It Will Hurt Less Than Falling

“Come down,” she urged the child. “It is not safe up so high in the tree.” She reached out her arms. They were very  long. They would catch the child.

“No,” said the child.

“You will fall and hurt yourself,” she smiled kindly with all of her teeth.

“You will hurt me more.”

“There is no pain in my embrace,” she reassured, her eyes pleading like hungry black holes.

“You will eat me.”

“It will hurt less than falling,” she promised, her tongue forked like a snake’s.

—-

Something a little spooky for October.

Advertisements

Buoy and Bauble

My favourite store at Peggy’s Cove was one that seemed rather like nothing from the outside. Maybe that’s why I loved it so much.

From the outside I saw only hints of glass and flashes of colour. The building itself looked rather shabby, with peeling paint and dirty windows. But inside lay a sea of treasures.

The ceiling is low and covered in fishing net that is attached to the wall by dried starfish and shells. Many of the items for sale were truly vintage – well worn from years of hard work.

A small stack of used books greeted me first. Then I looked up and saw the bold colours of painted buoys. They hung wherever there was space, all dressed up in maritime colours.

More subdued were the retired lobster cages, sun bleached and aged with sea water. Driftwood, coral stones, and rusty anchors gave the place a certain unexpected appeal.

A large whale jawbone drew the clicks of many cameras – mine included.

At the entrance an old man sat, whittling away at small piece of wood. He was polite and cheerful, with the patience of a seasoned fisherman.

Perhaps my favourite aspect was the old glass bottles that lined the window. Some were chipped, and most of them were a little bit dirty. I like to think that they were found objects – bits and pieces that he had collected through his years out on the ocean and along the beaches. Or perhaps they were old bottles that he had collected over time. Medicine, alcohol, pills… I think they are my favourite because there is a kind of curiosity behind them.

As I left I passed by his front desk where the old man sat. The table was covered in large sea shells and small hand-painted buoys. Five dollars. They were simple. It wouldn’t be hard to make one myself. But I handed over the money with a delighted smile.

A World Away from Home: And the Last

Our last day in Zurich, we decided to actually go hiking this time. We went on a short hike up a local mountain, and were rewarded with a spectacular view of the city and the far mountains. It really is beautiful.

Processed with Snapseed.

Peekaboo view along the way.

We also met up with a friend I’ve known since elementary school who happened to have moved to Switzerland recently. It was really nice to catch up, since I hadn’t seen her since I graduated high school.

Processed with Snapseed.

Apparently it was a bit hazy so we couldn’t see all the mountains. Still beautiful.

Processed with Snapseed.

Countryside on this side.

Processed with Snapseed.

My sister forbade me from yodelling.

Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

There was a nice cafe at the top.

We took our time hiking, since my sister had previously managed to pull a muscle, but it was nice not to be in a rush. It was a popular trail, and the locals also used it for jogging. Definitely felt a lot like home.

Afterwards we decided to go into the city to do a little bit of shopping. And of course, since we were in Switzerland, we had to go get some Swiss army knives! And kitchen knives. Because it was about time we upgraded from cheap Costco knives to proper knives that cut rather than squish tomatoes (no more sad salads).

Processed with Snapseed.

Swiss army knives.

Processed with Snapseed.

LOTS of Swiss army knives.

The store was quite big, and had very impressive displays. I decided to get a cute little Swiss army knife to put on my keychain, and Ryan decided to get the actual Swiss army knife. A little bit of his and hers, I suppose.

img_0137

I can’t say I didn’t get it because the cat looks like Jerry

We also got some delicious Sprungli chocolate. The white chocolate was my favourite. It wasn’t overly sweet, as most white chocolate is. And it had a hint of a grassy taste from the type of cows they use. I should have bought more than one bar. It’s not cheap, but well worth it.

Processed with Snapseed.

Super cute little Sprungli cows.

Then we had to say goodbye to my friend as she headed home and we wandered back to my sister’s apartment to get ready for dinner. We went to her friend’s place for a barbecue dinner which consisted of lots of meat, bread, and delicious homemade garlic butter. Also two salads and tons of ice cream. (We tried to make oreo milkshakes but ended up with a kind of soft serve. Wasn’t complaining.)

Processed with Snapseed.Processed with Snapseed.

It was a wonderful day to be out and about, and a great way to end the trip. A week was way too short, but I’m glad that we went. Seeing family is always worth it.

Now that I’m home, I definitely miss Europe, and I miss the family I have there. But it’s also nice to be back in my own place, still surrounded by family and loved ones. It’s quite incredible, to be able to have important people in so many different places. There are so many trips to be had. So many places to see, and never enough time.

Until next time, Europe.

A World Away from Home: Zurich

Processed with Snapseed.

Lakeside Zurich

On our second day in Zurich we had big plans to go hiking, but instead we ended up lazing around the apartment all day and relaxing. It was nice to have a day where we did not need to do much at all.

In the evening we decided to go out for a delicious pizza dinner. According to my sister, you have to reserve ahead of time, otherwise it’s nearly impossible to get a table.

Processed with Snapseed.

Pizza!

