Posts in vancouver
The End Of All Ends
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Someone asked me the other day what my goals are; for life, in general. In the grand scheme of things, what do I dream of?

And I dream of so much. I have visions on top of visions, 76 goals at all times. I dream of a cottage. Of forests. Of lakes. Of pine needles and camp fires. I dream of having a garden, with big crowns of lettuce and potatoes. A green house with cucumbers and cherry tomatoes. Of keeping bees, goats, donkeys, 20 dogs and 2 cats. A big fat horse, that will take me around fields of wild flowers. I dream of having kids, to teach them about everything. Teach them about space and love,and how to be an active participant in society, how to cry and how to make someone smile. I dream of creating something I’m proud of. Releasing it to the world and to have people saying how proud they are of me. How beautiful it is. I’ll say “thank you!” instead of" “oh it’s nothing”. I dream of celebrating a lot; both celebrating my own life but also others.

I dream of meaning something to more people. Or mean more, but to a few. I dream of becoming someone people can trust, that they feel safe around. Someone who people cry to, someone that people go to when they need help. Or wanting a meal and a night in. I dream of going to the north and south and east and west. But intentionally, not just weekends here and there. I dream of really being where I am. At all times.

But that’s not what my reply was, of course. I replied that it doesn’t matter; that earth is doomed to be destroyed so what’s the point in having life goals. It was over a drink, so it wasn’t that serious. But the fear is real; I’m so anxious all the time that those dreams of mine won’t mean anything because we’re ruining our planet. And I tell myself I’m not allowed to be mad at others, because I’m not perfect myself.

But it’s not about being perfect. It’s about being an active participant in society; it’s about taking responsibility, to make the earth a better place. Even if it only improves a tiny, tiny, tiny bit. It’s still important, it’s still worth it. So I need to do better. That’s my goal. I need to write about it more. I refuse to stand at the end of all ends and have regrets; thinking I didn’t do enough. I didn’t even try. To know that I only had fear and anxiety, and left it at that. That I sat inside, trying to hide from the danger. To believe it would magically disappear by itself like in a fairytale.

Anyway. Spring has come to Vancouver, I have so much to talk about. The sweet smell of flowers and trees makes me hungry and full at the same time. I could eat you up, I love you so.

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Week 12 Moments

Surely week 12 of the year 2019 marked the proper beginning of spring. Light jackets, birds singing, sunsets to-die-for (light coming in through the blinds), spring flowers and allergies. Allergies and a head cold from hell.

After announcing at work that I never get sick and would love to have a “sick day” I was doomed to get a nasty cold! Monday and Tuesday was spent at home, not doing much. Watching tv and baking banana bread. Trying to breathe.

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The super moon came and went. On Wednesday morning as I walked to the bus, ready to start work again, I saw a glimpse of her before she went down behind the trees and I got chills. For 2 seconds. This picture below was not of that moment.

Am I the only one that rarely document exact moments of joy? Because when I’m in them, those moments, I forget. It’s only later when I’m out and about reflecting that I will stop and take a moment to document something that, sort of, resembles that moment.

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On Friday I got off at 14.30. Afterwards I went home, scrubbed dishes and cleaned even though I felt like dying (still sick). Later on I took the bus + train to meet Andrew outside his work. We bought a new room spray, had dinner and then went to see Us - which was so, so good.

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On Saturday I met my friend Keith who just moved here from Ireland. We shared pitchers and ate pasta as we updated each other of this and that. It was the first time this spring that I could sit outside in the sunshine and I was ecstatic. Oh the joys! Of course, I didn’t take a single picture of our dinner. I only took photos on the way to and from that moment.

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On the way home that Saturday I jumped off the bus early and walked through Queen Elizabeth Park home. It was the perfect temperature, the perfect sunset, the perfect amount of people in the park (only a couple at a distance from me), I was listening to the perfect early-spring-evening-album (Blue by Joni Mitchell) and everything was just. Delightful.

