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Feeling Joy

I love the fruity colors of this arrangement, don't you? It reminds me of the Summer turning into Autumn which will officially begin next month. This is the type of flower bouquet you can expect to find in the city where I live at the street vendors and farmers' markets. This particular arrangement was already made so I cannot claim to be the designer of it - but do you want to guess the price of it? You'll be shocked. Go ahead, guess how much I paid (without the lovely el cheapo IKEA planter of course)...

(this photo is not upside down by the way, just the book creating the illusion!)

Have you pulled some numbers yet? Any clue? Okay I'll tell you... 2,90 - including tax! Yup. Under 3,- Euros! That is about $4 USD. Can you believe it? Flowers are SO CHEAP here, I can't believe it really. Fruit and veggies, cheese, it's also very inexpensive as is bread and most groceries. I'm really loving the lower cost of living, our rent here is a 1/3 of what we paid in the states and without a car payment, insurance and gas, we're saving a wad of cash.

Of course, we're not in Berlin or Hamburg - these cities are close by for day trips but if we lived there expenses would be much higher. But Hannover is very affordable for the most part. I find here that the basics, the needed things for living -- shelter, food, medical care... are so much cheaper than what I'm used to. And then the things that aren't needed -- can be a little more expensive but even so, not very much more. We also cut our grocery bill in half living here so far. HALF. And we eat mostly BIO food and I use better skincare and hair products. I also eat much healthier living near all of these bio markts and farmers' markets, I'm walking everywhere, recycling everything (glass, plastic, paper, you name it), and because I have to carry everything home I think first before I buy anything -- I consider, "Can I carry this? Or is it too heavy?".

You know, I was thinking yesterday that I'm so happy I made this move. I feel joy. This is life changing for me but more than experiencing something new, I am learning to appreciate the differences that exist between cultures and how some things aren't needed that were once so much relied upon. In a way, I'm learning more about ME. Life has a different pace here. And as much as expats from the states complain about it, I absolutely love that shops are closed on Sunday because now I'm forced to explore museums, hobbies, and the nearby forest or gardens. I'm reaching inside more than ever because I don't feel as distracted with "noise". I am no longer watching all my favorite television series either so my new "stress" relief is either an hour night walk around the city or a few hours at the gym followed by a Finnish sauna. I'm realizing, through a change of environment, language, culture... that my old way of living was in need of a change. I wish I had known this sooner! I can't say this or that culture or country is better or whatever because that's just plain foolish -- problems exist in every country -- but we all have to find our spot and instead of seeking the promise land where others may determine to be hip or cool or even the place to be, we need to find the spot that suits us best. Whether that's some farm in the Kentucky or a remote island off the coast of Africa -- or Berlin or Hong Kong -- there is NO one spot on the planet for all only a spot for each of us. I think I've found my spot. At least for now. And if I evolve and decide to find a new spot, I'll allow myself for that growth as I have before.

I'm also learning through this move, that the spot that matters the most is inside of us and being comfortable in our own skin because if you are your own best friend and are in tune with your own needs, you tend to look out for your own needs more... and you tend to find your spot inside. Though I'm a big believer in inner and outer harmony and that both need to be in synch -- you need to match your environment -- for a rich, full life.

Man, I feel like you're going to shout Amen! -- ha ha! But it's just how I'm feeling and I've missed you all so much and our daily interactions and such -- so I wanted to pop in and share a bit. I hope you've enjoyed my musings and perhaps related on some level to what I've expressed here. :)

(image: Holly Becker for cattledogs)