Last April I was training for the Camino, a walk in the hills of Spain, a pilgrimage.

It’s been almost a year since I crossed in to the plaza, staring up at the Cathedral de Santiago, my feet blistered, the sounds of the Glacian bagpipe echoing against the brick. In my naivete, I thought this was the end of my journey. But I realize, more than ever, that I am still very much on this pilgrimage of life, walking it’s peaks and valleys.

I’ve felt the downward slope of rough days in the past week, feeling frustrated, weak….sad. But then I remember Peter, from Korea, with his kind eyes, telling me how as he walked the Camino, he felt every. step. Uphill, downhill, through the rain and in the sun, he walked with purpose, never taking a moment in his journey for granted.

Finding blessing in being a perregino.

…And what a blessing it is.

 

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french beauty

(Image source: Unknown)

One night in Luxembourg, I was going to dinner with some friends. I had gotten ready in the normal fashion – coiffed hair, make-up, a carefully selected outfit – and hit the town. As we entered the restaurant, I caught a glimpse of one of chicest women I’ve ever seen: fresh faced, her hair naturally falling down her back, a simple long sleeved shirt, and (of course) red lips.

I loved that. Simple, effortless, natural, with a pop of color.

It seems like the M.O. of those stylish French ladies is to take care of what you’ve got, and then, to show it off. For example, in France, the pharmacies are filled with lovely creams, lotions, and vitamins for beautiful skin that you wouldn’t think of covering up with foundation.

The other day I found Gwyneth’s list of her favorite French pharmacy finds and it made me (among other things) want to get on the next plane to Paris.

pocket full of sunshine

 

Today the sun shone for the first time in what seemed like years (really it was just a week or so) and all of a sudden everything was literally, and figuratively, so much brighter. The weight of the world, of questions, decisions, the future – all of it just seemed to lighten, just a bit. And what seemed like the big problems yesterday, today feel small, insignificant, totally doable.

A few of my favorite sunny day pictures:

we put our feet just where they had, had to go

On Sunday night, in a moment of impulse, I bought a ticket to see Beirut at the House of Blues. And it was so wonderful.

You know how you get obsessed with a song, or a band, listen to them everyday for a month before retiring them away for a while? And then, whenever you listen to them, as if by magic, you’re transported back to that time in your life when that music was so important?

(from here)

For me, Beirut takes me back to Europe, the early days. The days of small French apartments, salty sea air, bikes and two euro bottles of cheap champagne…of drafty castles, French housekeepers, brown German bread, and iambic-pentameter Luxembourgish.

And mostly, of trains, and watching the countryside pass by. Beirut was the band I would listen to, en route, feeling that rush of new adventure, of forward movement, speeding into the unknown.

scarves

I blame it on France. Currently, in my room, there is an over flowing box filled with scarves. If you’ve ever visited France, you know that this is a wardrobe staple. Heck, all French stereotypes, from the stripped shirted mime to any francophile SNL skit, are dressed in scarves.

My only problem has been figuring out how to wear them. My colleagues always had this effortless way about their scarves, whereas mine always felt like a one-note tune. I’ve always just thrown them around my neck, but in reality, there are hundreds of ways to show off your écharpe.

And this is why I LOVE this video. What a fun way to get those creative scarf juices flowing!

the clothes on our backs

hey gang!

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted here and it’s mostly because things are moving and shaking in these parts. There have been scavenger hunts to organize (did you know I was a sort of freelance scavenger hunt creator?), among other things, so life has been pleasantly busy.

And for this lady, who hates having nothing to do, to be busy is to be happy.

Today I threw together a quick little outfit, really without much thought, but as I went about my day, I couldn’t help but think about what I was wearing. It wasn’t really anything special or spectacular (in fact, I looked pretty gross, truth be told), but there were lovely memories associated with each item.

My fringe moccasins? I spent the last little tiny bit of my paycheck on them in Lyon, France, when I was a language assistant in La Rochelle. I had seen them in a few magazines, and when they beckoned my name through the shop window, my impulse gave a resounding ‘OUI’.

My jeans (er, jeggings)? I found them in a thrift store a few months ago in Seattle in the Capitol Hill district. It was a last minute grab off the rack and they ended up being my ‘go-to’ pants. Plus, they came with a little bit of glitter, which begs the questions – what were these pants in their former life?

My shirt? A red and white stripped number that I bought on the Normandie coast in France. I’m telling you, it was in a store filled with stripes. Socks, shirts, hats, blankets, bags – everything had Breton stripes. I was so elated, I left my phone there.

It was a rag-tag, odd combination of clothing, but it was great to take these memores with me as I tackled my day.

flying over icebergs

I won’t lie, looking for a job is hard. Emotionally taxing. Folks are so great about giving advice, and I really appreciate all the little tips, ideas and job leads. But sometimes? Sometimes I want to dig my heals in, be stubborn, prideful and tell people that I don’t need help (when the reality is, I do).

For the first time, I feel like I’m starting to inch along this long road, slowly but surely. I’m blessed beyond belief with a supportive family, a roof over my head (which more often than not, also involves homecooked dinner) and a cozy coffee shop that keeps me caffeinated as I scour job boards.

I found these photos when I was looking at the ol’ archives this morning. They’re from this July when I was flying home to move back for the foreseeable future. In the countless flights I’ve been on, I’d never seen something quite like this as we flew over Greenland. Brilliantly white ice caps floating in the ocean, speckling the blue sea.

I was nervous, a little sad, a little excited, and completely unsure of what would be next. Honestly, I still feel like I’m floating in that same limbo, but I’m hopeful that it will all be worth the wait (for whatever could happen next).