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Sunday was spent dragging Andrew around Canadian Tire looking for a portable BBQs and buying a new table cloth for our living room and cleaning. I love our home. I prepared a bath for Andrew, I lit all our candles and I had a gin and tonic before we made a pork roast dinner and cuddled up on the couch.

And that was the end of that. Hi spring, you are so, so welcomed. Allergies and all.

Dream Nineteen Q2

There’s a popular blog post format doing the rounds in Sweden at the moment. By “at the moment”, I mean it did do the rounds a couple of weeks ago. Since then I thought I’d try to write up my own version of it. Basically, a blog post that describes how 2019 would look like if it was completely up to me. A dream scenario, yet have it be realistic enough that it doesn’t seem out of reach.

I tried writing up my dreams for the full year, but I only got till June. For me it was tough and stressful to dream up plans. I wanted to make them real! I wanted to schedule them in! “At what time exactly are we having that dreamy coffee?” It’s the virgo in me.

The dream-plans ended up being too realistic I think. I couldn’t dream of a better world, because I prefer to make plans in the world we have.

Anyway. I thought I shared my visions/plans/dreams for Q2 of 2019. This is what I came up with:

April:

There are cherry blossoms everywhere. After work, I take trips to document all the glorious streets where the pink trees are taking over. We visit The Big Picnic, Cherry Jam Downtown, Fraser Valley Food Truck Festival and Spring Lights Festival. I go to Tangram for coffee and Sakura ice cream. I swing by my old job at the pet store to say hi to dogs and familiar faces. During Easter, I invite some people over for an Easter dinner. I enjoy Swedish candy that dad sent over in an Easter egg (dad, if you’re reading this, send an egg!).

Oh, and we’ll spend time with Andrew’s cousin and auntie who are both here visiting his other cousin who already lives here - maybe we’ll have brunch at the french cafe down on Fraser. We get our tax refund and it turns out to be way more than we ever could’ve imagined! We spend it all on eating out.

All of a sudden, after a tough winter, I have so much energy. I walk everywhere and clean the house thoroughly every single day. I go to the doctor for beta-blockers and I don’t have a single migraine. Oh, and for some mysterious reasons all my spring-allergies are gone! I breathe in the smell of new cut grass and green leaf trees waking up to bask in the sunshine. I sleep 9 hours a day, I eat prepared lunches almost every day and I manage to repay all my debts.

Oh, and I finally cut a fringe. Imagine that?!

May:

Pre-summer at its finest. We buy a small portable barbeque, which will be our most precious possession during summer 2019. We not only bbq at home, we have our first bbq at the beach! Everyone’s at the beach nowadays. We go there after work some days just to watch dogs run. We read, plan, film. We have margarita and nachos at Sal y Limón. Maybe we’ll dare to try Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina too. We take walks down by the water around Yale Town. We have picnics in parks watching people play sports.

We visit Abbotsford Tulip Festival. At the end of the month Andrew leaves for Ireland for almost two weeks. I cry, and cry, and cry, and cry. I spend those days reading loads of books, trying not to miss him too much. Trying not to miss my own home country too much.

This month we celebrate our five year anniversary as well! We find the perfect place to have dinner. We dress up in our very best clothes. We take a picture of us down by the ocean.

june:

Andrew’s gone for the first week of june. We all know how I feel about it. I’m a needy girlfriend, what can I say?! When he’s back though, we enjoy Main Street Car Free Day and farmers markets and beach days and park days and Midsummer celebration. We drive up to Squamish to find small lakes to swim in. The water’s cold. We finally go to Richmond Night Market and maybe even the Shipyard Night Market.

Andrew turns 30 at the end of the month; he’ll be gone for work in Victoria. We celebrate both before and after. I’ll join him on Vancouver Island in the beginning of July, and we have some dreamy days on the Island just shooting footage of waves and tall trees. We pretend it’s Hawaii, because that’s really where he wanted to go. I hope and pray he’s happy with this, here, with me, our life. He tells me he is, that this is everything he ever wants from life.

Mercury in Retrograde

Previously on Blue Lakes Deep Forest:

Emma got her visa approved. Emma and Andrew are making plans for 2019 (spoiler: lots of the same stuff as last year but also trips down south). Emma has a new job, it’s an office job. It’s extremely mundane but it’ll do for now.

