A few events lined up before I actually sat here to start this blog about my “Life Stories & Other Nonsense”.
Christmas 2017 I invited the family of my husband to spend Christmas weekend with us, even though my husband and I had been separated for more than two years, there was not a public acknowledgement of the fact that we were walking our separate ways. As part of the gifts, I wrote a letter to his family summarising our 2017, telling them what they meant to me, and that they will always be part of my life, as they had been for the past 22 years. As I wrote in that letter, this separation was a big surprise for many except our three children and us.
For the occasion, I decided to cook Duck with chestnuts (inspiration came from eating chestnuts from street vendors in Malaga on the fall), red cabbage with onions, cranberries and walnuts, accompanied by potato dumpling. As I was cooking, I kept taking pictures of the preparation process (as I always do), and I heard my daughter scream… please mom write down the recipe… Food was amazing, and the family reunion a total celebration of love and appreciation for one another. 2017 the hardest year of my life by far… at the same time, I came out of 2017 feeling alive again, once I accepted and embraced my new reality.
My sister came to visit for New Years, and we decided to host a New Years party for my adolescent children… prepared delicious pulled pork with buns, roasted onions and pickles…which the kids adored. My sister saw me preparing the food…in my beautiful kitchen that I renovated myself…and as always taking my pictures…she turned to me and said… “If you don’t make a blog about all the things you do, I will kill you”. As she said that, my daughters and my son jumped to the conversation and started to argue why I should do it… and most important why haven’t I done it earlier.
The thought stayed with me… on the 1st day of 2018, my sister and I flew to Spain to visit my aunt. On the plane, we sat next to a nice Spanish woman that worked in the banking sector in Frankfurt. After talking for a while, the idea of the blog came out, and I ended up showing her all my pictures, and telling her the stories behind them. Needless to say that she was also enthusiastic about the blog prospect.
On the 2nd day of January, we decided to renovate my aunt’s old apartment. She had to move to a retirement home, and the best way to secure additional income for her was to renovate the apartment and rent it. As we were busy working out all the details, at one point, my sister looked at me and said, here another topic for your blog. It was becoming more real as I spoke about it with the people doing the renovation, and I told them of the possibility of making a blog about the renovation. There was just excitement about the prospect of the blog, and having the process documented.
As we were finalising the details for the renovation, I tried to turn on my laptop to finish drawing the plans, and it did not go on; I panicked, all my information, my pictures, my stories, my life was there… I managed to turn it on again, it seems like the battery was dead for good. First thing I did when I got home was to make a back up of all my information. That moment of panic was a defining moment to realise how much I value the path I have walked. This laptop has stored so much I have documented of my life, my family, my children, my friends, my pictures, my stories, my work, the countries I have lived in, life lessons, mistakes, and great accomplishments.
“It is the path we walk… The landscape we stray… The strangers that become loved ones and those that remain strangers… And sometimes-loved ones becoming strangers… But at the end it is the path we walk that determines us.” (HB)
So I am siting here in total appreciation that my laptop did not die on me, that all my information is stored, and the realisation of the rich and amazing “Life Stories & Other Nonsense” that I am about to tell you.