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känn ingen sorg (shed no tears)

sunday night i watched a movie. you know, a cozy sunday night movie with popcorn and people you love. there’s no better way to end a weekend i think – nice and slow, and hopefully inspirational. though, i didn’t really know much about the movie we were going to watch, so i didn’t know if it would be inspirational or not. i knew that it has been well received and loved by people here in sweden (it’s a swedish film) and that it is based on the lyrics and music of a very popular singer/songwriter/musician named håkan hellström. lina’s been in love with his music the whole past year, so i’ve heard it a lot. and i like it, but i think i’ve been caught up in my american, living in the mountains again, bluegrass/folk stuff lately, so i haven’t paid it that much attention. until now…

anyway, the movie’s title is känn ingen sorg (shed no tears), and the film is based on the breakout hit of håkan hellström in 2000 with the same title. it is a beautiful film – from the music to the scenery to the characters (who i loved and hated at the same time) to the colors…. just so lovely and special.

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it’s the story of a guy who feels music in his soul, sees it around him, hears it in every part of life, and yet cannot express it. well, he expresses it when he is alone. but, in front of people he chokes. gets insane stage fright, and truly makes a fool of himself because he cannot control his fear. he’s an awkward guy anyway, but trying to sing or play in front of someone makes it a thousand times worse. yet, the music is in his soul and he aches to let it out.

in the movie, pål (pronounced sort of like “paul”) tries to overcome his fear, so that he can let his soul sing. influenced, supported, inspired, and sometimes completely frustrated with and disappointed by his friends and a girl who becomes his muse, pål fights, struggles, and fails in his quest to be a musician time and time again.

sounds depressing, right? well, it was stressful to watch him fail and freak out. but, it was also so inspiring for me to see someone fight for what’s in their soul with such passion. it reminded me that, when we find that thing that we love to do, or when we discover exactly who we are meant to be, that we ought never give up – even when we make fools of ourselves, or no one understands us, or we feel completely alone in our quest.

in the end, it is always just about learning to love and accept who we are – and to never, ever let that go. no, my friends, it is our destiny, our fate, and our calling to live the life that we are called to live. to be exactly who we are called to be – without any apologies. because who we are – right now. today. is just fine.

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so, let’s make a promise, together, to be like pål. to discover our own voices and then never give up on ourselves and to always fight to let our voices be heard. because we each have so much to give and share with the world – in our own special and unique ways.

sending you lots of love and peace. xx

sensory overload. part 5.

it’s tuesday, and time to stop for a moment and think about all that has touched and piqued my senses in the last week… it was kind of a blended week, i think. busy times and relaxing times. a bit of just regular ole life, which is not a complaint at all. i’m feeling quite lucky that things are just rolling on. let me show you…

quiet mornings all by myself…

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fika meet up with TEN women from asheville – lots of new people this week!
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a working lunch at a fave cafe.
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friday celebrations with my love & my bro…

lina has officially completed her first semester at an american university! i am one proud wife!IMG_6466

so far, so good. ten days done! finding inspiration in my morning ritual.IMG_6488

headed down to raleigh saturday for a scandinavian christmas fair/market. road trip!IMG_6494

found this awesome button: i’m officially swedish!
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scandinavian people everywhere. so crazy and kinda weird. hehe.DSC_0899

my love was a bitty swedish girl, running around grabbing up swedish goodies that she is missing. it’s a proven fact… one of the biggest things that expats miss the most is food!DSC_0909

traditional swedish christmas yummies!! IMG_6497

and st. lucia was there too. a huge, amazing tradition in sweden during advent (dec. 13).DSC_0941 DSC_0947

on our way home, we decided to be a little spontaneous and stop at the festival of lights in tanglewood park. it is the largest light show in the southeast, i think. anyway, the little side trip put us back about 3 hours, but it was so worth it. fun traditions!! 
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we celebrated the 2nd sunday in advent with a cozy, relaxing day at home. i wrote an article for the newspaper, we finished all of the seasons of breaking bad, and… that’s about all i can remember. basically, it was a pj day. awesome.IMG_6584 IMG_6588

Seeing: christmas decorations and lights everywhere. oh, gosh i love this time of year!

Smelling: tea, coffee, cinnamon, evergreen leaves. wonderful smells of the season.

Tasting: yummy swedish food!! and some special, locally brewed beer at the brewery about a block from our apartment.

Touching: receiving hugs from the little kids that i taught when i visited the school to talk about being a writer. having a chance to be around a classroom full of children again was just wonderful!

Hearing: the voices of new friends and interesting women during my fika meet up. it is so crazy to listen to the stories and adventures of different people, discovering how we all ended up here in asheville at this moment in time.

Feeling: calm and peaceful in the early mornings before the sun rises. it’s my own private time to just breathe and ease into the day. i have been trying very hard to soak in this december, intentionally focusing on the season, in the hopes of not getting all caught up in stuff.

though it’s already tuesday, it has been and is going to be a very festive week! dinner out last night, friends coming over tonight for a little, cozy christmas celebration, family time drinking beer at the brewery again (we loved it), going to the theater, and parties this weekend – more on that later!

hoping that your week is going well… only two weeks till christmas! sending you lots of cheer and love today.

peace. xx

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there’ll be no goodbyes from me.