Oh yeah, I didn’t write about my job yet. One of our dearest friends here in Vancouver went back to Ireland, so I took over his job. I sit in a cubicle, trying to avoid headaches and fatigue. It’s a good job, it pays good and the hours are great. It’s not exciting, but it is what it is and it works for now.

Let’s go through some updates!

3 things I do a lot of right now:

LISTEN TO PODCASTS

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of me walking while listening to podcast (god, I wish that was me because DOG), but rather the picture is a visual representation of the state I’m in while listening? I don’t know. // Source

This is new because I’m not a podcast-stan like most people. It started during my unemployment; I just got tired of hanging out with my own voices all day. It also gave me a reason to get out of the apartment, to take a walk and have it being the length of the podcast episode. Now that I’m at my new job, I’ve been using podcasts as a way to cope with the stress that comes along with being new at a place, sitting alone in lunchrooms (out of choice, don’t worry!), walking to and from work etc. I’ve been catching up with everything I’ve been missing these last… years? Some of my favorites include The High Low and Love Stories, as well as loads of Swedish ones (Daddy Issues, Alex & Sigge, En Varg Söker Sin Pod).  

CLEAN

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. //    Source

Not a picture of my kitchen, but a picture that sort of expresses how I feel after each clean. // Source

Yes, cleaning. Jessica from The Little Chapters podcast talked about Mrs. Hinch; an Instagram profile from Essex who is obsessed (perhaps too obsessed?) with cleaning and updates her stories frequently with her just cleaning around the house, doing the same tasks over and over again. There’s something so extremely satisfying and calming watching her do the job with the enthusiasm she has. She’s also incredibly kind and loving; she’s just a super nice person so I LOVE watching her stories now. It’s common knowledge now that having a clean space and being organised is part of self care and the activity of cleaning can have a anxiety-reducing effect. Hence, why I love cleaning. A messy home means something’s wrong. It’s the Virgo in me.

Anyway, Mrs. Hinch has made me take my already existing obsession to the e x t r e m e. A couple of weeks ago I went to the dollar store and bought 5 bottles of spray-cleaners, cloths, sponges and a freaking BUCKET to keep all my cleaning supplies in. I love it. It’s not realistically for me to have a spot-clean home all day every day, but if I can do 15 minutes here and there - I’ll take it. And I’ll thank myself for it afterwards.

TRACK EVERYTHING WITH SPREADSHEETS

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. //    Source

Obviously not a picture of my Google Sheet, but that picture would not be aesthetically pleasing. This, however, is the feeling I get FROM my sheet. // Source

Same as with cleaning, this is not necessarily a new thing. But me and Andrew have been tracking e v e r y t h i n g lately into our Google Sheet. This helps with so much. It’s not for everyone, but it definitely works for us and we find it to be more important during stressful / anxious times. My memory is awful, and Andrew has dyslexia so for us to have an accessible system where we have to write down e v e r y t h i n g really, really helps. I don’t want to show anyone our spreadsheets, because I know people will think we’re bonkers.


Ok, seems like the common ground here is anxiety and how to deal with it. But it’s been February / March, literally the darkest months of the year. We’re all trying to deal, right?

How I Know You're My Person: A Saturday in February
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A saturday in February. We spent the morning watching The Office. Because even though we’ve already watched all the seasons within the last year, we decided to re-watch them all. And this is why I love you. This is how I know you’re my person. We took the bridge over to North Vancouver, then past West Vancouver, all the way to Horseshoe Bay. We just wanted a coffee. You told me to put the phone away, just like I had asked you to tell me a couple of days before. A weekend without the phone, please.

We looked for a place to eat. The sun was shining, it felt like April. We went to a place called Trolls, which is just a regular diner. Known for their chips. I had a shrimp sandwich - it was extremely mediocre. You had chips and chicken fingers so there were no complaints on your part. I sighed and sulked; we always go to your kind of places for food, never to my kind of places. I’m so tired of diners and fries and boring Canadian food. Boring Irish food too, for that matter. I let it go though. There’s nothing I like better than to eat out with you and talk about nonsense. It doesn’t really matter where it is.

