Thursday, 5 July 2018

From the west coast to the east end

One week ago I was cycling in the open landscapes of Terschelling. I found what I was looking for and was convinced that being out of the mainland, being landed in a small island, was the place I needed to be during those days. After crossing the mysterious waters separating the Wadden Islands from the long coastline of the Netherlands, I felt free and open while cycling around with my friends. Clouds were hanging low above our heads and the challenge of the hard wind was bitter sweet. I think nothing else than the roam of the sea and the open horizons on our way, could empty our heads better from the echoes from our everyday life. Following the sand without any marked roads on our beach walks, it was like slowly getting closer to the hidden edge of the civilization. 

At the same time I was aware that the local people must have their own story to tell about the life in the island. These people must have their unique way to sense the spirit of this landscape. The strong winds, the noise of the sea and being so close to the nature must have had a big influence on the character of these people. 
During the history the western and the eastern part of the island were separated. There has been some characteristic differences between the people of the opposite ends of this island. In the west, the people were more connected to the sea and the folks in the East were more connected to the earth and farming. Nowadays is more like a one island and the main income comes from the Tourism during the high season. Visiting places like this and sensing the isolation, like a timeless comforting mist around the island, make me feel a bit protective. I felt like not wanting to disturb the balance of the nature and the life of the Island people. Well, I was not in a jungle with some tribe :), but I felt a big respect to this beautiful place and the people making their living in here and being part of the story. I felt so happy being able to be there this summer again. 

Great, old architecture in West Terschelling.

The landscape of Terschelling is still very much natural: 80% of the land is dominated by natural dunes and salt-meadows. With 71,298 hectares, Terschelling is the largest municipality in the Netherlands. This is because a great part of the Wadden Sea, including the bird island Griend, belong to municipality lands. The island itself has just 11,575 hectares, is about 30 kilometers long and maximum 4,5 km wide. There are 70 kilometers long network of cycling routes, this is the best way to see the landscapes here. But you can also travel by bus to the many villages and locations from the West-Terschelling to the most eastern village of Oosterend. 

Terschelling from the air, west end in front.

This was my second visit on this island and I was taking part to Oerol festival with my husband and with my friends. I felt fascinated about the spirit and the creativity of the theatre and the music performances I saw. The most impressive element in this festival is how they manage to include the nature so closely to the performances. After cycling to the theatre location, you are often guided to the middle of the dunes or woods through the small paths in the Nature. In these silent locations, the message of the performance feels very intimate. You never know if the sun is going to shine or if there are rain showers during the show. But it doesn't matter, people seem to be more ready the accept the situation and the it comes. The forces of the nature are like surprising elements in this festival. I also like how the theatre is bringing up the environmental and human issues of our time. The whole concept of shows is very modern and the actors and the musicians are spontaneous in always changing situations, connected with the nature. 

Some great performances we saw: 

Billy the Kid
Orkater: De wereldvergadering 
Saman Amini: samenloop van omstandigheden

One day we cycled to the East end of the island. Actually you can't really cycle through the most eastern part of the dunes, the better way is to park the bike and walk the rest along the huge coast line. So we cycled first through the cycling path in the de Boschplaat, which is one of the European Nature reserves. After parking our bikes, we headed to the beach.

It looked so fresh and clean at the beach, but of course the sea had floated some plastic on the sand. We collected some garbage on our way and I was thinking all the garbage floating on the sea all over the world. We can read so much over this issue at the moment and there are some well known projects like The Ocean Cleanup trying the make the difference by collecting the big garbage patches from the Oceans. The ocean currents are bringing the plastic garbage to 5 different locations in the Oceans of our planet. I think it is important to read about these issues and try to use less and less plastic in our daily lives. This is quite a challenge for example when doing the shopping in a supermarket, but we have to learn to be more aware when making the choices and show a good example to the next generations. 

Summer greetings from sunny Amsterdam, with many island memories!

