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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.

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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.

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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!

instagram love.

just a few photos from my week captured on my phone…

i’ve been feeling the love.

coffee love.

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autumn love43dc07be2ad811e3af7e22000a1f8ae5_8

companion love.9b9f2ea42aec11e381cb22000a1f9a0a_8

nature love.8887d6862baf11e3bc3b22000ae80efa_8

snail mail love70743b9e2b7211e39f3d22000aaa21f1_8

photography love27b38c882b9111e3939222000a9f1385_8

urban lovef9d54b7a2b9111e38f6e22000a9e07ed_8

cider love
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road trip love

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today my love & i are headed down to the beach for a long weekend. yippee! so, catch ya on the flip side.

time to feed my wanderlust soul a little bit.

love and peace.

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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.

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home is wherever i’m with you.

there’s just something about opening my computer, heading over to my wordpress reader or bloglovin’, and reading the things that you have to say. i love to read what you’ve been thinking about, how your day has been, what has inspired you, and what has made you wonder. and the cozy, warm community that i interact with here only intensifies, when i go over to my blog and click to begin writing a new post. it’s as if i am tapping into my soul and setting it free as i type the words and clarify the thoughts and feelings that may have been swirling inside of me longer than i’d imagined. or some days, i come here just because i want to leave you a message. i suppose it’s my way of paying it forward. if i find something particularly inspiring, or wake one morning feeling hopeful & truly alive, i want to share that feeling with you, wherever you may be.

i suppose you could say that being a part of this world of blogging makes me feel grounded. it is a sort of home for me.

but i miss doing daily updates, for all the reasons i wrote about above. i miss the connection to you, and to my soul. i miss catching up on the latest events in your life. but, right now, it’s hard to find the time. i can’t write as much as i’d like – and i feel all clogged up from not writing, and i haven’t the time to really read & comment like i’d like to either.

however, if i did squeeze in more posts right now, i’m afraid that they’d be some version of the same post over & over again. packing. moving. excited. blah blah blah. well, it’s not blah blah blah, actually, it’s fucking cool as shit. amazing!! but, i’m sure that you don’t want to hear exactly the same thing every. single. live. long. day. am i right?

so, i have a thought. of course, if you’re a regular here, you know i’m doing my june photo journey (a photo a day challenge) on simplicity. and i have a word prompt for each day. so, in order to:

  1. have something different to write about every day (so i don’t get stuck given my present situation) and
  2. so i challenge myself to make the time for the thing that i love to do the most (write)…
  3. i’ve decided to do a daily post based on my photo of the day.

i realize that we are practically halfway through june, but hey, it’s all about the present moment isn’t it? it’s never too late to make a change, right? so, beginning tonight, you’ll get to journey with me on my little simplicity photo journey. i think it’ll actually be a really great thing for me to reflect a lot on simplicity, as i try to strip down my life, follow my heart, take risks, and begin again. starting over & having a clean slate, i have the chance to reinvent some parts of my life, of me, again. and living more simply is definitely something i want to seriously make a reality.

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today’s word is family. it’s the 3rd word in my little focus on “simplicity at home”. things were so amazing, fun, silly, and chaotic at home today, my little family & i decided to share a special moment we had. in the midst of pulling out, organizing, taking down, and packing as we prepare for our apartment flea market in one week, we took a moment to gather together in the hall. we just found ourselves there. so, we stopped what we were doing and soaked in the chaos & mess all around us. we laughed & giggled. and held on to each other.

our home is not the same. some furniture is already gone. the walls are bare. the floor is covered. boxes placed everywhere are tempting zola as scratching poles. it looks different. it feels different. it’s really happening, you know. things are changing. it’s nearing time to say goodbye and head off into the sunset, headed for our next chapter.

but, you know what? even though i’m sentimental and nostalgic, and i stand in my favorite place by my kitchen window for even longer periods of time now, i realized something as i held my little family in my arms while we took this little photo. i belong anywhere & everywhere. my family is my home. and this move, it is so right. we both know it. we both feel it. and we are so blessed.

so whether it’s here with all of you, dear blogging buddies & readers; or whether it is with my little family or my expanded families, it’s all about the people… not the place. home is wherever there is love. it’s as simple as that.

“i have thought my whole life i needed seas or mountains or magnificent city lights to be happy. truth is: i do not care where i am as long as i have you.” ~ christopher poindexter

check back tomorrow to see what word inspired me & what photo i snapped to symbolize the word of the day. and if you want, join in and do the same!

peace, my lovely blogging family.

my six senses instagram weekend.

i stayed off the computer all weekend. i hadn’t planned on challenging myself to an “off the grid” weekend, but it just happened. and it felt good. i am thankful that i just let life go by, not feeling any pressure, inspiration, or desire to click around on my computer. i didn’t even facebook or read the news or anything on my computer. i did have my smartphone nearby, but it was mostly used for instagram. since i had my attention focused on my daily life, i was able to capture some of my weekend through instagram photos, which i’m gonna share with y’all in a moment.

