Kua! Quoi?| Feng Shui
While we were up in Sundsvall, Peter found this Feng Shui book at one of the second-hand places. The discoveries we’ve made about „our“ house (and ourselves) are just uncanny. In a good way!
OK, I don’t know all that much about Feng Shui, and from what I gather so far it’s a rather complex teaching of energy flows, going way beyond the home decorating stuff that „we Westerners“ associate it with. So I am going to worm my way out of explaining it to you by recommending you do some research of your own, if you’re interested in the details.
I am just going to touch on the things related to our discoveries about us and the house, hoping I will get some of it right. So, here goes nothing. Oh yeah, the book is Feng Shui (totally makes the search for it easy … not) by Lillian Too. It’s from the 1990ies, so the pictures and illustrations don’t always appeal to me (weird, I grew up in the nineties!?) but anyway.
According to the Pa Kua and Lo Shu tradition of Feng Shui, there is this thing called Kua number. This number is determined by your sex and your birth year, and it gives you information about the which of the compass points are beneficial respectively detrimental for you.
Here is how you calculate your Kua number.
This site’s got a calculator, plus charts about the lucky/unlucky cardinal directions for each number.
But wait, there’s more! Houses/buildings have „lucky“ and „unlucky“ areas, too. More on that coming up, so stay tuned.
The great indoors
While I have been dreaming of the real deal, these little guys here on our window sill and dining table have plotted a plan to take over the kitchen. Looks like they’re succeeding, too.
Apple trees … and worms
Ok, here it comes: I am pretty sure that we found our little corner of the world, our little farm in the prairie, the place where the heart is – you know: home.
I’ve actually felt that way ever since we saw it, which is how it’s supposed to start, right? By „saw it“ I mean the real thing, not the pictures, those gave me very mixed vibes: kitchen on the second floor? Weird, completely out of context wild west type front porch? What’s up with that? But apple trees, and a creek running through the yard! Plus, the price was right, too!
I am not the type to hold back on making (premature) announcements for fear of jinxing anything, I just say it how it is: that I think this is what’s going on but that it’s not a done deal yet. So, although everything isn’t settled yet, here is the story of our dream house and some pix thus far. It’s been quite a ride already …
It started with Peter’s mom, who obviously knew about our quest for a different place to live. One day in May we received an e-mail from her, saying that one of her colleagues wanted to sell a house. I already mentioned the pictures attached to that e-mail, and like I said, I was not sold right away. And anyways, moving back up north wasn’t really what we had had in mind, either. We wanted to stay at a distance from Gothenburg that would allow us to come visit regularly, and keep our circle(s) of friends! Also, when looking on the phone provider’s map of cell phone towers in the area, it wasn’t looking too hot, either … (no, not too few – too many, but that’s a story for another time). On top of it, we were supposed to make a fast call, since the owner had been trying to seel the house for a year, and was about to hand it over to a real estate agent, meaning a higher starting price plus a possible bidding war … So, yeah, we were doubtful.
At this point, I feel like I should insert a short lesson on Swedish geography, which makes the pickle we found ourselves in understandable:
- Sweden is a long country. A very long country.
- The drive from Gothenburg (which is where we live right now) to Sundsvall (where Peter’s family lives, and where the house is) takes nine hours.
- The place in Dalarna, where the family reunion for summer solstice was held, is a six-hour drive from Gothenburg, and a three-hour drive from Sundsvall.
We decided to take the „real estate agency risk“, and stick with our original plan to go check out the house after the family reunion. If the house was truly supposed to be ours, it would wait for us. If it suddenly, after being up for sale for a year, would find new owners, it just wasn’t meant to be. And like I said: we had had our doubts anyway, so we were mainly going to look at it so that we wouldn’t end up asking ourselves „What if …?“
Well, since I already spoiled it for you, the question at this point obviously isn’t whether this house turned out to be a „yay“ or a „nay“. I suppose you are more interested in how it went from „Hm“ to „Home!“.
