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November: Lots of Pizza

We’re not even in Italy and we have succesfully eaten pizza three times this week (four times if you count the leftovers). Last Saturday we had planned to have a pizza and wine picnic for lunch in our garden but when we were seated at Victoria in the harbor of Gustavia we were so enveloped in the atmosphere that we decided to stay and have our pizza there. Then on Tuesday we decided to celebrate the completion of yet another aspect of the Chill-Food Italia project and got takeaway pizza from Isoletta. And then Friday night we decided to go out for pizza again, at night, to celebrate the fact that both my mom and brother somewhat semi-officially launched their new business, and the fact that I semi-officially launched my own business!

Besides lots of pizza, the past two weeks have been insanely busy and I’m not surprised that we’re already halfway through the month of November. To me it feels more like it should already be December. Work has been incredibly busy as we’re looking to start finalising some ongoing projects before the end of the year, so that we’re not working when its the holidays. Yet we’ve also been working on starting a lot of new projects, or preapring them for next year and therefore, overall it’s been very hectic and exciting.

Yet besides work, the past two weeks have also been very busy with family time and working on ourselves. We’re all taking time to focus on ourselves and on how we are growing as individuals. Not just in our undertakings for life, but also in our personal, emotional development. We’re working through a lot of emotional bumps and bends and working on healing in areas where we haven’t yet, from either present or past happenings. And it is all very very beautiful but it’s also all very intense and energetically demanding.

Because of all this work and emotional busy-ness I’ve been happy to be spending so much time together with my family, and also feel very glad that it was my turn to stay at mom’s house this week (we switch every week, so every three weeks I get to sleep at mom’s). When spending lots of time on yourself it feels great to have your support system there.

But besides spending personal time together, we also spend lots of working and creative brainstorming time together. Working with my mom has continuously been really enjoyable and I feel like I have been tremendously growing in my work and developing more and more skills with each project that I do. It feels incredibly motivating to know I’m succeeding in my professional career.

I also spend a lot of time with the other half of my family-support system: Rowena and Christiaan. We took some time to go out for lunch with the three of us and spend some sibling quality time. It’s easy to forget that we’re all going through life in a similar boat. Both emotionally and professionally. Each of us is working on setting up a business and creating work opportunities for ourselves, but we are also all working on growing as individuals, to work through our old sadnesses and past experiences, and to learn who we are and who we want to be.

At times it can be very confrontational to all be working on this at the same time, as our emotional outbursts can occassionally be intense or incredibly confronting, and three kids working out their kinks is also quite taxing on my mom, alongisde the fact that we all want her time and input in our businesses too, but somehow the four of us don’t just manage, we thrive. We feed off of each other’s energy and we bounce ideas around, both professionally and personally and it just makes me incredibly happy to be here with them, figuring out life.

Besides enjoying time with some of my support system, I also decided to take some me-time, in order to support myself. I believe in a good and healthy balance between the many things in life and spending time alone is crucial to my well-being.

And in all honesty, I don’t always like being alone, precisely because it confronts me on the things I don’t like about myself or the fact that I might not be investing in myself in the way I should be. I’ll feel like I’m not spending my time in a way that is beneficial to me and my development. But these moments are important because, on a good day, I’ll be able to regard these thoghts as untrue. Whether I’m always working on my projects or not, any time I dedicate to myself whether I’m just staring into space or writing my book, it’s all valuable and it’s all important to the balance within my “me-time”.

Some of that “me-time” in the past week included treating myself to take-out sushi, working on my blog in my pajamas, and walking from our apartment to my mom’s place (about 4 kilometres) and getting to enjoy the simple exercise and fresh island air.

Wednesday I was a busy work and mother-daughter day as Rowena and Christiaan had a GYL workshop with the same participants from a workshop a year ago. In order for them to have their space and quiet, mom and I headed to Gustavia for the afternoon. We spend the first few hours working at Oubli before going for a swim at Shell Beach. The swim was the perfect mix of exercise and relax.

