Friday, December 31, 2010

Sylvester, aka New Year's Eve

Germans call tonight Sylvester. I have no idea why. So I guess Stallone is "New year's eve Stallone?" weird!

Tonight I'm feeling so grateful for all the wonderful people in my life, even if they can't be next to me right now. All the people who feel my presence, who ask about me and send their loving thoughts and support.

I realized that sometimes it doesn't take much to make an impact in people's lives. And sometimes you don't even know what it is. You are simply being yourself, and somehow that lights up another person in the room and brings a little more joy in their heart. I miss the wonderful people who surrounded me in Calgary, in the dance community, in the spiritual gatherings... but I know that one day we will reconnect again and again we will ignite each other, make someone smile, lighten up someone's simpy being ourselves. But for now I am here and here is where I am anchoring my light for now, while sending love to all those who I think of often.

Also I can see clearly how human beings are suckers for tradition and rituals. That's what tonight is all about. Humans invented it to have a free reset, a free start over button. And hey, its works for some people!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

the in-between time

I am starting to miss the beauty of Christmas markets already. Suddenly, there seems to be fewer reasons to go outside and just wander. Do you mean I have to wait a whole  other year for this? Well, I am sure the Germans will think up more reasons to cook up wonderful yummies and sell their wool sweaters in the tiny log stalls again. And whatever the reason is, I'll be there.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Fresh Canvas

I painted my first, real, big painting in so so long! The first one since I'd moved here.What a wonderfully freeing experience! What a burst of  excitement and joy. What an interesting feeling to just cut a piece of canvas from a roll, as big as you want. And suddenly, i want to go big!!! No longer afraid of the size of the canvas, I find the size of the table is not big enough anymore; I want a painting the size of the wall!
Sure, I just painted some colourful lines. And here my ego kicked in: "You call this a painting? A child can do that! What are smiling at? What's here to be proud of? At least draw a palm tree in the foreground or something!" But it makes me happy. Simple as that. Looking at my overly simplified painting, I fill up with warm memories of distant sandy beaches and warm breeze. And in the end, it's not even about what you paint, it's about how you feel when you paint, it's about the emotional release. I realzied that during painting I simply don't think. Because I know that if I start thinking, the paitning will get much worse! So I just follow some instinct, some guidance, without careful sketching or planning. If I like it in the end-great, if not-I had a fun couple hours of pure unrestricted joy! Art is not about a pretty picture or an accurate depiction anymore,-it is a tool to express your wildest fantasies, your dreams and desires, to remind yourself of who you really are. I paint to re-affirm, to feel and to visualize what I know is true.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sadly, this is NOT Boxing Day!

In zee Germany, boxing day or even week simply does not exist. Or so I was told. I will be making a trip into town tomorrow to check the accuracy of that statement, but today, everything is closed. The Germans like 2 days to digest the food, not just the actual Christmas Day. 
On another note, today i simply miss video rental stores. How lovely would it be to walk in, peruse the new selections, read the descriptions on the back, maybe even strike up a conversation with the sales associate. Or maybe find a hidden gem in the international section. Well, not here. I am still trying to understand the mystery of where and when the English movies are playing (well, the only one for that month!) and beyond that, i might as well go to 1950's silent movies!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Wonderland

Today found me in winter wonderland: sun was shining all day, reflecting off the beautiful fresh powdery snow. Germany is perfect in the holiday times! So many families were out toboganning on what looked like last century -made wooden sleds, not a piece of plastic to be found! Others were simply walking off their Christmas meals and enjoying the fresh air, anyone from young couples strolling around to elderly ladies, with their power-walks on,-the park was quite a busy area!
After a quick break for early dinner, I remembered about the free Christmas concert at the Jacob's church. As expected, the church was full well before the service began and we only got seats upstairs on the little balcony. The view was quite limited, but I was happy to let my senses dive into the forgotten joy of live classical music. Lovely playful baroque minuets by Handel and amazing strings piece by Williams were played. It was neat not only to experience the music in a 17th century church but also to people-watch. I couldn't have imagined myself anywhere else that moment. This was a truly European/German experience.
In days like these I feel like I am where I'm supposed to be. Europe feels pretty great. And with New Year's  only few days away, it's time to start taking stock of things that transpired and get ready to welcome the new.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The long-awaited Winter Break

How is it winter break already? Where did most of my semester go? And HOW did it go? I am having a bit of trouble answering those questions right now...maybe I will be able to in retrospective.

Once again, what makes me feel Christmas spirit the most is being out, in the market squares, in outdoor christmas markets, watching people, young and old , out for hours, enjoying the old school fun. Before shopping malls and restaurants were ever build, this is what people used to do, and you can feel this tradition so well when standing still in the midst of it. Handmade wooden tiny ferris wheel, skating rink, smell of roasting sausages, waffles, gluhwine; walking from stand to stand with every kind of sweet imaginable, filling your nosrtils with scents of cinnamon and vanilla! This is Christmas for me, a pleasure for all the senses and by now I have experienced at least 5 markets already. Feels like the whole December was one big Christmas celebration. No pressure of buying gifts, no overcrowded malls, no frustration in the parking lots-just leisurely strolling from one timber stand to the next. Germans know how to do it!

And now-the final touch! My own Christmas tree! We bought a tiny tree (1 m height) by the coolest-looking church in Stuttgart, while looking for something else completely. It smells amazing! Like having a tiny piece of forest in your living room. After puzzling over a self-improvised tree stand (I wasn't about to spend another 10 euros on a stand, that's just going overboard!)s, the tree is now up and decorated. First christmas in Germany! Wow, a year ago I wouldn't even have imagined any of this at all...

Esslingen Medieval Christmas market

A church in Reutlingen square

I wish I had more photos of the pure awesomeness that surrounds you at one of these markets, but usually I am too enthralled and completely abandon my photographer's duties!