It’s also a lot more expensive to eat out in Zurich than it is in Vancouver. If you’re planning on visiting Switzerland, make sure you have a decent amount to spend on lodging, transportation, and food!

It was delicious pizza – some of the best I’ve had. Well worth the money.

Processed with Snapseed.

It was also warm and sunny, so we were able to sit outside and enjoy the weather.

Processed with Snapseed.

Afterwards we decided to walk to the lake with some ice cream. Zurich, apparently, has the worst ice cream in Switzerland. Still tasted pretty good to me, though.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

The Opera House

It was really nice to see public chairs available for people to relax with friends or on their own in the big plaza. There was a beautiful view of the sunset and lots of space for everyone.

The sky in Zurich was filled with jet streams from planes. It created some beautiful artwork in the sky.

Processed with Snapseed.

We listened to a very talented violinist who was busking nearby, and then slowly meandered home. A wonderful and relaxing day to recuperate from the busy days we’d been having.

A World Away from Home: Rheinfall

Photos, and even words, cannot do justice to the beauty and power of nature. But I’ll try anyway.

Processed with Snapseed.

Rheinfall

We arrived in Zurich Thursday morning and dropped our luggage off at my sister’s apartment. We also took a bit of time to rest and recharge. Taco salad was on the menu, and home-cooked food while traveling is always extremely welcome. I am blessed with sensitive digestion, so the simpler the food the better.

It was a hot day in the sun. Both Germany and Switzerland seemed to be warmer than Vancouver. I wasn’t going to complain, though. Much prefer it to a rainy vacation.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

After eating and resting for a while, we decided to go to the Rheinfall. These are incredible waterfalls right next to a castle on the hill. It was about an hour train ride from the city, so we got to see gorgeous countryside go by along the way. (Also wasn’t complaining about the air conditioned coolness in the train.)

Processed with Snapseed.

The castle and train tunnel. Picturesque.

We decided not to go to the castle, since there was a tour group of schoolkids, and it looked incredibly busy. We were all a little bit tired, and did not feel like dealing with large groups of people.

Processed with Snapseed.

On the other side.

Luckily, since it was a weekday, the waterfalls were not half as busy as they would have been on the weekend. We took a boat across the river to get a view from all sides.

Processed with Snapseed.

From the boat. My phone could not capture the majesty of the falls from so far away.

It had been raining a lot, so the waterfall was rushing and strong, roaring at full strength. The sound could drown out all else, and the sight could hold me, mesmerized, all day.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

I told them to look out at the falls. They thought they were so funny.

Processed with Snapseed.

I wanted to dip my feet in the water.

Processed with Snapseed.

A place of calm and gorgeous colours.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

I’ll take one bottle, please!

Processed with Snapseed.

A cute little restaurant overlooking the falls.

Once we had taken in our fill, we considered walking to a nearby town for delicious ice cream (apparently the ice cream in Zurich is mostly sub-par, according to my sister), but it was so hot, and already getting on in the day, that we decided to forego the 50 minute walk and to go home and go for dinner at Tibits, a healthy salad buffet. It ended up being delicious, and I highly recommend it. We also got Ovaltine ice cream bars, which brought back my nostalgia in full swing, since Ovaltine was a very common dessert drink when I was young.

Processed with Snapseed.

Go team!

And after such a long day it was nice to get back to my sister’s apartment and just relax. Though it was not as private as a hotel room would have been, it felt much more like home.

A World Away from Home: Bergedorf

My grandmother lives in a small town call Bergedorf. It’s just outside of Hamburg, so it’s easy to travel to and from the city centre.

Processed with Snapseed.

Full of cute buildings

I have been there many times, so I have my familiar places, restaurants, and shops that I regularly like to visit.

My grandmother, of course, always likes to take us for steak. She was horrified when I contemplated getting a burger. (We are at a steakhouse! You must get a steak!) And one does not simply refuse her. She is very stubborn. In the end I did not regret getting steak.

Processed with Snapseed.

No cars allowed

Sitting outside in the pedestrian-only area of Bergedorf is always a treat. The buildings are gorgeous, and it is full of the murmurings of people.

There is a level of detail in the architecture that we do not get here in Vancouver. The intricate railings, the carved decor, the tower-like roof points.

Processed with Snapseed.

Would love to live in one of these apartments.

It’s very suburban in Bergedorf, but it’s comfortable. There are many open plazas where people sit and drink coffee and eat ice cream (eis). On Tuesday we sat with my cousin well into the evening, eating eis and drinking Hugo – a wine cocktail that she insisted we try (she could not fathom how we had never heard of it before).

Processed with Snapseed.

Hugo

You don’t see too many people rushing around with coffee in their hands. Here they sit and take their time sipping. There was a Starbucks in Bergedorf at one point, but after the initial hype fell away, so too did its popularity. Compared to the incredible bakeries and cafes, it fell short.

There are so many bakeries and cafes, in fact, that I sometimes wonder how they all stay in business. On every block there are multiple bakeries. Every train station has at least one. And they’re always bustling.

Processed with Snapseed.

Apparently this is a thing you can do in Bergedorf. My grandmother was politely horrified.

