Watering my garden on a cold wintery night in the middle of Stockholm

20151121_174258-01.jpegHere’s what I know…I know so very little.  Despite being an intelligent being, I overate on Thanksgiving, then did it again the next day with leftovers. I gave thanks, but not nearly enough.  I went shopping and bought things, knowing they weren’t essential and they wouldn’t make me happier.  I searched for things outside myself to bring happiness: the extra glass of wine, the extra piece of pie, you get the picture.  Ahh, the problem of being human, knowing better and doing the opposite anyway. And then dwelling on it!  Time to turn off the broken record, or at least change the tune.

I spent time with family from near and far, slept in late, read, played with my cousin’s baby for the first time, met another warm and wonderful family, heard a story about my grandfather, aunt, and uncle that made me laugh and also brought tears to my eyes.  I looked out the window -some days sunny, some days windy and rainy- watched life move by across a spectacular field and thought about things.

Now back at home, back to my normal.  I watered my little indoor garden talking to and encouraging the little show-offs.  I am picking out some recipes and getting ready to bake.  I will probably catch up on some episodes of my favorite TV shows .  I am settling back into the routine that comforts me, regrouping and recharging before the holiday mayhem.  Won’t say I won’t ever make the same “mistakes” but heck, they aren’t the only thing to dwell on.

Chocolate babka

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I am coming up with a common theme in my life right now, moving is hard.  So I am baking…again.  I have been a baking whirlwind since moving.  My latest creation (not counting the cookies I made tonight) was a chocolate babka.  I am posting a picture because it was exquisite in taste and appearance and I am so damn proud of it.  But more on that later.

Back to moving.
I am currently reading Eat, Pray, Love -yes I am behind the curve on this- and as I read it, one passage sticks with me.  Elizabeth Gilbert recounts, “My Guru always says that only one thing will happen when you come to the Ashram – that you will discover who you really are.”  Well, I don’t think you have to go to an ashram to discover that – just move…across town, across the country, to a new continent, by yourself, with kids. Just move – and then you will discover who you really are.  Making new friends, helping your kids make new friends, starting a new way of life – even if it is exciting and what you wanted, isn’t easy and forces you to dig deep within yourself.  I have moved 9 times in the past 20 years, and I know people who have moved more.  For me, it doesn’t get easier.  It may even get harder as kids get older and you get a bit set in your ways.  It is especially hard if you have to leave a place you feel is really home,a place you love, have wonderful friends, and feel most yourself.  Someplace your kids feel is home. For all of those who have moved, are moving, be gentle with yourself and give it time.  Other than that, I don’t have any particular words of wisdom. And for me, while I am waiting to feel settled (i.e I have no friends to hang out at cafes with) I have been baking.  It is something comforting, something I know I can do. And that brings me to babka – my fear of yeast and pushing out of my baking comfort zone.

I bake, but I don’t like to use yeast.  It is a tricky little living organism.  If the water is too cold, it won’t proof, and if the water is too hot, you’ll kill it.  In my spare time I decided, what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  As I was searching for a recipe to combine two of my favorite flavors , chocolate and cinnamon, I found the babka recipe on Smitten Kitchen.  I couldn’t resist.  So, I gave yeast a chance.  And it worked, not only was the babka lovely – it was delicious.  So, on to my small aha moment.  We are like yeast, especially during a move,  sometime you have to experiment with getting settled, test the waters a bit, not too much not to little, give it some time, but finally you will rise!