Since it was on the way in to Sundsvall (the house is actually located in a village about 40 minutes outside), and Peter had spotted it’s location on the map, we decided to stop and sneak a peek from the outside. In all fairness: I wasn’t all that willing to make another stop, there had been so many delays and pit-stops on the way, and it was getting late. But we did, and my instant feeling was „This is where I want to live, we have to buy this house!“. It just felt right.
Just the area we drove through to get there was really beautiful: very rural, hills/small mountains with lakes in between, forest and fields, beautiful „old school“ farms and houses. The last bit of the way to the house is a dirt road, giving it that remote feel that I have been longing for.
We almost missed the house, there are bushes ans trees surrounding its property, which is also perfect. We recognized it by it’s „trademark“ – that funky front porch.
What I was iffy about when i saw the pictures suddenly came through – this place was really charming! The little creek (coming from a pond where apparently you can go fishing) was running through the land behind the house. A small bridge was leading across it, and on the other side stood the barn – also part of the property. In front of the barn was even a little decking, so I immediately saw myself sitting there, having dinners in the evening sun, enjoying the beautiful view over the field of the neighboring farm.
All curtains were closed, so we couldn’t get a look at the inside but that didn’t change me feeling that we’d come to a good place was. What followed was a major fight, what else. I guess my all out exhilaration and unreserved euphoria brought out the opposite in Peter. In an attempt to get my head out of the clouds (not a deliberate one, I would say, it felt more like an instinctive, compulsive pessimism at the time …), he went right to the opposite end of the scale. Well, if his intentions had been to prevent me from getting my hopes up too high, he certainly succeeded. It seemed like the life I had been picturing was never going to be possible with „Mr. Monday“ …
The ride into Sundsvall started out fast and furious (I was driving, still completely pissed) but despite all the „You always …“ and „You will never …“ we somehow managed to smoothe things over, and make it home in one piece. At night, I started having second thoughts of my own. Was this really it? The property did seem awfully small in retrospect, and half the point of moving to the country-side was to grow our own vegetables, possibly have hens and goats and whatnot! Yet I was also a bit worried about the fact that a real estate agency actually had become involved. We had seen an ad for the house in the local paper – already at a slightly higher asking price!
The next day, Peter’s mom arranged for us three to meet her colleague/friend at the house so we could get a look at the inside. No disappointments here. Sure, it was going to be work but we had wanted a project – nothing too advanced but still something we would make our own. Again, it seemed like we had come to the right place.
Regardless of what we want to do with this one (a summer cottage is my vision …) or when, we’re going to have to start out by doing damage control and take out the flooring
The best part was, that there was still a lot of old, charming details left:
The owner (rather, the daughter of the owners who’s managing the sale) was kind enough to let Peter and me borrow the key so that we could stay the night.
Why did we want to do that? Well, there is one issue that has made this quest for a place to live more than a life dream, and which overrules all our opinions, desires and reason: Peter is hypersensitive to electromagnetic fields. That can mean all kinds of things, in his case (and I am simplifying here), any sort of wireless signals (cell phones and cell phone towers, wireless internet, cordless phones, etc.) cause him physical pain. That obviously makes everyday life, uhm, a challenge. It gets even more confusing when you add to that that it takes his body a while to adjust to different environments. Meaning, while it obviously is worst when he is exposed to a lot of electro-magnetic signals, his body does get used to that situation, the pain becomes kind of a background noise. When he’s in an environment where there are very few emitters of electromagnetic signals, he feels a lot better – but just one device suddenly popping up can make the pain seem a lot more piercing.
He usually explains it with this metaphor: If you’re in a room full of people smoking, you stop noticing the fume after a while, and it won’t bother you (if you even can tell) when one additional cigarette is being lit. However, if you are in a place where nobody smokes, one cigarette being lit might bother you a lot, while technically, it is probably a lot less healthy for you to be in the room full of smokers.
So, perception is relative – but the health factor isn’t, which makes things very complicated. In an environment with few sources of electromagnetic signals (gosh, I am really bad with the terminology stuff, sorry to all of those who know better, feel free to correct me!), the one neighbor that is surfing the internet wireless, can pretty much make it impossible for us to live there. Let alone the cell phone towers that might be put up in the area, since that’s where we’re heading.
