11 years

Today Tim and I have been together for 11 years. Isn’t that a beautiful thing! I have to say I feel really lucky that I found my person so early in life. Things aren’t always perfect and we do argue (our arguments generally revolve around the same things and maybe one day they will be sorted out) but I’d probably still say it is good to great 99% of the time. This is what I have learned in 11 years:

  • The simple practise of just being nice to each other goes a long way in making a happy relationship. Say thank you, offer to make a cup of tea when it is normally ‘their job’, pick up their favourite thing from the store for no reason, write a note that shares how much you love them today, try not to do those things that irritate them. It is so easy to let out frustrations on your partner because you know they will still love you and yes that still happens sometimes but try not let it become a habit and when it does happen apologise and thank them for understanding your crazy days.
  • I came across this great quote while reading the other day: “An adventure is real when it involves the heart” (by Italo Svevo). Make your love an adventure! Make the effort to try new things together. Sometimes things can get a little routine and mundane. Try a new place for dinner or head somewhere new for holiday to keep things fresh.
  • Real life love is better than movie love so don’t bother hankering for the cheese. Tim isn’t the typical romantic but when I think about what he does for me and how he helps me to be my best self I realise that I wouldn’t trade that for all the surprise flowers or airport chase scenes in the world (because that would be rather weird anyway).
  • Gratitude! It changes everything.

That is all.

p.s. Love you, Love!

so …

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I was going to write a catch up post. But I am going to just roll right into something I have been thinking lately.

Do you know what? I am happy! I am generally a happy person but life is good and I love it and sometimes I feel giddy about it. And do you know what else? I don’t feel guilty about it. And you shouldn’t feel guilty about your awesome life either.

Also I am getting annoyed when people ask what we are doing next. What is that? Why can’t I just live in the moment, enjoying life, chilling out with my friends having apertivi, travelling when a weekend allows between school, making plans for summer, reading books, learning new things. It isn’t like we are sitting in a stagnant pool of depression – why should I want to leave?

So maybe I am back. Things are happening around here that have me thinking and that will hopefully lead to sharing. But I am not making any promises and I am not making any plans so maybe see you, maybe not. And I am not going to feel guilty about it. I think that is an emotion I am about ready to give up on.

japan | nara, the city of deer

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I am feeling black and white photos lately. Anyway…

We arrived in Nara to a marching band. We couldn’t figure out what the purpose was but it was quite fun to be accompanied down the road for a while.

Basically if you find yourself in Kyoto take a day-trip to Nara because … DEER! There are hundreds of deer that roam the city that are mostly friendly if a bit cheeky and they are big fans of the crackers you can buy (ie you will be running away from them as they try and take them from you). Plus you can find a fair number of World Heritage Sites. After a deer ate our map (oops) I think we only worked our way to one. A temple which is the biggest wooden building in the world and that had a rather large bronze buddha.

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There were lots of tourists in town but it didn’t take away from the charm of the place. Also I did do a bit of souvenir shopping from one shop on the main road from the station to the old town which had the most awesome things.

p.s. don’t you think the deer antlers look a little like pretzels …

japan | the quiet side of tokyo

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I was nervous about Tokyo. We were going from our 200,000 population town to a city with 28 MILLION PEOPLE! My mind just couldn’t get around that. I was eventually able to manage it mostly without getting lost too often in the crazy massive metro stations (I’m sure there were 200,000 people in our nearest metro station at one time). I did find that I enjoyed the quieter sides of the city more than what seemed like a shopping crazy obsessed city. So if you are not too concerned with spending all your money and you are also interested in the quieter side of Tokyo here are my suggestions.

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Yanaka

Admittedly this neighbourhood was mentioned in our Rough Guide guidebook and from the internet it seems like on a weekend it can get crazy busy. This neighbourhood is about the only part in Tokyo that was saved from an earthquake in the 30s and WWII damage and so is ‘old style’ Japan. I probably would have visited at another time as when we went on a Wednesday morning most of the shops and restaurants were closed and it was more just a pleasant wander through a nice neighbourhood. Also it was about as hot as the surface of the sun and not much shade so I now totally get why the Japanese ladies all carry an umbrella with them all the time.

One place that was open was a little bakery/cafe which made delicious ice-tea and delicious ‘fusion’ type bake goods with a Frenchy feel but definitely with Japanese flavours.

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This one street in Shibuya: Kamiyamacho

Shibuya is the ‘shop yourself crazy’ area of Tokyo with several malls which are just H.U.G.E. Like seven stories of mall! However, if you start walking towards Yoyogi Park you find Kamiyamacho street. Along the road you will find some beautiful little shops,an independent publishing bookshop and a Monocle shop which I was hoping would have coffee but didn’t.

However, we did find the one decent coffee that we had in Japan at a Norwegian coffee shop that makes Italian coffee called Fuglen.

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Yoyogi Park

Just a nice quiet place to walk around and gather your thoughts while watching the Japanese be Japanese. Playing basketball, reading the newspaper, cycling by.

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Mori Art Museum

I really enjoyed seeing contemporary art curated in a Japanese gallery. The Japanese aesthetic really came through in particular in this exhibition on Form and Shape which I really enjoyed. If you like art I would suggest heading to this gallery as you can also get a view of Japan from the 52nd floor.

Other bits

Sky High Juice bar did some great smoothies. It is a little bit out of the way but we really needed a vegetable and fruit hit.

I would fully recommend our airbnb.

Itoya stationery store in Ginza is amazing. Seven floors!

japan | i caught a sunset

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Just a late night post because I am editing pictures of Japan and this was our first sunset that we spotted – through the buildings (because Tokyo is pretty flat and there are a lot of high rises).

Also love their cabs, although we obviously didn’t get one.

read ’em and eat

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I can’t believe it is nearly August! Even though we are still on ‘holiday’ we are back home and I am trying to get back into routines, starting to plan for the coming months, getting back to some semi-regular blogging and start preparing for the course I will be teaching next year (which involves amongst other things the book hiding under my kindle there).

So in honour of the getting back to blogging here is a ‘read ’em and eat’.

read ’em

Off the internet I have just finished reading 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I had only read Murakami’s short stories After the Quake before and his writing and story telling is a bit different from what I usually read. This book is looonnnnggg (it took me two weeks to read including full days of reading sitting on the beach) but I did enjoy it in the end. It has a touch of the magical realism which I am a big fan of. The Guardian has an in-depth review if you want to find out more before committing to it.

On the internet:

I have been having gazpacho almost every day this week because there is no way I am cooking in the heat. If I can find some yellow tomatoes this version might start making rounds.

Honour your limits has me thinking.

On Instagram I just started following: the cutest bunny you will ever see and the dictionary of obscure sorrows which is words instead of pictures but beautifully written and although I am not one to lean towards sorrow it is necessary to appreciate joy.

eat

After a month away from our blender I am loving having smoothies back. I am trying to up the veggie quotient in them and a smoothie we had in a town in Japan inspired me. Yellow peppers.

Ingredients: one cubes frozen spinach | one banana (frozen if you have) | one yellow pepper | one nectarine (or other stone fruit) | handful sunflower seeds | scoop hemp protein | water and ice

Blend and serves two generous portions.

Do you have any secret veggie suggestions?