There is something about hoar frost that I have always loved. It is so delicate yet so beautiful as it sparkles and shines in the beauty of the sun— even as it melts away. I love the fact that most people don’t know what it’s called, and that it is created by a beautiful blend of moisture, temperature, and light. In my memory it comes in late winter or early spring as the earth is coming out of it’s hibernation phase. Some of my favorite winter memories revolve around a ton of snow or a beautiful landscape of hoar frost.
I almost didn’t go hiking. I cut my foot, I had blisters, and I felt a little tired because I didn’t sleep well. Yet, I was restless and disappointed about the thought of staying home, and was feeling cooped up after all the hubbub over the holidays. I REALLY wanted to be in great nature and have a challenging hike instead of one along roads in towns. The previous time I hiked the trail disappeared, including all markings, just as it left town via a housing complex under development. I backtracked my steps because it was too late in the day to wander into the woods without a clear idea of where I was headed—especially since I was on a timeline to catch the last bus home.
I am so amazed that the hoar frost stayed all day. I am on the bus ride home with frost on the ground, some fog in the air, and a fantastic lengthened sunset (at 3:18 pm.) I also feel empowered, because the movement and peace helped my mind to clarify how to combine all of my skills into a lovely and beautiful healing process for everyone. I also worked through some beliefs I held about what is possible in my life (and what others expect from me) using EFT (tapping) as I was walking. Peaceful fields, hoar frost, and calming my mind by tapping easily moved me out of a place of feeling stuck and fearful back into a place of power and strength.
I am excited to come back to Minnesota to visit. I have two job offers in Sweden, so will be returning to Minnesota March 23rd to do massage, homeopathy, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT/tapping) in Red Wing and in Mahtomedi. I am finalizing dates and times currently, and will be in touch with anyone who has mentioned they are interested. I will also be holding a few free classes on EFT for those who want to learn it and use it for their own growth. It can help with many things, but the focus of these classes will be around daily use for stress, cravings, and fear.
Now that spring is coming fast, I encourage you to use the energy of growth and extended sunlight to challenge yourself in some way. What is it you want to do this year? How can you be a bit happier, a bit more peaceful, a bit more “you?” I have challenged you in previous newsletters and blogs to search within yourself and see clearly what beliefs you hold that drives you in life that do not suit you anymore. What do you do that has become pattern or habit or expectation, but does not really make you happy? Let’s work together in 2019 and get rid of that so you can be peaceful as you move through your days. With age comes wisdom and the power to dump all social expectations and step into our true selves. I wish this for you!
To continue the playfulness of last blog, and my friend who asked me to take a picture of something odd every day, I have not been finding anything odd, beyond myself, and the pronunciation of the Swedish language. No new fun toilets or anything!!
Hello everyone! My last few blogs and newsletters have been way too serious or philosophical, so I thought I would lighten it up and share some things that I am finding interesting and/or amusing.
(I apologize in advance for the picture formatting/sizing and placement. WordPress changed how I can work with pictures. They publish different than the back end shows, so I currently cannot get the pictures to do what they are supposed to. It looks great on this end!! I swear!!!)
1. Toilets. I know…who starts a business newsletter with toilets? I am having a strange fascination with the structure of toilets and flushing buttons, and finally used my first in-floor toilet in Italy. (Is that TMI??)
2. Spelling. Before I flew to the United Kingdom, I was considered great at spelling. But words are very different there than in the US, and I was reminded of that often. Even my computer picked up that I was in the UK and told me I was was misspelling words such as: theater (theatre), color (colour), neighbor (neighbour), license (licence) and so on. They actually use the word “whilst,” yet Americans avoid the word as much as we can. (Like swum… we much prefer to say “went swimming.”)
3. Enunciation. Training one’s ears to a different language can be challenging. My friend Martina, who is Italian, and I were taking turns reading to each other and I read the word “quarrel.” She suddenly stopped me and exclaimed “squirrel?!” while proceeding to take a squirrel pose and make squirrel-like noises. (It still makes us giggle!) We also had a great miscommunication about “leak” versus “lick,” which sound very similar to non-English speaking ears, as well as “hate” and “ate.” In Sweden, I am often corrected when I think I am pronouncing something PERFECTLY and my friends tell me it is completely wrong. I cannot hear the nuances of some words…yet!