The house we’re interested in buying is fairly isolated, with only four neighbors at an ok distance – except for one, which is only about 25 yards away. The two times we were there for maybe an hour or so each, Peter felt good. But as hopefully has become clear, that’s not really enough. Therefore we asked to sleep there.
We drove back to Sundsvall to get our sleeping bags, and on the way back out, we saw the most amazing sun set:
We slept well that night – and we hadn’t even brought the silver net which we usually have up to shield Peter/us! Oh yeah, and it turned out that the contract with the real estate agency hadn’t been signed yet, so the owners could back out of that deal, meaning no competition for us, lower price, yet more money for the owners. Yup, the universe was definitely waving numerous of those giant foam hands, all pointing at that house.
Good things just kept coming: Peter’s sister and her husband came out to meet us the next morning. They had bought a house of their own a few years back, so they could give us advice and opinions that backed up our gut feeling (yeah, it turned out that Peter really did like this house, too, he was just more hesitant to express that in the beginning). The day after that, Peter’s aunt and uncle came to visit, and they have fixed up quite a few houses over the years, so their approval meant a lot.
We started looking up all that fun stuff that comes with these kind of endeavors – bank loans (both unemployed right now, yikes), jobs, costs and waiting time for an „official“ expert to give the house a check-up … the works.
Then the time came to return to Gothenburg, and so much had happened during that one week – we really were only gone from Thursday to Thursday!? – that it felt like months. Suddenly our outlook on the future had shifted from „What are we going to do? Where are we supposed to live? How are we ever going to figure this out?“ to „This is it!“.
And then, just as sudden, we hit a brick wall, and the whole thing came to a screeching halt: it looked like it would not be possible for us to have telephone, let alone internet there. I probably don’t need to point out that that is a terrifying prospect for someone who cannot use cell phones or wireless internet … Surely, this could not be happening??? How could the perfect house for us suddenly be brought down by (the lack of) a cable?
As absurd and unfathomable as that seemed, it looked like all the spots in the box that supplies the phone lines to the households in one area where taken up. And since the trend is towards wireless, the phone companies do not put any resources into expanding there … So, if we wanted to live there, we would apparently be „incommunicado“ indefinitely. Welcome to the absurd life of electromagnetic-hypersensitive people and their loved ones.
Anyway, don’t want to bore you with the details of this odyssey that had Peter in a loop, being sent back and forth between different companies. I’ll just skip right to the status quo: there seemed to have been a computer error, marking that box „no vacancy“ when there was just some other defect. Technical folks are heading out to the house on Tuesday, where Peter’s sister will let them in so they can check out what’s really going on. For now I am optimistic that we might be able to avoid total solitary confinement …
Without meaning to, this post somehow turned from „The house of my dreams“ into „My life with my electromagnetic-hypersensitive boyfriend“. Well, I hope you can embrace the eclecticism. Here, have another picture of the beautiful sunset:
So much is going on, and frankly I feel like I am going to burst if I can’t tell you soon. There’s just a few people I’d like to tell in person before I put it up here – and also, everything isn’t quite settled yet, so it’ll have to wait a little longer.
What I can write about, though, and post a few pix of is Midsommar (summer solstice), and our visit to Peter’s family in Sundsvall. Not too many, I’m afraid, since I took mostly pix of people and as you might have figured out by now, I am not too much into putting those on public display. Anyway.
Peter’s family had rented a house in Dalarna where we all met. I don’t think it gets any more Swedish than spending Midsommar there. It was beautiful, even the weather was mostly great.
We went to a local bear park with leopards, and tigers, and bears – oh my!
Neat to see these beasts without having to worry about getting eaten. But I always feel bad for these guys, and a little guilty for going to these kind of places …
We checked out a waterfall called Storstupet. On our way further north, Peter and I stopped to see a second, even bigger waterfall, called Helvetets vattenfall (hell’s waterfall). It was amazing – and I was camera-less, sorry.
