Transforming a Space


Christine Fichtner Flowers 1

Strawberry planter not used for strawberries.

It’s quite amazing what a bit of green can do for a space. It’s a colour that calms, and yet rejuvenates. I love having plants around the apartment, bringing life to squared, static walls.

We have a small balcony. There is space for a small table and two chairs. It’s enclosed by walls, though there is no roof. It’s grey. Or rather, it was grey.

My fiancé and I love spending time outside. And summers in Vancouver are absolute perfection. There are gorgeous trees outside our apartment that are wonderfully green all spring and summer. But our balcony was rather lacking. We wanted to sit outside, but the space was rather dreary. We decided that our next home project was to transform our balcony into a cozy, warm space.

Christine Fichtner Flower 2

Is it weird that I find the trowel really cute?

We started with plants. Green, and pops of colour. We don’t have space for many, but already the change is notable.

We also bought a cheerful blue outdoor rug, and lights to string above. Lanterns will certainly make an appearance as well.

It’s a work in progress, of course. There is much to be done, and I don’t have a green thumb and am definitely learning a lot about gardening as we go. Any tips and tricks that you may have are well appreciated!

I will be posting updates on the transformation of a plain and grey space to one full of life and light.

Mondays Mean

Mondays mean breathing in the new week, stepping into its embrace. No matter how tired, how reluctant.

Mondays are sleepy days for me. And as I sit at my desk, I find myself seeking ways to open my mind creatively.

christine fichtner painting palette

Colours to brighten my day.

It normally starts with a quick sketch. Something simple to ease myself into practice.

Then I pick up my paintbrushes, and delve into colours. Bright ones, today.

The sun filters through the leaves outside. The air picks them up, and they murmur. This I mirror with my brush upon the paper.

Mondays can be difficult. But finding enjoyment in splashes of paint is not.

The high population density practice of shoulder bumping

In Korea, everything is ‘빨리 빨리’, or ‘quick, quick’. Always moving, always fast, always working. Like any big city, people rush around at all times. It makes things lively, and it makes the city feel alive. Especially when there are so many people.

It also means that as the average walking speed increases, so does the chance of bumping into someone, or knocking shoulders.

As a Canadian, it’s very normal for me to say ‘sorry’ when I bump into someone, or when they bump into me.

Things are a little bit different here. People are still very polite in Seoul. If we are waiting for the subway, or just standing around, people take the time to apologize.

But when we are rushing down the street in opposite directions, that’s a whole other story. And understandably so.

If they don’t say sorry, there’s no point in getting angry. By the time you turn around with a scolding on your lips, they’ve already disappeared halfway down the road, among a crowd of rushing, bobbing heads.

So really, might as well save yourself the trouble, and just keep walking. Chances are they didn’t intentionally hit you, nor did they body-check you across the sidewalk, so there’s no need to release the kracken.

I think of it as reflex training. Quicken your reaction speed and improve your spatial awareness. In case I get into that life-threatening street fight for which everyone must be prepared. Who knows when someone might draw a gun and – oh wait, wrong country.

Next thing you know, they’ll start using storks.

Everything is so ‘빨리빨리’ here. No time? Get it delivered! I bet they’d try to get time itself delivered if they could.

I bought a ring, but they had to resize it, so they delivered it to me a couple days later.

I get so many flyers for food delivery on my door. Chicken, pizza, you name it.

Can you imagine if they started delivering McDonald’s?

OH WAIT THEY DO. And you don’t even have to call them and use your worse than bad Korean.

Hmmm, why not use that as your 7:30am alarm? “Knock knock, breakfast is served” sounds like a great idea.

It’s so convenient. I love it. Even if it’s dangerously tempting all the time.

But seriously, next thing you know, they’ll start using storks to deliver babies right to your doorstep.