The Motherless Daughters Club: And now I’ll always carry her with me

Ever since Mama passed away I’ve been looking for some way to keep her with me, besides just carrying her memories in my heart. Sometimes the memories aren’t enough to keep me going and I feel as if I need something more physical, something I can hold, wear or carry with me. The past 4 years I’ve just been looking around for mourning jewellery, but I couldn’t find anything that made me want to even consider using her hair or ashes for. My taste is a bit specific and I couldn’t quite figure it out.

You can do the craziest things with remains nowadays, from planting them into a tree, to turning ashes into diamonds!! Not only did I find it hard to find something I found beautiful according to my own taste, but also something that would suit her. I feel as if a lot of jewellery nowadays has lost the charm it once had. I can’t even remember the last time I spent money on jewellery to be honest! Anyways, I toyed with the idea of getting her ashes turned into a diamond for a while, but being a student, I simply don’t have the budget for it unfortunately.

But as time goes on, I felt as if I needed something like it, maybe I’ve just reached that stage of grieving where you just want something to cling onto. I can’t even remember how many times I’ve held and sniffed a shirt of hers, just because it still smells of her. I decided to go on the internet for some inspiration and quickly found the cheaper option of mourning jewellery. That option being lockets.

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It is probably the biggest and heaviest pendant I have ever had but it is just so beautiful

I’ve been crazy about lockets since I was little. I remember by sister and I giving Mama a silver locket with our pictures in it for Mother’s Day. I had one myself as well, with a picture of my childhood best friend in it. The idea of a pendant in which you can carry something I find amazing. But it would have to be something fitting.

I went on Etsy, as I often do, since Etsy is THE place to find interesting pieces, from garments to jewellery. I scoured through pages and pages of antique Victorian jewellery, so many lovely pieces, but I just couldn’t find it. Until one evening, while video chatting with my love and looking through Etsy once again, I stumbled upon this big, pinchbeck locket with floral patterns engraved into it. Despite its size, it had such an intricate feel to it. I don’t know what it was, but I was instantly drawn to it. However, at the time I couldn’t afford it, so I did put it on my wishlist, but wasn’t expecting to be able to get it. Such a beautiful Victorian piece wouldn’t be for sale long, would it?

Well, two weeks ago I decided to go check anyways and would you guess it? It was still up! After a bit of hesitation I decided to splurge and today it came into the mail! I opened my package and when I first laid my eyes upon it, it just felt right. It’s weird to describe, I was just overwhelmed with emotions. I found an old passport picture of her in my wallet, which I have put in now, but I know she would hate it. So I’ll keep it in there until I have found a better one. I’ll be flying to the Netherlands on Wednesday, so maybe my grandparents will have a better one lying around.

 


It was important to me that it was a piece of jewellery that I would love, but also something that would suit my mother. I’d say that I succeeded. My mother and I both love nature and feel a close connection to it. The engraving was something I instantly gravitated towards.

I bought the locket at this lovely shop called ”Vintage at Mums” on Etsy. The woman who runs it, Tracy, has an amazing collection of stunning antique pieces, which are definitely worth checking out! I know I’ll be wearing my locket with pride and even though I’ve only had it so shortly, it is already my favourite piece.

Do any of you out there have mourning jewellery, and if you do, what made you pick the pieces that you have?

I’d love to hear your stories!

– Naiyee

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Taking up old hobbies

Recently I have decided to take up an old hobby again. And that hobby is drawing! I used to love drawing when I was younger. My mom would have a sketchbook and pencils with her whenever we went out somewhere, just in case I got bored when we were out shopping or in church. I remember it being the best thing ever whenever my teacher in school scheduled an hour of drawing because I could let my creativity let loose. Every free moment I had I’d spend with my nose in my sketching block.