One of the things we did in Sundsvall was visit Peter’s mom’s cousin, who lived in a really nice house with a gorgeous view of a nearby lake.
She had an adorable nine-week old cat that just looked like a black blur in every single pic I took (didn’t want to freak him out with the camera flash). I managed to get a pic of the dog, though.
And there were lupins everywhere on the side of the roads.
Incidentally, I have been „addicted“ to lupin coffee ever since I discovered it at my sister’s (she bought it because it’s caffeine- and gluten-free, thought it tasted awful and gave it to me – thanks, sis!). I wonder if I could make some myself …
Not finding any recipes so far, but some interesting articles:
Funny: one of my thoughts when seeing these flowers way up there in the north was that they reminded me of the Mediterranean region – without having any recollection of having seen them anywhere I’ve been there. According to these articles, they do have their origin there.
Anyone know how to make lupin coffee? Lemme know, please!
Those of you who are as crazy about Miranda July as I am – you can probably skip this. Those of you who don’t know who that is – here is the newsletter I (along with everybody else who signed up for it) received. I am sharing it here hoping it will make you as crazy about MJ as I am:
You are getting this email because you signed up for my mailing list at mirandajuly.com. You might have signed up a long time ago and now you are finally getting something, years later. Or you might have just signed up like four seconds ago and, boom, here I am writing you already and you’re thinking I’ll probably be writing you all the time — not the case! I almost never do this. Only when there is something I think you’ll really like. And when I remember that the mailing list exists.
I think you’ll really like this: wethinkalone.com
You go there and sign up (yet again!) and then for the next twenty weeks you will get something pretty extravagant in your inbox every Monday.
As for the rest of life, things are going well (it just occurred to me maybe I should write some more newslettery type things to make this a real newsletter.) I’m writing a novel, I just got a haircut, a tad too short. I’m doing a reading at The University of Tampa on Saturday, you can go if you live there. I just visited my family in Berkeley over the weekend. Who exactly am I writing to here? It’s hard to know how specific or vague to be. Have had a little trouble sleeping. Been going heavy on the almond butter. Like to bathe. Can’t sing. Getting older.
give my love to the family,
Needless to say I signed up for that one, too. And oh yeah: Looks like a trip to Magasin 3 Stockholm Konsthall is in order …
Smultronstället | Sigtuna
Well, I am back. This past week was actually less stressful than I had anticipated. I think me and the other P. A. were actually the only ones with any free time at that convention. Here are some pix from Sigtuna (which was actually a charming little town, it’s close to the Arlanda airport, just in case you ever find yourself coming through there).
I can’t believe Tuesday will be my last day of work!?! When did that happen???
Straw bale house
Time flies by as always. I have an intense week at work coming up. My boss is participating in a conference, and I’m one of the two P. A.s accompanying her. We’re heading to exotic Sigtuna tomorrow, back Friday night if all goes well.
Before I leave (still undecided whether to take my laptop with me or not), I want to share some pix with you I took this week when Peter and I visited a Charlotte and Jan-Olav and their kids, who have built a straw bale house. I want one!!! Plus they had super-cute kittens. I want those, too!!!
Ayurveda on eating disorders
A lot has been going on. It’s hard to put in words, I have been re-writing this sentence several times now. Part of me wants to tell the whole story, another part doesn’t think it’s relevant for anyone but me (maybe that’s true, or maybe that’s just the part talking that is reluctant to show itself for what it is).
Waking my demons
The short version is: The circumstances in my life – less than two weeks away from unemployment, a long week at work coming up involving travel, and spiritual growth – have awoken an old demon: my eating disorder (binge-eating). It hasn’t been this bad since university, in some respects it’s even worse. For several weeks now it has been a daily struggle („struggle“ seems like a euphemism since I haven’t had much fight in me it seems), I have even gone and bought stuff I craved, which I never ever have done before.
