It is hard to believe that it is already March, and we are almost a quarter of the way through this year. There is a blogging trend that a few German-speaking friends do called “12 von 12” or 12 of 12. I am always meaning to do it as well, and I am always forgetting it. Luckily, I got a couple of reminders this month, and I am so glad, because I always really enjoy seeing these posts from my friends.
The original concept of a 12 von 12, is to post 12 pictures from your “Alltag” or everyday life on the 12th of every month. While I like this concept of sharing with others a small glimpse into what our everyday lives look like “behind the scenes”, I personally want to give it a bit more meaning or context. Therefore, instead of a daily journal snapshot of one day out of the month, I will present mine as 12×12 Grateful, or the 12 things I was most grateful for in the last thirty days.
I am grateful for a recent Detox-Challenge offered by a friend of mine, Gina Heller. I am starting off my days now with sweet Congee (rice porridge) and my evenings with savory. It is amazing all the things you can make from this simple base. Gina is a Sleep and TCM Expert, and I’m grateful to her for introducing me to this delicious and healthy dish, which is slowly becoming a new way of eating and a new way of life for me.
I am so grateful to my boy cat Hemi (short for Hemingway) for the love and affection he gives me. He loves “helping me” break down the boxes for the recycling, which is so funny and sweet.
3. Baby Pigeons and Spring
We have some baby pigeons in one of our balcony flower beds. They are already a few weeks old and growing up so fast. I always check on them in the morning when their Momma goes out to get food to feed them. Of course, I do not touch them and I keep my distance as not to scare or stress them. I am not sure why they chose our place, but I am thankful for the experience of seeing new life and the reminder that spring is almost here.
I spent this morning trying to find all the Räppli or Confetti from our Fasnacht (Carnival Celebrations) this past week. They get in every nook and cranny: it’s not uncommon to be cleaning them up for weeks afterwards. My daughter and I always tease each other that the Waggis have snuck into our house again to celebrate, because they aren’t quite ready to go back home yet. I love this tradition, and I am thankful to Basel Committee for Fasnacht that we were allowed to have this experience this year.
(The photo on the right shows a couple of Waggis)
5. Thoughtfulness and Friendship
My estranged husband got me this book on his work trip last week. It is about finding strength through tranquility or calmness, particularly by appreciating nature. We are still great friends and co-parents, and I love that we get along so well. It was such a heartfelt gift, and I’m thankful to him for thinking of me and to myself for carving out space / time today to read a bit of it.
6. Simple Pleasures
This afternoon I went to a local restaurant at the park by our house and set outside soaking up the sun’s rays and the nice weather. I absolutely love this place. They have the best Chai Latte ever and a fabulous terrace. It is good to find joy and gratitude in pleasures as simple as the warmth of the sun on your skin.
7. Learning New Skills
Last Easter I bought a small “Mobilheim” / Mobile Home Cabin at the Rhine River on the Swiss side close to the German town of Bad Säckingen (a place I have long loved to go with my daughter and one of my favorite German towns). This was a dream I have had since 2015, and I was finally able to realize it last year, six years later. This year we are renovating it and I went to check on the progress that has been made since last week. I contracted the work to a local Master Builder on the condition that I be allowed to help on weekends, so I could learn to do it myself. And have I ever been learning. I now have all kinds of new skills: framing, sheet rock, mudding and taping, insulating walls and ceilings, running water pipes, using various kinds of saws, etc. It has been a really fun and rewarding experience and makes me feel connecting to my ancestors. My grandfathers were an architect and carpenter/painter respectively, and it feels good to put into practice all that I absorbed by tagging along and observing them in my childhood years.
8. The Kindness of Others
This is my girl. She has a small room in our cabin and since it is her room, she is getting to decide everything about how it is designed and decorated. She chose the colors, and at the suggestion of my building contractor, she is helping with the painting and any wood-working/building we do in her room. I honestly have the best contractor and think it is super cool of him to include her in this too. The Germans have a saying, “Wer das Kind bei der Hand nimmt, nimmt die Mutter beim Herz.” / He who takes a child by the hand, takes the mother by the heart. So true.
9. Sharing a Meal with Friends
I love cooking, especially when I get to share some of my secret family recipes with friends. Nothing makes me happier than to share a warm, delicious meal with those I care most about in the world.
10. “Gratis” Finds / Upcycling
It is not uncommon in Switzerland for people to put perfectly good (and sometimes brand-new but unwanted) things onto the sidewalk with a sign that says “Gratis”. That means it is free for anyone who wants it to take it. On my walk today, I came across this cat tree and grabbed it so Hemi will have one at the Cabin. He wasted no time breaking it in.
It is in perfect shape and, apart from a few hairs from the previous cat, it was like brand new. I love that we have this recycling / upcycling culture here. It is so much better for the planet when we can make good use of something that others no longer need or want.
11. Roller skates
Where I come from we have indoor rinks to skate around which is nice because you don’t have to worry about things like pebbles and stones. However, like so many things since coming to Europe, I have had to adapt. I now skate outdoors and apart from the small stones that sometimes get stuck in my wheels, I am actually starting to prefer it. I am grateful for the warm days we are now having that allow me to get out on my skates and feel the wind in my hair.
12. The Innocence of Youth
I am grateful for this age and the time I have with my daughter before she becomes a teenager. She is in the beginnings of being too old for “baby things” and yet she still has room in her heart for her favorite stuffy “Pink Bunny” who occasionally gets to hop in her backpack and go on excursions with us. I cherish these times because I know this will be coming to an end sooner than this Momma’s heart would like.
I hope you enjoyed this slight glimpse into my life, and I look forward to sharing more 12x12s with you in upcoming months. I love two-for-ones (e.g. habit-stacking) as a way to accomplish two things you want to do in less time: in my case, that is being grateful and blogging. The 12×12 is enabling this, and I definitely plan to stick with the habit. It is a fun and light-hearted way to share a few slices of my life with others through the blog, while remembering to be grateful for and find beauty in the simplest moments in life.