Basically since the start of this year I have been trying to manifest this attitude of gratitude. It started out as an assignment my therapist gave me. I had to list three things that I am grateful for every day. In the beginning this seemed to be near impossible to me, as I have been feeling negative and low for the majority of my life, having struggled with clinical depression and anxiety for a good decade or so. But the more I made this little list, either in my head or on paper, I really started noticing a difference.
I started seeing the positive things in life again, but I also realised that the world wasn’t against me or that everyone was out to get me. When you’ve been so pessimistic all you life it’s really difficult to look at the little things and get happiness out of it. After the death of my mother back in 2014 I grew numb and cold to everything around me. I lived my life on autopilot, without any sort of goals and dreams ahead of me anymore. Breaking a pattern like that seemed like a huge mountain to climb and it still isn’t easy at times. It’s ups and downs, falling and getting up.
But after having made this little, tiny and seemingly insignificant list every single day, my life did improve. I opened myself up for good things to happen again, realising that I’m only 24, and being alive, just waiting to die, isn’t a life I want to live. I know for a fact that my mom wouldn’t have wanted that either. So I made the promise to myself and to my late mother that I’d start living again. And so I did. I had forgotten what it is like to live again or what it’s like to genuinely be happy. But I’m getting there. And I am pretty darn proud of myself.
So today I’m grateful for:
*The fact that I got to sleep an hour longer
* The fact that I actually understood things in my math class. I am not a mathematical genius, so every time I manage to solve equations or put into words why I solved something the way I did is a win in my book!
* The fact that I get to meet up with one of my best friends today.
Manifesting this grateful attitude is one of the hardest things I had to do to improve my mental health, but also one of the most rewarding. So if you, like me, are also struggling with depression or just a pessimistic outlook on life, I’d definitely recommend you’d give it a try!
So, I spent my autumn holiday in Finland to be with some of my favourite people. Autumn is my favourite season and well.. spring and summer in Finland have been amazing so far, so with all those trees, autumn must be spectacular right? Well, it was!! So. Many. Colours.
I’ve always been a bit of a forest dweller. My opa ( the name we Dutchies have for grandpa) was born and raised in the forest and he always took my mom and my uncle to the forest to go on adventures as well! Growing up I spent a lot of my holidays and weekends playing in the forest with my opa, mom and sister, so I guess you could say that it’s a part of my roots.. Ha-ha get it? 😉 But being raised with this love for nature, fresh air, swimming in lakes and then moving to a city in Denmark, really made me miss being close to nature. Now don’t get me wrong, Denmark is a stunning country, if you go to the right places and the same goes for the Netherlands. Both are relatively small countries with a bunch of people. Denmark only has about 5,5 million people, but the Netherlands is roughly the same size with about 17,5!!!!! million people. I live close to the capital here in Denmark, which means more people and with that, less nature. My mom always used to tell me that the trees tell stories and up till this day, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind make me feel warm inside.
I needed me some Finland, so the autumn holiday couldn’t start soon enough. I just needed to get away from all the hustle and bustle for a while. So when October 13th came around I was hyped! I was stoked to see my boyfriend and his family and getting to be amongst the vast nature and the trees again.
My boyfriend was wondering if I would liked to walk the hiking trail in the nature reserve in Punkaharju and I obviously did not decline that offer. I’ve heard a lot about Punkaharju and its beauty, so naturally I wanted to go and check it out.
It was absolutely stunning. I honestly had no idea what to expect, because despite the things people share on social media, you never really know what it looks like in real life! The tranquility the area holds is so good for the soul. The way the lakes shimmered in between the pine trees made me feel at ease.
We spent quite a bit of time at the Punkaharju Esker Ridge and I’ll definitely be back. It’s a relatively small area, but it’s such a nice place to be at.
I could honestly write a book about how amazing and beautiful Punkaharju is, but I did some other things too! Finding food in nature has always been something I loved doing as a kid. I’d often spend afternoons foraging chestnuts and blueberries with opa and I hadn’t done anything like it for years! I wonder why that is.. It’s not like the chestnut trees and berry bushes just disappeared, but I guess it just kind of happens when you grow up? My love and I ended up talking about finding mushrooms and I told him I had never eaten chanterelles before, since they’re expensive and not that easy to find over here. So we ended up on the hunt for some of those nice, nice shrooms.
Looking for those mushrooms made me feel like a child again, but most importantly, it made me realise how much food can still be found out in nature if we’re just willing to go out looking for it a little. That is definitely something I’d want to get into more, once my situation will allow me to do so. But it was a lot of fun! It’s something I look back to with a smile on my face as I’m writing this.