4. Knives. Did you know it is illegal to carry around a knife that has a locking blade (think multitool, camping knives, etc) at all in England unless you are going camping? I didn’t. My friend’s 11-year old told me when he saw it lying on my bed. In Sweden, I also found out it is illegal to bring knives out of the house, so one cannot just grab the kitchen knife and go get it sharpened at the local grocery store. It is a good thing I know how to sharpen my knives myself! It does explain all of the extremely dull knives I have dealt with at hostels though.
5a. Bonfire night/ Guy Fawkes night. This holiday in the United Kingdom commemorates a failed plot to assassinate King James I of England back in 1605 (Catholic vs. Protestant.) There are large bonfires (often with an effigy of Guy Fawkes in it), fireworks, and toffee apples. It is cerebrated November 5th, and overshadows Halloween (which is barely celebrated here.) I found it delightful and community-oriented, and I managed to eat just as much junk food as usual.
5b. Armistice (Remembrance) Day. November 11th is Remembrance Day, and, unlike the US, it is taken very seriously over here. Many people start wearing their poppies a month in advance. One town I was in had structures all over town decorated with poppies, some of them handmade by the local artisans.
5c. Sant Lucia. This Italian Saint is also celebrated in Sweden on December 13th, although they have different traditions. In Italy, the kids bring letters to her, asking for what they want as a gift (like we do with Santa.) In Sweden, there are no gifts given, but often kids dress up and wake their parents with singing early in the morning dressed as Saint Lucy. There is a traditional saffron bread made as well. Here are the pictures from a concert and the homemade bread (I helped!!)
6. Strange Things in the Streets. My friend, Trish, asked me to post pictures of odd things I find as I am traveling (travelling??) She showed me her favorite butcher shop, who, for Christmas market, hangs pheasants, ducks, and other animals you can purchase outside. This shop also sells squirrel, which I have never eaten before. Maybe next time!
These water bottles strapped to a post are supposed to prevent dogs and cats from peeing there. I saw many framing doorways as well.
7. Navigating Trails. I am pretty good at navigating, but I find that not all public trails are marked thoroughly. For example, while I was in Italy, I decided to take the long version of this trail around a couple mountains. It is marked very well, just past the blue split to the north. Then, the trail splits about 4 times, none of which are marked. I thought I found the trail later, but it turned out it was someone’s property markings. After bushwhacking for about an hour straight up a beautiful mountain using a compass and Google Maps, I found my way back to the trail.
To be fair….perhaps sometimes I lose a trail because I get sidetracked or I think I’m smarter than Google (just because an unmarked-by-Google hiking trail crosses a road…. it doesn’t mean I can get on that road,) but I have seen a huge difference in the ways trails are marked in different countries and the resources available to find them. Hands-down Scotland had the best preparation information online, including length, bogginess, difficulty, pictures, descriptions, and a variety of ways to download the trail information. Sweden’s big trails are very well marked, but I have to buy a map/book/guide for each one.
8. Silly things that Make Life Easier.
I love these automatic light switches in pantries and closets that turn the light on and off when one opens and closes the door.
I also loved a garbage can, whose lid popped open when you opened the cupboard door under the sink. It’s truly the height of brilliance, as I am easily impressed.
This may not make life easier, but I loved the concept of a bunch of trees growing out of buildings. These buildings in Milano caught my attention, and I have been told I missed some that were better.
9. Seemingly Innocent Yet Dangerous Spots. The Strid, near Bolton Abbey in England, is a stream that goes from being about 6’ wide to about 1’ wide. The water rushing through it looks and seems fairly peaceful, but it is super dangerous, and has a 100% death rate for those who enter it. Cameras, cages, and anything else placed in the water here for research disappear. My friends jokingly call it “the babbling brook of death.”