We got a coffee in Starbucks, and headed out to the pier. I had a long speech about creativity and vulnerability. That people who are really talented at what they do often lack vulnerability and therefore they stop evolving. They get millions of people to look at their stuff, but no one will remember their actual name because they didn’t really put themselves out there. I spoke about the importance of being personal, of getting people to remember who you are. Of not being afraid of criticism. Surely it’s better to have a few people know about you, I mean really know about you, than having a million people getting your attention for a couple of seconds and then they go back to not knowing where you came from or where you want to go. I used other people as examples, but we both knew I was expressing my own fears.

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We left and went to Lighthouse Park after strolling around for a while, but more on that later. For now let’s just admire this picture of a you looking like the glorious angel that you are.

daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
The Day That Kacey Musgraves Conquered The Grammy Awards

The snow arrived yesterday. Me and Andrew walked down to Olympic Village, it was our only plan for the day (I love sundays). When we left our apartment there were only tiny, tiny flakes floating around. As we walked through the residential areas of Mount Pleasant, house spotting, the wind caught up and heavy flakes started dancing around in every direction.

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If I ever, for some reason, had to get a truck, this would be the one.

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We went to Craft Beer Market for lunch. We’ve been there a couple of times before, being one of the first restaurants we visited last year when we arrived. There’s definitely sentimental value to the place. We always get the exact same thing. Andrew gets the hot wings, I get the fish tacos. We sat there for hours drinking beer, talking and watching the snow outside the window.

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While eating, I couldn’t resist taking these photos of the cutest little girl eating her chicken wings. I die! I DIE!

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Heading outside a couple of hours later the snow had properly turned Olympic Village into a winter wonderland!

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Outside in the Olympic Village Square, they have these amazing big statues of birds that we had never seen before. The snowy weather made them fit in perfectly.

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This diary-entry-thing is very photo heavy but it’ll have to do. Sometimes visuals are way better than text - sometimes it’s the complete opposite. I loved spending the day with Andrew just walking around, people watching, dog spotting and exploring familiar and unfamiliar areas of Vancouver.

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We took the bus home. Traffic was a bit crazy, and I don’t blame people going a bit crazy when so much snow came in the space of just a couple of hours.

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Andrew arriving home to find his second girlfriend Misty the Mazda completely covered. It continued showing all that night. It was the brightest evening in a long time all thanks to the snow lightning up the streets! We thought about going out in the evening to take some more pictures, but with the heater on inside and tired from the pints of beer and the wet shoes, we decided against it. Plus the Grammys were on, so.

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daily, vancouver, winterEmma Carlsson
You Are Lisa Simpson

If you were to ask me “Emma, do you consider yourself a workaholic” - I would probably say no, since I’m very, very much against the concept of “working” from an idealistic point of view. I preach resting and rebelling against our capitalists society that wants the hustle to kill you slowly by overworking and making you feel like no matter what you do, you’re just never gonna to be good enough. Strive for the impossible, and feel shit while doing it. Basically.

However. All I want to do right now is work. So. Figure that one out (please).

I’m extremely bad at being unemployed, being in this in-between period. I don’t get a rush of energy to search all the jobs and call all the people. At first, I want to do absolutely nothing except to lay on the couch eating baked goods and watch Netflix. After a while of doing nothing however, I panic about doing nothing. After a while, I want to go back to the exact thing I wanted to escape from just a mere couple of weeks ago. I am me, and work is my boyfriend that everyone tells me to dump because he’s making me severely depressed, he doesn’t cater for any of my needs but he pays the bills. So I stay. Because I’m scared of unpaid bills. And I guess I’m scared of who I am without him as well. Without work, I mean.

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Outside validation is extremely important to me. An old teacher of mine said out of all The Simpsons characters I was most like Lisa. Lisa knows she’s smarter than everyone else, but her knowing it herself is not enough. She needs teachers to tell her that she’s smarter than everyone else. It wasn’t exactly my nicest compliment / the one I’m most proud of, but it was probably truer than any of the compliments I’ve ever received, so. It’s something anyway.

