Weekend Coffee Share – Lucia

Lussekatter

The sweet, seducing scent of saffron is lingering this weekend. If we were having coffee I would ask you if you would like to try a saffron pastry. Would you like one? Are you familiar with saffron? It was challenging to find saffron to make these pastries for Lucia when I lived in the US. Here in Sweden every store carry saffron in December. It’s an expensive spice, with a very characteristic taste and smell, you either hate, or love it. Most Swedes love it. I made these pastries early this morning.

If you were here in my living room, we would sit in the red couch from Ikea that I assembled last night. I would ask you if you think I should add another sitting area with a couple armchairs, or maybe one of those hand carved wooden couches famous for this region, on the opposite side of the room? It would have to be after Christmas, with the Christmas tree in the room it would be too crowded for my liking. 

The couch was the last piece of furniture I assembled for our new apartment. It now feels like home. Sure there are a few finishing touches to be made, like more lamps, and I am still waiting for the curtain-rods that I’ve ordered. I have beautiful curtains for all the rooms (seven big windows,) but no way to hang them yet. The curtain-rods were supposed to be here last week, but are slightly delayed, hopefully they’ll get here within the next couple days. I put Christmas glitter around my daughter’s windows, but all the other windows are bare, except for the blinds. I also need plants, lots of them 🙂 Fun details to be added over time, overall I am extremely happy with how everything turned out. 

There are two bedrooms, and my son and daughter have those. The living room and kitchen are in one big, open, L-shaped space, and I’ve created an area for myself in the corner between the kitchen and the living room. “My room” have big windows covering all the walls, and the balcony is right outside. I’ve made “my room” with two sections of shelves. I imagine the section towards the living room filled with beautiful books, and the other section towards the kitchen like a wall of green (unscented) plants. I also imagine one bigger plant, standing on the floor, next to the section of books. 

The balcony have glass all around it, in panels, like a greenhouse. You can open the panels, and they do have blinds that you can pull out for shade, if needed. The balcony is 120 sf, and I am going to turn the area into a balcony garden this spring. I am super excited about that! Right now I have two fig trees, a big sage plant, and a container with strawberries resting there, while waiting for warmer weather. I already have all the big containers I invested in this year to plant in, come spring time. The balcony roof is rather high and I can grow a lot of produce if I use the vertical space as well. Ooops, this is already a lengthy post, and I haven’t started to tell you anything about this week..I was planning on making this a short post, only sharing some photos from our new place. LOL. 

It’s been an intense week, and I was looking forward to sleeping in Saturday morning, instead my daughter woke me up at 3AM, wanting to make a gingerbread house! I told her to go back to sleep. She did. I did not. Then she came to me at 4.30, just as my eye lids started to get a little heavy again..I told her to go back to sleep. She did, and I did. Then she woke at 6AM, and she made a gingerbread house. I did not get to help, but she wanted my company. I choose to see that as a blessing.

6AM….

On Thursday we celebrated Alfred Nobel. We encouraged the children to dress up in their best clothes, and we (teachers) did as well. We discussed what Nobel has done for the world, performed some experiments, talked about the five different Nobel Prizes, and enjoyed an elegant three course meal. It was a memorable day. I filmed some of the experiments, and took many photos for the parents to be able to be a part of the day as well.

Would you like a refill on your coffee? Did you like the saffron pastry? The name of the pastry is Lussekatt. Feel free to have another one if you like. Lucia, the celebration associated with saffron, is today. It is a countdown to Christmas for most kids. We are having our lucia celebration at school on Tuesday, and we’ve been practicing our luciatåg every day. A luciatåg is a type of parade with Christmas songs, performed to brighten the spirit of the audience. It is common, in normal times without Covid, to sing at retirement housings and schools, combined with handing out gingerbread cookies and lussekatter.

Speaking of Christmas, our principal arranged a surprise Christmas party for us on Monday this week. Everyone was surprised! Once a month we have an evening meeting at work, dedicated to either discuss things about our school, or implementing new ways of teaching/learning etc. This meeting started out as one of those, and was transformed into a party, with an exquisite meal served at the end. It was a total surprise! If we were having coffee I would have asked you first about your week, before telling you all this, but please, go ahead, tell me about your life. Are you ready for Christmas? How are you doing?

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Pieces Of The Puzzle

Thank you for having coffee with me today, even though I’ve been so absent for the past ten days or so. How would you like your coffee? I have this really smooth Christmas blend if you’d like to try? Or maybe some herbal tea? Matcha tea? 