Practical remedies for when you feel weak
I think I know what the underlying issue is here: and old karmic trauma, the memory of which I recently conjured when I made a wish. I do want to get into that at some point but right now I want to focus on the symptoms. For while I believe that my best chances of overcoming this self-destructive habit is by dealing with the issues I am trying to distract myself from with it, I also feel a need for something more hands-on, a lower obstacle. Because honestly: sometimes the advice „Well then just don’t give into these cravings, and you’ll find out what’s really the issue“ is just not practical. If it were easy, or if I felt that strong, I probably wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.
This is the part I want to share with you not just because it helps me writing about these things but because I think that the information I came across this afternoon is helpful to anyone with an eating disorder/an unhealthy relationship to food (just out of curiosity, are there any people left who have a healthy one?).
An Ayurvedic approach to eating disorders
I remembered some of the Ayurveda books I read also mentioned eating disorders as symptoms of dosha imbalances (I wrote about Ayurveda and its terminology before, click on the category „Ayurveda“ or scroll down to the relevant links if you want to know more). So I tried to find books with an Ayurvedic perspective on eating disorders. Once again I am grateful for the internet, and people sharing their work there so generously. I found a very informative article (please note that all facts I’ll be stating are from that article, unless otherwise marked):
„Pathology of Eating Disorders From an Ayurvedic Perspective“ by Alakananda Devi
It uses a lot of Ayurveda terminology, so I am trying to make this a sort of easy to understand summary. I encourage you however to read the original article in any case. There are lots of cases to illustrate the technicalities, and also because I will (for obvious, selfish) reasons mostly be going into the things that pertain to my situation, since those caught my eye.
Some basic insights
Let’s start from the beginning:
- Eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia, overeating) are related to stress and/or food allergies.
- How we react to stress in our eating habits depends on our individual constitution (dosha – Vata, Pitta or Kapha).
- Bad choices regarding food may stem from lack of education (meaning: we just don’t know any better than to eat they way we were taught as children), and for some (especially Pitta) they are a way to cope with trauma.
I am a Pitta-Kapha (right now with a severe Kapha imbalance, I’d say). For me, just recognizing myself in a lot of the symptoms stated in this article helps. Heck, just reading that
- Vata types are prone to anorexia/bulimia and tend to forget to eat,
- Pitta cannot skip meals and has a tendency to sugar addiction,
- Kapha easily puts on weight and is inclined to overeating
is huge! It takes away the feeling of personal guilt, and shifts the perspective to „This is how I as a Vata/Pitta/Kapha person react to stress, now let’s see what can be done about that“.
There is no „one size fits all“ solution
I have been praising Ayurveda for its individualistic approach in probably every article I wrote, and I find myself wanting to stress this crucial point once again: what is great about Ayurveda is that it does not claim to offer a universal solution. What is good for you always depends on who you are, therefore any „‚one size fits all‘ approach“, as Alakanda Devi puts it, is bound to set you up for failure. Unless, of course, you just happen to be the right person for the method but I’d prefer finding the right method for me …
Like increases like
Although there are no universal remedies, Ayurveda knows of certain universal principles. One of them is: like increases like. Often times like is also attracted to like, which is highly relevant when it comes to eating disorders. For according to Devis article, some eating disorders are the result of food allergies, and once recognized as such can be (relatively) easily cured.
For example, Kapha types are often (or more often than other types) allergic to wheat, gluten, and cow dairy. The „like increases like“ and „like is attracted to like“ explains why someone can be craving food that is actually bad for them. Various readings and nutrition experiments have led me – time and time again – to the conclusion that I am better off skipping sugar, dairy, and carbs (mainly wheat/gluten). Yet when I have cravings, I want ice-cream, cereal with lots of milk, and bread with cheese. Now I know why. (I kind of want to put sugar in a separate category because it seems like it works more like drug. Some say that refined sugar isn’t good for anyone, especially not the amounts we are used to consuming nowadays, others say that only certain people are more sensitive to its negative effects – either way, I’m it, I guess.) I know that cutting out the foods that are bad for me does not help with the psychological aspect of my eating disorder – but I imagine that for someone whose problems with eating are the result of an (undetected) food allergy, this information is really a big piece of the puzzle.