But then I stopped and I don’t really know why I did, but I had a friend once tell me that I would have been amazing if I had just kept at it. It’s sad that I stopped, really! I guess life just kind of happened and I forgot all about it. I dabbled a little bit into painting and crafting as well, both of which I really enjoy doing too. But there are only 24 hours in a day and combining it with school, work, trying to stay in shape AND maintain somewhat of a social life is tough! So for now I’ll just stick with one hobby at a time.

It feels like a better way of spending the time I have, instead of binge watching shows on Netflix. Not that there is anything wrong with that though! I love me a good movie marathon every once in a while, I think most people do, but to me it feels more productive to improve a skill instead of watching a series for 8 hrs on end.

Holding a pencil again was strangely familiar. I decided to doodle a bit and the rest kind of just happened. I was happy to find out that I don’t completely suck at it, haha! It is a challenge for sure, but honestly, I’m just happy to be taking it back up again.

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A flower I doodled a couple of days ago. Seeing as it has been so long, I am actually pretty proud!

So far, I have found flowers and animals some of the easier things to draw, so that will be my main focus for now. Once I have gotten more used to that I might move onto humans or bigger drawings. My doodles so far have been pretty small. Bigger drawings are challenging because of the proportions.

But drawing is just one of the many things I’d love to get good at. I’d also love to get good at knitting, sewing, embroidering and baking! Unfortunately with the limited time I have, I’ll just have to stick with this for now.. And it’s great! I am SO excited about drawing again.

So many hobbies, so little time… Do you have any hobbies and if you do, what do you like to do? I’d love to hear about it!

My North Star

Last week my love and I had our one year anniversary and what a year it has been. He came into my life at the most unexpected time, but I couldn’t be happier that he did. Unfortunately we are not together right now, but in two weeks we will be, since we will be visiting my family in the Netherlands for Easter!

He and I had been friends for years and he decided to come over to Denmark from Finland to meet up in real life. I was still in a relationship at the time, but the chemistry was there from the start. We hit it off right away and had a blast. Shortly after he left, my then-boyfriend broke up with me and we decided to give it a go.

”We’ll take it slow” we said, but very soon after having said that we were sure that we were right for each other. We pretty soon talked about the more serious topics, marriage, kids, careers and all of that. Weirdly enough we agreed on everything. I felt funny about it at first. I don’t know how to describe the feeling, but talking to him calmed the constant chaos inside of me. I have always struggled with feeling grounded and in a way I still do. But just a simple phone call or a text of him reassuring me it’ll all work out seems to make all of the problems I have so insignificant as long as he was there.

I promised myself I wouldn’t put myself through the hassle of a long distance relationship again, but the heart wants what it wants. I booked a plane ticket to Finland to see him and meet his family and we grew even closer. Not just us, but I also instantly connected to his family. It all felt so natural. I found myself often wondering if it all wasn’t just too good to be true, but I guess this is just what it feels like to have hit the jackpot.

I don’t have a penny to my name, a small family far away, just the clothes on my back, a handful of friends and my precious pooch, but I can’t recall the last time I felt this happy. I’m thoroughly convinced it’s because I have found him and reconnected with my own family too. I feel as if I’m a tiny little boat in this big ocean, but as long as I’ve got my north star, I’ll eventually find my way back home.

Like Gordon B. Hinckley once said

”Love is like the North Star,
In a changing world, it’s always constant”

My love always tells me that everything will work out and I used to struggle to believe that. Because how can everything work out? Does it truly do that? But he has taught me that sometimes, it is okay to let go of the things I cannot control. And that is a scary, but comforting thought.

It feels like meeting him and his family too, has given my heart the capability to give love back a thousandfold. And for that I am grateful. Not just for them being in my life, but he as also taught me to appreciate my own family a whole lot more.

He is my north star and I feel grateful to have found him when I did. It has only been a year, but I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Have any of you out there found your north star? I would love to hear your stories.

