My youngest sister and her daughter were visiting from Canada for two weeks. It was so lovely to have someone to chat with while cooking, giggle over family stories, and sing harmony with. She washed many sinkfuls of dishes and watched the kids so my husband and I could have a couple dates. Thank you, Miwa!
Having her here brought to mind something I’ve thought to myself in moments of mom-desperation. “We were meant to live in tribes, to have aunts and cousins and grandmothers help with children, and meals, and life in general.” Living close to family has it’s own perils, but so many of us live in relative isolation. Parents spend more hours at work than with children or spouses, extended family often lives far away. Some communities of friends support each other, others have yet to. Continue reading
I have a different favourite season for every place I’ve lived. In Western Slovakia, it’s spring. Winter here tends towards dreary grey rather than winter wonderland, and spring brings with it positivity and hope.
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” -Camille Pissarro
I grew up in a mountain valley where beauty was obvious every day. My walk to the school bus on crisp winter mornings included pink mountain tops stained by the rising sun, untampered snowy fields spread out before me and evergreen trees under their white covering lining the lane behind me (the walk to catch the school bus was about two km (one mile) – don’t be surprised if I say it was uphill both ways). Continue reading
In a small village in a small valley in the hills of Austria lays a hidden gem. Out of the way, Gaming in many ways looks like a typical quaint Austrian village: clean, tidy, and profuse red geraniums in the summer. At the end of the town lies the Kartause, or Charterhouse. Founded in 1330, it was a Carthusian monastery until 1782 when Emperor Joseph II dissolved most contemplative religious orders. Continue reading
While this winter has been unusually cold in North America, over here in Slovakia it has been particularly mild. To some people, a mild winter might be a relief. To me, it means grey skies, grey trees, grey mud. Grey. Winters like these are the reason I painted my living room yellow. Winters like these make me miss Canadian Rocky Mountain winters of crisp temperatures, dazzling snow, and bluebird skies. When I tell people I enjoy -10C (14F) they look at me like I am crazy. I also cement ideas people have of Canada being the land of snow and ice. I protest, however, that it is completely different when the air is dry. When it is humid, as it is here, barely freezing temperatures seep into the bone and make it feel much colder than it is.