Madrid Style

Part of what I love about traveling is the way each city has its own style. The architecture unique to each city is, to me, something that really highlights the difference in culture.

Madrid apartments

Madrid

There’s something fantastical about buildings that intersect streets. Like icebergs splitting through water.

 

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Life, and such

I really was not expecting to work quite so much this summer. Before I received my work schedule, I envisioned myself spending at least half the day writing or painting or both. Instead, I ended up working most of the day, and getting home completely exhausted and unable to do much. I did manage to do some writing while on the go, but most of it is sleeping in my notebook, unedited. Eventually, I’m sure, the stories will make their way onto my blog, when they wake up and kick me in the brain.

That’s not to say I’ve been having a bad summer. Far from it. The weather has been amazing, my cousin visited for a month, and I’ve done some excellent reading.

I have also been enjoying the absolutely amazing fruits from the interior. They are, I have to say, the best I’ve ever had. The flavour is unbeatable.

Christine Fruits 2014

 

I had to take a break from blogging, and from any form of work beyond teaching for the last month. I was overwhelmed and was getting sick and anxious from all the stress. Luckily I now have a short break before the fall semester starts, and will take the time to recharge. Hopefully I will get back to my regular blogging routine.

I hope everyone has been having an amazing summer! I feel like I’m rather out of touch with everyone, since I have not been active in almost a month. Here’s to a few more weeks of nice weather before the coziness of autumn arrives.

Plums

Christine Fichtner Plum Blossoms

A photo I took a while ago, since I haven’t updated in a while. Our plum tree has finally blossomed! I hope that means many plums! Also hoping the bears don’t get to them first. I shall keep constant vigilance to ensure harvest ahead of the local wildlife. Paws off our plums!

Blended

Christine Fichtner Vancouver Chinatown

I love the blending of styles within the city. Face the tall, glass buildings, the busy streets. Then turn and breathe in the serenity of the gardens and koi pond.

There are small nuggets to find buried within the city. In the middle of everything, and yet cut off and bubbled in its own unique tranquility.

There’s always some place to go when you need to relax, to get away, even if you cannot leave the city.

 

Fresh Winter Snow

Christine Fichtner Grouse Mountain Vancouver

 

Crisp, cold, biting the end of your nose and the tips of your ears. Fresh, pine, and tall trees that tower towards the sky.

An unmistakable scent. Clean, fresh, reflecting the sun’s radiance. Pristine, glittering in the day’s light.

And sometimes the scent of burning logs. Smoke from a warm hearth. Rosy cheeks and glowing faces, warm in their laughter.

Immortal Dance

Christine Fichtner Chinatown Koi Vancouver

 

They swim, unmoving in their act of eternal motion.

Gold upon water’s soft blue. Floundering its fins in an immortal dance. Braving the currents, it perseveres. For it knows that one day, when it has struggled enough, it will be rewarded. Transformed and exalted. Eternal.

Balance

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Balance, I have found, is one of the hardest things to maintain in life.

On one hand, but on the other. How do I find a good medium?

Though I don’t think about it very often, and perhaps compared to others it’s not as bad, but I am a rather work-driven person.

The idea of having not working is so foreign that I cannot even consider it. When I came back from Korea, I immediately started teaching after only one and a half days. Never mind jetlag, never mind vacation. I had to work.

I want to work more on my writing, but how can I not teach as many hours as possible during the week?

So I fill my hours with teaching, and the rest with writing, and the next thing I know I’m exhausted and haven’t taken a break in weeks.

I love writing. It’s a huge passion. And I love teaching, too. But they’re work, no matter what I might think otherwise. And yet if I’m not teaching, then I should be writing. if I’m not writing during my free time, I’m wasting precious hours. I’m slacking off.

So where do I find a balance?

I’m still searching for it.

It’s all a state of mind, for me. I have to remember that I need breaks, too. I can’t work nonstop, even if I enjoy it. The exhaustion is crippling and unhealthy.

Moderation. Balance.

I’m working on it.

 

Nature’s Blinds

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Whispers like paper rustling. Footsteps, heard but never seen. They come out only when the air is thick with misted secrets. Swift, beside you, then away, they appear when they are hidden by nature’s blinds.

Droplets swirl with a grudging smoothness, disrupted as creatures dart, trailing soft brushes of wind that brush your skin. Shivers travel the length of your body as the air seeps under your jacket, creeping with gusty sighs along your skin. And you continue to walk, oblivious to the wonders that pass within feet of you.

And should you be so lucky to catch a glimpse, a shadow, a shade of the creatures that migrate under the safety of the fog, you are quick to dismiss it. Fear not, you tell yourself, it is a tree’s swinging branches, a stray dog, a winging bird. Nothing more. And you lock the door to your house with relief.

Above the fog the air is clear and the sun beams and the wind dreams. And every once in a while the edge of a wing, of a tail, of horns, breach the edges of the mist and glint in the revealing sun. They dive back down with a lingering trail, a wisp of their presence.

But you simply relax, knowing that it is the wind that moves the fog, that lifts it and swirls it and blows it in playful waves. You thank it for clearing your view as the fog trails away. And the wind laughs through your hair.

It was really foggy for a while. But always sunny further up. Gorgeous.

Appreciating Where I Am

Really, ever since I came back from Korea, I’ve felt like a tourist, appreciating just how beautiful of a city Vancouver is.

I’m especially lucky to work near the water, and to walk past this every day.

Lonsdale Quay

And if I’m in one of the classrooms with a window, I get to see some amazing sunsets.

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I’m so glad that I’m able to appreciate the natural beauty this much.

My phone has a panorama feature??

So I found out that I can take panorama shots with my phone. I, err, totally read the manual…

So I kinda went to town cus it was sunny out, and Vancouver is beautiful.

Granville Island

Granville Island

False Creek

False Creek

Rainbow ferry ride across False Creek

Rainbow ferry ride across False Creek