10. Coming Home. I have two job interviews in Sweden in January. One on the West Coast in Gothenberg, the other on the East Coast in Stockholm. The outcome of those will determine when I will come home and for how long. I may be coming back in February or March for a few weeks when I accept a job. If I do not take one, I will not be home until June or July. Once I have my tickets and have confirmed with the spaces I rent, I will be booking people who are interested in massage and healing appointments. If you are interested, please let me know by replying to the newsletter, Facebook messaging me, or by texting me via my old Red Wing business line/mobile number.
11. New Certification! I am over halfway through my international certification process for Emotional Freedom Techniques a.k.a. tapping. It’s really amazing and I am seeing great results with my online clients. If you are interested in learning more, I am still offering it at a huge discount. **Note: Those who are seeing me for homeopathy and/or EFT also get first pick at massage appointments when I return.**
12.Other updates. if you missed my past blogs, you can find them HERE. One is a story of me thinking my tent was going to blow off a cliff with me in it. Quite exciting??!!
I miss you all and I miss Minnesota, but I am learning valuable and interesting things over here! I look forward to hearing from all of you. (BTW, if your plan is to come to Europe in the next 6 months or so, I might be able to meet you to say hello if you give me notice.)
I work with a lot of people who have dissonance between what they want out of their lifestyle, career, relationship, or health, and what they have become or are expected/pressured to be. I use Emotional Freedom Technique and homeopathy to help each person discharge emotions and have the power to step into the life they want–without feeling judged. I have been observing in different cultures and situations how people subtly judge, and wanted to write a bit about it today.
Hiking up Fairy Hill with the group
I went to an event outside of Dublin called “Hammered Hiking.” It was advertised as a walk to a local pub, a 4-hour challenging hike through the hills, a brief stop at another pub, then a walk back to the meeting location. It sounded like a lovely way to meet some people in a casual atmosphere. What surprised me was the number of people in the group who did not drink. It came up in casual conversation as someone passed around a small flask, and three of the 10 of us did not drink at all. We got into an amazing and eye-opening conversation about judgements and social expectations of others. The question all the “non-drinkers” have been asked/hassled about/judged around: Why don’t you drink?
It’s a question I have heard myself. When I traveled to California and was on a detox, people were astounded I would go there and not have any wine. “What? We are near Napa! You can’t go home without having a glass of wine with me!” I also was asked by a couple of people if I was pregnant. Because WHY would I CHOOSE not to drink? The women I was with were astounded to see that I danced, laughed, and engaged as much or even more than if I had been drinking. I know people who will carry around drinks at parties and pretend they are drinking in order to deflect the social pressure. There can be a strong undercurrent of judgement as well. I.e. If you don’t drink, you must have a Problem with drinking. (If someone is respecting themselves and the others around them by honoring their choice of sobriety, we should be applauding them, not judging them!!) Others look for a Reason beyond just the fact that one doesn’t want to drink that day/week/month/ever. My clients and friends report having to make excuses (I have to drive, I’m not feeling well, I’m on a detox, it interacts with my medication, I’m trying to lose weight, etc.) for it to be socially acceptable not to drink. One friend of mine in Minneapolis quipped, “if I say I’m not drinking alcohol, people wonder why and judge me. If I say I’m straight-edge, I’m a cool part of the culture.”
View over Dublin area
One person in the hiking group said “I feel split from myself when I am drinking. I don’t like that feeling.” Another woman just doesn’t like the taste of alcohol. Both of them reported being pressured to drink over and over. As if the people they were with were not comfortable unless everyone is drinking. One said, “I don’t pressure others not to drink because I’m not. Why do they feel they should pressure me to drink?”
I hear the same thing said about food judgments. I know a woman who has an extremely high metabolism who has a hard time gaining weight. People say things such as: “Really, you are just going to eat a salad?” “You’re so skinny-why don’t you eat a sandwich!” With the increased allergies in our society, the people with serious food allergies versus just intolerances are not always taken seriously. “Oh, you’re one of THOSE gluten-free people.”
