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AUTUMN.

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Photo by Valiphotos on Pexels.com

“And the sun took a step back, the leaves lulled themselves to sleep, and Autumn was awakened.” ~ Raquel Franco

I found this beautiful line on an Instagram friend’s post a few days ago, and it spoke to my heart. I subsequently discovered Raquel Franco’s writing and I love it. Mostly short and sweet, and very descriptive.

I said before that I love autumn. It is the slow turning of the leaves (it happens very slowly in South Africa), the gradual drop in temperatures, the shortening of the days that makes me so happy.

It is not a spectacular season here as in, say, Canada, but sometimes in some areas, it can be very beautiful…

I am planning to enjoy every moment of this changing of the seasons, and to get my home ready for the colder weather to come.

The leaves in the vineyards are starting to turn, and just sometimes, they turn a gorgeous red, which makes beautiful pictures. I will wait for that to happen…

My happy places.

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“Home is where the heart is.”

Or not?

I think it depends on how you look at the saying. If you think it means that your home (happy place) is with the one(s) you love, and it doesn’t matter where, I don’t completely agree – that implies that you’ll be happy anyplace, as long as you are with your loved ones. If you mean that home is where your heart is at peace, then I tend to agree more. That implies that you can be happy there, whether you are with your loves or not.

I’ve lived in a lot of places in my life. Since I’ve only lived on my own for a while after my divorce, and in the last few years from time to time (for a few weeks at a time), that means that I’ve lived with my loved ones most of my life. And that did not necessarily translate to me being in a place where I was comfortable and happy.

And then you get to a place and you feel at home immediately. You relax, you feel as if you can breathe. You are happy. More so, of course if it is with loved ones – alone is never first choice – but your heart feels lighter somehow.

I don’t know if I’m explaining myself very well? But I do believe that one’s surroundings play a huge role in how happy you are. I think certain places can dull your spirit, lessen your creativity and make you miserable.

When my SO* is here, and we are driving around and exploring new places (which is something we do all the time because we both love this area), we always judge a place by the words “I can live here” – or not, whatever the case may be. You can feel it. Sometimes instantaneously.

So I’ve compiled a collage for you of some of my happy places and I had a very hard time deciding which pictures to use – I have too many!! I’m sure I could be deliriously happy in a myriad of other places (like the Italian or French or English countryside), but like most of us, I’ll probably never know, because we can only live in so many places in our lives! 😀

*SO – significant other

Therapy in pictures.

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I often write about my knitting and crocheting that I consider my own personal therapy, along with gardening. These days I find it difficult to sit without a crochet hook or knitting needles in my hands.

These pictures give you an idea of what I do. This is far from everything I’ve done. Not even quite what I’ve done in the last year. But I enjoy keeping my hands busy, so I have a lot of finished projects lying around in cupboards, as well as unfinished ones, unfortunately.

This was probably not the best idea to show you what I’ve done for ‘therapy’, because now you know exactly how much therapy I need… oops.

Mornings in my garden.

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Dewdrops and avo leaf.

I woke up to a beautiful day this morning.

I slept okay, as I do mostly these days, and woke up ready for the day. I like taking a walk through the garden first thing, to see if anything significant has happened during the night, you know, like seeds sprouting or tomatoes starting to ripen! 🙂 I find a walk through the garden early in the morning, is a calm and soothing way to start my day. There are also a lot of birds in my garden and in the area, so it is wonderful to listen to all the birds chirping away in the trees, watching them trying to get to the worms and bugs in the lawn.

I was on my way to throw some vegetable peels onto the compost heap, when I noticed a large avocado leaf lying on the grass. I stooped down to have a closer look, and saw beautiful drops of dew lying in perfectly formed little domes on top of it. I was immediately inspired to fetch my phone and take some pictures.

I love my garden best early in the morning when everything is still fresh and cool, so I took a few more pictures and thought that I’d like to share them with you. I hope you enjoy them!

Perfect drops of dew.
Morning sun.

Talking about sleep and waking up refreshed – remember a while back I wrote a piece on how I was battling to sleep? Well, I started implementing some of the suggestions I made in my post, and lo and behold, it worked!!! Happy days. Let me say first off, it doesn’t work every single night, but compared to how it used to be, I am happy at the success.

The things that work the best for me are going to bed at the same time each night (or as close to that as possible), and reading a few pages (sometimes only a few paragraphs!) of a favourite book. That tends to send me right off to dreamland! Maybe if you are suffering from sleeplessness, you can try a few of these suggestions in my post.

Have a wonderful, happy and healthy weekend! Stay safe! 😀

To go, or not to go…

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2004, my daughter and I in Paris, obviously…

The travel bug bit me at the age of thirteen.

I remember clearly, it was one day in an English class that I decided that after I finished university, I’ll become an air hostess so I can see the world. Those days there were strict parameters that you had to fit into to become one – no less than a certain height (I think it was around 5’4″), and no more than a certain weight. I held my breath throughout my teen years to see when I would stop growing, hoping, wishing I’ll be tall enough. And I was !!!! Yay!!

So, off to varsity went, to get a degree, so I can start traveling. While studying, the inevitable happened. I met my (now ex) husband. Long story short, when he asked me to marry him, I said on one condition – that we travel to Europe before we have kids. That never happened.

Fast forward many years – the kids are growing up and they don’t need me around all the time. I started sewing from home to make money and I saved like a demon, and the day came that I said to my husband that this coming year I’m going overseas, are you coming with? He said no, not believing that I’ll do it on my own. But I did. 2002, my first trip to Europe (or anywhere!), and it was amazing! I stayed in Vienna with friends for a week (I also visited Salzburg, Hallstatt and a few other places in Austria with them), and then I went to the Netherlands for a week, via Paris.

Two years later, an even better trip – I got to go with my daughter when she finished school, and it was a blast, to say the least. Sharing these experiences just take the level of enjoyment up so many notches!

It was not an easy decision to go that first time – I hated leaving my kids, but I knew they were at a stage where they’ll be okay without me for a few weeks. And it was ‘now or never’ – I felt that I’ve been patient long enough for my dream to come true…

Since then, I’ve been to Europe one more time (thanks to my SO*), to the UAE with my youngest son to visit a friend, and to Canada a few times to visit my daughter and her husband (and the last time, my first little grandchild), and although I enjoyed every single minute of every trip, I’m still frustrated. (Does that sound ungrateful? I’m not, I appreciate that I’ve had more opportunities than most.)

2008, with my youngest in the UAE.
With my SO, Munich, 2012
At the top of Sulphur Ridge, Canada, with my daughter. 2015

I only started traveling relatively late in my life, (I’m reaching retirement age now), and I haven’t seen nearly enough places yet. I’ve got a bucket list as long as my arm, but I have to start realizing that I’ll probably never get to see all of them… I mean, it is all good and well to say ‘just do it’, but reality is it costs a lot of money, especially traveling from South Africa, since our money is worth nothing in other countries. I’ve got a partner and responsibilities here, which makes taking off on a whim difficult as well.

So I am an avid arm chair traveler now. I cannot get enough of YouTube’s travel channels, I watch them all the time. And who knows, I might get to see a few more places on my wish list in real life, if my health permits!

( Thanks journey-junkies.com for giving me the idea for this post. It is an amazing thing if one can live out your dreams, but for some of us, the reality of life gets in the way. Enjoy your travels, we’ll live vicariously through you!)

Until next time, stay safe! 🙂