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i don’t know how to say goodbye to sweden. but, it’s what i’ve been attempting to do for a few days now, and i will do even more so today. it’s the last of the farewells today. the countdown is in hours now. gaaahh. of course, it’s not goodbye forever, as in, i’ll never see people or walk the streets of norrköping again. no. we’ll be back, just like we visited the states often while living here. so, it’s not goodbye goodbye. it’s see you later.

though, it is goodbye to a specific chapter of my life. one that has been amazing and full of opportunities. and one that has had it’s share of extremely difficult and scary times as well. but, this chapter has helped to transform me. to add another layer. i have changed. and grown. and settled into myself even more. and my marriage has gotten even stronger. how is it possible to  keep falling in love with my lina over & over again?

i’ve spent a lot of time writing and photographing and connecting. i have felt my world expand and become more rich. not with things, but with moments. i’ve slowed down my pace of life. learned to cook more, and to like doing it. i’ve had fika after fika after fika. i’ve set the table and lit candles for just me & my love. i’ve soaked in some of the sweeter, finer, more traditional ways of life. i’ve walked everywhere, gazed at amazing architecture in the city and vast fields of yellow flowers in the country. i’ve learned a new language. i’ve traveled. i’ve laughed. and cried. and hoped. and dreamt.

and now, it’s time to turn the page. to begin again. bringing along all of the beauty and simplicity and and strength that i found in sweden with me. it’s time for this new page to be filled with new words, new adventures, new hopes, new dreams, new moments.

so, off i go! saying “see you soon” to sweden, and “hello” to asheville!

thank you for following my journey this far, and i invite you to hang on for a wild ride… let’s explore new adventures together! each of you, no matter where you live or who you are, have touched my life in one way or another. new readers, faithful ones, commenters. and non-commenters. all of you make a difference to me. and the support and love that i have felt, as i have posted photos and thoughts here, has been overwhelming.

so, since i’ve decided not to say goodbye to anyone, or any place, i decided instead to say a great big THANK YOU to each one of you reading right now. thank you for being you. and for filling my life with your special you-ness!

and as inspiration for us all, i gathered together some of my favorite quotes to leave you with today. as a reminder to dream big, to take risks, to learn new things, and most importantly, to listen to your soul. my gift to you.

freedom is found when we let go of who we’re supposed to be and embrace who we really are. ~ anonymous

and those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music. ~ f. nietzsche

twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. so throw off the bowlines. sail away from safe harbor. catch the trade winds in your sails. explore. dream. discover. ~ mark twain

from this hour, i ordain myself loosed of limits and imaginary lines. ~ walt whitman

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all my love and peace i send to you.

see you on the flip side!!

full of archipelago love.

oh, how i’ve missed y’all!

but, the time away was absolutely perfect. sweden delivered perfect summer weather the entire week that we were in the archipelago. we were surrounded by friends & family, which made everything that much more fun. there were moments of solitude and silence, crazy moments of high energy and laughter. singing, dancing, walking in the woods, rowing on the sea, soaking up the sun, scratching mosquito bites, smothering our skin with sunscreen, reading in our cozy room… and i even got some work done! all in all, i must say, that this was the perfect way to spend our last full week in sweden. i could not have asked for a better week!

here come a bunch of photos… sending a little archipelago love to you:

skeppsgården i mitt hjärta (skeppsgården in my heart).

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path camp

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summer archipelago

sunset archipelago

oar archipelago

lina rowing

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things are really rolling now.

first of all, let’s take care of business. i put all of your names in a little bag (those of you who commented), and my love drew out the winning name…

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congratulations, nicole! our dear swiss friend married to an irish man, living in dublin is the winner of belovelive’s first contest! nicole, text me your address, and i’ll put together a few swedish goodies and send them your way!

now, i want to say a great big THANK YOU to all of you who voted, commented, and visited my blog!

it has been humbling, overwhelming, and enlightening to read your thoughts & opinions. i will take them most definitely to heart as i work on this space and prepare it for it’s relaunch in about 2 weeks! as for the poll, it seems that most of y’all just like to hear me ramble on about my daily life, with a bit of spirituality/faith and a tidbit of my memoir thrown in. so, i’ll just keep doing what i’m doing… sharing my life and my thoughts and my photos with y’all. and soon, it’s time to bring you all along with me as i make my way back in my home country, except not exactly the same person as i was when i left; and most definitely an expat with a different perspective. and don’t forget this… i don’t have a job yet, so it’ll be super exciting to see what unfolds!

i’ve said it before, and i’ll say it again (and surely more times after this too!), this blogging community is amazing!! those of you who have been long-term readers, i cannot describe what it means to me that you keep coming back for more. and for you newbies, i am so thankful that our blogging paths have crossed. this blog has gone global, and for that i am amazed and grateful. there are many of you who i have never met face to face, but i hope that our real lives cross soon, or at least one day. it would be my honor! family members & american friends, it has meant so much to me to be able to share this journey i have been on in sweden for the past 3 years with you so that we might stay connected in the least little way. and, dear swedish readers, stay tuned, because it’s now your turn to follow along and keep up with this ex-pats american experience. we simply must stay in touch!

