wedding-fist-bump

| week twenty three | a spectacular wedding, an international visitor + keeping the balance

hello, friends! i do believe that i have returned to the land of the (regular) living after an intense, wonderful, super busy two and a half weeks. whew. it has ben so much fun. but, i must say, that it feels good to get back to writing my book, nesting, enjoying the long, long days as we approach midsummer, and just being with my wife. shhh… don’t tell her, but i plan on spoiling her in one way or another in the next few days. she’s crazy busy at work + deserves some time to do whatever the hell she wants. plus, we need a little reconnection, lovey dovey time together too.

but, this post is all about what’s been happening for the past week. and, even though we had said goodbye to our first two visitors at the beginning of last week, it was only 2 days before our next international visitor made her way to uppsala to stay with us for 5 days + attend the upcoming wedding over the weekend.

first, i focused on a few moments of just being  – making sure that i had a few minutes each day to just check in with my soul. coffee. meditation. reading. i’ve got to prioritize time for these things every single day – at least 30 minutes, if nothing else. so, i did.

the weather was (and has been) crappy for a while. chilly, rainy. just yucky. and my emotions have been a little flat lately, though inside my soul has been calm. i’m not sure what that is all about, but perhaps it’s the weather and/or the mercury retrograde happening up in our universe these days. in any case, trying to balance grounding myself + running around doing errands for visitors + the wedding was my focus at the beginning of the week.
coffee-morning meditation-four-elements books-rain black-and-white-me-ego uppsala-errands

nicole, our third visitor, arrived on wednesday with a bottle of irish whiskey. woooooo! it had been 2 years since we’d all three been together, and it was so great. it’s amazing to have those friendships that stand the test of time + distance. but, now that we are back on the same side of the atlantic, it’ll be much easier to get together.

irish-whisky- nicole-lina-me

we did plenty of shopping, eating out, enjoying the sun whenever it was shining, chatting, relaxing, and preparing for the wedding. lunch-stationen-sunshine my-love-spring wine-strawberries-picnic

leaf-secret-garden picnic-me-sunshine-wine sunset-eleven-uppsala-sweden

the wedding day had arrived! my brother in law and his fiancee had planned a fantastic wedding, and invited lina and me to be toastmadams, which means that we are in charge of entertaining/running/organizing the reception time. it was such an honor! so, after some morning planning with my love to finalize the reception, and some quick dress altering by nicole, we headed to the reception place to decorate! wedding-preparations wedding-nicole-sewing

as you can see, the reception venue was ahhhh-mazing. wedding-reception-norrlands wedding-reception-hall wedding-reception-tables wedding-me

and then, it was time for the wedding to begin!!

gamla-uppsala-burial-moundswedding-vows wedding-kiss wedding-fist-bump wedding-recession-running wedding-recession wedding-church-outside wedding-kiss-outside

back to the reception venue for dinner, entertainment, partying, and dancing. what a super fun, fantastic time it was! we enjoyed every single second of it. and i think lina and i did a pretty good job being toastmadams – it was unbelievably fun for us in any case! i didn’t take any photos, didn’t even have my phone/camera anywhere around me because we were so busy. but, trust me… it was a beautiful, wonderful, super fun evening.wedding-me-and-my-love-lina wedding-dance wedding-dancing wedding-couples-me-lina

so fun that we danced until the sun came up (mind you, the sun was rising at 2 am)!wedding-sunrise-uppsala

and there you have it… my jam-packed, memorable, amazing, busy, wonderful week. and yes, i believe that i truly am ready to get back to normal life again now.

so, back to writing my book and job hunting! and here’s to wishing you a great week – whether you find yourself doing unusual + extraordinary things, or whether you find ways to make your everyday life unusual + extraordinary!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

week twenty two | asheville vibes, pubs, and friends

happy monday, friends! i hope your last week of may was a good one. if i am honest with you, mine was very mixed. there were a few things that were super tough and challenging, and then there were some moments that were just completely beautiful and life-fullfing.

