When life gives you friends with sheep who could use a hand over time, you say yes - or so we did.
Here are a few snippets from this summer, which has been really hot and dry as usual.
Here in Europe , June was declared the hottest June since weather is recorded. While here in Portugal we are used to have 40ºC temperatures in June, it is a new thing in some other European countries, which are being affected now. It breaks my heart and I really wonder how many more records we will need to break before real change happens. Y’all can’t ignore climate change when it’s banging at your door and you feel it in your skin + bones, no longer something that exists in the distance, that you read through news and see through images and annoys people because they need to pay a tax over a freaking plastic bag at the supermarket.
The negativity and the uncertainity about the future regularly comes to mess with my mental health. This is one of the reaons I’m taking a gentle step away from social media. In a media greatly dominated by US culture, it’s easy to think that we’ll collapse next month. There are so many good things happening elsewhere, in countries that don’t receive enough recognition (recommended reading, this post by the always brilliant Aja), in local actions that don’t get broadcasted for the whole interwebs to see, comment and react on. When I step on Instagram, I see influencers shoving plastic crap and new clothes into my face. I see an incredible overwhelm of information that I don’t think any human is mentally capable of handling. There are so many things and problems happening all around the world, and however only a handful of them are talked about and put on the spotlight. However, are we as a species ready to be up to date with a whole lot of different things happening in different parts of the globe? I really don’t think so, or maybe it’s just me. This isn’t desresponsabilization from my part, on the other hand. This is me not wanting to waste my energy on scrolling and falling into the trap of performative activism and instead, using my body and my mind and my spirit into local action. We can all be useful elsewhere, but if we don’t act locally, who will do it for us?
The effort I’ve putting into online activism, I want to redirect it to my real life, to my community, to my region. There are so many things happening here too.
I won’t stop being active and critical online, but maybe I’ll do it differently. If I will still be active online at all (funny how blogging doesn’t feel like it is online).
This was a vegetable dip for a community Solsctice potluck. These gatherings warm my heart so much! Neighbors gathering, sharing, eating food together. These too are seeds and important, meaningful actions.
I woke up early a few times and attempted to draw the very last misty morning before summer. I hope none of my uniersity teachers is seeing this, or they will wonder why the hell they’ve spent time trying to teach me. This is just a proof that it had been FIVE whole years since the last time I picked a bar of charcoal.
She waters, I water.
Me and Sam built a new plant bed alongside the house and it totally brings a new feeling to the surroundings of the house.
And I’ve flip flopping in between two boks, I Heard the Owl Call my Name and The Lord of the Rings. Enjoying both of them thoroughly! Amazing how much more reading one gets done when the phone is off. Let’s see how long my kind of time off will last, but a summer long time off would actually be quite wonderful. There is so much to do in Summer!
OK friends! That’s today transmission.
Much love, from me to you!
And here we are, off to the last part of our small trip.
After a few nights with friends in Brussels, we said bye to the city and went to the coutryside again.
Visiting our friend H was part of the excuse to leave home for a couple of weeks. We used to be neighbours, here on our hills, until she moved back to her family’s farm. She now tends horses and gardens, and many fruit trees - including apple trees, which give the most delicious juice, which she bottles to drink throughout the year. I surely had my share during these days!
We had beautiful and nourishing food, sowed sunflowers in the garden, rode her horses, went to town to explore thrift shops, laughed SO much, went to a party together, harvested currants from the garden, ate cheese + mustard leaves sandwiches, strolled in the forest that lives behind the house… And slowed down, really, before getting ready to head back home.
Also, we turned the wheel and everyone had a go playing with clay. Even the little one, who made the tiniest, sweetest cup I had ever seen!
A few mornings later, we hopped in the train back to Brussels, and from there to Paris, and from there back to Lisboa. The ride wasn’t as confortable this time - we hadn’t booked our Sud-Express tickets in advance, so had to the last 12+ ride in seated seats, since all beds were taken *insert heart break*
It was so hot when we came back! In those two weeks we were away, all the green had turned into yellow. It was a bit of a shock, but that’s how it is. Different bioregions, different climates, different seasons. While it was still Spring im Belgium, at ours Summer was already well settled.
