During the month of May, I was in California. This was the third time I’ve returned home after a long period of absence. I no longer seem to experience much reverse culture-shock, I just settle right in, easily and comfortably. As much as I love being with Erik, I also loved having those three weeks all to myself, to spend time in my family home like I used to, as a child and as a pre-married adult. Instead of feeling out of place and confused about my identity like I have in the past, this return felt secure, familiar, and calm.
I adore wandering. If it weren’t for sore feet and basic needs like food and sleep, I’d wander all day long! Since I’m now in charge of the ParisPerfectRentals Instagram account, I have a wonderful excuse to just stroll around Paris looking for beautiful things! This week, I discovered a gorgeous reconstruction of an Art Nouveau hotel inside Musée Carnavalet, and then enjoyed the momentarily good weather at the Tuileries gardens. I even visited the Palais Royal gardens for the first time ever, but I’ll wait until next week to share those photos with you.
While we were in Sweden a few weeks ago, we had the chance to explore an old Swedish farmhouse that was almost literally frozen in time. From the embroidered cushions to mismatched dining chairs, it felt like we had walked onto a movie set or a cultural museum. The décor was a mashup of decades. Most of it felt 70s kitsch but there were items that had obviously been heirlooms from much further back. We even found a black and white photograph of some unsmiling folks, rigid in their poses, like they’d been sitting there for a while to get the shot.
I like to imagine what life might have been like back then, aside from the lack of technology, it probably wasn’t so different from the lives we live now. I had this realization – that people in the past aren’t so drastically different from us in the present – when reading Anne Frank’s diary. I was amazed at how much I actually related to her, which I did not see coming. Even though she lived in hiding during the 1940s in the Netherlands, it brought back feelings and memories from my own teen years. It makes me feel so much more connected to the past and to life itself, knowing that we’re all (even those living 1000 years ago) built from the same basic components. We are more than just individuals existing in the here and now – we have a long, epic history that shaped each and every one of us, and we’re preparing the way for a long, epic future. Walking through this house, I saw myself, very consciously and very simply, as part of that timeline.
Today I thought I’d do something different, and if we like it, I may continue this as a recurring feature. TONS of bloggers do a “favorite things” feature every week or month, so why shouldn’t I? I had this idea while browsing through Society6. It’s a website that supports artists by turning their work into art prints, iPhone covers, pillows, rugs, shower curtains, clocks, mugs, and even tapestries. I’ve seen them start small and grow into something great! Because Society6 takes care of production, the artists have more free time to create. It’s perfect for me because I just can’t be bothered to find a quality photo printer, let alone fabricate iPhone covers myself!
On Monday, the sun was out and all I needed to keep warm was a light jacket. I was on the hunt to find Easter treats in the chocolateries of Paris, but I also stumbled across tons of other great things! I walked all the way from Boulangerie La Moulin de la Vierge on Rue Saint Dominique, to the golden doors and dome of the Hôtel des Invalides, to the spring window displays at Ladurée, and the beautifully designed restaurants of Saint Germain and Saint Michel. I felt happy to be alive, and I think this batch of photos might be my favourite yet.
Our week-long trip to Sweden is winding down; tomorrow we head back to France via car, train, plane, and then another train.
This trip was essentially one big, continuous circle of fika, or coffee, sweet cakes, and light conversation. Of course, most of the time I didn’t have any idea what was being said, since I don’t speak Swedish! Knowing about five words – speedbump, frog, sausage, and beach – doesn’t get you very far in a real conversation.
I am in love with Swedish cakes, however. Nothing like texture of French pastries, the Swedes like softer things, much like their temperament. Sugar cake with a layer of butter in the middle, vanilla-cinnamon muffins with custard on the top, and cardamum rolls. They take their coffee strong, but not too strong. Not quite espresso, but way darker than the American cup o’ joe.