– Naiyee

My challenge with practising self care

A week ago I went to the doctor. I have been feeling quite on edge for a while now and at first I brushed it off. I told myself not to be such a whimp and just keep going. A couple of weeks ago I hit a wall and I felt like I couldn’t even do the simplest of tasks. I either slept too little or too long, I had no appetite or I’d eat everything in sight, I had heart palpitations and my body developed small aches that I couldn’t quite explain. I also felt like I completely lost my grounding. So I mustered up the courage to go see my doctor and talk about my issue with stress.

My mom always called me a lazy person by nature and I’ve always hated it. So whenever I take time off I feel guilty. Guilty for not using my time better. My daily life consists of this ”rise and grind” attitude, yet this time it has finally bit me in the ass. My doctor told me to make spare time activities a priority, because ever since I started this course I’m currently doing at school, I’ve had to cancel them. There are just not enough hours in a day for me to be active, go to school, make homework, cook food, clean up while trying to maintain a somewhat existent social life. She told me to prioritise the things that bring me joy and give me energy.

So I’ve started to reflect a little.. How would I make this work? What can I do to take this stress away? I recently re-joined our local pole dancing studio here and I have been having a blast, but I feel guilty for not focusing on my homework instead. And as I’m writing this, at my favourite little café in town, I’m feeling guilty for not attending my pole dancing class.

The thing is, being so hyper-focused on being productive, I have lost myself in the process. And I have made the decision to cut down on some things that are incredibly time consuming, just so that I can have my hour or something a day that is not school focused. And I can already feel a huge difference.

I think this obsession with productivity nowadays makes a lot of people unhappy. I’m not telling you to be lazy, but I AM telling you to make time to practise self care. Be it taking a nice bath, eating that food you like, going to fitness or seeing a friend. We need to take care of ourselves first before we can thrive. And there will be guilt. It won’t be easy when you’ve been grinding all your life. But it is good to take a step back and just breathe. So yeah, I may not be doing my homework every day, but I feel a whole lot less on edge. I don’t feel the urge to be perfect all the time.

Happiness is so important. We only have this one precious life, shouldn’t we aspire to live it to our fullest and be happy?

Do you practise self care? If you do, how do you like to do it?

I would love to hear about it!

– Naiyee

International Women’s Day – Trying to be proud of myself

Happy International Women’s Day to all my lovely ladies out there! Not too long ago I wrote a post about how much I admire the amazing women in my life. Thanks to them I have managed to still stand with my head held high today. I spent all day thinking about what to write on a special day like this, but I just couldn’t figure it out. So after a tiresome day at school with far too much calculating formulas and balancing chemical reactions, I decided to sit myself down at my favourite café and have a drink. While scrolling through instagram, one of my very good friends Mari (withlove_skandihome on IG, if you love interior with a Scandinavian aesthetic, you’ll LOVE her feed) asked her followers to send her 2 reasons as to why they are proud of themselves..

Now I have always been insecure about myself. I don’t consider myself to be particularly good or special, so just the idea of finding 2 reasons as to why I am proud of myself was a challenge. Subconsciously I just automatically connect being proud of yourself or liking yourself with being self absorbed, which is SO not true. I mean, I feel like many people should tone it down with the ”why is this happening to me, I’m such an amazing person” attitude, but liking yourself and being proud of yourself is a really good thing, a thing I need to learn!

So as I was sipping on my matcha chai, while reading her question, I started wondering.. Why am I proud of myself? What have I done that could possibly be considered something to be proud of? But then I got reminded of a conversation I had a long time ago. A conversation where I was bringing myself down, as I usually do when people point out something that I accomplished. And then it hit me. In my short 24 years I actually have done quite some awesome stuff, especially in the span of the last 5 years..

At age 19, right before my 20th birthday I was the first one in my family to have a formal education and got my degree as a Veterinary Technician. One of my proudest accomplishments.

At age 20 I moved to a foreign country, a country I still reside in today.