Work provides outside validation. It provides me with a problem to solve - becoming liked, becoming an expert at something, becoming better than other people at something. And I love solving problems! But only if other people created the problem. Only if I’m there to impress others, not if I’m there to only impress myself. That’s why I stay at jobs that do me no good, because I’m absolutely addicted to the validation and security they provide.

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But Emma, why don’t you just get a job you like, I hear you ask. And it’s a fair question. That has been asked many times before, often by my actual boyfriend. And by myself every single work day. “It’s not that easy!” And it isn’t. No matter how many white, middle class influencers online tell you otherwise. In order to go for what you want, you have to figure out what it is you want. Then what follows are a lot of even more complicated steps - but just that one step of actually KNOWING what it is you want, can crush you. Because how can we decide on just this one thing?

For me, it’s always been easier to become good at something I’m not particularly interested in. Because if I am interested in it, and I try it and I find out that I’m not good at it, that would be the end of it. So I prefer to play other peoples’ games instead of my own. Because I’m confident that I could do what they’re doing, but better. I am, however, not confident that I would be even okay:ish at my own game. And that is scary.

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This all sound like a lame excuse as to why I’m not pursuing something. But again, I’m not even sure what it is that I want to pursue. I’m so jealous of people with clear goals. “I want to be a lawyer”, “I want to work with coding”, “I want to design buildings” - whatever it is, I’m so, so happy for you that you know and that there is a somewhat clear path for you to take!

I thought I wanted to do feature film work, hence why I studied film for over 10 years and now have a Masters degree in it. But now I’m not so sure. So what do you do when you’ve had a somewhat clear path, but then abandoned it? Not only do you have to come up with something else, you have to deal with the pressure from yourself plus everyone else thinking (probably) that you’ve wasted 10 years and will probably waste another 10 years on the “next big thing”, only to realize down the line that your second choice really didn’t interest you either.

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And while you’re figuring out what would make you happy, career-wise, you have to provide for yourself. You have to pay bills. Most of us can’t take a year off to “figure things out”. And even people that do have that opportunity, spend most of the time off anxiously thinking “I should be doing something else”, so all that off-time never comes into good use anyway.

So I’m sitting here, on my couch, knowing how to move forward but not in what direction. I want to work. I want to give something my all. I want (need) money, not a lot but I need to get by. I have energy to work. I have ambition. I have a big box of great stuff, I just don’t know who to give it to! Sometimes I think I know, and I take baby step towards that place, only to retreat and change my mind. Because it’s scary. It’s way easier going back to what you hated, what was familiar. And I’m a big baby in the shape of Lisa Simpson whose main wish is just to go back to doing homework in the system that raised her not to be a free-thinker but be a cute lil’ successful conformist (no matter how 'liberal’ she wanted to come off as).

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Traditional Cappuccino $4.25
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What follows is a list of things I sincerely enjoy and should do more often:

a) shower
b) use deodorant
c) cut nails
d) brush hair
e) moisturize face
f) moisturise upper arms and lower legs
g) put on foundation
h) powder
i) blush
j) brow gel
k) mascara
l) pink lipstick
m) brush teeth (preferably before applying the pink lipstick)
n) use perfume
o) drink a glass of water
p) take necessary pills (allergy, headache, sinus, fever, vitamins (sometimes) - whatever it is that that day requires)
q) put on fresh underwear
r) black jeans
s) soft sweaters
t) same old shoes (the ones with holes in them)
u) huge fluffy jacket
v) huge fluffy scarf
x) pack a bag with notebook, computer, wallet, pens, book
y) leave the house
z) listen to music without vocals (on your walk to a coffee spot or a park or just around the neighborhood or wherever) because sometimes your own voice in your head is enough to overwhelm almost anybody


A Saturday in January

Hey listen. If you told me to read the previous post out loud to you, I’d refuse because it probably doesn’t make sense, and I’d be too embarrassed. I was writing it with an extremely cloudy mind due to hormones and migraines and stress, oh my. But I’m going to keep it there as a reminder of my imperfection. Or something.

