midas and i met when we started studying swedish together about 4ish months after we both moved here. well, his wife moved too. they moved from the netherlands/holland (i am sorry, even though they’ve told me, i still can’t keep all of the netherlands/holland stuff straight.what’s what and where’s where). anyway, we were the only 2 western people in our class  – everyone was from the middle east, africa, or the east. so, we naturally gravitated to each other. even though i ended up forming some awesome friendships during that time with some very interesting women and heard amazing life stories…

but, yeah. me & midas. we quickly discovered that we were very much kindred spirits. both into spirituality, but have a somewhat hard time with organized religion. both philosophers, dreamers, seekers, wanderers, spontaneous. pretty soon midas got a job at a restaurant, and after a while, began working so much he decided not to study any more. i soon followed his lead. it was much easier & faster to learn swedish “out in the world”. we kept in contact a little bit here & there, but did not see each other much. at all. which is sad.

sometime, a year or so ago, i dropped by his restaurant and that began the blossoming for our deeper friendship. and also a friendship with his lovely & intelligent  wife. both of them were a great support for me last year when lina was in the hospital. and both of them inspire me with their carefree, honest spirits. midas and i, met off and on. i believe we inspire each other. it’s just one of those good kind of relationships which is good for your soul. i met with leonie some too. lots of times it would be when i dropped in for a drink. and, then i’d naturally end up running into leonie at the restaurant too, and we’d sit and chat. we did that whole, expat bond thing with each other. and soon, they had met lina.

so, when we had our little flea market before we moved out of our apartment, we had them over one evening. the four of us sat on the floor, sipped sparking wine, and discussed many different things – typical conversations with them, always a little edgy & deep, which i love. before they left, they purchased some things from us… books and 2 mugs. the mugs were easy to sell, but the beauty of it, was in what they said about them: that they’d think of us when they used them. and that’s exactly what made selling all our things so easy… we knew that our stuff would be spread out amongst people we love, who would appreciate and love them.

now, my books were a different story. i had gone through my books over & over again, making the “stack to keep” smaller & smaller every time. there just wasn’t space available to keep everything. so, with a heavy heart, i put many well-loved, very much marked-up books on the shelf to sell. midas looked through them, and decided to buy about 4-5 of them. the books are totally me kinds of book = they are totally midas kinds of books too. books, like “the alchemist”, “ishmael”, “foundations of the metaphysics of morals”…

this made my heart soar. knowing that midas had these very important books, was like keeping them in some way.

when they left that night, we planned to get together on tuesday (yesterday). we didn’t worry about making plans or any details then, we just knew it was important to set aside some time. so, we did. monday night, i texted midas and asked what they had thought about for our little gathering, if anything. i received a prompt, “we have a little plan.” that was it…

so, tuesday morning, i got a message that they would pick us up about 11 and to dress for outside. this was no surprise to me, they are outdoors kinda people, which i also love.


we climbed in the back seat of their car, between their 2 dogs in the back and our kidnappers in the front, and off we went. we drove about 10-15ish minutes, and found ourselves outside of town, in a wooded area with a few houses and a lake nearby. lina knew where we are. i had no idea. we stopped in front of a little yellow cottage and midas said that they had rented it out for lunch with us. and then he immediately let us know that this was their new summer cottage! they bought it just 2 days before!


lina & i were wonderstruck and excited for them. we knew they’d seen a place, but now it was all there’s! so, the plan was that we’d just chill there, relax outside, and midas would whip up a gourmet vegetarian lunch for us on their back porch. spend some quality time together. and this was the perfect place to do just that. this cottage is really simple, no running water, and so right for them. such a great place to just go and be and breathe.

leonie, lina, & i sat on the porch, chatted, laughed, and i perused this amazing, huge book full of icons… while midas chopped, sautéed, marinated, cut, and sliced away. it smelled like heaven as it sizzled. and then, it was time to eat! four different kinds of salad dishes, which i have vowed to make myself one day. it was totally magnificent. simple and real. just time together. great food. great friends. great discussions (like smoking pot, euthanasia, ethics, conservative christians…) – you know, typical dinner table stuff.



my dear lina. holding the big book up for me every time i wanted to take a picture of a page. xo



after a few hours, midas had to get to work, so our kidnappers loaded us back into the car and we headed home. it was impossible to say goodbye then, so we decided that just 2-3 days before we leave, lina & i will head to midas’ restaurant one more time. and leonie will meet us there, of course!

what a great lunch adventure! thank you from the bottom of our hearts, midas & leonie. love you both.


a close-up of one of the icons from midas’ book. something to meditate on a bit… go ahead and try it.

go hug a friend today & thank them for simply being in your life. share some peace & love.

six senses monday.

hello, monday. hello, friends. you know, when mondays are your day off, it doesn’t feel like such a bad day. on the other hand, when you are going to work at 5pm on a friday night and everyone else is getting off, ready to begin their weekend, then it doesn’t feel so good. that’s the trade off, i guess. but, today hasn’t been friday. it’s been monday. so, i’ve been off. and boy do i love that!

i’m not sure i accomplished much today, but we had a pretty good meeting with lina’s doctor. and then later on, my love registered for her classes in the fall! i made some contact with a person launching a new blog on asheville, and it looks like  i may be finding myself some freelance work as a contributor. eeeek! so cool. all in all, i guess there have been some pretty productive moments.

