Celebrating the Past Year

I have not written much this year. This is not an apology.

I do not just refer to this blog, though I have not written much here this year, either, but in general – I have not had much time to write, and I do not regret it, although I do have multiple emails which I feel I should write/reply to that are more than a little bit overdue, and other things I feel I should get to in the coming year that I had not in the outgoing 2018. If you are one of my friends who have found me unresponsive or silent online in the past year, I am sorry, I will remedy this, and this is not you. It’s not even all just me (life happens), but mostly it is me.

This past year began, for me, on Dec 15th of last year, which was the date when we moved into our new home. A little early, but the major change was then rather than Dec 31st, and that makes all the difference. And yes, we were more than a little nuts to move into our newly-not-quite-fully-renovated house a week before the major holidays hit, but on the other hand we also wanted to do so before the holidays so we wouldn’t have to have our holidays in a cramped apartment full of boxes. In that sense, the move was timed at the last possible moment, but it was successful at what it was meant to do.

… Then we had to assemble all the furniture that IKEA delivered a couple of days before Yule in order to have a table to eat on, and a bed to sleep on, and then adventures in unpacking begun. And our builder came back after the holidays to finish the library and scare the cats. And then more unpacking happened, and then spring hit us like a hit-and-run truck without any warning after a long and exhausting winter. Things I hoped to have several weeks for after the snow thawed had to be done in under a week, before the summer, which ended up tropical so the garden needed extra care, and so on and so forth. Before I knew it, it was November, and as I surfaced for air, I realized the year has come and gone. But over its course we got many of the things ironed out in the house, from decluttering the storage (which is again full of stuff, and how does that even happen?!), to shipping our books from Stockholm and finally having something on the previously-bare library shelves.

We threw a party for friends, colleagues and neighbors to celebrate the moving-in anniversary on December 15th, and we have been resting since the day after (when we shoved the dishes into the dishwasher and took out the trash), and taking stock of the passing year.

I guess where I am, long-windedly, trying to get to, is that this year, despite passing in a rush of weather extremes, move, more renovations, and massive unpacking after several years’ worth of international relocations, has had much to recommend it, and there’s much to celebrate.

Without an imminent threat of moving and associated stress, our health has continued to improve. That, combined with the workout Norway insists we need – shoveling snow, wrangling bushes, trimming trees, digging in the garden, and various house improvements – resulted in us no longer feeling winded when we haul multiple sacks of firewood into the house.

And speaking of firewood, we have learned how to light our woodstove. Those of you who have always had one may laugh, but for city people who have always wanted a fireplace but never had one, it feels like a massive accomplishment to get a nice hot fire going quickly without more than one piece of fireplace starter and a handful of kindling. It is especially lovely on freezing winter nights when the house chills out as the sun sets and the heat is particularly appreciated. Also, the cats yell at us if we fail at making the Magical Warm Machine work, so there’s that.

We have made the initially too-dry after construction work house into a cozy nest, and we have learned how to be happy and comfortable in it.

Yes, I remember that there are many bad things in the world. And I know we are very privileged – though we have worked for it, so it’s not like we do not appreciate what good fortune has allowed us to do and have. This is not the post to humblebrag about this charity or that which I might have donated to in order to ease my bad conscience (I don’t have a bad conscience, and yes, we’ve paid our builder a lot of money and all taxes to practice what I preach). This is a post to mark a celebration of having achieved a place we both love to call home after years of being nomads.

I am learning Norwegian. T has settled in to his work and enjoys it immensely. The garden sleeps under piles of snow. The cats are sleeping upside-down next to the fireplace. The year is drawing to a close.

I do not do New Year’s resolutions as a matter of principle – if you aren’t willing to do things over the course of the year, a resolution right before the midnight hour won’t do a thing to change that, and I do have many things to catch up on that went by the wayside this year. But for another few short days while we curl up to wait for the new year and the return of the sun, those things can wait.

Winter House 2018

Happy Upcoming Year, Everyone!

One thought on “Celebrating the Past Year

  1. Hi Veronika. I just ventured over to your Instagram and it stole two hours of my Sunday morning as I ventured backward in time — your time — a whole year. Looks like you’ve been happily busy. So I have to ask: what does moose taste like? I’m thinking venison. Also: must make some chili-cheese bread for the new year. Have lots of sun-dried chilies from previous harvests and a bit of horseradish cheese. Now I’m hungry. Time for a very late breakfast. Because evil Instagram.

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