And during the summer everyone eats a lot of ice cream. Like, a lot. Which is fair, considering it’s delicious.

Processed with Snapseed.

The Castle

Bergedorf also has its own little castle. Everyone is, of course, very proud of it. First used in the 1500s, it remains today, now a museum and cafe.

Processed with Snapseed.

The entrance

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Gorgeous details on the door

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Because castles need moats

Small as it is, this city will always have a special place in my heart. Spending weeks here during the summer was a huge part of my childhood. And I think this town will always remain important to me.

A World Away from Home

One of the nice things about having family that lives far away is that it provides excellent reasons to travel.

Processed with Snapseed.

Bergedorf, Hamburg

 

Processed with Snapseed.

Beer on the Elbe at sunset

It’s always such a treat to be able to visit my family in Germany. It’s tough not being able to see them very often, but it’s always so special when I do.

And while I don’t tend to visit very many tourist attractions, I get to live and soak in the culture. I get to establish memories and remember where I used to love buying chocolates, or go walking with my grandmother, or where I went for a boat ride when I was younger. A world away from home, but in a way, still home. A part of my history that has made me who I am today.

 

Processed with Snapseed.

Train stations inspire wanderlust

While I have been to Germany a fair number of times, and while often my travels take me to the same places to see family, this trip I am also visiting Switzerland for the first time!

Processed with Snapseed.

Georgeous Switzerland

It’s about time I visited my sister, who has been studying here. It’s a short trip, but a fantastic one, and one that will, for sure, inspire more posts!

For the Love of Pattern

I love bold patterns. I often opt for solid colours out of safety, but once in a while there’s something too incredible for me to pass over.

IMG_0071

A dress I bought in Singapore – the base has the most intricate and delicate design.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s clothing or decor. Sometimes something more is needed to create a stronger contrast, and a more daring image.

IMG_0072

My favourite summer yellow with a floral print.

Too much, of course, is overpowering and overly busy. The eye cannot settle and everything clashes.

IMG_0074

Mixing pattern and solids.

I love a balance. Which is, ultimately, a philosophy I try and follow in most aspects of my life.

IMG_0070

IMG_0065

Modern bohemian prints. I’m a bit of a sucker for them.

IMG_0073

I bought a sheet of wrapping paper just to frame on the wall. 

The perfect touch in the bedroom. A bright splash of colour that’s not too distracting.

How do you incorporate patterns into your every day life?

 

 

Drag

No waste, no waste. Every breath counts.

Inhale exhale inhale.

No waste, can’t waste. Don’t let it burn up unused. It’s such a luxury.

A few minutes and then it’s gone. A few moments of warmth in the lungs. A few moments of warmth against the cold of the world.

What a waste. I’ll miss it when it’s gone.

Washi Tape

Life has definitely taken a turn for the busier. Between settling into a new job (which I absolutely love), wedding planning, and trying to make it out to the island as often as possible to help out with renovations, my writing has been slightly neglected.

So while I do have a few posts drafted, I haven’t been posting nearly as much as I want to.

I did, however, want to do a very short post about my new discovery: Washi Tape!

IMG_0064

Gorgeous details on the tape!

It’s nothing new to many people, but it’s something I had never even heard of before. It’s a papery tape that’s slightly translucent and can be used for decorating and labelling. It’s so versatile and incredibly fun! Since I started working at my new job, I’ve been extremely inspired to be as creative as possible.

So I decided to try using washi tape to decorate my wedding invites, and I really love the results! I’ll definitely be using it a lot in the future.

 

I, By


I work next to the smell of the sea. 

And sometimes I think that I can understand, just a little, the longing sailors feel when separated from the ocean. 

I grew up next to the sea. 

I know the sound of waves, of gulls, of water slapping the side of boats. 

I grew up watching the sea. 

To be inland, I feel a sense of loss. As if a vital part of me is missing. That sense of endlessness has disappeared. 

Less is More

Every year I find myself wanting to do less and less for my birthday. Yesterday I went to work, and then to celebrate, I went to a pub with just a couple friends.

IMG_0049

Mango cake! My favourite!

It was small, intimate, and perfect.

IMG_0046

I do feel incredibly lucky, though, to work at a place where my employers show that they value their employees.

For each employee’s birthday they will buy them a bouquet of flowers.

For me they chose yellow, since I’m a summer baby, and red for my Chinese heritage. It was thoughtful, and generous, and such a nice touch.

IMG_0050

I’m not sure why I did not feel the need for a great bit celebration – I certainly used to enjoy them. And I know I’m not the only one who now prefers smaller parties.

What about you? How do you enjoy celebrating your birthday? Have your celebrations changed over the years?

The Window

Christine Fichtenr Window

It’s a day where all you do is sit in the window and watch the wind blow through the trees.

Where the rustling is accompanied by your music.

Where your cat curls up on your lap and sleeps the hours away.

Where you can look over at your partner and share a smile that conveys all your love.

Where the sun grows golden among the green of the trees.

Where perhaps you read, or sketch, or write.

Where all the words you speak are soft in nature and in tone.

Where there is tea that steams in warm cups.

Where the day passes gently, busy outside, but calm in the bubble of your window.

—-

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.