Radio Silence

These past few weeks have been noisy, busy, and emotionally draining, despite the fact that things have been completely silent here in this space. I snapped these images several weeks ago, when it was still mostly winter and when the daffodils were barely poking out of the soil and when I was still mostly sad and depressed. But now things are mostly spring and the daffodils are in full bloom and I am happy to say I am getting more and more comfortable with our life here. 

It doesn't hurt that I've started studying for the MCAT, which gives me a sense of purpose that I actually value. It also doesn't hurt that we've had such nice warm weather recently that I actually am relatively tan from working out in the garden. The weather reminds me of summer in the bay area, actually, and while it does make me a little nervous for the kind of heat I'm in for come June and July, I'm soaking it all in and enjoying the beautiful days. It also really, REALLY doesn't hurt that my husband is mostly home and we get to do all the things we've wanted to do for years now. Like eat breakfast outside together, work in the garden together, cook dinner together, drink wine together (he likes wine now), drink coffee together, and just everything together. It's amazing. And good for the soul. I have missed him desperately these past few years.

In recent, exciting news, we got some beautiful bedroom furniture custom built for our awkwardly shaped bedroom. The furniture makes such good use of the space and provide a lot of storage for us — our house literally has no closets. Not one. Zero storage. So I'm much happier. And I have a vase full of daffodils from the garden next to my bed that smell so sweet and are helping me sleep a little bit better. We also got our hands on a brand new, shiny, beautiful coffee maker that grinds the beans and that we program for early in the morning. Waking up to that amazing smell never gets old. It's seriously one of the biggest joys in my life. Is that sad?

We've stopped heating our house with the wood heater because we just don't need it anymore, except for on weirdly cold nights. That takes a big chunk out of my daily chores — which now mostly consist of checking the garden every morning and night for signs of new growth (radishes, peas, onions, chard, kale, lettuce, strawberries, garlic, arugula and potatoes are growing) as well as transplanting my baby vegetable plants into bigger pots and telling them to just keep growing. If I'm honest, I can't wait for summer and all the heat and deliciousness it's going to bring.

So yeah, life is getting a little more normal here. We're almost at month three of this new life and like you all told me, this is the time things would start to feel a little bit better. Indeed it does. At the end of the day, only I can control how I process everything and what I choose to get out of this very unique and special life experience. I'm working on a lot of stuff, personally, to stop my ego from always getting in the way and screwing things up. It has a nasty habit of doing that, but I'm having more and more moments where I can honestly say I see the light. 

And then there's these two...

To the Top of Snowy Urslja

I've hiked this mountain a few times by now. We go at least once a year when I visit, sometimes several times each trip. I have the trail memorized, I have checkpoints and rituals that keep me motivated, and I have found that every year it gets a bit easier. So of course I said "heck yes!" when Fazila said she wanted to hike Urslja one Sunday a couple of weeks back. We packed snacks and tea and lots of treats for Mr. Odin who was joining us. And off we went. But because of the ice and snow still clinging to the mountain, we had to park farther down than I am used to. And because of the ice and snow still clinging to the mountain, this was the most challenging hike I've ever done to date. 

ug1.jpg

I was sure we had taken a different trail because I didn't recognize anything, but I really have a bad habit of getting disoriented when snow is involved. Plus the fact that this California girl still struggles walking on snow and ice — I mean I look like a freshly birthed baby horse trying to take its first steps or something — I had convinced myself that we were almost to the top after an hour had passed. Then things started to look familiar and I could not believe that we were nearing the first checkpoint. I started trying to figure out how to say in Slovenian to Fazila that I wanted to turn around and go back and it was too hard. I couldn't believe we had at least another hour of steep uphill snow hiking. But my extreme competitiveness (mostly with myself) got the better of me and I just decided to suck it up and keep going.

We got to the top and enjoyed a couple of well-deserved sandwiches, some hot tea, and a moment or two to relax in the sun before we went back down. We chose to go down a crazy steep route, which sounds stupid but, in fact, was a brilliant choice because there was a lot less ice, and I can barely walk down a normal hill, let alone an icy one. Odin had the time of his life running through the woods and running up and down the hill. I'm pretty sure he logged in twice as many miles as I did from all the running and responding to my calls. Afterward, he slept for a day and a half, pretty much.

We ended the day, soaking wet and dead tired, at one of my favorite places in the world, Smučarska koča, ate a big bowl of bograč with steamed bread, more tea, and the best strudel I've ever tasted.

In numbers
(as calculated by my Nike+ Running app and the number of bruises on my body)

Miles hiked to summit: 3.72
Hours to to summit: 1:53:27
Average pace per mile: 30'29"
Feet climbed: 2685

Hours it took to warm up afterward: ~3
Number of falls: 10-15
Times Odin growled at another dog: maybe 2
Amount of time before I want to try that again: a few more weeks...
Value of that amazing Bograc and Strudel: priceless

 

Until next time Urslja, you wicked beauty, you.