Why do we make these negative/judgmental-sounding comments towards people for their choices instead of being supportive? Is it us trying to feel better about our own habits and choices? I know in Minnesota we have a mentality where we have to offer food or drinks of any sort over and over again to feel hospitable. “Are you sure you don’t want anything?” I have friends who don’t like chocolate. They get comments like, “who doesn’t like CHOCOLATE! That’s _(insert word of choice).”
I really think that we don’t realize we are making comments that are negative and tiring to others. Perhaps we think we are being playful. Regardless, the words we say have an impact on others. My challenge for myself and for you this week is to watch how you engage with people about their choices. Are the words you are using implying judgement or support?
Resting after hiking 3 mountains in Connemara, Ireland
If you are ready to make changes in your life and let go of the emotional and social ties around it, send me a message and we will set up a complimentary 30-minute talk to explore how I can help you. I provide a safe, non-judgmental space for you to share and heal. I look forward to our conversation.
P.S. Comment below to share other ways you observe judgement in everyday conversation.
I woke up one morning in Kilkenny, Ireland to find ice on my tent.
Some of you want to see more pictures of my journeys, so here they are!
This great fjord swim started around 8 am. It was 42 degrees F air temp. Connemara, Ireland. I did not participate. Instead, I went hiking up three mountains (see pictures below.)
Walking down the last mountain after “a difficult seven hour mountain climb of three peaks in the wild 12 Bens; Benbaun (Mweelin), Benbrack and Knockbrack. Distance is about 8.5km. Terrain includes rocky mountain tops, steep open hillside, wet bog, sheep track and road.” Connemara, Ireland
Looking at the 2nd and 3rd mountains to climb.
I loved the color and texture of these plants on top of Knockbrack mountain, Connemara, Ireland.
Sitting in the leaves & considering how simple life was when I was a child
Hi Everyone! I thought I posted 2 other blogs between September and now, but it looks like they got stuck in my computer (I did have the voice-typed files saved) and I never finished the process. No worries, today I will post one from early October I wrote, then will post the next few blogs over the next week so we can be all caught up! So I apologize-I did not fall off a mountain somewhere and get blown away!
(Early October, 2018)Today was a challenging day for me emotionally. I am running into challenges and old belief systems as I try to figure out what I want to do for my next steps in life. Today my ego is telling me it’s impossible, that I should not bother, and that all government paperwork is stupid (which isn’t entirely untrue….) Today I miss my family, friends, clients, and the ease of being in my own country. Today I am close to tears walking down the street and I’m using my tools just to manage my emotions so I don’t have a breakdown instead of moving forward. But it’s OK.
One of my lessons this lifetime is to learn how to actually feel emotion really deeply.
Swans in one Dublin park
And when I do it’s always overwhelming. But in a really lovely cleansing way. Today what made things better were the random reach outs of strangers. I caught myself crying in public, and a woman came up to me and put her hand on my arm and simply asked if I was OK. I told her I was OK, but just sad. She asked if I needed any help, and when I said “no,” she gently told me “take your time.” And then she moved on. It was a great moment of connection and remembering there are good caring people all around me.
Later, I was walking down the streets feeling emotional, and a gentleman walking down the street grabbed my attention and gave me a very compassionate and smiley and uplifting look. It completely changed my energy, and I felt a surge of happiness and peace. A few people have looked at me with compassion, which I also appreciated. I’m sure quite a few people have averted their eyes or avoided me more than they normally would have. But I didn’t notice those people.
My learning for today goes back to the idea of being vulnerable. There is power behind being vulnerable and feeling and expressing one’s emotions It also reminds me that when I see people struggling I can reach out and offer a kind word, a smile, or a gentle look, all of which can speak volumes and really change somebody‘s perspective in the moment. It can help them feel connected and part of humanity.
Sunset in Phoenix Park
My challenge for you is to bring that forward it to your life. How can you show compassion and empathy to someone who is having a challenging day or who is struggling? How can you show compassion to yourself when you feel like what you’ve done (or are doing) is wrong or not good enough, and those messages are trying to penetrate your being? How can you take care of yourself and take care of others in a way that doesn’t put you out? If you haven’t seen it, thisBrene Brown talk is one of my favorites. It’s a good reminder that as people it is healthy to feel a powerful mix of emotions, and that it’s a good opportunity and often needed for growth. Included here are the pictures of many of the parks I walked through today as I was trying to be present with myself.
