Monday, June 23, 2014

Entertaining for 1

Last Saturday was a day which I spent completely by myself. After a slow morning with coffee and homemade granola and listening to The Little Chief I set out to the pool by myself. After a long and tiring week all I wanted was to rest, forget about everything that is going on and just live into the day. And that included just being by myself, allowing to process thoughts and listening to the still small voice from God.
I like being at the pool by myself surrounded by so many unknown people, just me and my book and Kinfolk magazine. I read, I slept, I swam, I breathed, I dived under and allowed the masses of water to close on top of me leaving me feeling weightless.
When I went home that night all I wanted to do was fire up the grill (aka plug in my electric grill) and prepare a nice dinner. Now, I know in these parts of the world grilling is such a communal thing to do and when I told people that I had my own solo barbecue I did receive a couple of strange looks. But in all honesty I loved it that way. It was a perfect summer evening (welcome solstice!) with a light breeze coming into the apartment, the air still warm and the streets quiet. I prepared a beautiful meal with grilled veggies and meat and cheese and freshly baked bread whilst listening to the Alabama Shakes. It was a perfect night and I would not have wanted to do it any other way.
It was then that I thought about how grateful I am about the fact that over the last year I have really learned to enjoy time by myself. I have always been good at it but it is different now. I am not one to advertise solitude and being alone in a way that promotes living like Into the Wild although this is one of my favorite movies. I rather thrive on the fact that every once in a while I get a day where I can be completely by myself and believe me it doesn't happen very often.
Over the last 9 months or so I have found such a new joy in preparing meals. I think it mostly comes from working with my hands - it has such a calming effect to me. It is in the preparation where my senses are stimulated and my thoughts can wander. It is seeing the result of something I made and it being a good result. And I want to be better at it, want to practice and perfect it now, find my favorite dishes for that day one day when I'll be married sharing dinners with my husband for I know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach.
Yet for now I am here, living in this very moment, enjoying a restful day by myself and preparing dinner for one. And I believe that the very fact that I can be by myself, something I watch other people struggle with, helps me endure the wait and enjoy the single life.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Thursday Tunes

As I told you in my post about Italy I had put together a playlist for our road trip there and why not share it with you so you can either listen to it on your next roadtrip or just turn up the volume and enjoy a summer breeze.
Here it is. The Italy Roadmix:

Friday, June 6, 2014

When in Italy...

...  you take a stroll through the fields, meet a nice Italian man in blue Jeans, white t-shirt, with dark hair and a beard. He sweeps you away and you live happily ever after planning family parties and making Olive Oil.
Ok I admit that's what would have happened in my dreams.

The actual fact was that my sweet friend Larissa and I went on a mini vacation to the beautiful east coast of Italy near Rimini. It was one of those weekends which is filled not only with resting, but with all your senses being stimulated. It was a weekend full of food and laughter and great conversations and dreaming and writing and feeling the sand and the sea.

I have to note that I am so thankful for living in the southwestern part of Germany where Italy is only a 7 hour drive away and hello you are driving through beautiful Switzerland. Any chance where I get to see the Alps is welcomed.
So yes, we drove with the perfect road mix (which I might share soon) south. As the air was getting warmer and people started speaking Italian a summer feeling immediately overcame me.
We were welcomed not only by the smell of fresh flowers and sun but also by a beautiful view over the valley to the Mediterranean. The moment I got out of the car I was already breathing easier and just settling into rest which we just sometimes really need.
The hazienda we stayed in was like a dream come true to me. For years I had been looking for places like this to go to. Places that are individual and artistic and filled with beautiful detail and love for design. I found it at last and yes I was close to tears several time.
After settling into our beautiful little apartment we set out for some exploring which led us to an ostrich and goat farm where in fact we bought fresh cherries. The cherry season hasn't quite started where I live so getting them there where they were ripe and sweet was just a treat.
As the sun set we went to the restaurant which is by the hazienda and ate the most amazing pasta. Perfectly al dente with perfect sauce. My mouth is watering just at the thought of it. The funny thing was that only a few people could speak English so they would always send the cook of the restaurant to wait our table and we had so much fun with him. He explained all the dishes for us and told us the desserts which were just amazing.
To me Italian towns always have and still are the most romantic places on earth. Something about the terracotta color, the roofs, the smells and the cobblestones. As a child on summer vacation with my family I would dream of one day strolling the romantic streets with my husband. Not much has changed. I am still in love with Italian towns and still dream of going there with my future husband. We had set out that day to just explore, just drive around wherever the road takes us and we found some really pretty places and springs, were lead by dogs and barked at by dogs.
We found the most beautiful picnic spot on a hill in the middle of nowhere. If you are asking yourself if Larissa is singing to the Sound of Music. She is not but I love how it totally looks like it. We indulged in some great food and there is nothing like Italian watermelons!
On our way back down there were more towns and ice cream and vineyards and loud music.
The rest of the day was spent by the pool reading and cooking our own dinner. Then we both spent a good amount of time writing our journals.
The next day we spent perusing the market in Rimini and exploring the city a bit. Rimini used to be the major vacation town for Germans in the 50s and to me that feeling is still there. I loved it. We spent the afternoon laying by the beach and didn't bring our digital cameras. The other pictures aren't developed yet. They might come yet.
On our last night all we wanted to do was eat amazing food and talk. And that is all we did. Over lamb and grilled veggies and chocolate cake with whipped mascapone cream we shared our dreams but also our challenges. We talked about the importance of rest and about trusting God in everything.
Our last morning was spent like all the others - with Italian breakfast - which basically meant eating cake and cookies while drinking coffee. What more would you want right? Sitting there on our last morning and realizing that our time is coming to an end (we really didn't want to go) it was also the realization that times of rest are needed to equip and prepare us for the times ahead for fulfilling our responsibilities and the calling God gave us.

Thank you Larissa for this tremendous time, for resting together and allowing God to do his work.




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