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another year

No - this is not a birthday post - even though my birthday plays a role in it.

Pretty much one year ago - 11 months to be precise - I arrived here in Aljezur completely broken and exhausted.

Everyone of us has their own stories to tell about 2020. In my case it meant coming to terms with the loss of 3 grandparents in a relatively short amount of time, feeling caged in physically, due to the lockdown and travel restrictions, but also trapped mentally in a life that had me feeling misunderstood and - well kind of misplaced to be honest. It all came to a climax with a huge fight between me and my parents that left me quite heartbroken and confused.

As if I had instictively known, I had a booked flight to Portugal for the week later and a I had planned to work from there for a couple of weeks, combined with the few left over vacation days.

Two weeks turned into two months. Two months of long beach walks, sitting and staring at the waves, yoga sessions with my favorite teachers, bread and cake from my favorite bakery, oranges picked straight from the tree, cosy days inside when winter storms were rattling in the windows, so many rainbows after the storms and cranio therapy sessions that have since become a regular whenever I am here. But most important of all were the dinners full of delicious food and laughter every night with Ana & Vitor, my AirBnB hosts that have now become such dear friends.

I was charging up on all that good energy and sunshine, whenever my work schedule allowed it. As the COVID situation became worse and worse in Germany and lockdowns and distancing restrictions became more and more insane, I just did not want to give up all the good and nourishing vibes only to plummet into another crisis at home. Luckily my employer allowed me to prolong and keep working from my little safe space here and I decided to spent Christmas in Aljezur rather than entering the lottery on who is allowed to see whom back home. I also did not want to go back to a prententious Christmas at home with everyone acting like nothing happened.

December is one of my favorite months, as it is my birthday and Christmas, which means I am in touch with all the people I love and care about during that month.

So it turned out that I was sitting on the walls of the old Castello in Aljezur on the morning of my birthday, masses of clover at my feed (good sign, right?), listening to and reading my messages and shedding the one or the other tear. I was exactly in the place I that had planned to celebrate my 40th birthday in - pre COVID that would have meant a big party with people coming in from all over the world. (That idea sounds totally rididculous and extravagant right now.)

Christmas was spent watching the house and feeding the cats whilst Ana & Vitor were in Spain to see family. I watched movies, went hiking and even swimming, read a few books and saw friends for a super chilled Xmas lunch ... and ... well, started to set up this blog. It was one of the best Christmases of my life and one I will most likely always remember.

Even though it sounds so cheesy and dramatic, I will also always remember that time for "bringing me back to life" after some of the hardest months yet.

I decided to hand in my notice for my flat and posted it via courier from Portugal. I finally wanted to go through with the idea of moving to Cologne to try a find a set up for my life again that doesn't leave me feeling so lost. (That is worth a whole other blogpost.)

Since then I have been back to Alejzur in May for a month after finishing my move. By then Germany was still in lockdown and I wasn't even able to get a kitchen installed in my new flat, so I just left all my stuff in the empty flat and came back here to a month of sunshine, ocean, dinners, yoga, cranio ... you get my drift ...

And now I just spent two weeks of vacation attending the Mysore Intensives at Dawn Collective Shala , finally practicing in a room full of people again, a few of them good friends of mine.

Whenever I arrive here I tend to do an "inventory" of my emotional status and try and give myself credit for the progress I have made and for taking care of myself in ways that I know work for me.

And even though I probably appear to be quite good at that to people on the outside, nobody sees the turmoil that comes with it on the inside. The anxiety, the guilt trips and the self doubt that are always part of it and which I continously have to work on.

Something that feels much easier when waking up to bird song rather than city sounds, the September sun and the view of the Amoreira valley ending in the deep blue of the Atlantic ocean.

You can now feel the season change into late summer. The light is getting softer, the tourist are getting fewer and the wind stronger and chillier. All of this reminds me so much of the time I got here last year, which is also what triggered this blog post together with a huge amount of gratitude for feeling like myself again.



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