but, i suppose that that’s exactly how life is, isn’t it?

i mean, we all have our own struggles and battles and issues. we all have those things that keep us awake at night or stress us out or frighten us tremendously.

but, that’s why i want to do these monday wrap-up posts on mondays: i want to remind myself that not ever moment is a tough moment. it is so important to live with gratitude, to live in the present moment, and to  tap into the power that we have within us. for, if we simply dwell in the uncertainty + pain, then our lives will be eaten up by our worries and fears. life will flash by us and before we know it, we will realize that we have missed out.

so, in an effort to live a mindful, authentic life, i choose to let myself feel the joy and happiness and peace that pops up unexpectedly every single day. i truly believe that in in the midst of those bad days, there are moments that bring a smile to our face or give us a sense of calm. i choose to live in the present moment so that i don’t miss those moments, and so that i don’t get caught up only in the struggles of the past or the worries of the future.

life is here + now. and those tough times feel so much more bearable when we slow down enough to simply breathe + observe + be aware.

lilac-nordic-spring

last week, my love + i had the joy of having some visitors come to stay with us. and we loooove hosting people in our home.

our first guest was a “friend”… from asheville! i put the word friend in ” ” because we had never actually met her before, but had mutual acquaintances. and, since we are americans, we think it’s totally normal to meet up + stay with each other, even if we’ve never met before.

cynbone arrived on wednesday with the train – she is visiting sweden for 3 months (and maybe longer, who knows?!)) and wanted to stop by to visit for a few days on her way up north to explore more of the country. she stayed with us until saturday and we had the best time! we did a tiny bit of touring uppsala, visited pubs, drank beer, explored the grocery store (she loves to cook!), made dinners together, had long + deep conversations, watched netflix, sang abba songs… and became real friends.

plus she spilled all of her asheville vibes all over our apartment, so that feels amazing. it really did feel so cool to have an american, a fellow north carolina girl, here with us.

 

guests-home-bed train-station-uppsala asheville-friends late-nights-sunset-sweden cynthia-hugos-cafe-uppsala favorite-things-book-candle cathedral-uppsala cathedral-uppsala-inside food-truck-uppsala market-food singing-my-love-me-abba tacos me-cynthia-asheville-uppsala uppsala-sunset-late

 

and then, on saturday when cybone left, another friend came! this friend, from the city where we used to live in sweden, is someone who has become very important in my life + even more so in my love’s life. she’s just got an amazing energy and vibe, and we always laugh constantly.

she was only in town for 24 hours, and it rained pretty much the whole time, so we had lots of cozy moments at home. though, we did brave the wind and rain and cold by hailing a cab to take us to dinner at what lina and i have now decided is our favorite pub, churchill arms.

it was a quick little visit together, but oh so powerful.

belgian-saison-beer cozy-dinner-friends-uppsala-pub beer-churchill-arms-saison irish-coffee moon

 

so, today, we begin a new week + a new month! this week is going to be super exciting in our world. we are continuing our hospitality on wednesday when our dear, dear friend from ireland (who’s swiss) arrives to stay with us through the weekend! we haven’t seen each other in a little over 2 years, which is way too long. it is going to be amazing to catch up with each other, and have some quality time together. unfortunately her husband couldn’t make it, so i guess that means that lina and i need to plan a trip to ireland pretty soon. wink wink.

she’s here not only to visit with us, but the main reason is because lina’s brother is getting married on saturday!!

so, we’ve got tons of wedding stuff happening this week in preparation for the big day on saturday. lina and i have the wonderful honor of being the toast madams for the reception/dinner/party, which means that we are basically the program leaders/emcees/hosts… we organize the program, entertain a little, and are the general knowers of all that’s going on, so jonas and magda can just sit back and enjoy their day.

it’s gonna be epic!

