Thursday, June 22, 2017

Skopje & Prilep

I don't get to ask as many questions as I would like when I am visiting- a lot of what peaks my interest is just normal life and people find questions about that a bit strange.
The country feels a bit - un-regimented, a lot of sub-economies filling gaps left by what in our life would be organized and restricted by local government.  There are brand new high rises going up, along side or across from buildings that look either like a dream unfulfilled or a derelict left behind, too much trouble to clear out.  This dichotomy is strange to see, like the modern expensive car next to the mule drawn cart of young men who are collecting garbage in lieu of a company.
There are so many ancient and also new churches, but still the roadside altars as if one should never be further than a five minute trip to a place where one can give money to a specific saint.
There are buildings that still remind me of the bronx, while the corners continue to bloom with grand statues and new churches.

Macedonia, wilted flowers, battered feet

We had hoped to avoid the heat in Macedonia by going early in the summer, but for me 90s/27c is as bad as 100s/30c+, I just lose all motivation or worse.  I do best in summer rains, light storms, or a steady winter.
I, think on this, my fourth (fifth?) trip to Macedonia the older family members must have believed I was going to learn the language all along, because they just kept speaking to me in Macedonian as if they could will me to understand. 
Younger members have gotten older, and they will sometimes be near and speak English with me.  There is a strangeness to liking people, being connected to them and knowing that actually neither of you are quite 'known' to one another.
I also feel very naive when I am there- people known a lot about so many countries, in part because of history, in part due to the admissions process of becoming part of the EU.  I do not remember many Americans knowing so much about the other states they are connected too.  My naivety shows when I say/think how much better life would be if Sweden could get produce from Macedonia, a country closer than say...Brazil.  Then someone explains to me the standardization laws that come with being part of the EU, and all the things I have read about 'ugly food' movements starts to become clear.  Of course, the problem is more complicated than what the store near you wants to stock.
I managed to really hurt the back of my foot on our stairs the week we were going to Macedonia, so I had the added trouble of not being able to walk well or far. After these past few years though, I can really recognize unique qualities in the country- I am happy to have seen so much of it.  I ate my weight in vegetables and fruits.  There is a new cultural center up above Skopje that I loved and am trying to talk my way into staying there on our next trip.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Control; the illusion, the fight, the letting go- oh and Lilacs!

I hope that I always remember how I love that Lilac trees are the common tree in Stockholm city.  They are everywhere.  Three colours, lilac, white, and dark purple. When I first came to Stockholm in a spring, I remember all my previous lilac adventures. My favorite house in Sonoma when I was young had two lilac trees, one white and one purple. When I lived in Los Angeles I would buy lilacs from the flower mart in downtown L.A. in the early morning hours.  When I moved to Seattle, I had a friend who loved them as much as I did.  We started a tradition where we would go out under cover of night, looking for a tree that seemed to be on common or public land, and we would prune it, lovingly- heaping our haul into a box and filling our homes for weeks.
There are so many lilacs in Stockholm, one only needs a small vase of them- and getting them is easy, almost too easy-but I look forward to them every year, and one of the best plants I have in my own garden, is my own lilac tree.

 I have looked back on my blog posts from the last year- and what I see is just a lack of time- I haven't done less, I've actually done a lot- so any feeling of not 'doing' if coming from within.  2016 had huge challenges- and set backs, but now it is June 2017 and I need to let go. I have asked for a gotten advice from women who live on a more spiritual path than I do- and although I need to watch out for my own tendency towards superstitious thinking, I do need to work on my illusions of control.  Dissipate the feelings of loss, and of false ideas in the face of realities- 
Time might be an arbitrary marker, but our fifties are coming, and I want to do the work, lay the foundation for those years and the years beyond.
I want to shed parts of myself, ideas of myself that are no longer applicable.

I hurt myself on our apartment stairs- AGAIN, I scraped off a good chunk of the skin covering my Achilles tendon- I had to realize that pain makes me want to just go to sleep or pass out- and that my ability to survive any apocalyptic event are quite low.  Today I am worse than yesterday because the area has not stopped bleeding and somehow now, I am unable to put pressure on the foot so I can't really walk, and I feel queasy and dizzy when I try.
We are meant to go visit family in Macedonia in three days, so I'll just have to wait, and try to stay off of my foot, at least for today.

I have been listening to a talk by a doctor Dr. Northrup about ageing, specifically women and ageing as recommended by a friend.
I think next year if our plans stay as we have them, will be a transitional year-
A foundation year for the life we are choosing based on our last ten years.
I am grateful to be alive at this time- with the new views on growing old well-
I am unable to articulate how happy I am to have found a best friend and place to live with him that is to my mind a paradise.
I am happy my lilac tree is thriving, and will be blooming when I return to it.