At age 20 I lost my mother to cancer and I remember telling myself that I wouldn’t survive this. Grieving alone, living far away from my family, is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to deal with. I was convinced I would never see the light and that I would never smile again. Almost 5 years later I’m still standing. I told myself I would never marry or have kids if she wouldn’t be there to witness it, but I’m opening up to these ideas again. Time has kicked my ass, I’ve grown bitter and my skin is probably about 6 inches thick, but allowing myself to fall in love with people and life again is making me happier and softer again as the days go by..

I went from not being able to speak a word of Danish to speaking it fluently in under 2 years. Danish is my third language and I am currently following an education that is taught in Danish as well.

I decided to take a huge leap of faith by starting a new relationship last year with an amazing guy who lives in Finland. Last year I spontaneously booked a plane ticket to go see him and I haven’t regretted that decision. I vowed to never enter a long distance relationship again, but the heart wants what it wants.

But what I am most proud of is the fact that in just 5 years I have managed to overcome my fear of the unknown. I took a leap of faith when I moved abroad, learned a new language, entered a new education and a new relationship. If I would have told myself this 10 years ago I would have laughed.

I used to be this perfectionist little girl who preferred to stay inside and preferably lived home with mom forever, but circumstances have driven me to do the opposite. It took my safe haven, my home, my mother, away from me and forced me to open my eyes and live in the real world.

You never know how strong you are until it’s the only option you have. I’m living proof of that and I am damn proud of it, because even when all the odds were against me, I still made the best of it. My strength is my superpower. And even though I’m cringing as I am writing this, because I dislike complimenting myself, I guess I can pat myself on the shoulder for writing this, too.

What are your reasons to be proud of yourself? I would love to hear from you!

The feeling of being stuck

Crazy how life sometimes gets in the way of everything isn’t it? I keep promising myself to write more, but then school and a lack of sleep happens. This semester is a busy one and it is a humbling experience to say the least. I often find myself wondering if this is what I really want. Becoming a vet is something I’ve wanted since I was little, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that this will be an incredibly tough journey. Biology and chemistry I have always found interesting but math and physics are a struggle. I have never been a genius at the science related subjects, but I am strong with languages and working with people.

This raised the question on whether or not I should be doing this. My degree as a vet tech can’t really be used to get into a university of applied sciences here in Denmark, unfortunately, but it can in the Netherlands and Finland. Returning to the Netherlands wouldn’t be as easy as it may sound, since we lost our home when my mom died, I can’t just move in with a family member or a friend and I don’t feel like racking up a ton of debt before the age of 30. One also doesn’t just casually to Finland without taking all of the risks into consideration either. It’s almost like trying to solve a complicated puzzle.

I’ve been looking around at different educations a lot, and currently Adventure Tourism and perhaps a degree in Business sound the most exciting to me. But then the ”what if” thought pops up. What if I quit what I am doing now, only to find out that I could have easily passed through this GED course and gotten into vet school? Or what if I get into vet school, but my love and I won’t be able to close the distance for another decade or so? Am I wanting to spend another 10 years struggling or do I choose something that fits my strengths best and pursue that? Tough decisions and no one to help me but myself.

As I’m getting older, I realise that there are many different things out there, exciting things and that vet school may not be the end all be all in life. I used to really have my eyes on the prize, become successful and be respected, but lately my mood has shifted a lot. Be it because I’ve been following my heart more now than ever, but I’ve come to realise that being successful isn’t always what makes you happy. And the art of being successful – what does it even mean? Does it mean having a lot of money in the bank, a big house, having people respect you because of your academia or is it just as simple as being at peace and happy?

In the end, being successful is a very subjective thing, since it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. For some it is wealth and I guess that I’m still trying to figure it all out.

For as long as I can remember I have been seeking for happiness and I still haven’t gotten there just quite yet. I guess obtaining it means making tough decisions and maybe even breaking some hearts and hurting some feelings on the way. But I have gotten to a point where I feel stuck. I want to be unapologetically myself, but it’s easier to keep up the appearance that people have gotten from me over the years. Eventually I will figure it out, I hope, but for now I feel stuck. And it sucks.