I need to recap some saturdays here. Ever since I stopped working, I’ve been off on saturdays which has completely c h a n g e d my life. Who knew you could have two days off together with your loved one instead of just one? Is this how normal people live? Also, how sad is it that I’m AMAZED at the opportunity of spending 2 full days with doing exactly what I want. Is that really the type of life we should be striving for? I want more. I demand more than just 2 days.

Anyway. We spent a saturday in January, the first one we had off together, at the Riley Park’s Farmers Market. It’s one of two farmers markets here in Vancouver that are open year around.

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Loads of food trucks, but also local businesses showcasing honey, cheese, deli meats and exotic teas. You name it. You can do your weekly shopping here, if so inclined. Eggs, vegetables, bread - you know. We bought maple bacon that was To. Die. For. Apart from that, we were mostly just dog spotting.

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Andrew wanted a plain crêpe. Just sugar, no butter, no lemon, no nothing. This dog, a regular, obviously wanted one too. He was confident that his charm would eventually break a kind customer into submission. He was right.

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Dogs deserve anything they want and more. I didn’t end up getting a crêpe; instead I absolutely devoured these Cochinita YVR empanadas from Marimba. They were honestly one of my favourite dishes I’ve ever had here in Vancouver. Just thinking about them makes me hungry - and I just had lunch.

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After lunch and a nice stroll around all the stalls, we decided we weren’t done with the day quite yet. We went to Main Street which is my favourite part of Vancouver (which is lucky considering we live just next to it). First stop was The Fish Counter because Andrew was still hungry! While he doesn’t eat fish, he does enjoy a good chipper.

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A big portion of fries for $4, who can resist? It’s all in the batter. After The Fish Counter we headed to Liberty - a bakery / coffee shop that reminds me very much of a European fika place. I’ve already showed you a picture of Liberty in my recent post, but I’ll just add that they have the best cinnamon + cardamom buns in Vancouver! As Swedish as you can get.

Oh, and this is how I looked like. In case future me is wondering.

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eat, daily, winter, vancouverEmma Carlsson
The Art of Doing Nothing
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Getting closer to 30 is just as exhilarating as I assumed it would be. For as long as I can remember I’ve been longing for 30. For me, 30 always meant being able to live the “boring” lifestyle everyone claimed I lived anyway, without feeling any guilt about things I should be doing. It’s almost like how babies become a grand excuse to get out of things. “I can’t go to that thing with you tonight, you see I’m 30 now.”

I’ve always enjoyed doing nothing. I played on my own a lot as a child (I know, major surprise there). I enjoyed going on trips or staying over with my grandparents. Their slower pace suited me; there was so much space for all that daydreaming I was occupied with. Anyway. As you grow up, you start realising that doing nothing is not valued by our society. On public transportation you see people working, to save time. Instead of just enjoying the train ride, you could do some work on your laptop, or at least read a book. As technology progressed, this became even more prominent. There are now more and more tools for us to use in order to secure productivity at all times.

I could never be productive all of the time. I get spurts, and if I miss one of those spurts it’s g o n e. On buses and trains I prefer to do nothing at all. At cafes, my favourite pastime is to do absolutely nothing at all. Maybe browse on the internet, maybe listening to music, maybe read or write down some words in my journal. But for me, those activities is just an extension of a daydream. Not something that will actually lead to something. It’s doing an activity with an end goal in mind that I have a problem with, not the act of doing itself.

One of the perks of almost being 30, especially as a woman, is knowing how your body works in seasons, too. You become aware of when you have energy to produce, invent, organise, analyse or when you should simply do nothing other than just rest. Let things simmer. Otherwise the flavours won’t come out etc. My body has worked the same for many years now; there are a couple of hours a day where I can be creative - but not every day. I cannot study or write an essay after 5pm. My brain shuts down.