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Time to listen and live

The empty landscape can look like a master painting or a scene from a movie. The dynamics will change if something or someone comes and breaks the silence with a movement and sound. Movement is a crucial part of our lives, without going further on our journey, we are stucked and do not see the possibilities behind our mental borderlines. 

This is important to remember with our individual plans and also with our partners, friends or with a family. If we do not take our time to talk and do things together or take time to be alone every now and then, we will slowly loose the connection to ourselves and to our closest ones.

We even might start to think nobody is interested in what we think or what we want. But as eager as we wait someone will ask how are you doing, we have to be willing to ask the same question first. How am I doing and how are you doing?

There is nothing wrong with a small talk and I do not want to share my deepest thoughts with everyone. The answer to the same question might differ in different contexts and with different people. As long as we listen what the other person wants to say at that particular moment, there will be a positive effect, a shared moment and giving the attention. I can easily agree on all that I write, but sometimes I seem to act differently. This is a human condition, so much thinking or hesitation until something really happens or we take the action.

I think it is good to turn the attention to the outside world and stay not too long in the circles of our thoughts. Breaking the routines and surprising ourselves, making the space for meeting the friends and being attentive to our partners in life.

I had a very nice lunch at the beach with my husband last week. We changed our routine, we made an appointment for a friday. We had a great walk at the beach and at the dunes. The asparagus season is inspiring the spring kitchen in many restaurants. This version was quite heavy with eggs, butter sauce, ham and potatoes. We could not eat everything and I prefer a lighter version next time. But my company and the glass of wine was perfect. 

There are days when the "me time" is needed. A balance of taking your own time and  having the "we time" on another occasion is sometimes a challenge to plan. Both are so much needed. The time has to be our friend, the time to connect. We can't let the time to build the distance and any invisible walls. Instead of assuming what is going on out there or in someones mind, we have to use the presence and our daily life for keeping up reconnecting, listening and talking with awareness. 

In the end I want to share something personal. I have lived now for 3 years in the Netherlands and I always thought my language will develop enough during the years like it did when I lived in Germany(my husband is dutch, but we speak english at home and I speak Finnish with our children). But lately I noticed I am stucked on the same level and there is no development. It is possible to survive in Amsterdam with English, because it is a very international place to live. Also the natives are not very patient of listening if someone tries to speak  their language. Everything seems to go just more smoothly using the english. I have always tried to speak dutch and most of the times I can make a conversation and take part to situations in dutch in everyday life. But I am making grammatical mistakes in fast communication situations and I want to learn to speak more convincing and without typical errors, hoping one day no one will ask if I want to speak english instead of dutch. The thing is, people can understand what I say, but the conversation easily doesn't grow anything interesting. For me is a bit confusing to be in the borders of these two languages, because I understand dutch quite well. So to boost my language and get more correct and fluent, I will take part to intensive dutch course next month. I am now very motivated and also happy I did this little action. 

Spring greetings from Holland!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Smell the Sea and hear the Wind

Open views in Castricum aan Zee

Run, Run, Run - the wind is blowing from behind. Faster than ever, competing with the waves, we will try to reach to disappearing point, far away. Everything seems to end there, but it will be a new beginning before we start to look for the next unknown stations. 

Do we come back to the old journeys and stations, do we remember the people we met and talked or even loved during those years? We will slow the phase, wonder in our thoughts. The rush and noice will stay behind. The Sea will whisper with the force of wind, bring the new tastes and smells from far away. This gives space for our mind and we will feel free and almost like reborn, full of new ideas and energy. 

All seems to be more simple and clear in sudden moments, the scale of our existence gets bigger. We will come out from the small space of routines and habits. We are out, like the first people at this we like to think. It is not true, but we want to keep all possibilities of our fantasy spread and open. The information, the instincts of our Ancestors and the wisdom from those millions and more lives. We are carrying some keys to those elements deep in our system, in our genes. We are survivors. That is so much admired these days, whole tv-series made from the modern Robinsons. But life is not a game, life is real and goes on without the last person on the board. The biggest struggles are often suffered in silence and the change for better comes from our heart and making decisions.

