the village on the canal.

söderköping (south borough) is a cute, little village about 30 minutes from where i live (norrköping-north borough) that lies on a canal, göta canal, to be exact. the canal winds it’s way from eastern sweden, where the baltic sea lies, to the western coast and the city of gothenburg. in the summer it is a favorite vacation destination. you know, grab your sailboat or sleeping cabin motor boat, and slowly make your way across sweden by water, stopping at little villages and harbors along the way. for all you east coast americans, think the intercoastal waterway, only on a much smaller scale. sounds like, fun huh?

well, the cute, little village of söderköping fills with tourists and boats during the summer, and lina & i thought we’d pay the canal town a visit yesterday. that’s right… a mini road trip!

being the earth-conscious friendly people that we are (and also because we don’t have a car. hehe.), we hopped on the public bus after lunch and began a cozy, lazy afternoon of wandering around the village on a typical, crazy-weather, swedish summer day…

 ready to ride!

 you’re always beautiful, sweden.

 looks like a storybook, huh? people actually live here. and the thing is, everything’s all modern inside. i’m sure of it.

 i could hunker down in this little cottage, uh huh.

 the perfect tourist street.

 the canal’s boardwalk: cozy shops & restaurants.

boats from all over show up here. isn’t this the french flag? but, the boat says “holland”. i’m confused. or i need to study my flags.

ok. you have no idea how important this place is. it’s an ice cream restaurant. swedes love their ice cream like i could never even begin to describe with words. on the other side of this building is a line so long that it takes about an hour to get into the restaurant. what’s on the menu? only ice cream, of course! this side of the restaurant is take-away ice cream. shorter lines, but still amazing ice cream.

 i had a scoop of chocolate and a scoop of mint chocolate. delish!

 my love enjoying her ice cream.

this picture means everything to me. she means everything to me. our life means everything to me. when i see us here, i think of the past 3 months… the fear, the struggles, the lessons, the tears, the challenges, and my amazing wife… to be standing here with her, so close, my heart is filled with love. it means everything that we were standing together, that she is with me. all my love to you, my baby.

 the swedish flag against a swedish sky.

you know, you gotta just grab the days as they come. get creative with your life, make memories & moments, and never take for granted any time spent with loved ones…

hmm… i wonder what’s in store for me today? i wonder what’s in store for you? work or play, today is all we’ve got. let’s make it count!

wishing you some lazy summer peace.

 

gettin’ artsy in august.

i love the beginning of a month. it’s like a chance to start over every 30/31 days. a clean slate. something new. new possibilities. new opportunities. new adventures. there’s truly something about a new month that makes me feel free, excited, and hopeful. another chance to keep chasing my old dreams and to even begin making new ones. the ending of one month & the beginning of another gives me a chance to regroup, rethink, and recommit.

each month brings with it a unique feeling for me. it’s like i have a pallet of colors throughout the year, and each month is represented by a certain color, which connotes a certain feeling. august is warm reds, yellows, & oranges… like the late summer sunshine. but it’s also deep green, like the mature leaves on trees, waiting for a few more weeks until they begin to turn vibrant, warm colors and then fall to the ground. august feels a bit lazy in the beginning… the last few moments of rest until a new work & school year start up again. it’s a month of transitions…

but, before i get ahead of myself, we’ve got all of august ahead of us. and while there are things that are planned, things that i know are waiting for me during this month, i am also thrilled about the unknown treasures hidden in my august days.

