Moment of Bliss

Today I had one of these moments – when you suddenly stop in the middle of what you are doing. And feel. And hear. And see. All that is around you.

It was half past 8 in the evening, still light and mild outside. Instead of cleaning the kitchen I had decided to tinker around in the garden for a bit, pull some weeds here, give one plant a little water there, sweep the deck. It was past the boys’ bedtime, but it is weekend and it is the Football World Championship (yes, for them it is very much in capital letters), so I let them watch Brazil against Chile. I could hear their happy, excited voices through the open door, commenting on the game like their were serious sports reporters, giving the players advice of how to win the game.

So I heard the boys, I heard the birds, the water in our little pond, I felt the weeds between my fingers, the air on my skin. It was a moment when I was in perfect alignment, inside, outside, doing what I chose to do, enjoying it.

I am still feeling thankful about it.

Good night.

Shifting boxes again – but differently

We did it. The move has happened, nothing seems to be broken (at least I have not found out yet) and we have been living in our new house for a week now. It is great – although I am still constantly searching for things that are hiding in the boxes somewhere, and spend a lot of time running up and down the stairs, fetching or disposing of things that are on the wrong floor.

Slowly we are finding our routine. Slowly the boxes are being unpacked. Some of the are easy: stacks of t-shirts that just wander onto the shelf in the wardrobe where they belong. Some are a bit more tricky: pots and mugs and kitchen stuff that needs to be organised in the new kitchen. But these are things you need, so you find a place for them. And then there is the third type: the “oh no”-boxes. “Oh no” as in “oh no why on earth did I pack this, where am I going to put it, I do not really want it anyway.” Some of the “oh nos” I finally throw away (should have done that in the old house already). Some eventually find a place, some wander down to the cellar and might be thrown away later after all, when shelf space gets more scarce and the “oh nos” have to fight for their right of being against the rightful cellar dwellers like the winter coats, the vacuum cleaner and the tool box. Actually some of the tools will wander further into the deep space of the garage, as soon as we have got rid of the growing stack of now empty, folded boxes that waits for the removal people to pick them up again.

These empty, folded boxes are actually pretty annoying, at least at the ones that are not (yet) in the garage but claiming a lot of free (wall) space in the house now. They are wobbly, they tend to fall over and are constantly trying to un-fold themselves again.

And then there is this one box I have been looking for: the box containing the last bits I packed from our bedroom – the bedside lamp, the alarm clock, these things. I especially need my alarm clock back! At the moment I am using my mobile phone, which inevitably results in me forgetting it next to the bed in the morning. I am so used for it living inside my bag, so I never check if it is really there when leaving the house.

Need to find that box tomorrow. It is probably hiding somewhere behind two boxes full of “oh nos”. But it cannot hide forever, because I am brave and will also tackle the “oh nos”. But not now. Now I will have another cup of tea and then try to go to bed a bit earlier than usually.

Good night.

12 years ago – and now

12 years ago we were on the point of moving to the Netherlands.

12 years ago the place that feels old now was brand new for us.

12 years ago I was making plans where to put our furniture (the few things we had) and the books (we already had a lot of those).

12 years ago I did not speak any Dutch.

12 years ago we had no kids.

12 years ago we were not even married yet.

Now I am realising that this 12 years are the longest I have ever spent in one place.

The boys only know this home, younger one was even born in this house (different story). They have learned to walk here, never even blinking at those steep Dutch stairs. They never tripped over the one step between living room and kitchen, because they did not know a world were there wasn’t one.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not regretting our decision to move. On the contrary, this place has enough annoying features to make me not feel sad to leave it. And I am totally excited about our new place.

But there was a time when this place was heaven – it was big, spacious (without kids, coming from a small apartment), the balcony was huge compared to the one we used to have before. The excitement of living near the sea (we still will be), of exploring a new town (still enough places to explore if I choose so). Coming to this place was adventure (new country, new language, new everything).

Now, on the point of moving, between all the excitement of having the new house, the garden, everything, I want to stand still by the happy memories of this place. Saying a sort of thank you.

Thank you for the good times.



And now let the next adventure begin.

New home, we are coming!

A glance backwards

Our 10 day holiday in Italy already seems far away now, although it is only about four weeks that we returned. But so much has happened since then (basically: so many boxes happened) that it feels like an old memory.

(For those who have read my post about holiday weather: The weather was NOT what you would call brilliant. It was changing a lot and we were constantly in and our of our raincoats. But, surprisingly, we still enjoyed ourselves a lot. With me occasionally muttering sentences like “ok, does it have to rain every single day at one point? what about one day with dry weather from morning to evening?” The boys did not seem to mind a lot though. And husband has this mantra of not letting any kind of weather influence his mood. Lucky guy.)

But there are things that keep reminding me of this 10 days: Like the box with sea shells and round stones we collected at the beach one evening. It had been a day with a wet start that ended sunny. Late afternoon we drove for almost an hour to a special place I had read about. It was some sort of nature reserve and it was almost deserted. One more car at the parking lot, but no people in sight. The mountains (where we came from) were in clouds (again), but the sea was deeply blue with the last rays of sun shining on it. The footpath to the beach lead through a field (oat?) which in the light of the evening sun was of an eerie kind of green. We were walking on a sort of cliff, so we could not see the beach yet. For our eyes the field ended directly in the sea. Then we found a flight of stairs winding down to the beach, consisting of partly sand, partly round stones. Standing there, the sun seemed just out of reach, dancing on the waves, leaving the stones in the shadows.

The boys collected sea shells, Little One found a big round stone he fell in love with, plus a rectangular piece of wood he also adored. He insisted he needed to take both home – meaning home home, not holiday home, meaning carrying it in our luggage. I had my doubts about the weight, but promised we would try. His heart seemed to depend on it.

Now we have the shells, the round stone, the piece of wood. And of course all of them are lying around.

While packing some boxes with Older One’s things, I found a box with shells (really pretty ones, I have to admit), from our holiday in Portugal, three years ago. They have been collecting dust ever since (ok, they were in a box, but you get it). And then I had an idea. In one corner of our garden (at the new house) there are some large white stones, put there by the previous owner. What about decorating the old and the new shells, plus the round stone and the rectangular piece of wood, around and in between those stones? It could be pretty. I t could be a way of making something nice with the shells, instead of them only occupying space in a cupboard. It could be a way of remembering our funny holidays, full of expected things.

And I could print out a picture of the blue sea with the green fields and hang it in our study. To not forget the beauty of that evening.