Better than I Remembered

Today was a sunny day and most would call it beautiful but with cold and rain, life has fallen into a quiet pace.

I love waking up to the soft ambiance of rain outside my window. In the mornings I am reminded how in Europe I would count the bell tolls while the angular winter light raked across the crumpled bed covers.

I watch the trees, vines and the rosebushes rest…on my long walks, the vista dotted with chimney stacks dancing with smoke spreading a foreign scent, one that lingers while a dusty haze settles in at dusk, as a faint reminder of richer blue skies ahead.

As evening approaches the cry of parrots marks the end of day as they dance to their symphony in the sky.

The quiet of a gray sky seems to hum after years of a glaring sun that thrives on noise. With it comes a place where one can create and paint all the worlds I dream of.

The nights are illuminated by hearty home cooked meals.

All that comes with the season, is better than I remembered. I shall miss it when it’s over. For years I cursed the winter, I never knew it could actually be so warm.

Christmas with Love from Mrs. Claus

Summer always brings back memories of my father; having fun, outings with friends, dancing, picnics of ham sandwiches and fresh fruit, dining al fresco on fresh lobster, driving in a convertible, and sun drenched skin with trips to the beach. But Winter is my Mother’s season. She symbolizes home and hearth, family, singing, gift giving, Christ consciousness (love) cozy blankets, luxurious sweaters and savoring hot Mexican chocolate. In case you’ve never had it, remember the Aztecs invented chocolate. I recommend Ibarra made in whole milk- I promise you, you’ll never drink anything else again.

Last night when I heard about the incident in Berlin, I recalled browsing through the aisles at the marketplace hot apple cider in hand while choosing a gift for her. Despite the fact that she’s always been and still is fashion-conscious, unlike me she’s easy to shop for. Perhaps it’s her mother gene that appreciates any gesture I or anyone else makes, but her receptivity produces a pleasure in giving her things.

In Macy’s last week on a hunt to buy her a Christmas gift, I mentioned to the sales clerk that she likes color and described her style; flats, skinny jeans, nautical striped tees, and scarves topped with her bob hair-cut. Despite her youthful appearance she never has looked age inappropriate. In fact when I was growing up I once asked her, “Why don’t you wear shorter dresses,” her response was matter-of-fact, “I can’t show my knees, I’m a mother.” The sales person naturally asked her age. But that’s for me to know and not for others to ask.

When I found this video, Christmas with Love from Mrs. Claus, I thought of her. Perhaps it’s because she lives by the Jane Austen quote; It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but what we do.

Wishing everyone a Merry and Happy Christmas!

Mine, all Mine

landscape_nrm_1424300634-532820099Today is my blog’s sixth birthday. I started this blog as a way to document my travels but it evolved into something else. It also happens to be a gray day. With global warming, summers have become so constant and long and tedious, that I love these days. They remind me of Berlin and my life there. It’s not just the light – which, particularly with the winter dimness, had a soft beauty all its own. It’s that part of a European city morning – like when I would walk in the mornings, the city would be, in many ways, all mine.

Sure, there were people on the streets. In the cafés, there were the workers – both those who just came off the night shift and those starting their day.

For those on their way home, they would sit with their heavy meal and a glass of beer, surrounded by coworkers, laughing, joking and doing a dawn version of Happy Hour.

For those on the way to work, they were leaning against the bar with a coffee, possibly reading the paper, getting ready to start the grind.

On the streets there were the students, piling onto the buses and into the Ubahn stations. I enjoyed them the most, walking in threes or fours, taking up the whole of the sidewalk as they call out to the friends ahead and behind. Teasing each other on their way to school.

As for me, I would walk along, looking at trees and buildings that – no matter how many times I had seen them would surprise me with their enormous beauty. Because the thing I never expected and of which I’d be instantly reminded is that, no matter how beautiful nature is in pictures, she’s even more beautiful in person.

And so, I would go to my corner bakery and sit and have my zwiebel brotchen and cappuccino. It was an event and I treated it as such. After all, shops – even supermarkets – didn’t open until 8 am, so this was something to celebrate!

It would give me the opportunity to remember once again (as if I need reminding) why I love European cities so much.