Have any of you out there ever felt stuck and if you did, how did you break free? I could use some tips..

– Naiyee

 

World Galgo Day: One of the most exploited breeds around

When I was 17, I adopted my first Galgo. I named her Falera.The breed always fascinated me and everyone who has or works with them, knows that it is a breed with a lot of pain behind them. I had known quite some people who had adopted a couple and they always went around, promoting them, telling people to adopt them because they are just that great. At the time I was working at an animal shelter who happened to have a collaboration going on with a foundation who rescue abandoned and abused Greyhounds and Galgos. I was very well aware that I couldn’t adopt just any dog I happened to like and the adoption of Falera was unexpected, but so welcome.

At the shelter, she was this quiet, timid but sweet little pup, but as soon as I took her home, she changed. She was excited, but scared of everything that would move above her. I remember taking her out for a walk in town, long after I adopted her alongside my other dog Hayley, and she completely broke down, howling and screaming, so I took her back home. Clearly she has not been socialized a lot in her early stages of development and it still shows till this day. Not only that, but she was difficult to deal with when I just got her. She and I struggled a lot with understanding each other, also because my other dog was so easy, but I soon realized that dogs are individuals and should never be treated with a “one size fits all” solution. So I spent weeks, if not months studying her. Why is she the way she is? Why does she want me to be close, but want me to leave at the same time? I observed not only that, but also the scars and traces on her body. She has this long scar running down her neck, like a cutting wound. We suspected that it could be a scar of where they cut her microchip out, since that isn’t exactly uncommon practice in Spain. Not just that, but she had her dewclaws cut off, poorly. There are still stumps left, one of which grows a very weird nail out of it and falls off again over time. But she also has scars on her hind feet, the big pads are half gone and has weird scarring on her hocks as well. I think it’s burned, either by a hot object or acid perhaps. She’s not suffering, it only rubs raw whenever it freezes a lot.

These findings made me wonder how they could do that to such a young dog. She was about a year old when I took her home and she isn’t even anywhere near as traumatized as some other pups I have seen. But then it became clear to me that this isn’t at all an uncommon thing among Galgos from Spain. Retired hunting dogs have often suffered horribly and the ones ending up in shelters are the lucky ones, because they’re still here.. Lucky may not even be a fair way to describe it, because I have seen dogs that suffered so much to the point of them having to be put down due to all the mental trauma.

The dogs are often disposed of after the hunting season, all based on how well they performed during that season. A lot of Galgos end up hanged after the season, since they are now deemed useless and it costs money to feed them in the off season, so culling their hunting dogs is the cheaper option. If the dog did well, they hang them higher up in the tree, so it’s a quicker death. If they did bad, they end up being hanged lower, sometimes to the point where their tippytoes can still reach and they end up hanging themselves just by the pure exhaustion of not being able to stand on their feet anymore. But this is just one way they sometimes dispose of dogs. Some end up being thrown down into wells, lit on fire, having their limbs broken and abandoned out in the wilderness amongst other things.

Some hunters do the more morally correct thing and surrender their retired hunting dogs to a shelter, but this also is a problem. Shelters often lack the funds and space, so lots of rescue groups take in the dogs and adopt them out to other countries, which is amazing work. Thousands of Galgos get disposed every hunting season and World Galgo Day spreads awareness about this issue. This is something you rarely ever hear about, but it is a big deal.

Galgos are excellent companions and some of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. They are not for everyone, that is for sure, but you might just change your mind once you get to know them. I may have struggled with understanding mine, but after having taken the time to understand her, I have gained a whole lot of admiration for how resilient dogs are. Their ability to stay kind to humans after they have been treated badly is amazing to me.

If there would even be one of you out there reading this and considering to adopt a dog, consider looking into a Galgo. They need you and you may need them too.

– Naiyee