I woke up the other evening an hour after I went to bed to the top pole of my tent hitting me.While I slept, fairly
On An Gearanach, where I will set up my tent. “The” rock is to the far left.
straight-line winds started blowing through the mountains where I was camping.My first thought was that my tent was going to get picked up and thrown off the edge and I was going to be a goner.Yes, my brain/ego mind does get overly dramatic at times, and this was one of them.I held up my pole and hoped my tent wouldn’t break as I considered what to do in my fully-adrenalized state.Of course, I started talking to my angels/God/Universe/whatever you want to call it, asking for help and calmness.The first thing that popped in my mind was to “calm down-at least no one is shooting at you.”Yep.It put it all in perspective.I am not in a hurricane, tornado, snowstorm, or war, nor am I injured in any way.I am tired, cold, and a bit confused, and my mind wants to tell me it’s the end of the world-because that is how our mind works to try to keep us safe.It doesn’t matter if it’s a break-up, death, job change, or self-induced stress—-our mind wants us to be safe and cozy and to not take chances, risks, or to grow.Uugh.
I am sitting by the rock cooking dinner, and this is the view of my tent.
So, reminding myself that I survived getting locked in an elevator with barely the edge of a panic attack, and that people in this world have had to cling to cliffs to stay alive overnight…. or swim hundreds of miles… or overcome torture…or find cover while being shot at or hurt…so on and so forth…I got dressed one-handed (the other one was conveniently still holding up my center pole), packed up the bits of my hiking pack that weren’t packed, and took down the center tent, leaving the rain fly and footprint in place.I noted that my stakes were holding strong.Hmmmm, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, it was just something new that I had not experienced before.I was cold and nervous and it sucked, but there was nothing to indicate I was in any actual danger, no matter what my loud brain voice kept telling me.
I waited kind of patiently for a small break in the wind (with my ego monkey mind telling me that if any of the stakes let loose I should let the tent go and crawl out and allow it to sail away so I didn’t go with it…the drama of the ego mind really was being annoying that evening) and when it calmed down a bit, I took the rain fly off the structure, stuffed it and the tent into my bag, then broke the rest down and put it away.
Now what?I was near the top of a mountain, in the full-moon semi-cloudy dark with my headlamp and my pack, with at least a 90-minute hike down to dry, flat, protected ground.I decided that was too dangerous, so I opted for the 2nd best option.I pulled out my emergency blanket (the kind that looks like aluminum foil but really traps heat as well as provides a bit of protection from rain should there be any) and climbed next to a large rock.I slept in my sleeping bag and e-blanket sitting up/propped with my pack on my back and the rock on my left.It was a bit chilly, and I got a bit stiff in my neck and hips and didn’t sleep very well, but I survived.Heck, it actually was pretty great to be out in the open, listening to the wind and watching the fogbetween the mountains.
The sun peeking over the mountains after I climbed back down and set up for breakfast.
The next day was absolutely gorgeous.Sunny and 70-75 F with no rain-just as predicted.I was bummed as I was too tired to feel I could safely continue the hike. The path was to take me over 3 more peaks, and was rated a 4/4 difficulty with narrow ledges and loose rocks (not in the same spaces) and I just didn’t want to risk getting hurt because I was too tired.I learned a lesson though….I think.
First-no matter what you want to overcome, shut off the part of your mind that says you cannot do it.Second-focus on potential and what is going right (stakes were still there, there is no rain, I was well-fed and had a lot of good equipment to keep me warmish and dryish, even without a tent.)Third-look at the wind reports, not just weather reports if I plan to camp on top of a mountain or near it.
