This month I took time off to finish my largest crochet project to date: a chevron blanket. It should be finished by the end of the month and then I can get back to writing my cook book. For now it’s a quiet lifestyle with watching Netflix, drinking tea and crocheting.
Last night I had envisioned a flat lay image that I would upload to Instagram. It all looked so perfect in my mind but reality hit me today after I tried replicating the image on my rustic table. I will spare everyone the mental image of my failed attempts. Not a pretty sight, believe me! I will say though, my little kitchen step stool, that I got from IKEA, may be quite handy to reach the top cabinet shelves in the kitchen, but not quite effective with taking photos on an old camera. My camera does not have a swivel screen, nor can I get a live preview from it either. I can only view my photos through the viewfinder, so it can be tricky taking photos with arms stretched up over my head, without an ultra-wide angle lens. I might need to get my analogue fisheye lens to give it a try on another calligraphy artwork. Fisheye lenses or ultra-wide angle lenses are great because your image is always in focus, that should make it easier to photograph and hopefully my big belly won’t get in the way. 50mm was a definite no and this is my achievement with the 35mm. (>.<)
This week I hit a stone on my path. The day did not start well. I woke up at 7am, showered, and got ready to take my man to work, nothing out of the ordinary, or so I thought. I came to a realisation about myself, that I have never even taken into account before. More about that later. After taking my man to work, I was in a rush to get home to start my work day. When you are your own boss, and try to keep within deadlines, you can let things control you, and become counterproductive. I have always tried to keep life simple, and in order, without being obsessive, demanding or, heaven forbid, a control freak! That is not the Christina I ever want to become, but I digress… Because I was in such a hurry, instead of a reverse parallel park, I decided to park by driving forward into a spot in front of my house. Bad idea! A very bad idea, you see, I ended up scraping my neighbour’s car at 8am because of that bad idea. Perfect! Like, what the fuck? I usually park like a boss, especially in tight spaces. What the hell? Yeah! It can happen to anyone, so I preach… but what the fuck?! I get out of my car and assess the damage of my neighbour’s car, then my car. Ah! Dammit! Scratched. Not much, but enough to see the fuckery of my action. I run upstairs to grab paper and a pen to leave a note on the windshield, then drove to the police station to ask for help on filling in the insurance damage form. I took care of everything, took photos, emailed my insurance company, all the while cursing myself for being so damn stupid, and of course the over usage of my favourite curse word continued to colour my morning like confetti being thrown at a parade. I mean, I could have hit my Dutch neighbour, but no, I had to hit my Polish neighbour with the foreign licence plate…Oh my goodness! Poor guy! He is going to have one tough time all because of me. I was feeling like shyte! More cursing and rainbow confetti. Charming! So all that hurriedness, just made me lose my whole day. My heart was not into my work, nothing was going right and no amount of positive vibes or matcha could make me tune back into my normal routine. My guilt just made my whole day a waste and unproductive. Lesson learned! From now on I will always remember to slow down and enjoy the beauty of the world around me. Stress is not going to control me ever again! Stress is counterproductive, if only everyone would realise that. When going for job interviews, how many times have you been asked: “how do you handle stress and deal with situations under pressure?” Companies that foster stress and pressure are the ones that ask that very same question, and that is an indication that you might not be making the right choice. Unfortunately we can not nit pick and choose where we would like to work. Most of us don’t have the luxury in the now, we just have to keep positive and keep looking or make positive change in the workplace of choice.
Hours passed. Night came. Phone rings. My man gets a phone call from the police. A note was found on a parked car on the other side of Tilburg. The note informed the car owner that they hit the car while parking, in Dutch, and signed off Christina de Jesus Pereira but forgot to leave a phone number. Okay… My man was quite surprised by the whole situation. He proceeded to explain very calmly: “You must be mistaken for many reasons. Firstly, the accident did not occur on the other end of the city, secondly Christina would never write the note in Dutch and thirdly she would never sign off with de Jesus. Is that Christina with or without a ‘h’?”. “With”, said the other person on the line. That’s the most bizarre thing ever!