here’s to wishing you a beautiful first week of june, lovelies! and whenever you feel overwhelmed + confused, just remember to breathe deep. ground yourself, and seek out the beauty of the present moment.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

cheers-valborg

valborg: an inside look at the swedish celebration of spring

happy may day, friends! we survived valborg (see the post the other day to find out what valborg is) and had a great day! the weather people forecasted a crappy day of on + off rain and chilly temps. but. it was gorgeous! super windy, but beautiful. seeing the sun shine + blue skies on valborg is exactly what i asked for.

we started pretty early by packing all of booze in backpacks and riding our bike to lina’s brother’s place for the traditional champagne + strawberries breakfast.

morning-bike-ride

and there they are! now valborg has officially begun!
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cheers! let the festivities start!lina-and-me-valborg-2015

breakfast = pizza, chips, candy, sandwiches, veggies, beer, champagne, wine. yes. this was at 9am. love it!valborg-breakfast

just one of many, many skåls (cheers!) of the day
cheers-valborg

we moved out to the balcony. enjoying conversations, silly times, laughter, and just hanging out. even though we’d been drinking (and eating) for about 4 hours, i found myself having some deep conversations more than once. that’s how i roll. hehe.balcony-party-valborg

sibling-in-law love!jonas-me-borther-in-law

sometime mid-afternoon we left the apartment + headed to a park where we could hear a traditional, famous men’s chorus sing in traditional, well-known spring songs. swedes are seriously into their songs/hymns that talk about spring, flower, blue skies, the forests, sunshine, warm weather. it’s major business here.concert-park-valborg

blue sky + sunshine as we sat in the park with the cathedral steeples towering over us.cathedral

picnicking! picnic-valborg

wine-to-go. so smart + easy to carry aroundwine-picnic,-park-valborg-me-lina

have i mentioned the amazing weather?!blue-skies-valborg

after a while, we decided to leave the park + wander onward. a pizza place for a little food. and then, to another one’s apartment for more hanging out time together.golden-hour-valborg-uppsala-friends

lina and i excused ourselves from the party about 8:30 + headed to the castle to hear another choir sing more songs about spring. we were no where near the only people there. uppsala was still filled with people in the parks + on the streets enjoying the coming of spring.moon-castle-valborg

everyone’s singing along. everyone except me. i gotta learn the lyrics!moon-over-castle-valborg

after 9, i twas still light out. but, the sun was setting. we slowly headed home, soaking up the atmosphere + the energy that was still all over the city.valborg-suset

what a beautiful, fun, fantastic day. hooray for valborg! hooray for spring!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

champagne

playing tour guide in uppsala

happy friday, everyone! i’ve been super busy the past 2 days + i just thought i’d say hello and wish you all a great weekend. lina and i are entertaining our first visitors this week! woo hoo! our american friend, who lives in sweden in the town where we used to live, came to visit us for a few days – and she brought her teenage daughter. so, it’s been a foursome of girl fun since wenesday. yippee. of course, lina’s had to work through it all some. but, we’ve definitely squeezed in some shopping, sightseeing, fikas, and dinners out all together.

everything got started off on a great foot because our friend arrived at the train station with a bottle of champagne for us! needless to say, we cracked that baby open later on that night and started all of the chatting, laughing, and general american craziness that always happens when we are together. and pretty much that hasn’t stopped since the champagne.

americans-uppsala

americans

i’m just about to head out for another fika date and some more sightseeing, before we meet up with lina this evening for one last night together! happy happy weekend, folks!

onwards + upwards!

snowy-window-view

five days. two continents. and a ton of adventures.

hello blog! hello friends!

we did it! we made the move to sweden! i am embarking on my third (!!) expat journey, my second in sweden. it feels surreal + unbelievable that we are here. i will not bore you with all of the details, but just know that, as every single trip/journey that my love + i take together, this was was no different: filled with adventures, stress, tears, laughs, and craziness. whenever we travel, near or far, you can count on us having lots of stories to tell. so, i thought i’d share a few with you from our journey from asheville to sweden!