Work is crazy busy, I mean it is always busy with 29 kids in your class, but now in the days of Covid the number of co-workers present at school for the day vary a lot, and we try to help all the departments the best way we can think of. Some days are very busy. Many people are worried about the situation around Covid, which adds on to the days, you have to take the extra time to reassure children, parents, and co-workers. Things are good, but the threat of the virus is not disappearing, some days it feels like it is the other way around. 

I have been commuting to work, taking two buses every morning, and then two buses home every afternoon (most of you know that already.) My “free time” (usually after spending about 12 hours away from home every Mon-Fri) have been mostly dedicated to helping my eight year old daughter to feel on top of her world, making sure she is doing great in school, and that we eat healthy food, get enough sleep etc. .  Considering everything, we have been doing wonderfully this fall. It’s been tough at times, but life is good, even though it is busy. I sleep very good at night!

Do you need a refill on your coffee? I do believe there are some gingerbread cookies, would you like to try them?

I like working towards a goal, and this fall it’s been towards upgrading our living space. This week we reached that milestone. On Tuesday we moved in to our new apartment, in a beautiful passive house (closer to work.) As we speak I am sitting in an almost empty, but wonderful space. There is a Christmas tree in the living room, and our photos on the walls, mattresses in the bedrooms, and cupboards filled with food. There is also a unique, handmade kitchen table, upside down next to me, I need to fasten the legs a little before using it. Before noon today I’m expecting a truckload of furniture from Ikea; beds, desks, chairs, shelves, a couch, and other useful items for getting your clothes organised. I’m going to spend the afternoon with a screwdriver in my hand, putting as much furniture together as I can before going to bed tonight. 

Yet, there is one, not so little thing, that turned my world upside down last week, all to the better that I haven’t told you about yet. The whole story is long, and very personal, and I won’t go in to any details, but I’ll give you the overall picture. I have a teenage son, that choose to live with his father a few years ago, he has been missing for a while, and turned up in my town last week. He now lives with us in our new apartment, and is going to start school here. I can not describe the immense joy and gratitude I feel in my heart to have both my children here with me. Not having him in my life have been one of those things that are too painful to talk about. Growing up I was always the girl that others pitied, at first when my mom had cancer, and later even more when she died. As an adult I choose to not talk widely about the grief I’ve experienced about not being with my son (I did talk to a few close friends,) as I did not want to be that martyr that other people pitied ever again. Now when he is back my joy is almost overwhelming, and I want to shout it out from the top of a mountain. Of course I am not going to since it would probably embarrass a 15 year old, but I can share that feeling with you. My son and I have had many long conversations and shared tears of happiness this past week. Seeing my two children laugh together is priceless. Ooo, I almost forgot, it was my birthday on Wednesday. It was a joyful day, as you can imagine. 

I hope you will accept my apology for not being present for a while. I’m going to have some time before the furniture arrive today for coffee visits, and I promise to share photos of our new place next weekend. How are you doing?

Love,

Maria

Weekend Coffee Share – Gratitude; Starting To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Can I offer you a steaming hot cup of coffee? It’s a perfectly balanced Christmas blend. It’s strong, with an exciting aftermath of Christmas spice, a hint, not too much, just a little added excitement and promises of good times. 

How are things in your corner of the world? What’s the weather like? It’s about 15F here this early morning, it will warm up to around 25F later today. The ground is covered with frost, and a very slight amount of snow. Everything is white, but no massive amounts of snow. It’s very beautiful. We are expecting more snow next week. I brought my camera with me to work one morning (the photos you can see in this post, it was right before the world transformed to a white winter wonderland) knowing I would have some extra time while changing buses in town. I took some pictures, while sipping a thermos of coffee by the canal that runs through our town. A lot of people have started to decorate for Christmas this week. Since we are moving on Tuesday I will do my decorating next weekend. One of my colleagues gave me an early Christmas gift on Friday, two most beautiful Christmas curtains for my kitchen windows. 

Something huge happened this week, that at first made me worried beyond sick, and later turned in to the biggest blessing of the year. I’m not ready to share yet, but I’ll tell you that a missing piece of my life have found its way to the right place, not only symbolically spoken. I hope your week and weekend is a great one.

For my friends in the US, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving! I feel that I have so much to be thankful for this year; family, health, friends, my new place, the close proximity to amazing nature, clean air, and a fulfilling job that I love. What things made it to your top ten things that you are thankful for this year? 

Love,

Maria