I think my Kapha is out of balance …
Even before I read this article I had been observing myself and recognizing certain tendencies which just seemed to have „excess Kapha“ written all over them:
- I have been feeling very tired, pushing my getting-up time gradually to way into the Kapha or even Pitta phase of the day.
- I have been feeling heavy, and at the same time craving foods with that exact quality (peanut butter with honey turned out to be my no. 1 poison, not to give you any ideas …), which made me feel even heavier – both principles, „like is attracted to like“, and „like increases like“ working at their utmost here.
- My cravings and the binges have been at their worst at night, between 6 pm and 10 pm, which is the second Kapha cycle of the day (despite the knowledge of the different dosha cycles, I had not been able to connect the dots previous to reading Devi’s article, so thanks for that!).
- I have been lazy, not exercising at all, basically the thought of physical labor could make me feel exhausted.
There is a lot more in that article but this seems like a good place to stop for now.
Now that I have realized all this, what am I to do with this?
First of all, like I mentioned in the beginning, just having this information and recognizing myself in the symptoms/cases described makes me feel like a weight has been lifted off me. Apart from dealing with the underlying issue, which may seem daunting and hard to grasp at times, there are „hard facts“. There are factors that contribute to me going on binges, and factors that can make it easier to withstand them. Those seem more tangible, easier to change, even when I don’t feel strong enough to deal with the big picture.
Once again, it’s the little things – baby steps.
Like being aware of the fact that it’s not necessarily just a question of willpower and discipline whether I can withstand cravings at night but that the Kapha dominance during these hours is a contributing factor. So I prepare myself for the risk, and find something to do to take my mind off of food – like writing this post.
I am reminded of the impact that sugar, wheat, and dairy have on me – not only on my physical well-being but also emotionally. This makes me feel motivated to try and make more deliberate choices about what I eat. I try to focus on what is good for me, and what I enjoy eating instead of thinking of it as „All the things I’m not allowed“. This is a tricky one since I am never oblivious as to whether what I eat is good for me or not …
Exercising helps reduce Kapha – as with everything, I am going to try and set the bar as low as possible, and raise it gradually (I tend to set my goals to high, get frustrated by failure, and respond by giving up completely). Going for an hour long walk every day seems do-able.
I want to try and see my cravings as something positive: after all, they are undeniable hints of something being awry. In my quest to find out my what my issues are, what it is that I am so afraid of to surface that I need to stuff it down with vast amounts of food, there is one fail-proof way of finding out: not giving in to the cravings, and seeing where that leads me. Like I said before, this is the hardest part.
I want to get better at asking for help. Both friends and the universe in my morning meditation.
Going to see to it that I get back to getting up early again.
More practical advice
Here’s another site with a few more hands-on things to do, e. g. different yogi techniques, which I want to try:
- Sweet Ayurveda Treatment to Stop Emotional Eating & Lose Weight – I know I’ll feel silly doing this even when nobody’s around, but it’s worth a try, right?
- Healthy Ayurveda Diet To Burn Fat & Lose Weight – OK, that title does not sound good, and I am not so sure about some of the advice but still, I’m definitely in need of some Kapha reduction.
- 5 Healthy Weight Loss Tips from Ayurveda – More weight loss stuff. I am actually proud of myself for not even having tried hard to not make this the focus of this post (gee, that was a lot of negatives). And the fact that I am finally at a point where weight loss isn’t my main concern anymore (although claiming that it isn’t a concern at all would be a lie, sadly).
- 6 Safe & Natural Weight Los Solutions – again, dumb title, not so sure about some of the advice (drinking hot water with honey? From what I understand honey has the same effect as sugar, so probably a red flag for me) but most of it sounds pretty good to me, especially the meditations and yoga exercises.
- 11 Guidelines for eating healthy | Guide on how to eat right – This is straight up Ayurveda, you can probably find this in every book on the subject. I should print these out and put them up somewhere to remind myself. Very basic, very true – often times hard to abide by because we’ve overwritten this common sense (for that is really what this, or anything Ayurveda, is) with other rules.