but first, i wanna explain how i’m gonna do it…

i was inspired about a year ago (yes. i am the queen of procrastination.) by a fellow blogger, whose pictures and whole way of being i adore. we have no blogging “relationship” like i have with some of you, and i don’t know her in my private life, like some more of you. she’s someone i stumbled onto because i clicked on her blog via someone else’s blogroll. i liked the name of her blog: the urban hippie. sounded a little like me, i thought. and i loved her images & photos. click here to check out her blog.

i discovered that, from time to time, not sure if it’s every monday, she does a post called “five senses monday” where she posts photos she’s taken over the weekend, but also writes & describes memories from the past weekend/week which have inspired her senses. i thought that was brilliant. i knew immediately that i wanted to do the same. but, i haven’t.

until now.

so, here is my version of five senses monday. belovelive-style.

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seeing: the beautiful river and blue sky on saturday morning as i walked to the bakery for fresh bread. gotta love eurpoean life. chatting with my parents over the internet – it’s the first time i’ve seen them since we left in january.

hearing: music, music, music on girl’s night! jammin’ with the piano, sining, and me on the electirc keyboard drums. hehe.

smelling: the chinese food when i went to pick it up. freaked me out & reminded me i’d be in china in one week. woo hoo!

tasting: i bought nutella. enough said.

touching: snuggling with my little cutie, zola.

feeling: soooo unbelieveably, thankful for having a weekend off to spend with my love and to get together with friends!

that’s it. my instagram weekend! and my first six senses monday! it was such an amazing relief to be off and to just be me. now, back to work for a week, and then vacation for two weeks! this week’s gonna be crazy and tough, so i’m asking for all your positive vibes , love, and thoughts. and i’m sending them right back to ya.

happy monday. peace.

the 31 day journey begins. belovelive’s march photo a day!

who’s doing it? who’s out there snapping some photos of your journey in march?!

it’s been a tough week of photos. a little depressing, i’d say. but that was my intention. not to depress you and me, but to make us aware. it was my intention to be honest about life… and let’s face it, life ain’t all that great sometimes. can i get an amen? but, since there is so much symbolically going on with nature this month, and since this is the time of year that christians also celebrate the journey of lent, i thought, “why not?”. why not make a photo challenge centered on a theme about journey? why not take a few moments each day and think about how the journey seems bleak, long, dark, and lonely at times before it gets easier, better, and lighter?

so, the first 15 days of march are a little more focused on the challenges of journeys. we allow ourselves time in the beginning of march to be aware of and dwell in the tough stuff. we admit that it’s ok that everything is not ok. and we keep plugging on. i have to be honest with you, focusing on these tough words is actually getting to me. it is bringing me down a bit… but only to the affect that i am embracing the tough stuff in life. i am not excited about it, but i know that take a good, long, hard, honest look at my life only gives me a chance to grow even more. i need this time to turn inward a bit. to be a bit gray and melancholy. not that i’m walking around depressed, or that anyone could even tell. but, inside, for a least a few moments of each day, i am just thinking. just being. letting myself fell what i feel… and knowing that the light is returning. every day we are getting closer.

with all that said, here come my first week’s pictures!

7am on march 1. not too dark, but not quite light either. and so, the journey begins.

7am on march 1. not too dark, but not quite light either. and so, the journey begins.

zola thought it was a little scary at times last weekend because we had 4 guests in our apartment with us. the other part of the weekend she spent snuggling with them.

zola thought it was a little scary at times last weekend because we had 4 guests in our apartment with us. the other part of the weekend she spent snuggling with them.

a lonely, but super sunny walk to work sunday morning.

a lonely, but super sunny walk to work sunday morning.

"flee to the wilderness. the one within if you can find it." ~ utah phillips. (a photo i took in nc during christmas)

“flee to the wilderness. the one within if you can find it.” ~ utah phillips. (photo from nc during christmas)

it's way too easy to stumble & fall these days here in sweden. be careful, out there!

it’s way too easy to stumble & fall these days here in sweden. be careful, out there!

spending tons of my time getting sidetracked by looking for our new home in asheville. hehe. yes, we have begun that part of the journey.

spending tons of my time getting sidetracked by looking for our new home in asheville. hehe. yes, we have begun that part of the journey.

looking up & down one fo the city streets. so beautiful.

looking up & down one fo the city streets. so beautiful.

so, who of you out there is taking part in the photo challenge? what are you seeing on your journey this march? paste a link to your blog or your instagram name in a comment below so we can all keep up with/get to know each other. it’s super fun! and i have to say… the blogging and instagramming communities are truly amazing. so,join in, if you’re not already a part of either!

now, it’s friday night (woo hoo!) and it’s time for a cozy evening with my love. i think it’s been a month since i’ve been home on a friday night, so i’m gonna soak it up tonight. first, we gonna make tacos, then drink a little wine, and perhaps watch a movie. hope you have a great weekend.

peace & love.