Lost. left and found. The left overs from the beach life in  2017.

Tomorrow will be the last day of 2017. It is time to make a little break and think of what happened. So many positive things and memories, also some struggle and black days -like every year. Still, every period of our life is different and that period makes us see the reality differently, making us go further on our development. Sometimes we don't recognize the person we were before, but without that person we would not be at this point. We are full of details and nuances and this world is a living evidence how everything is connected. It feels good to see and feel the presence of the Nature, it is balancing and feeding our mind, making us more active. 






the ART 

OF the 


It was great to watch the grass constantly in motion at the windy beach.

Listening to the roam of the Sea and smelling the breeze. The best end for this year. Walking at the beach, feeling like a child again. Finding the joy from the details and from the simplicity. The only wise advice I can give is that we must go outside and enjoy the world and the Nature even more. And before doing or saying something, think of the possible effects of your actions to your environment and the people around. Let the gentle breeze of the wind be your personal advisor in every critical moment that comes on your way.

Happy New Year !!

Meeting the Foam. 

The North Sea Fish soup was a perfect dish for a windy day.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

About us and the blue mist

One of the most beautiful Winter elements in Holland is the mist. Instead of snow, we see more the moist and misty beauty of Nature in this Season. The lack of daylight is different when there is no snow  spreading the white light and reflections. Luckily the days are getting slowly longer and lighter after the shortest day of the year on the 21st of December.

Now I'm ready for celebrating the Christmas, which for me is taking everything out from the coziness of these introverted days and weeks. This also means I want to be close to those people who belong to my life and share the mood with them. I see this as a positive period and it is easy for me to relate to these quiet days. I am not religious, but I am aware and respect the origin of this celebration. For me these days mean a time of sharing, giving the empathy, being kind and fair, being genuine and appreciating the company of the loved ones. I promise myself to try to be better, learn from my mistakes and keep on developing as a person. The biggest joy comes from watching the children and how they also like the details, the closeness and the traditions. 

This time of the year I long even more to be connected with the Nature. The open views without any green layers, the silhouettes of naked trees are inviting us for private conversations. Without any hiding element, demanding us to be honest. The Nature holds us in a firm hug on our winter walks, without any judgement. The mist is ready to listen to our thoughts and the world is there for us - like we should be there for the world and be supportive to one another. The magic of this silent season is that we might be more capable to listening and reading the hidden messages. More capable of seeing the possibilities if we want to. 

The silent presence of the Universe should be more respected and that should be remembered in our daily lives. This includes also how we treat other people and talk with other people or even think of other people. There should be less judgment, being careful not to make too fast conclusions or silently neglect someone who maybe would in real need some attention and support. We can find so many excuses for our behavior or prejudices. Like the trees open their arms for the open connection, we should trust more on the goodness of the world, dare to ask the real questions, listen, exchange the views and respect one another.

The silence can also hide some things and issues that need to get out and be processed. Not maybe in a violent way, but with some discretion. Sometimes the silence can mean staying on the comfort zone and not letting the meaningful lessons come and push us further. Getting further doesn't mean joining the competition or that we have to prove something, it has nothing to do with being worth of something. We are so much worth already without any prove. We have to have the courage to break the silence sometimes and show who we are and let that special sparkle of ours shine. We know better than no one else who we are and it is our own responsible to let it be seen and felt. With all that energy there is, joining the other energies around us, there is a possibility for a synergy, higher understanding and creativity.

Let's walk together, talk with one another, remember to laugh on the silly jokes, details and coincidences. Let's be equal and cherish the talents we have and enjoy what the other people can offer us and teach us! This way we will not get bitter and cynical and will stay who we are.

I am glad if you had the patience to read and and listen to me. During the christmas days and holidays it will be a good time to walk in the mist, in the snow or on a sunny beach - where ever you are. 

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!