last saturday, lina and i walked downtown and soaked up the gorgeous asheville weather + sights. of course, we met a few friends, had some beer, and i decided to do something a little different. i went brown! yep. my hair is now a dark golden brown, and i am totally in love with it. 40 years old. a new year. new adventures. a new move. all of that was the perfect recipe for giving myself a little hair-do-over. let’s see how this brunette thing goes for me… so far, though, so good. it feels totally perfect for my whole empowered theme for 2015.

asheville-north-carolina-downtown me-ego-brown-hair

sunday morning, the journey began. my parents drove to my brother’s house to pick us up. they have a jeep wrangler, so it’s not that much space for 5 suitcases, a big cat crate, two little overnight bags, and 4 humans. lina and nick squeezed it all in, and then it was time to head north as far as we could make it.

i had to say goodbye to my brother (oh lord. i’m tearing up just typing this.), and it just about ripped my heart into pieces. i cannot even begin to describe the joy and love that i have for the past year and a half that we have been able to spend together in asheville, seeing each other practically every day. oh, how i am going to miss him. how i miss him already. but, this one photo i snapped just before i squeezed into the jeep will be something that i hold so close to me everywhere i go. except for my amazing wife, my brother is it for me – my best friend, my confidant, and a huge inspiration. sunrise-asheville-last-day me-and-nick-brother car-riding-newark-

we made it all the way to allentown, pennsylvania – only an hour and  half from newark where we were catching our flight to sweden on monday. we checked into a hotel, let zola out of her crate after being so good during our 9ish hour ride, and settled into our room to eat mozzarella sticks and drink beer.

the next morning, we ate breakfast with my parents, took our time getting ready, and then headed on to the airport – which took no time at all, and the drive was super easy, even if we were just outside of new york city. whew.

the airport was my next emotional breakdown moment. time to say goodbye to my parents – the two people who would do anything in the world for me, my brother, and lina. they always go out of their way to make sure that we have exactly what we want +/or need. their thoughtfulness blows me away. and having to leave for another country yet again (here come the tears…) broke my heart.

luckliy, we all had stressful things to deal with immediately after saying goodbye, so we couldn’t dwell on the sadness. my parents had to find their way out of the airport, around NYC (without going INTO NYC), and up to connecticut. lina and i had to immediately figure out where to take zola and begin the process of leaving her at the airport.

soon, though, we were at the gate (after a bit of stress + some biting off of each others’ head), and only had to wait about 30 minutes before boarding. time to fly! mom-and-me luggage-newark family-newark-airport airport-newark-usa

the flight went well – as good as those 8 hour overnight flights can go. but, it did seem to go by pretty fast, and before i knew it, it was tuesday morning and we were landing in sweden! still, completely blown away by the fact that we were there. not really believing it, even though i saw all of the familiar sights at the airport.

we got our luggage and began the process of getting zola – a process that i cannot write about here because it would take forever to tell you the whole story, i would cry the entire time i typed it, and it’s just so unbelievable + so painful to think about. basically, i want to forget that it ever happened. let’s just say that, although we knew that she was on the plane with us since we saw her crate being taken out of the cargo hold, it took us 3 hours, lots of extra paperwork, many tears, a lot of driving, and more stress than i can imagine to finally pick her up at a warehouse.

however, we got her and headed home to lina’s parents. all of us safe + sound + completely worn out. how is it possible that after all of the months of waiting and anticipating and dreading this process of this trip, it was finally over?! we were exhausted with joy.

so, we slept. and 10 hours later, late on wednesday morning, we woke up to a new day. our first full day in sweden! and what a beautiful, snowy, wintery day it was! take a peek at the view outside our window:morning-view-sweden-norrkopingwell, we finally got up, showered away our travels, ate some food, and got dressed to head downtown. lina was meeting a friend for a massage and i was psyched about a little fika time all alone – a chance to land a little bit and to let it all begin to soak in. i snuggled in with a book and a chai latte at a favorite cafe while the snow continued to fall outside.