How else can I apply this subtle lesson from nature?Our fears manifest in many ways and our ego mind wants to make many excuses for why we cannot or should not do things like make a career change, shift a relationship, take a risk, and so on.It can sound like logic and we can have so many reasons coming from that ego-driven monkey brain why we are not going to thrive or prosper.Shut it down.It is there to try to keep you safe, but it is false safety.It may be scary, uncomfortable, and even really really sucky, but it probably isn’t going to kill you.
I encourage you to take the chance!Look at me-over here in Europe, trying things I never thought I would have the opportunity to try, while also taking chances in all kinds of ways. I have a basic plan here and there, but I am winging it and it is turning out even better than if i had planned it in full detail.It becomes easier to shut off my mind and to calm the voices that really aren’t there to help, but are only there to hold me back.
This week, listen to one thing that your ego voice is telling you that isn’t true.It could be about how things are hard, how a change cannot be made, it could be something you believe about yourself and your own value and worth in the world.Then tell it to be quiet.You are strong and powerful, and you can do anything you set your mind to.I know this to be true.
Dawn (more pictures below of this great hike!)
I crossed this steel cable over the river with my 50 lb pack on my back!
Steall falls-I will camp on top of the mountain that you can see just a bit over the top in the distance.
Blackberries are in season here, and they are everywhere! It takes me longer to walk to town than it normally would because I stop and eat them right off the bush everywhere I go.
This is how I cook my food when I camp. I am cooking behind the rock that I slept behind. What a great rock!
Happy Labor Day. It has been a while since I have posted anything, because I accidentally deleted all my pictures from my phone.I didn’t want google photos to keep backing up my photos because I have a backup elsewhere. I told it to stop syncing, then deleted all my pics from the cloud in google.And…off my phone they went. Technology does not like me sometimes. But I didn’t want to post anything pictureless, and my photo storage wouldn’t give me the option to re-download to my phone.**Insert long dramatic yet slightly frustrated sigh here.** I now have my laptop back, so here we go!
I am on the bus, heading back to one of the most beautiful places I have encountered in Scotland so far….the Isle of Skye.I was lucky enough to have one of my co-volunteers in the hostel I was at in Fort William allow me to ride with her on her trip there. It rained almost the whole time, but I got these pictures.
Fairie Glen, Isle of Skye
Quiraing, Isle of Skye
I want to hike this island in a way that I cannot describe. There is so much subtle and untouched beauty here (as well as a lot of fully destroyed things by tourists. Rant ahead: Toilet paper DOES NOT DISSOLVE when you throw it on the ground.Think about how long it sits in a toilet without dissolving! Either cart it out like you would any other garbage or burn it in your campfire. My friend has a picture of a beautiful area and behind every tree and bush you can see TP in the bushes. Gross. It is my new pet peeve and the strongest source of irritation for me on this trip when I camp or hike and there is TP stuck into the landscape.)
Phew.I feel better now. 🙂 After my 3+ hour bus-ride home, I hopped onto the volunteer exchange website and looked for positions available.I am lucky to be volunteering in Skye Backpackers Hostel in Kyleakin from today until September 17th! 5 hours a day, 5 days a week gives me 7 days of lodging and the opportunity to do hiking and sit in the beauty. Tasks include cleaning the hostel, doing reception, doing laundry, and whatever else is required of me.
View out the hostel window my first day here
In 1882 the first Labor Day Holiday was celebrated in New York City. It was meant to honor the “working man” and to honor the “social and economic achievements of American workers…(a) tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Source:The U.S. Department of Labor.I am still learning a lot about the work ethic of different cultures, (see my newsletter Cultural Similarities & Differences) and just met a woman who lives in Israel.She talked about doctors she nannied for who worked 12-hour days, 7 days a week because of the shortage of doctors, then talked about how hard she personally was expected to work in all of her jobs.The value of her area was to work hard, sleep, then work again. No real time to play or enjoy life.When I visited San Francisco, they were having a problem because housing was so expensive, minimum wage workers could not afford to live, thus there is a huge shortage of service staff in the area.I also know farmers in Minnesota whose workers are trying to get citizenship and/or appropriate visas, but they keep getting deported, thus leaving the farm struggling to survive.NO answer for any of this is easy, but it makes me think a lot about my own values of how I work and how I want to show up in the world…for my clients and for myself. I had a multi-hour conversation with a social worker from Michigan the other day, and he discussed how most people who are “on the system” want to get off of it and be independent, and how strongly they want to contribute to society.I feel grateful to be contributing in any way I can while I am here, while also taking care of myself.People as I travel also want to help.They want to make sure I have places to stay, see the best sites in the area, experience local culture, and will often go out of their way to do so!