Words + Wisdom for the Week

 

Here are a few stories and bits of wisdom to get your week started!

  • Zanita, my new obsession (thank you Fashion Bloggers TV), talks about how to make your 20's count — a subject I am thinking about a LOT lately.
     
  • I love this Buzzfeed post and every.single.response. Go girls!
     
  • Finally, I understand my ridiculous nail-biting problem! Thanks to my mom for sending this along and making me feel all validated and shit. 
     
  • Here's another article my mom sent me — this one accompanied with the message "I guess those naps u have started have a lot of benefits." Ohhhhhh man, I love her and miss her way too much.
     
  • "This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide. You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find … themselves and their dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. … they mean to develop intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.

    Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or climb in bed with your journal.

    Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

    Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people who believe life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep traveling honestly along life’s path." — Relevant Magazine (found via Tumblr)

 

Have a great week!

 

Eat Your Breakfast

I've never been much of a fan of breakfast. I used to skip it all together and just wait for the much more interesting meal that is lunch, because sandwiches and salads are the best. Generally I've never been a huge fan of any sort of breakfast item. In fact there were a few years where I didn't eat eggs at all. But these days I find myself more excited for the first meal of the day than any other meal. Eggs from the chickens next door plus black bread freshly baked from the farm down the road, yogurt with homemade wild blueberry jam, green tea with lemon and the best honey... YUM! Everything just tastes so good here. 

Not to mention the fact that I love the quiet time in the morning, sitting at our table with the window cracked open to let in some fresh cool air. I browse the internet, read blogs or Buzzfeed, listen to whatever Spotify playlist describes what I need to get out of the day (today was "Mood Booster") and just enjoy the moment a little bit.

Breakfast is something I very rarely enjoyed back home, and maybe it has something to do with the new surge in physical activity in my life, but I think I'm converted.

My Favorite Breakfast Ideas

  • Greek yogurt with fruit jam or honey, lots of chia seeds and muesli or oats
  • Eggs fried in olive oil with black bread, Tabasco (the green one — so good), and whatever fruit I have on hand, but especially something tropical, like kiwi!
  • Green smoothie. We bought a magic bullet the other day (but I miss my blendtec a bit more than I should)  and I'm so relieved to be able to make smoothies again. My recipe: spinach, banana, pineapple, coconut oil, coconut milk/water, chia seeds. Tastes like a vacation, I swear. 
  • Greek yogurt with mango and honey — another one that will make you feel like you're on vacation
  • Chia seed pudding with mango — soak chia seeds in coconut milk until you get a creamy pudding texture and top with fruit
  • Half an avocado, black bread or a nice piece of baguette, olive oil, red pepper flakes
  • Oatmeal with grated green apple, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, a bit of butter, and walnuts
  • Greek yogurt with frozen wild blueberries and honey — maybe some jam if you need more of a kick.

Also, for what it's worth, I try to drink honey-lemon water everyday and when I do, I find that I don't need any sort of caffeine that day. 
Read more here. 

What do you eat for breakfast?

 

How I learned to almost like the smell of cow poop...

We've spent the past few weeks preparing the land for our [very large] garden with the help of our wonderful neighbor, Joze, and his son, Andrej, pictured above with me. (Lots of love to Andrej's girlfriend, Blanka for snapping that picture above and for just being a really cool chick.) Anyway, back to the cow shit. We used manure from Joze's cows and spread it all over the land, let that cure for a few days (aka stink up the property until it dried a bit), then we used the coolest tool ever to dig everything up. It was attached to Joze's tractor, although it looked like it belonged behind a horse. That plowed the land up, while mixing in the manure, and then we broke up the bigger pieces with pickaxes. You guys, this was legitimately the hardest workout I've experienced in a long time. Those pickaxes are heavy and I am almost embarrassed to admit that I was sore for days afterwards. 

The next day we used another tool attached to the tractor to break up the bigger pieces of land. What made all of this especially difficult is the fact that our land is pretty significantly sloped so we couldn't just drive the tractor over the land and do it the normal way. It required extra physical effort which resulted in extra yummy treats as rewards. The next step for the garden is to plan it out — and boy do I have my work cut out for me there. I've started a few seeds indoors and figured out the timing for all my planting. I can't promise that I'll have a thriving garden filled with amazing fruits and vegetables, but I can promise that this will, and already has been, the most intensive and physical lesson in gardening I've ever experienced.

I give us an A+ for effort already. 
And a big thank you to everybody who helped us! We would be lost without you!

Also please note that Odin had the time of his life eating and rolling in all the cow poop. This guy...