I also spent a lot of time indoors, when the weather wasn’t too great. I don’t mind rain at all and the smell of petrichor is something I am absolutely in love with. But autumn for me has always been the season to cuddle up with family and friends, watching movies, lighting candles and bake things! In the Netherlands we call it ”gezelligheid” and here in Denmark it’s called ”hygge”. Those are the words I live by and well, this holiday was the definition of it. We spent a lot of time cooking, laughing and baking too!
As soon as the weather allowed it, we decided to go to Koli National Park. The past months I’ve just been talking about it non stop and I think my boyfriend, at times, may have even gotten tired of me mentioning it! But he took me there and WOW!!! It was magnificent in ways I can’t even explain.
It was like nothing I had ever seen before. Trees and lakes as far as the eye could see and rock formations created in the ice age made me really think about how ancient this land is. When you grow up in and around modern buildings, with most of the forests being man made or just removed, you kind of lose touch.
It was bizarre to walk around in the pictures I had been looking at for so long. But what made it even more special is the fact that I got to experience it with someone I really love. The way he shows me his country is so cool and to see it through his eyes is amazing to me.
We hiked for quite a bit and even though my body was exhausted, my mind wasn’t. My mind felt at peace. I could’ve stayed there forever.
All in all that was an awesome day to me, but it’s about to get a little crazy. The day I arrived, hunting season on moose started in Finland and my boyfriend’s dad has basically been hunting every day I was there. I told him that I had never seen a moose before, to their shock, and he told me that he’d let us know if they caught one. Well, that happened. I was exhausted after our hike at Koli, but love said it was close by, so we decided to check it out. Upon arriving at the site they told us to go, some other hunters arrived with a pick up truck, a quad and a trailer. They got the quad off the trailer, attached the trailer to the quad and told us to hop in the trailer. Uhhhh… okay? We hopped in and drove into the forest and it was a bumpy ride to say the least. After that bumpy ride it was still about a 100 metres into the forest by foot, because the quad couldn’t get there. It was rougher terrain and we had to jump over two creeks. My shoes completely ruined by this point, but whatever I guess! We got to where we needed to be et voila! I saw my first moose. Dead. But okay, a moose nevertheless. Then we had to go the same route back and at this point I was frustrated, it was getting dark, I was wet, shoes destroyed and twisted my ankle. My boyfriend felt bad for me and wanted to make it up to me, even offered to but me new shoes, but I definitely didn’t want him to do any of that. I was just happy to get home after a busy day and honestly, it was very comical. I’m laughing as I’m writing this, because it just was that silly! The two days after love spoiled me rotten, despite me telling him not to, but if he insists, I won’t fight it.. 😉
And just like that, the trip came to an end. Time flew by, but so many amazing memories were made and I honestly didn’t even have everything included, but that’ll be some other time maybe.
Gonna make you wonder why you even try
Gonna take you down and laugh when you cry
And I still don’t know how I even survive
Two days ago we found my dog Hayley dead in the livingroom. We obviously kept in the back of our heads that she was an old dog, and that she may not have long to live, a few years tops, but finding her was unexpected nonetheless. She had been a little bit more quiet than usually, for which we made an appointment at the vet, because we were suspecting worms, but nothing serious otherwise. We kept a close eye on her during the weekend, and she seemed okay. We brought her to the vet anyway to get an autopsy done on her, because it was so unexpected, and well.. She died of cancer. Hemangiosarcoma to be exact, which is a very aggressive form of cancer of the spleen and liver. She developed the tumor in the spleen first, which metastasized to the liver, and the tumor ended up leaking, and rupturing. That caused her to bleed to death within seconds. I guess I can find some peace in the fact that she didn’t suffer.. Cancer isn’t exactly an unknown enemy in my family. A good majority of my family members have suffered from it, and some of them died including my mom. I also lost another dog to cancer as well, so hearing Hayley had cancer as well was a bitter pill to swallow.
I’ve had Hayley for a good 8 years, I got her when I was 15, and she was a young adult dog at that point. She was a surprise, given to my by my late mother, because she thought it’d be good for me to have a companion, since I had been struggling with severe depression for a good couple of years at that point. Hayles and I bonded quickly, and soon after we were inseparable. Ever since I was a child and throughout my teenage years, I’ve been dealing with lots of anxiety on top of my depression. Hayley kind of pulled me out of my shell, and pushed my boundaries. However, she also sensed and warned whenever I was blacking out and suicidal. I guess you could say that she was my therapy dog, my crutch. She’s been with me through the roughest times of my life. The move to Denmark, the loss of my mom while adjusting to life in a new country, which gets lonely at times, and a lot of other times as well.