Managers and volunteers at the Chase the Wild Goose Hostel, Fort William
To summarize this random thought process- often working helps people place a value on their worth in society.They get to decide how they experience that, but I want to say Thank You to everyone for doing what they can, how they can.We all have a role to play, no matter how insignificant it can seem.I hope you can find some kind of fulfillment in your work-whether it is for pay, for play, volunteering, or tucked in the past. Enjoy your Labor Day.
It rained here near Stockholm last night. I know, Minnesotans right now are soaked, but here we are in a heat wave and a drought. It hasn’t rained since May in most areas in Sweden, and if there has been any, it was too little to nourish plants. They are reporting 61 independent wildfires in Sweden right now, with 4 of them being too big to be extinguished. There has been a fire ban on for at least a month, which means when I camp I have to bring things that do not need to be cooked, as even my little gas camp stove is illegal. My friend, Evelina, who lives here, commented that it is so dry, pieces of glass can create a magnifying effect and start fires.
Farmers are suffering, and there is talk of government help, but the people I talk to don’t seem to know exactly what that means. The main concern is the crops for the animals, and having enough food for them to survive the long winter. There were no true spring greens from anyone’s garden this year, and it is hard to find fresh produce in the stores.
Leaves look like this on many trees-or worse
It has been hot here, with highs this last week being a consistent 30-31° C (86-87.8° F). I know that doesn’t seem hot for many Minnesotans, but remember it is normally around 24° C (75° F.) Sweden does not really have air conditioning because it doesn’t stay hot long, and nights
usually get cooler. The house where I stay for example, doesn’t even own a fan. That is common. Busses and subways are hot and humid and bring on instant sweat. I have been finding beaches all over to visit just to bring my body temperature down for a few precious hours. It is interesting to me, as I didn’t have air conditioning in my house in Red Wing, and rarely turned it on in my house in Stillwater (more for humidity than heat.) But the lack of fans and air circulation really creates a difference in the experience of the heat. And Swedes are talking about the weather! I haven’t experienced that until this week.
You can see the mosses and grasses even close to the lake are very dry
Yet there are many bodies of water here. Stockholm is part of an archipelago, and there are many clean, beautiful lakes to be found here. It is an interesting juxtaposition-to have so much water yet see the
plants be so dry. But I find when I am hiking that the land is also very rocky in many spots, kind of like you would see near the north shore. Lots of moss and shallow-rooted trees breaking through the rocks.
Yesterday, I went to one of the islands called Lånholmen. Although it’s an island, it is part of the archipelago, and is very easily accessible as if you are just crossing a river. There is a great harbor here that contains mostly wooden boats (pictures below.)
Even though it is very hot for Swedes, they are all still actively outside, as summer is precious, and many are still on holiday. Most people get 6 weeks of holiday here per year, and they treasure it. Many people take their holiday in the summer, when they can enjoy the beauty of the country and relax after the midsommar parties.
Outdoor dance hall at Skansen
Last night, I went to an outdoor social dance and my friend Evelina taught me how to bugg, which is a popular Swedish traditional dance that is similar to a swing, but the steps are in a straight line instead of at an angle, and is also a bit more contained for those who are not professional dancers. Even though I love swing and salsa, this had a different feel to it, and was a bit challenging for me to follow the leads properly with many of the spins. But I tried, and people were very friendly and helpful as they taught me what I was doing wrong. 🙂
Public transport ferry in Stockholm
But it was hot, even with the outdoor atmosphere, so the ferry ride back across to Stockholm to take my train home was lovely and refreshing.
