Living in the whole world

Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors—home, car, gym, office, shops—disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.

Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust

Cooking as a hobby

When cooking is not just a daily necessity for survival, but an activity you actually enjoy, you can end up days like this one. Cooking chipotle tofu for lunch (with fresh guacamole!), having soup and salad with locally made sausages for dinner, and a just-because pear tarte tatin for dessert. Noms!

Relaxing smells

I remember rifling through my mom’s basket of essential oils as a kid. I couldn’t tell you all the things we used them for, but the tactile memory of handling the tiny bottles and twisting of the caps to get a sniff is very much still with me.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to get oils of my own. Maybe because I know how much each milliliter is worth. Maybe because I couldn’t decide what scents to start with. Maybe because I didn’t think I could replace that basket from my childhood.

But I finally did get a handful of bottles, and tonight I mixed eucalyptus and lavender with a bowlful of rice to refill my homemade heating pad. It needs to sit a while and absorb the oils, but I can’t wait to sew it back up and try it out.

An office with a view

Earlier this week my home internet wasn’t working, and I had to decide where to work instead. I considered a coworking space in the area, but their hours are limited to standard business hours and I didn’t want to organize myself (and my commute!) to that schedule. I also thought about walking to one of several comfortable coffee shops nearby.

But right before settling down to work, I had to run a book back to the library — and I realized that my library has wifi and numerous tables to sit at. As it turns out, they also have a very nice view of the river:

Seeing in new ways

At the Manchester Art Gallery this summer I encountered an exhibition called And Breathe…. Part of the gallery’s Mindful Museum campaign, this exhibition invites you to sit and listen to guided meditations as you look at the paintings.

One of the meditations led me to look around a painting clockwise, taking in the colors, textures, and other characteristics without judgment. Another encouraged me to slow down and notice small details. By the end of the visit, I was looking at the paintings in new ways — enjoying the experience of seeing without worrying about what I was meant to see.

Refreshing my vocabulary

Vocabulary has always been my weak point with languages. My Spanish vocabulary was once extensive from years of studying, reading, and conversation, but even though my grammatical knowledge is as strong as ever I now find it hard to pinpoint the words I’m looking for. In learning Farsi, I find myself itching to have more conversation but held back by the limited number of concepts I know how to express.

So I dusted off the Memrise app and have been spending my evenings reviewing all the languages I once knew (Spanish, Catalan, German, Japanese) and expanding my Farsi vocabulary. I could do this all day. 😊