I remember days in college where me and my friends would all go to Starbucks for an intense study-session, and all I did was just stare at pictures of dogs (probably). I called it procrastination. I thought it was me trying actively NOT to work. We look at procrastination as something negative, and maybe it is. But maybe we don’t always procrastinate just cause we choose not to do something? Maybe we just need that time to be spent doing absolutely nothing at all.

None of those days where I rested instead of working did me any harm. I still graduated. With good grades, mind you. I went to bed early. I avoided all-nighters like the plague. I knew that wasn’t my style, I couldn’t handle it. And this I hold very dear: the knowledge of exactly what my body needs.

Right now I’m not working. I’m in between jobs. I’m taking some time to do absolutely nothing at all. It helps that the first weeks of my unemployment is being spent pre-menstruating and menstruating. Yes I said it. It helps slow things down, it allows me to not rush into things and then feeling like shit because it wasn’t the right type of thing. I know there will be a time when I won’t like resting, where I thrive on being creative and productive. But I know that that time is not right now. And acknowledging your seasons gives you all the power.

Some inspiring articles:

“In a world that has glorified hustling and exhaustion in pursuit of creative production for far too long, my cycle has shown me sustainable creativity is not only possible, but wildly effective.” - Claire Baker
https://wepresent.wetransfer.com/story/claire-baker-periods-and-creativity/

“We don’t have to glorify work. … There are only so many hours in a day, and I’ll be damned if I will work more of them than I have to.” - Laura Jane Williams
https://www.redonline.co.uk/red-women/blogs/a25829735/laura-jane-williams-death-to-the-hustle/


How Can I Write This Title Without Mentioning 2018?
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There are so many stories I didn’t share in 2018. So many moments that went undocumented. Or, at the time I did document them - taking photos and such. But I never shared any of it. An Instagram picture here and there, definitely a couple of stories. But apart from that, no writing. No real reflection.

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I obviously neglected this space on the internet after august. Summer here was amazing. I worked a lot, yes. But I also visited parks and beaches. It made me think differently about Vancouver. It made me like it here. Fall was glorious, with all its colours and Halloween decorations. I nested quite a bit in our apartment, and couldn’t wait to go all-in over Christmas. Which we did.

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From September onwards, up until very recently, my main focus was just getting my visa extension approved. I had to live life with a plan A, B, C and D in mind. I was well prepared to just go home to Sweden. Start my life there again. Or to visit California, stay with my aunt for a while. Either way I quit my job two weeks into January. And that very same week, my visa got approved. The stars aligned, etcetera.

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Now I’ve been home for a week. Resting, mostly. Taking those sick days I never took while working. Forcing my body to r e l a x. I have some saved up money. I have food, I have an apartment, a car, I have a supportive family and friends but most importantly I have Andrew. There is nothing to be worried about, although the outside world and your inner critic try to constantly convince you of the opposite.

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I asked for help during the visa process. I tried not to feel shame while doing so. I was open to people about my struggle; I shared the turbulence with people around me without expecting any emotional care-taking back. The biggest lesson in 2018 was to not take responsibility for other people’s emotions. Only for my own. And I can decide not to worry. Because what good does worrying do?

(Easier said than done, obviously. But practice makes (almost) perfect.)

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In 2019 I intend to be better with sharing. To follow some advice I gave to myself earlier in 2018, to create a scrapbook of memories; not a show reel. Because almost every day I find something to celebrate. Coincidently, I find something to be sad about as well. Why not share it, for future use.

(All these pictures are taken at Chilliwack Lake a couple of weeks ago)

Light Ash Blonde

I coloured my hair. The box said Light Ash Blonde but it turned out a dusty, hay-blonde with hints of green and brown. Unsatisfied and sad, I told you lets go to the beach instead. We'll get burgers on the way and just eat on our blanket. So that's what we did. 

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I got mad at you for not taking any pictures. Why don't you wanna capture this moment with me? Then you started taking pictures, and I got mad again. No, not from that angle. No, not when I'm looking, please. I got mad at myself for being so mad at you, for ruining everything. I love you for always being there for me, mood swings and all. 

(But I swear to god if you don't come home soon and feed me I will kill you) 

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