That was when I started to question myself and started having existential issues. The question hung over my head, who is Christina de Jesus Pereira? Same spelling as me? She definitely has character, and she, unlike me, can actually write Dutch, or is at least brave enough to do so. And why have I not removed that de Jesus from my name? Fuck! It’s not my birth name and I will not have it! There cannot be two of us in the same city. Hell no! What is going on? Who is this Christina de Jesus Pereira and who am I? Who am I really? What has lead me to this point in my life and where am I going in the future? What are my plans? I’ve tried several paths and have not been very successful. Which is the right path to take now? The only answer I can come up with is: the creative path. I have a creative mind, my curse, I tried most of my life to stay away from it and I thought biotechological engineering would do that, but it didn’t. I ended up fuelling my artistic side. I am very passionate about art, illustration, painting, calligraphy, and to the relief and joy of my man, I moved away from 3D and went back to 2D art. I tried photography and dedicated 3 years of my life to it, and truly wish I could pursue it, but to start my life from scratch as a native English speaker, with no prior professional experience has proven close to impossible. I thought that being a volunteer for the local newspaper would get me exposure, but that plan backfired. Once you work for free, especially as a foreigner, that is all you are worth. Then life took a turn. I was becoming so sick at such a rapid pace, to the point where I could hardly walk any more, I could hardly feel my feet, a sign that my diabetes was not getting any better, as my medication was increasing and nothing was getting better. I was on Insulin since 2012, then started taking Metformin in 2015 and going downhill… I will never forget the words that my doctor told me while she was discussing my blood results and her: “…it’s normal, for a diabetic…” This lead me into a new awakening and healing, a new reality. Totally unbelievable! The reality of the low fat cult, a total bull shit lie! Fast forward to today, 2 years later, I am experimenting in the kitchen and writing a cook book for a LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) diet, more precisely the Ketogenic diet. I am reclaiming my health, almost reversed my diabetes and dedicating this moment of my life to Keto. Now I ask myself: Who is Christina Pereira? Well… I definitely know that it is not de Jesus! She was born in Australia and now lives in the Netherlands, she loves to draw, loves calligraphy and has a passion for photography and is currently trying to publish a cook book. All this still seems surreal to me. Maybe I am living in a parallel reality. Maybe I am really Christina de Jesus Pereira, who lives on the other side of TIlburg, that speaks and writes Dutch. Maybe I am living a dream, or maybe I am the lucky one living the dream. Who knows? It really shouldn’t matter who I am, or wasting time trying to define who I am. I just am. I am Christina Pereira. I’m quirky, simple and love the simple things in life. I am happy. I am truly happy, and that is how I see myself, and measure my success. Where life takes me, I do not know, but I look forward to the journey, the destination does not matter; what matters is happiness and I am so fortunate to have found it. We all need to find our happiness. Do what makes you happy, enjoy your life but always respect others and be a good person. Always be good, that’s all that really should matter.
I will always be…
Savour the little things, like little drops of love, fill a jar with it, and label it: happiness.
I spent Saturday cozied up on the sofa, watching Netflix, making origami envelopes and practicing my calligraphy.
I decided to make a Valentine’s breakfast for my love today since tomorrow we celebrate our 10 year anniverssary. I made Japanese tamagoyaki with an avocado heart, cucumber hearts and hemp hearts.
Later we went to a theme park here in Tilburg and spent a very romantic day together. Thanks to Michelle for the tickets to the park.
With my health on the mend, I feel a whole new calm. I have never felt so good. I have been cleansing my body and quit sugar since June 2015 and I am no longer food oriented or worried about it damaging my health any more. Just by quitting sugar and grains, I no longer feel pain. There is a new calm in my life. Lagom is the new calm and balance. Lagom is Swedish for moderate balance, but it also has an undertone of “not too much or too little” as well as “just right” or “just enough of.” So it pretty much sums up the feeling you get with minimilsm. How many times have you gone through a home decorating magazine to find how much you like a room with simplicity and wondered how much you like that look. Why is that? I think it looks beautiful and translates peace and coziness. You don’t need too many things and too much translates into confusion and chaos. Scandinavians achieve this balance in their simplistic decor.
When I moved to the Netherlands, I discovered the term “gezellig” which in Dutch means coziness, a nice atmosphere that can be shared with other people, its what Dutch use to express that warm atmosphere you share with friends or fasmily. I recently discovered the Danish equivalent: “hyggelig” or simply “hygge” and through the Danish Hygge, an old colleague from high school, Donna Barlow, back in Sydney, introduced me to the Swedish term: “Lagom”. We may not have such a dedicated word for hominess or coziness that actually translate to these Scandinavian words but we should definitely introduce this into our lives. Find ways to remove the stress, starting in the home, being with friends, going out for tea or coffee somewhere with a cozy atmosphere. Reserve quality time for yourself, love yourself, love others, love what you do, bring meaning to life. Spread the love, say something nice to others, do something nice. Stop. Reset. Heal. We all need to step back every now and then and recharge our batteries. A happier you will translate into a happier environment for all those around you.