I miss this green and freshness. At the same time, it is a motivation to work harder on how we steward the land we live in. How can we invite more water into it? Which trees can we plant for water retention + shade? We are still planning, always planning.
I also came back reall inspired to let my creativity flow more and create more, besides knitting! Also, less time on my phone. My friend still has her dumbphone and I miss my Nokia 3310 like hell.
Hey, I’m digressing. Thank you for following along our little trip! It feels good to be back x
After saying goodbye to Noémie and her family, we got in to another train that took us a bit up North. Sam’s family was hosting a gathering over there, in their house in the countryside, with cousins and aunts and uncles and siblings and grandchildren and grandparents.
I was pretty excited, because I had only met a small part of Sam’s family… I was excited for our little J as well, who has little connection with her Belgium family and to french language.
The gathering was so much more relaxed and laid back than I had pictured. It inclulded lots of delicious food, generous ammounts of wine and homemade spirits (for the grown ups, obviously), walks through colza fields, visits to the family’s cows, a fishing trip to a lake and rides on tractors. With 15 children in there, we barely saw our own, who was busy making friends and having fun. It was so beautiful.
And also very inspiring to see such a big family having so much dedication to each other and putting an immense love and effort into a gathering.
As corny as it may sound, I fell even more in love with Sam after meeting his family and understanding more about where he comes from ♡
These were some beautiful three days. We left with hearts full and, for me, a renewed confidence in my french - oh gosh, did that serve me well!
Off to another few places we go!
Real life and online life move in different speeds. Even though we’ve been back from our little family frolic three weeks or so ago, I’m still processing it. However, over the internets, it feels like this has already been two years ago. Posting about it now may seem so outdated, but in my pace it feels just right.
So here we are.
Travelling by train was one of the best decisions we could have made. Honestly, we have a freaking awesome train system in Europe and it doesn't receive half the attention it deserves. I decided earlier this year than I’m done with flying (unless there’s no other way and it’s kind of urgent), due to our current state of ecological emergency, and it was easy to convince Sam. As for our three year old, I need to say I thought it would have been way more complicated. I never thought I would say I’m thankful for Disney princesses magazines with stickers, but I am.
On the evening of my birthday, we hopped on a train in Lisboa that took us all the way to Paris. I did this trip with my parents when I was younger (say, fresh new teenager trying to spot cute guys, which is probably why I don’t remember much of the trip, landscapes, or buildings - unfortunately, I don’t remember any cute guys either). It was fun to wake up in the same kind of carriages and have breakfast in the same cafeteria while traversing the Pyrénées - this time with a family of my own. I may have gotten a bit teary-eyed, yes yes.
After a one night stop in Paris, where we slept a friend’s tiny tiny house and saw more of the Metro than the city itself, we hopped on to another train all the way to Alsace… Where Noémie, my dear IG friend, lives with her family. And so, this virtual relationship evolved into something much richer.
After almost four years of talking to eachother through a screen, it was pure magic to finally meet for real and really experience all the beauty she shares on her IG page. Our children bonded, our partners bonded, we bonded - like, we even knitted together. That’s big time bonding!
They have the sweetest little house, with the most beautiful forest on their backyard. Everything is so green and lush. It broke my heart a little, but I guess the grass is always (literally) greener on the other side.
We visited an abandoned castle, walked in the woods, drank garden tea, I finally tasted for the first time wild garlic!, which Noémie prepared as pesto and as a pie, we visited a rose garden in their closest town, made promises of rose cuttings travelling abroad stuck into potatoes, and we got to sleep in their lovely, luminous and adorably tiny attic, which really look like an A-frame cabin. It was wonderful.
Noémie and her partner, Lionel, are both incredibly beautiful and wise. I feel so lucky that they opened up their doors to us and that we got to spend a few days with them. I will cherish these memories for a long, long time.
Thank you, Noémie, from the deepest of my heart.
It wasn’t easy to say goodbye, but a family meeting was waiting for us a bit more up North. And so, we got our train tickets and went.
But that’s for the next post. Right now, it’s starting to rain and all my clothes are already dry on the line waiting for me to pick them up!