for me, august hold lots of excitement…

  1. i still have one & a half weeks of my vacation left. woo hoo! of course, i could be on vacation every day of my life, but i admit that i am pretty excited about going back to work. starting again, adding some new things, and hoping that i can go up i  percent that i work (keep your fingers crossed!). there’s so much i want to do, so many ideas i have, and i can’t do it all working only 50%/half-time. anyway, all i’m saying is, i am almost ready to head back to the working world, thanks to a 4 week vacation. USA, you really should look into providing a real vacation for your residents & citizens… it is so much more physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy to actually have some time off to really rest and enjoy life. talk about good, strong, conservative family values… what could be better than getting to spend major quality time with your family?
  2. in the end of august, my love & i are heading back to a city we love: DUBLIN!! yep. we’re flying to the green isle for a 5 day weekend to celebrate the wedding of our dear swiss friend, n, to her lovely, funny, kind irish fiancé. the super cool thing is that we will be in dublin (which we looove. check out our previous trip here, here, here, & here), but only for a short bit. the wedding is taking place in the irish countryside at an estate… can you say, “helloooo!!!”?! i am so excited about getting to see the irish landscape, be a part of more irish/swiss traditions, and have a wonderful time with fabulous people… eating, drinking, & making merry. the irish are jovial, fun-loving, full-of-life people. get yourself to this island whenever you get a chance!
  3. i’m gonna do my best to write as much as possible during august, as well. i’m really, really feeling the writing groove right now in life and i love that. so, stay tuned, and keep checking the “from death to peace” in my menu bar to see if another “chapter” has been added.
  4. finally, august also invites me to keep my creative juices flowing photographically. i have now been a part of the monthly photo a day challenge created by chantelle, for 7 months now. that is crazy! i actually considered skipping it this month, but i figure it’s just the honeymoon period coming to an end. now, it’s time to dig in my heels and stick with it, challenging myself to go to a higher level with my photography.

and, guess what?! something just happened to come into my life to do just that.

i won’t go into details, but there is a band/group that lina & i have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past 6 months. we’ve been to a few of their concerts and chatted with the members of the band as well. because of the magical connections that happen through social media, we have been able to form an interesting kind of “friendship”, not that we hang out or anything. still, it feels like we mutually support each other.

the other day the leader of the band, a very talented singer/songwriter chatted with me on facebook and asked if lina & i were coming to their next gig in a week. of course we were! next thing i knew, we were chatting and he was asking me if i would take pictures for them during the late evening concert/gig. WHAT?! this is awesome! of course i would! now, i have a chance to take pictures for a “reason”, for someone else, in a professional way. i am overwhelmed and stunned and completely humbled. can’t wait! thank you, blackbyrd, for the opportunity to capture you all making beautiful music!

so, as you can see, august is filling up with opportunities. it even feels like i’m touching on a few dreams i’ve had in my life. there are still struggles & difficult times ahead, as always in life. but, my love is home with me now (i can say that she has been in the hospital for almost 3 months, and was close to death, but now she is home & is fighting to keep getting better) and we have the unbelievable joy of sharing this crazy, mixed-up, beautiful life together. having our family together again makes everything seem more bearable.

so, august, i welcome you. a fresh start. a new beginning. a month of enjoying the last days of summer and of transitioning to the cozy season of fall. a month filled with joys, both known & unknown and challenges, that i may be prepared for, or not. my dear readers, thank you for sticking with me. it means so much. my little blog has become a place where i can dream, write, and refocus; and your presence here makes it even better. if this is your first visit here, i hope that you stop back by. leave me a message so i can check out your little corner in cyberspace.

by the way, for those of you who want to join in on the photo a day fun, here’s the list for august:

happy first day of august! here’s to wishing you a  great month! peace & love.

immigration said yes!

guess what i got?!

today my PERMANENT residence card came in the mail… the swedish immigration offices have given me permission to stay! i am officially a resident of sweden!

so, tonight, my love and i went out for very short celebration at a cozy restaurant in our neighborhood…

it really is a big day for us. and it feels amazing to know that i am settled, accepted, and have the rights to be here… permanently. i am so thankful that sweden allows me to stay, to live, to be with my love here. too bad my home country (USA, i mean you.) doesn’t have the same kind of laws, where everyone is treated equally. here, it didn’t matter at all what gender lina & i are. what mattered is that we are committed to loving each other, and have built a life here together.

it’s crazy to get to stay! or, at least until lina & i dream up another adventure… mouwahahaha. in the meantime, i feel so blessed,thankful, and overwhelmed at the fact that i truly have 2 homes. and to share life with my love, to know without a doubt that we can be together, that mean everything to me.

so, tonight, i lay my head on my pillow as one who is not a tourist, not a person with limited permission to be here; but as a wife as one who has the right to sleep here every night. though i have permission to be in this physical place now, no restrictions at all, i am reminded tonight in the midst of feeling so excited and proud, that, wherever my love is, is my home. and now i’m officially, truly, really, legally home.

goodnight, world. peace.