I sit on the couch, there’s a Christmas movie on TV, I don’t know which is the title, it doesn’t matter, it just sets the right mood. I close the curtains to create a dim light the living room, thus the lights on my tiny Christmas tree will shine more tree brightly. They wrap my tiny juniper tree and stretch all around the white bookcase I bought from Ikea, the first piece of furniture I got for the new house just a year ago. It’s that time of the year when I like to get nostalgic, thinking about what has happened in the year that is ending among a toast and a kiss under the mistletoe. I was not expecting a year like this, thought I lived it to the fullest discovering parts of myself I didn’t know before, embracing the new adventures without being scared.
I began the new year in the Alps, under the snow for the first time. I came home and I started to call home what was not my house just a few days before. I started to love the new view, a few meters away from my parents’ house but still new, a new perspective on the countryside, the forest and life.
I welcomed Noa, a white six month old puppy and I discovered myself loving her as I couldn’t think possible. She slowly conquered the whole family, her space on the couch and even the bashful Wolfi. At first they could not stand each other, but now they are almost friends, and Wolfi tolerates with patience and resignation Noa’s clumsy attempts to cuddle and play together. What an odd couple, a white huge dog and a pitch black cat.
It has been a year when I realized once again how important is this blog to me, my own space where to write, express myself and my feelings, and how important are you to me, since you always push me to do better, to give you better recipes and stories.
It has been a year of friendship, concerts in the car with songs sung at loud voice and evenings spent chatting over a mug of coffee, but also a year of real concerts. I began with Bruce Springsteen, again again a memorable experience you feel on your skin, then I enjoyed the music of Ben Harper, Bryan Adams, Malika Ayane, and even Baustelle, ranging over different genres of music but finding in every concert an emotion to take away with me and a memory to keep forever.
It has been a year of love. I found someone special, someone who makes me feel special, supports me, accepts me as I am, with my sudden cravings for food and my frailties, someone who had the patience to discover my true self, who understands me but at the same time encourages me to do better, to pursue my dreams. Someone who warms my hands when it’s cold.
If I have to ask for one single gift this Christmas for the next year I would ask for time.
Time for ourselves, to listen to our needs, understand us, forgive us and be indulgent with a smile, to cultivate our passions, to discover new ones, to fill our lives with many small unforgettable moments.
Time to spend with those we love, to share laughter, ice cream during long summer nights, movies at the cinema with a bucket of popcorn and candies but also at home wrapped in a blanket. Time to take photographs to frame and hang on the wall, to make long trips and short weekends. Time to enjoy the drive and the landscape, to stop in a lay-by to admire the light chasing the shadows on the wheat fields. Time to cook and share a bowl of pasta al pesto, to play with a dog or a cat, time for running and walking, and then take a breath. Time to live something beautiful and then be able to tell about it.
Now it’s time to get up from this couch and get ready, I have to start cooking. I will get back here again in the new year, as in two days I will leave for Belgium for a few days of holiday with my special someone. I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the film ‘The Holiday’, which of course I watched again this year to better enter into the Christmas spirit:
Arthur: Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You’re so right. You’re supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god’s sake!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, may you be the leading character of your life and make it wonderful.
P.S. That gorgeous cake you can see in the opening of this post is perfectly suited to the Christmas fair, I baked it already twice, it is soaked in orange syrup and honey and decorated with pistachios, plus it is naturally gluten-free. It is a Donal Skehan’s cake, taken from the blog Farmette: if you are still missing the right idea for a Christmas cake, this is very appropriate, trust me.