home and my first employment. It is where I made the friends I still have in my life and where the foundation was laid to who I am today.
Thus I take this step with a sense of apprehension, even though there is no doubt in my mind that my decision is the right one. After "belonging" to one country almost all my adult life, despite my many moves and relocation - I guess I have finally found a reason to belong elsewhere. I have found a reason to lay down my hat right here.
I have finally found my home.

Indeed, everything is illuminated, even though we are amidst the darkest time of the year. November noir has ended, becoming replaced by December brightness - not just defined by the shine of the full moon, but by all the twinkling, ornate lights adoring houses and lining the roads and the multitude of candles burned throughout the Scandinavian homes.
I have always loved this time of the year, when this undefined yet so tangible and unified joy settles all across my world.
Still, never before have I enjoyed the onset of the Holidays more than I do today.

Love, family and home - these are the blessings that define Christmas and currently these make up the very core of my life and are the shinning beacons that illuminated my heart. 
Each and every day is precious and even the darkest winter night is suddenly full of light.