I love Christmas. I try to avoid the whole consumer dash that comes with it these days, and I’m also not that big into cheesy decorations. But I love the fact that there is something to look forward to during the dark time of the year. I like to have the house all cosy and decorated, and the comfort of old family rituals.
My sister sent me our favourite christmas calendar this year, especially from Switzerland. It’s the one we’ve had every year for a few years now and I was so chuffed to have it here with me.
Even though I’m always looking forward to December, this year I’ve been slow in getting into the holiday mood. Our car broke down a few weeks ago and that was just the tip of the iceberg of a ton of organisational stuff that we have to think about at the moment. I’m quite seasonally sensitive and I don’t have a lot of energy to spare during winter. So having to take these life-defining decisions and then getting unforeseen complications on top of it has been quite challenging.
I know I haven’t really talked about it much on here, but since I stopped blogging regularly, I’ve started a few new jobs. I finished my yoga teacher training in May. I’ve had so much fun starting to teach my yoga classes. I’m still learning of course, but I’m loving it. I would never have thought that yoga – and especially teaching yoga would turn into such a great passion for me.
I also work as a nanny four afternoons a week. I look after two kids aged 3 and 5. They are very sweet and I like spending time with them. But as always, it is also very demanding. It has been challenging and interesting to discover and grow into the role of a nanny, which is very different from that of a teacher or nursery carer. But I always feel that spending time with young humans allows me to grow together with them. And for that I am always grateful.
I have been teaching quite a lot of yoga lessons over the past few weeks. I teach two classes regularly. One of which is one that I organise myself, and that has – to my surprise and utter delight – grown a small core of regulars that show up almost every week. What a joy! The other class I teach is at the Glasgow Royal Infirmary. It is a class I teach for the hospital staff and that is organised through the national health service, which I think is a really cool thing of them to do.
In addition to those two classes, I am helping out at a studio of a friend at the moment, teaching classes whilst she is on her maternity leave. It is very different to teach in a dedicated studio space, with background music, lovely scented candles, and luxurious props for every student.
Then there are one-off gigs, like worshops and taster classes at events, that I surpisingly get to do not too rarely either. These occasions are always a lot of fun because most people attend without a lot of expectations and are very open to try new things. At the same time, they are hard because I never know what to expect. Also, I’ve been lugging huge bags of yoga mats, blocks, blankets and other material around the Glasgow area, I like to say it’s the flying yoga teacher’s workout.
So yeah… I’ve had a lot on my plate recently. I’m beginning to feel… worn out. Stretched too thin over too many affairs. My notebook is a mess of lists and daily to-do’s and my diary is my closest friend. I’m feeling tense and worried most of the time, and I haven’t really been able to start feeling cosy and christmas-sy.
It’s been easygoing around our group of friends too – we only had a “Thanksgiving” dinner at the beginning of December! It was amazing. Andy’s sister shot a duck and two pheasants and Tref and I said because she’d shot them herself and they were wild living animals we would see nothing wrong in eating them. So I ate meat for the first time in like three years or so. It was very nice. I’m still sticking with vegetarian though.
Above is just a silly picture I took one of the many times that the guys are derping about. They are like 13 year old boys when they’re together… yes, filthy humour and bad puns included, only that they are much too old to feel embarassed about it… it makes me giggle.
This week I finally got the flat straightened out and I put up an advents wreath and a little bit of decoration. It’s not much this year, but I like how it came together. I tried to stay within my limits and not put too much pressure for perfection on myself. This year, there are just other priorities.
The thing that in my mind always seals the change of a season is my altar. I redeorate it at least for each of the 8 holidays throughout the year, which helps me stay in touch with nature’s rhythms. In winter, I enjoy having a clean, simple space that makes me feel quiet.
Of course because it is christmas time, it is also a special time for the kids. Our afternoons together are quite short and often not easy to plan, but I try to squeeze as many festive activities in as possible. I tried to plan ahead and make a pack of prepared materials for every day, but of course that didn’t work out. I got way too much stuff and way too many ideas. I guess it’s better that way around.
Last weekend we had people come over on the 6th December to bake Grittibänz with us – it’s a Swiss tradition to eat these sweet white breads on St. Nicolaus day. Everybody had a lot of fun designing their bread guys.
We also had an impromptu raclette! Because we don’t have the traditional table grill, we tried to improvise. We remembered that on Swiss winter markets the raclette is usually served like this: The surface of a hug hunk of cheese is melted by an upright gas heater, then scraped onto a plate of potatoes and pickled onions. It’s a bit like a cheese Doner.
So we got out the cook’s torch, and started melting…
It worked pretty well once the cheese was heated up. Nowwhere as fast of course, and the scraped portions were fairly small, but that was ok because people could just get themselves more whenever they liked. We call this version the “buffet-raclette”.
Today I’m finally feeling like I’m starting to wind down, and things are settling. My to-do lists are getting shorter. The big things that had to get done this year are organise, papers handed in, forms signed. All that’s left now really is christmas stuff like wrapping presents, making little Christmas gifts for my students in my last yoga classes next week, preparing some sweetie packs for the neighbours… and packing our stuff for our two week holiday in Switzerland. We are looking forward to it like mad, we both really need a good chunk of downtime and lazy days before we are ready to start out on the next part of our projects next year.
I hope you are starting to get nice and cosy, and if you aren’t, maybe this picture of a sleepy kitty will help. <3