Other relevant links
Ayurvedic Diet – A good overview
Ayurveda – Becoming your own expert
This was the second night of my life where I literally was unable to sleep (meaning: without choosing to do so). Around 3.30 am I gave up. Lying in bed and waiting for the alarm to go off was more stressful than getting up. So I made some tea, sat on the balcony, and watched the sun rise. I had to keep reminding myself that I was lucky that all I needed to do today was make a phone call (about work), and get some biometric pictures for my new passport – and go to the inauguration of my dear friend La’s light center tonight (I suspect that subconsciously the latter might have had something to do with my insomnia …). So apart from the prospect of me being tired all day, I was thankful for this beautiful early morning. I have had so few of them lately, having slacked off with my morning routine, getting up later and later on the days I didn’t need to work. Seemed like a great start for a day. Peaceful.
Two liters of green tea and already countless rays of sun later – which was about half an hour ago – I turned on my computer to check my e-mail (not that I was expecting much at this hour, maybe something from my American friends). Following a link that read „What is Happening in Istanbul?“ (I was curious, for I had visited the city three years ago and fallen in love with it), I quickly realized how oblivious I had been. I mean, obviously, there is constantly injustice being done somewhere on this planet while I am sitting on my sunny balcony, sipping tea, pitying myself for having had a sleepless night … but somehow this really hit me. I don’t know, is it really as banal as that we need to feel connected somehow in order to really feel affected? Is it because I had a wonderful time in Istanbul, got to discover so many amazing places, and beautiful and kind people? Is it because I have been at Gezi park? I’d like to think, no. I mean, of course, I went „Oh, I’ve been there!“, and „I wonder how the people I met there are!?“. But I also feel something else.
I feel sad over how I am not surprised by what’s happening. And I don’t mean „not surprised that it’s happening in Istanbul“, I mean: I am not surprised that this is happening AT ALL. Not surprised that greedy companies want to pave paradise and put up a shopping mall, to coin a line from a Joni Mitchell song (that ought to tell you something about how old this sad scenario is …). Not surprised that there is no (national?) media coverage. Not surprised that the police is unnecessarily violent (if there even is such a thing as „necessary violence“ …). Not surprised that the government is not on the protesters side. Nope, not surprised by any of this. And that is truly something to make you feel affected, and feel hit by.
I don’t know if this helps, I signed it anyway:
Istanbul, my love, stay strong!
Recipes | Pesto fest
I am going to skip the part where I comment on the lack of postage around here … and go straight to the wonderful pesto I have made from the herbs we gathered at Törnagården.
I looked up recipes online but I ended up playing it by ear for the most part. Basically, for pesto you just mix the herb of your choice (basil being the classic one) with olive oil, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese. I used sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts this time since pine nuts are pretty expensive here, and I needed a lot.
I found the recipe for the mint pesto on Martha Stewart’s, the one for the nettle pesto on chiliconkarin (in Swedish), and the dandelion pesto on a German page on healing herbs (so, yeah, this one’s in German, duh).
- Always rinse whatever herbs you’re using first (I don’t know, maybe I am stating the obvious here but just in case).
- In the recipe for the nettle pesto it said to boil the nettle leaves for 2 minutes in salt water before processing, which I did, although I can’t say that I have any idea why.
- I roasted the sunflower seeds after rinsing them (not the raw food way to go, I know!). I don’t know, I just somehow got the idea that it would be better to have as little water as possible in the pesto, so that it wouldn’t go bad so fast. I don’t even know if that’s true or not, I guess I was just acting on some sort of instinct here.
- Something I do know helps to make pesto last longer: make sure that there is a layer of oil on top.
I think that’s it. I can’t wait for the basil I am growing on my kitchen window sill to be big enough for some classic pesto. The simple things are really the best. I also want to try this cilantro pesto recipe I found on ByzantineFlowers … so I guess the pesto fest isn’t over yet.