Sending snail mail

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #28

Though I love receiving postcards and letters, I think I enjoy sending them even more! The idea of the recipient opening their mailbox to find something other than bills and junk mail for a change makes me very happy. So last weekend I took some time to write some postal mail to a few friends around the world.

Here’s my ritual. First I select a card or find some paper to write on (once on the Camino I didn’t have any paper so I just ripped out a few blank pages from the novel I was reading to write a letter, really anything will do).  I settle quietly and think of the person I’m writing to before jotting down a few words, it doesn’t have to be long. Then I attempt to write the address as legibly as possible, and stick on a stamp or two (bonus points for lovely stamps:).

Remembering to post the envelopes is usually my struggle as I tend to carry them around in my bag for a few days by mistake before I finally send them off on their way…  The uncertainty of when (and whether?) the postal mail will arrive is a large part of the magic of sending postal mail.

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Simple tips for writing more snail mail:

  • buy nice postcards or greeting cards when you see them in shops, having them handy at home makes it so much easier and quicker to write one
  • always have a stock stamps in the house, this saves the effort of having to go out to buy them specifically
  • write postal mail in batches of a few postcards/letters at a time for increased efficiency and satisfaction

Nature just around the corner

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #25

I am deeply grateful for living in a part of the city that also has nature close by. It looks like I’m deep in a forest, but this picture was taken just five minutes from my flat.

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After a day sitting at my desk, it feels so good to go for a walk and stretch my legs, and feel the sun on my skin.

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Today I was accompanied by bird song from the trees, and when I listened carefully even the buzzing of some bees and other insects.

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Just taking the time observe these plants and look at their details is like a meditation for me.

Short walk around the block

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #24

In the last few years I usually try to flee Amsterdam on King’s Day to avoid the crowds of people dressed in orange who hit the streets to celebrate the King’s birthday.

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This year I’m in town but I took the opportunity of this day off to chill at home and do some spring cleaning at home whilst listening to S-Town (I’m hooked!).

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Neverthelsess with the sun shining so nicely outside, I decided to get out of the house and go for a spontaneous photo walk around my neighbourhood, where luckily there are no crowds.

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Despite May being just around the corner, it was still pretty cold, practically glove weather.  The flowers popping up on every corner, bushes growing shiny fresh new leaves of all different colours and trees in full bloom tell another story.  Winter is over!

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It was a pleasure to be mindful and take in all the colours and textures to be found on a short walk.

Discovering Thailand

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #23

My trip through Thailand was amazing!  It was a perfect blend of exploring Bangkok and making my way down to the South via Suratthani on my own, and then meeting up with wonderful friends to celebrate a wedding and travel on the paradise islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

Everything was so different from Amsterdam that it took no time at all to switch into holiday mode, forget any thoughts about work and be in the moment. I must say trying all sorts of delicious foods, learning to navigate my way around Bangkok, observing buddhist rituals in the colourful temples, exploring the bustling streets with their tuk-tuks and street vendors, as well as getting regular massages really helped to disconnect from daily grind back home:)

I feel so privileged to have had the possibility to discover some of this beautiful country and had the time to explore at a leisurely pace without rushing.  I will be sharing some pictures and impressions over the next weeks.

I’m off to Thailand!!

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #22

The count down has started and I’m down to my last days of work before leaving on a very well-deserved holiday (if I may say so myself;). This term has been extremely busy at work and I’m so excited to have some down time to relax, explore Bangkok, chill at the beach in Koh Samui, enjoy Thai food and especially catch up with wonderful friends who I haven’t seen for a long time.

I leave my lovely house plants in Paolo’s good hands while I’m gone. I’ve also dug through my archives and found some pictures of plants to entertain you in my absence so watch this space. In the meantime, I hope to discover many beautiful tropical plants on my travels and will report back when I return:)

Digital detox

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #21

Paolo and I have decided to consciously spend one evening a week in digital detox mode. The rules are simple: during the weekend we decide which week night it will be, and when that evening comes around we switch off our computers and the wifi on our phones at 6pm.

It feels really good to be disconnected (especially after intense days on the computer at work).  It’s fun to see all you can do in one evening without internet: we’ve been cooking delicious new recipes with my sister, chatting a lot, being creative, sorting paperwork, reading books and basically relaxing away from the screens.

Marching for equality

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #20

I’m grateful for the thousands of women, men, kids, dogs and their owners who carved some time out of their busy lives to come to the second Women’s March in Amsterdam last Saturday.

There were many wonderful slogans with puns and creative colourful banners, but the one above was my favorite. Simple, yes, but sometimes it’s good to go back to the basics, especially considering all the misconceptions around feminism.

There was a great atmosphere of solidarity at the march and it was heartwarming to see so many people who care enough to turn up and make sure their voice is heard for women and equality in general.

Taking another route

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #19

This morning was one of the first sunny spring mornings, so instead of trying to get to the office as fast as possible I decided to take my time (it was Friday after all!). I took a slightly different route as I cycled through the Vondelpark and just making that small change made me much more aware of my surroundings.  Normally I am lost in my thoughts, or just paying attention to the path, but this morning I really enjoyed the view. The soft sunlight shining through the trees was magnificent!

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Discovering Nijmegen

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JOYFUL GRATITUDE #18

I’m very grateful for a lovely weekend with Paolo discovering Nijmegen for the first time. Despite the cold, we walked around the park overlooking the river Waal from Nijmegen’s hill and wandered down the little streets of the town.

We had to warm up regularly and which was a great excuse to stop in wonderful cafés and indulge in hearty sandwiches and rich cakes:)

Thanks to Paolo’s perseverance and good luck, we even got the last two tickets to watch a play version of Jack Kerouac’s On The Road that just happened to be playing that evening at the theater. The actors  were captivating and their way of telling the story was gripping!

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