sweden-fika-chai-latte

at 4, lina called to tell me she was done, so we could meet up and head to dinner + drinks with a friend (her masseuse). this is 4:00 pm in sweden. the sun has set. crazy, huh? but, oh so beautiful.sunset-sweden-winter-norrkoping

we walked through the snow + ice, with the wind gently on our faces, to dinner. we found a table near the bar at a cozy cafe/pub and sat down for food + beer. this place, tucked away on a little street here in norrköping, is not like most places in sweden. it’s less formal, more relaxed, and has a definite asheville vibe. so much so, that we ate our food, drank a lot of beer, laughed loudly, and enjoyed ourselves for about 5 hours. we were definitely channeling our asheville souls. and that felt so good. the perfect asheville/sweden balance for a bit.broadway-cafe-norrkoping dinner-broadway-cafe-sweden friends-broadway-cafe

this morning (thursday), we woke up to even more snow. heavy, thick, wet snow that is still clinging to the trees even as i write this late at night. but, it’s a magical winter wonderland, and i love it. plus, it’s not too cold. the fresh air feels amazing and freeing and like letting all good things into my lungs. i don’t know  how many times today i simply took a deep breath, looked up, and gave thanks. for everything.norrkoping-snowy-trees

yep. i’m away from home, and yet i’ve come home. i still feel every emotion possible, just as i did back in asheville. but, just as in asheville, my soul is content. of course, the other night, as i lay in bed, having texted my brother and having not heard back from him yet, i began to cry. ok, sob. i cried and cried on our first night here. i was so tired. and so sad. and so relieved. part of my heart is missing, and part of my heart is filled again. but, it’s all just an amazing, wonderful gift – this life that i have.

since then, i have talked with my mom and dad, and texted with my brother. i have chatted with some friends in asheville and met up with some friends i have missed here in sweden. i got to connect with my soulmate + kindred spirit today for a sushi lunch. and, though we’ve been apart and haven’t seen each other since the summer, he + i are in very similar places in life. always paralleling each other in some way, yet in uniquely different ways too. it was so good to see him.

me-swedenso, here i am. all settled into the thought of being in sweden again. loving the snow + the cozy atmosphere. completely overwhelmed + grateful that i get to share this life with my amazing love.

mind you, we are not settled settled yet. there are many, many more adventures to come – like finding a place to live. that’s right, we don’t have a place to live yet, oh, and i’m job-hunting. for now, though, we are here with lina’s parents, in the town where we used to live. we will be here for a week and a half more, then lina is headed up to uppsala – where we will make our new home (though we have no home yet). we will see if zola and i can go too… depending on that home situation. still, that’s about 10 days away, and a lot can happen in 10 days. so, stay tuned to follow the next adventures.

in the meantime, join me in tapping into the power and balance and peace and fierceness that is within…

onwards + upwards, my friends!

friends

the people of 2014

people-2014i shared so many beautiful moments with so many beautiful people in 2014. i couldn’t just let the turning of the new year slip by without recognizing the fact that it is the people in my life that make my life what it is. i would be nothing if i were all alone. and i am so very thankful for the people that surround me and make me giggle, and think, and teach me what life is all about.

however, by no means is this an exhaustive collection of people. there are many that i know of that i have not included in this collage. but, at some point, for the sake on moving on in life instead of sitting by the computer for a week straight, i had to stop sorting through every single photo of 2014 and complete this post. hehe.

many of you, who are not pictured here, are people who i may have never met face to face. many of you blog readers + instagram followers. many of you are people i care deeply about, but i haven’t spent much time with you in 2014 (different countries and all that).  please know that you all have a special place in my heart as well.

this post, as a whole, sums up just how blessed i am to have so many wonderful people in my life. positive people. challenging people. people who inspire and push and irritate and constantly are there for me. i cherish each and every moment, the good + the bad, and i am completely + fully aware of the joy that you each bring to my life in your own special way.

so, thank you, for an incredible year! from the bottom of my heart, i wish you all peace, light, empowerment + love.

love, liz