well, it’s been a while since my last six senses post, but i am ready to share with y’all what’s been happening in my world that has peaked my senses. you can share what’s peaked your senses by leaving a comment or on your own blog.

sheets knappingsborg brunch sunday me fish and chips guilty cat mr. rogers me and my love flowers at work sunshine snack wine

taste: fish & chips. one of my favorite meals. especially when eaten at a pub with a cold beer and shared with a good friend. orange juice and a bunch of yummy food at sunday brunch.

touch: the warm sun touching my skin one day last week… in the midst of all of the rainy, gray days. holding on to my love while she is resting.

hear: the cat approaches the sofa. readies her claws. and then…. begins scratching. she’s so busted. a bunch of swedish all around me since i went back to work this week.

see: FLOWERS budding in the ground!! i cannot begin to explain how that elates me. and  outside furniture at restaurants and cafes. yay!

smell: fresh, springy sheets on my bed. a cinnamon bun and coffee during a long thursday night meeting.

feel: sadness and fear last week after the boston/watertown bombings and violence. thankful for the calming words of mr. rogers… which also makes me feel nostalgic (mr. rogers is an amazing children’s television person i grew up with). peace and calm late at night on friday, with a glass of wine, and cozy on my bed- the weekend had finally begun.


a restaurant that feeds your soul.


i love spontaneity. and the best is when you have people around you who are also spontaneous. on wednesday, i put spontaneity to the test.

i had coffee in the afternoon with a friend that i’ve known for almost 3 years now. he’s from the netherlands, and we were in a swedish for immigrants class together. so, both of us were new to sweden. both of us were trying to understand how we were going to make a life here, but were also excited about the possibilities, and certain that things would work out for each of us. we were pretty much the only two “western” people in our swedish class and we’re basically the same age, so it was natural to be drawn to each other in conversation and such. though he is european and i’m american, we had way more in common with each other than with the others.

in addition to the obvious third-world similarities, we connected at a soul level as well. i found, in my new friend, someone with whom i could talk about philosophy, the meaning of life, spirituality, dreams, and goals. we are something of kindred spirits, i believe. and it felt amazing to have met someone that i considered my first friend.

while i was figuring out my place in swedish society, and having good luck with that thanks to my amazing wife, my friend was also having good luck. a man who’s been part of the restaurant business in the past, my dutch friend found himself working at a local italian restaurant. pretty soon he moved up to a management level and moved on in life. we kept in touch here & there, but not as often as i would have liked.

still, we have been able to squeeze in time for coffee, drinks. or perhaps i might just pop by the restaurant whenever there is time.

after our planned coffee meeting – an inspirational conversation, as always, i decided to ask my love if she’d like to invite one of our american friends in town to meet us at my dutch friend’s restaurant for drinks later on in the evening (did you follow all of that? hehe.). of course she wanted to! so, a quick text and a message on Facebook, and we spontaneously decided to meet at pappa grappa for drinks at 9 pm. not only were we meeting our american friend, but my dutch friend’s dutch wife (who i also count as a friend) was coming too. perfect!

as the city hall clock struck the ninth tone, my love & i opened the door to the italian restaurant where my friend is in management. his wife was waiting for us, and our american friend was waiting in the casual pizzeria area, adjacent to the cozy, dimly-lit trendy restaurant and bar. we took our seats in the bar area, on cushy burgundy sofas and ottomans. a chandelier hung over our head, and the background music was jazzy and smooth, like the place itself. it may feel upscale at pappa grappa, and it is sort of, but it’s relaxed. one knows that there is a high standard for food and service. in other words, you’re gonna be taken care of and you’re gonna feel like a vip while you’re there. still, it is a place for real people, any day or night. it’s a place for a good time, for good drinks, and a place meant to break bread with each other and engage in conversation. it’s a place meant to enjoy something good in life…. the simple things. food, wine, friends.

my friend is working hard to create a specific atmosphere at pappa grappa, and i think he is well on his way. his vision, as i understand it, is a place of elegant relaxation, where good food, good drinks, and relationships are important – for those who are patrons of the restaurant and for those who work there. and he is determined for it to have an international feeling, which is manifested through music, food, and art. he desires to grow the restaurant into a place dripping with culture and finesse. and he hopes that it is not only a place where people buy and consume food, but where people connect with each other, with the community, and with the world.

in other words, a place with soul. those are his words: “a place with soul.”

as someone who seeks peace and meaning in regular everyday life, i must admit that pappa grappa is a place that not only feeds my cravings, but also feeds my soul – through the atmosphere, the friendly and caring personnel, and the yummy, elegant, top-notch food & drinks.

if i sound as if i’m a gushing food critic, then i guess that’s how i sound. i’m not writing this post to be a critic, but i am writing to get the word out. and to support my friend. because anyone who seeks to have soul be the driving force behind what they do, deserves a little attention.

so, if you live in norrköping, head on over to pappa grappa for drinks, or dinner, or pizza. do it on a random wednesday night like i did, and find a reason to celebrate life, for no other reason except for the fact that you are alive and you want beautiful, soulful things around you.

and if you don’t live in norrköping, then go to a restaurant or cafe or bar in your city that touches your soul. sip on something and enjoy a few moments of the good life.

let your soul be nourished.


cheers, my friends! peace.

click here to visit papa grappa’s website or here to visit their Facebook page.

* all photos copyright of belovelive.