I don’t feel entirely like myself at the moment, which I guess isn’t so weird after spending so many years with her by my side. A lot of people would say that it’s an awful lot of tears to shed over the loss of a dog, but she was so much more than ”just a dog” to me. I don’t own much, I don’t have a lot to my name, but my dogs are one of the things I’m proudest of. Dogs have always been a huge part of my life, I grew up around a big pack of dogs, and Hayley being my first own dog meant a lot to me. It still does. What made her even more special was the fact that she was an Ibizan Hound, which has been my favourite breed for over a decade. It’s weird, sitting here, writing this, without her interrupting me for a hug, which is what she always used to do whenever I was writing.
I can’t imagine myself being without an Ibizan Hound for long though. I haven’t been without one for over a decade, and I miss their goofy demeanor. And I’m not the only one. Falera, my Spanish greyhound, misses Hayley terribly as well. Fallie is about as playful as dogs get, and starts throwing her toys around as soon as she gets the chance, but not now. She looks around first, takes her toy, walks around with it and puts it back down, only to sigh and sleep afterwards. She misses her sister, I can tell. I’m spoiling her a bit extra these coming days. Poor thing doesn’t understand it at all.. If only they could understand the words we say to them..
Sorry for the depressing post this time guys.. Hopefully the next one will be a little bit more positive!
This past week I’ve been spending a lot of my time reading. Main reason being that I had a book review for my Danish class due, but I have to admit that I really enjoyed using some time on that. I love reading, and I used to do it all the time, but with schoolwork, fitness, yoga, dogs, cooking, boyfriend etc. it really is hard to find a bit of spare time to just sit down and read.
Reading in Danish used to be such an intimidating concept to me, anything Danish in general, really. But it seems as if it gets easier as the weeks go by.. I used to be terrified to even speak Danish to my parents-in-law, but that just comes naturally too now. Pretty proud of that progress, if I may say so myself. But now that I’ve finished reading this novel ( it’s a great one called ”You disappear” by Christian Jungersen, I can most definitely recommend it!), I’m looking for more books to read, in English, Dutch or, of course, in Danish! Any recommendations are very welcome! I’m not picky when it comes to books, so the genre doesn’t really matter either! I noticed that the more I read, especially in Danish, the more of an expansion I see in my vocabulary. There’s just something beautiful about language. I love trying to figure out different synonyms for different words. I don’t like overusing words when I’m writing, or speaking for that matter!
So as I’m sitting here, writing this post, I’m thinking about which next book to read. I have far too many that I haven’t even touched yet, because I have this horrible habit of going into bookshops, find a bunch of books that I definitely do not need, and then add them to the ever growing stack of unread books I already have. I’m considering reading the Bhagavad Gita next, since I am serious in my yoga practise and could probably learn some valuable lessons reading it.. Decisions, decisions.. Oh well. I’ll probably update about which book I pick in my next post. 😉 At least I’ve got the weekend off, so lots of time to get my reading on!
Any other bookworms out there that want to share their favourite books with me? I’d love to hear about them!
Blogging is an idea I’ve been flirting with for quite a while, I just managed to put it off for so long because I felt as if my life wouldn’t be interesting enough to write about. But after having talked with Pete, my fiance, about it I decided to do it anyway and give it a try. I moved to another country after all, so there has got to be something interesting to write about!
Let me start off by introducing myself!
My name is Naiyee, but please, call me Nen. I am currently 23 years old and I’m residing in Denmark. I hail from the Netherlands, but ended up in Denmark because the love of my life happened to be a Dane ( yay for the internet am I right?). I moved right after I graduated from vet tech school, and I’ve been here ever since! I have two dogs, Hayley, a 10 year old Ibizan Hound, and Falera, an 8 year old Spanish Greyhound. At the moment I’m preparing to get into vet school, but in order to get in I have to get a better average in math, physics, chemistry and biology, so I decided to take it slow and do a HF, which is the Danish equivalent to a GED. It’s quite challenging really, but I’m loving the fact that I get to use my brain. I love learning!
Other than all that I love everything food, fitness, animals and yoga related. I’ve been on a fitness journey since 2014 and I’ve gone from a 100+ kilos to somewhere between 70-80 kilos currently. I’ll probably write a fair bit about that on here as well.
I think that that’s all for now. I’ll write again very soon. 😉