dinsdag 18 maart 2014

A new adventure

A New Start

 Scary thing, I’ve just deleted all the former posts of my blog.
You might ask why: we, my daughters and I, made a new start, in August last year when we moved to Sweden.
A long cherished dream came to reality.

One day I saw a house for rent in a small village in the south of Sweden. The next day we got in our car, drove to Sweden and rented the house.
We love living here.

How this all came to be?

Years and years ago, in 1997, I saw a documentary called “Het steentje van Gisèle”, about the Dutch painter and glass artist Gisèle d'Ailly-van Waterschoot van der Gracht.
Born in 1912 she was already 85 years old at the time of the documentary. Very old, but not old.
Her passion, her zest for life. The way she could look at a simple leaf as if she saw it for the very first time. Life had to be celebrated. I wanted to be like that.
Her life story read like a book.
She made such a big impression on me, a lasting impression.

Three years later we went to Sweden for the first time, to fall in love with this beautiful country straight away.
We travelled around and in the south rented a little stuga.
The owner lived a few meters away in her own house.

When we arrived she came out, hopping, almost like dancing, dressed in pink shorts and a t-shirt, her grey hair shoulder long, barefooted.
She swam in the lake in front of her house from March till Octobre, was a vegetarian, grew all her own vegetables, chopped wood for the stove.
And here again too, the passion, the zest for life.
We assumed she was somewhere in her sixties.
Until she told us she had bought this little farmhouse after her retirement, 13 years before, being tired of living in the city. She actually was 78.
A Swedish Gisèle who made an equally big impression.

Later that year there was an exposition of Gisèle d'Ailly’s work in a museum in Roermond.
She had worked and lived in the same region where I grew up.
My youngest daughter, then 4, sat down in front of one her paintings, completely lost in a world of her own.

Since then we went back to Sweden many times, always wanting to stay.  Sometimes stayed in the same stuga, always wrote letters.
Two years ago we visited our Swedish Gisèle again, 90 years old. She still swam from March till Octobre, still grew her own vegetables, cycled into town (although she had difficulties with the slope to her house: it’s that steep even our car has), she didn’t ski anymore but only went cross-country skiing, still drove her car but not in a busy city. She ran up the stairs remembering she still had a chocolate bar upstairs.
I just love her.

In 2013 all my daughters finished with school or university, a new period in our lives began. It was now or never. We got together all our courage and here we are.

Much is still uncertain, but what an adventure it is.
We just planted all the seeds for our own vegetable garden, we chop our own wood.
We saw deer in our garden, moose across the street, the cranes returning after winter.
We celebrated our first Christmas here. Had winter picknicks at the river behind our house.

A few weeks ago we drove into town, by the side of the road was a hitchhiker and we gave her a lift.
An 80-year old hitchhiker. She had lived in a retirement home until there was a leakage in the ceiling. It had taken them forever to repair it and she finally decided to do it herself. Which made her wonder what she was doing in the retirement home at all. She packed up all her belongings, rented a house in a tiny hamlet and left the retirement home. There is no public transportation, she just waits for a lift and meets all sorts of people.

The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared  in real life.
How wonderful.

In september I mindlessly listened to a re-run of programme on TV, the Dutch writer Susan Smit had written a book about Gisèle d'Ailly, Adriaan Roland Holst ( a Dutch poet) and the actress Mies Peters. Only then I heard that Gisèle d'Ailly has passed away in May, a 101 years old.

On the trainstation in Eindhoven it says :

Wie zich zijn eigen weg baant
door de wereld
Hoort in het leven
eens zijn eigen lied

(If you pave your own way in the world, you willl someday hear your own song)
A text by Adriaan Roland Holst.
I have seen it many times.
'k Moet dwalen, 'k moet dwalen
Langs bergen en langs dalen says a children’s song. ( I have to wander, I have to wander over mountains and through valleys).
To find the adventures in our life.

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