in my daily life, still in sweden right now, it’s full speed ahead. visiting people, meeting up with friends, saying goodbyes, or rather, see you laters, and trying to squeeze in a little bit of work time. yes, i am still working some. this week, we’re fully-booked it seems with friends & such, and then next week we will be in the swedish archipelago for the week, so i’ll be way off the grid. we’ll be at a camp for families and people in the church where i work. i’m the “resident minister” during the camp, so i’ve got some worship services and devotions to plan this week! but… after working for a few weeks to try to decide on a theme for the week, i have finally come up with one! super yay! now, it’s just to hammer out all the details this week for each day’s cozy moments together during the camp.

after the camp, we have 4, yes i said FOUR days before we leave sweden! gaaahh. time is on super warp speed now. but, it’s totally exciting!

for now, in addition to meeting people & working some, we’ve begun the ordering process! yep. we are now officially ordering things for our apartment! here’s a tiny sneak peek. if you wanna see what everything really looks like, you have to come to visit. hehe.

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and finally for tonight, i wanted to share with you a few shots from our weekend in gothenburg. we left on friday & came “home” on sunday. the main reason for going was for lina’s cousin’s confirmation. but, we made a long weekend of it with some of lina’s family. a little hotel visit. some shopping. a ton of cold, rainy weather. good food. and a trip down memory lane – lina & i met in gothenburg six years ago! but, that’s another story coming up one day soon. now, you’re welcome to scroll through some gothenburg pics.

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hope your weekend was a good one and that your first week in july is shaping up to be a good one too! thanks, again for reading & following along! it means so much!

peace and love.

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living in limbo.

7e62768ade8311e28aa422000a1fbcf5_7    what a weird time in my life right now. it’s friday already, and i don’t know what i’ve done this week. i can hardly remember what has happened each day. at the same time, it feels like forever since last weekend. yeah… things are strange in liz-land right now. not bad, just topsy-turvy.

let’ see, first we move here last weekend. zola has adjusted just fine because she’s been here before when we’ve been on vacation. so, all’s calm on the zola front. except for the fact that she has at least double the space she had in our apartment to run & play – all of which she does in the middle of the night. of course.

beginning this past monday, the bus & tram workers went on strike. perrrrrfect timing. we don’t live downtown anymore, so we rely on the public transportation to get us there. otherwise, we walk. or ride bikes. but, our bikes were already downtown. so, walking it has been. confession: we took a taxi one day. how sad are we? on top of the extra exercise, it has rained. a bunch. so, i don’t feel too bad for finding rides downtown instead of walking 30-40 minutes. let’s just say, the whole thing has been a bit of a hassle, though i have been trying to be positive and soak in the fact that i can walk places and enjoy sweden all the more before i hit america’s environmentally un-friendly way of life. and yes, i know, i can choose to walk some places even in the states. but everything is not quite as accessible.

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i do have good news, though. the strike was over as of last night! so, when we went to turn in our apartment keys a few hours ago, we took the tram. happy dance.

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during this week, i have combined some family stuff, some work, and some errands. a cookout at lina’s sister’s place and  a visit to lina’s grandma were the highlights of family time. i worked from home quite a bit (due to the weather & the strike), and did a few last minute things in town – like meet up with the chick who’s replacing my at my job (weird, but good!). in the meantime, i watched all the supreme court stuff, celebrated with my love,  and tried to relax & chill a little in a space that is not our own. but, it’s all in the name of transition.

i am sorry friends, but it seems like not that much is happening in my life & tons of stuff is happening all at the same time. like i said, it’s so weird. i am longing to get on that flight in less than 3 weeks, and yet, i feel sad about leaving some things behind. but, mostly it’s this waiting mode which is driving me crazy…

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however, we have a little weekend trip planned from today until sunday! we’re headed to gothenburg (on the west coast) for lina’s cousin’s confirmation celebration. so, we will take a car with my in-laws (road trip!) and arrive late tonight. then, it’s a hotel room for my love & i for the next 2 nights. we looove hotel rooms. so cozy & fun! tomorrow we’ll hang out in the city and then sunday it’s a family celebration before heading “home” in the afternoon. i’m totally gonna enjoy every last bit of this road trip and little weekend getaway.

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the view from our bedroom window. not so shabby, eh?

there you have it. a brief and strange update from me… the girl living in limbo. one thing is certain, though, my love and i talk constantly about how lucky we are to be in the state of limbo and transition. the mere fact that we have the opportunity to end one chapter of our life, and begin again, all the while chasing our dreams, is more than we can understand sometimes. the feelings are overwhelming. and i guarantee that every step we make, every moment we look up into the beautiful blue swedish sky, every time i hear my mom say “it’s not that long now!”, every time we hug someone’s neck and begin to plan our new home, we are fully & completely aware of the blessings in our life. we consciously do not take any moment, person, or opportunity for granted.

wishing you a weekend full of moments that fill your soul and lift your spirits.

peace & love.