I hope this finds you all well and happy. Enjoy the summer weather, and if you are enjoying what I have to write, please comment! It’s so fun to get feedback from all the people back home. Now, I’m off to another beach, this time near Farstra Strand, then perhaps another round of dancing tonight.
Living in a big city in Europe so far for me has been a test of patience and an encouragement for me to SLOW DOWN. It takes 30 minutes on average to walk, bus, or take the train to anything I want to do or see. 5 miles? 38 minutes. 3 miles? 28 minutes. I have found it a bit of a waste of time and a test of my patience. I have to transfer just often enough to not feel comfortable burying my head in a book. It is too loud to listen to my audio books or music (my sensitive ears get sore from loudness in my earbuds.) Today, I found my Swedish flashcards at the bottom of my bag. What a great solution! I can pay attention to people, landscapes, and my next transfer while also learning the language that I told myself I would.
I am learning a lot about the differences as well of where to purchase things! The current flat at which I am staying blew a fuse the other day. The nearest hardware store is 30 km away. I talked to some people in town and showed them what I was looking, and they directed me to the grocery store. Who directed me to a different store that I didn’t understand because I couldn’t find it.
I decided it was too hot to keep in the downtown (84+) and I’d just wash the dishes by hand and find a different plug for any kitchen electrics. I went to the train station to renew my pass, and my credit card didn’t work. He sent me to the machine to buy one, which also didn’t work. Then I was sent across the street to a convenience store, who was able to process my credit card and my pass. I finished my transaction, started walking out the door, and on a whim, asked if he knew where I could get a fuse. They had one in the back that was extra, and gave it to me!
I was so grateful. It has actually turned out a few times on this trip that when I get frustrated because things are not going well, something easier and better comes along, if I just keep my patience.
To celebrate and reground, I decided to walk to a nearby lake (3 km away) and go for a swim. The trail I
Söderbysjön. The main swimming area has people, but anyone can walk anywhere around the lake to take a more private swim.
ended up taking was beautiful, and I found another series of biking city trails through parks that I can start using on a regular basis to get places and to exercise (think Cannon Valley trail in Red Wing or River Road trail in Minneapolis.) Here are the pictures from the more rustic areas and Söderbysjön (sjön =lake).
Today is a high-energy day and I am glad for that. I have had a few in a row that were more challenging as I merge myself into a new culture. I am being well-guided and am finding just the right people to get me to my next opportunities! I will be hiking the Sörmslandsleden trail for a few days, then will be housesitting for 3 weeks. That will give me even more opportunity to immerse myself into one area and be present with the people and the culture. I have learned/remembered these few things over the last few days.
Park trails outside my hostel in Stockholm
1. Every interaction with another human is important because opportunity is everywhere. For example, saying hello to a person in the shared kitchen led me to an potential business opportunity as well as reviving my will to learn Swedish. Borrowing a pencil from a woman led me to a conversation in which I learned the best place to start my upcoming hike.
2. There are people in every city looking for a deeper connection. I think we all want to connect deeply as humans. It is part of our drive to feel loved, accepted, and part of community (no matter what community means to you or what aspect of community.) I know from experience personally and through helping others that when we feel strong in ourselves, we can feel stronger in our relationships. As we let go of fear or insecurity and gain self-confidence, relationships of all kinds become easier and more fulfilling. By loving ourselves, we accept others as well as feel love they are returning to us.
3. Doing my own self-care in the morning is doing something. I got into this space where I felt I was
The courtyard at the Stockholm hostel
“wasting time” every morning by stretching, working out, and studying Swedish. I would think “OMG-the day is half over and I haven’t done anything!!” It is a good reminder that even though I hadn’t checked “things” off my list, self-care should be on my list. At the top. Every day. It’s part of the beauty of having a flexible schedule. That also means when I am feeling discombobulated, I do some tapping work for myself. I really love this Emotional Freedom Techniques process. It’s so powerful. Because I am still working on my certification, I am also still offering sessions for $62.50 for an hour. I encourage you to schedule your self-care as well! You can book here, or contact me if you need a different time.
Enjoy the pictures of the spaces I have been working in Stockholm.