Saturday’s we have a standard coffee hour at Oubli, but last week we decided to switch it to Friday. Just because we could and because the way we work is flexible. Instead Saturday we went to another café in Gustavia, Victoria, where we decided to have pizza and rosé for lunch! We had initially planned to picnic at home but when we were there we decided to stay, we had such a great view of the harbor and the atmosphere was just right, so we went with the flow of the day and stayed to have pizza there.

Instead of being out and surrounded by people on a Saturday night (which doesn’t feel very responsible in the current pandemic), we were curled up on the couch by 18:00 (6PM) and were watching the “Irishman”, a three-hour long movie. We started early as we all love going to bed early too.

On monday morning I woke up with the feeling that it was Sunday, so I felt confused as to why my alarm clock was going off at 06:00 but I got out of bed anyways. Both Monday and Tuesday were filled with lots of meetings and incredible busy-ness at work, but on Tuesday I took a break to make some delicious vegan curry.

During lunch on Tuesday we were talking about the things we would have to do the rest of the day and then, just because we could and we felt like we still had more to celebrate of mom and Rowena launching their Chill-Food project and having participated in a virtual event (Time4Child), as well as Christiaan getting more and more workshops, we decided to celebrate at home with take-out pizza from Isoletta and some Valpodicella (Italian red wine). We concluded the evening with a movie.

Wednesday mom was still feeling celebratory and told us to go buy some cake so that we could picnic in the garden with cake and coffee. The rest of the week filled itself with work, yoga, and time spend on creative projects.

Friday morning was incredibly exciting as we had a meeting with our mom’s accountant and family friend, and had made the official steps to get our businesses up and running. Now we just have the paperwork left but in about two weeks time, my new business: Leona Françoise will be “official”! I saw “official” because it has already felt quite official since I decided to set it up. We decided to celebrate that evening with more pizza at Victoria, making it our third pizza-meal of the week.

Saturday mom, Rowena, and I headed to hangout at Oubli as Christiaan was giving another workshop at home. Rowena and mom discussed Rowena’s current work project (website building) and I worked on cleaning up the backend of this very blog, as well as doing some blog and website organisation and planning. The morning just felt very calm and complete as we enjoyed coffee and the post-morning busyness in our favourite café.

We spend lunch together at home once Christiaan’s workshop was finished and I spend the rest of the afternoon working on creative projects, reading, and going for a run and doing some yoga. After eating dinner all together, we spend the rest of the evening doing our own thing. For me this meant update my blog-design (I’m still testing the waters on what I like best) and then around 21:30 I started reading my book “Out with the Ex, in with the New” by Sophie Ranald, a great, easy chick-flick read and ended up staying awake reading until 23:30 because I was so into my book that I lost track of time and my mom wasn’t focussed on getting us in bed on time because she was doing her own things.

Sunday morning was fantasticly calm. We slept in a little bit, until 07:30 when my mom’s alarm went off, and slowly got up and went through our little morning routine of opening blinds, sweeping, making tea and breakfast, and feeding Luna and giving him the cuddles he always comes and asks for. Once organised, I curled up into my favourite corner on the couch with my cup of tea and my kindle.

When it was time for our second cup of tea my mom and I settled on the couch together and had one of our conversations about life and things I’m working on. We’re trying to sit and chat about pesonal stuff two times a week so that we are sure to make some one-on-one time for talking things through and working through personal things. This morning we ended up talking about the book I am writing about the Camino and we worked through what the line of my book is. In Dutch we call this “de rode draad” (the red string) – the line through the book that ties it all together.

Then we headed to Gustavia, where we were going to meet Rowena, who had had a meeting for her website at 09:00. Mom and I settled at a table at Victoria and enjoyed a noisette and an espresso, before moving to a different table that opened up which enjoyed a better view of the harbor. The whole time we were seated at the café it didn’t just feel like Sunday, but it felt like vacation. The palm trees were swaying in the wind, the sky clear blue with white fluffy clouds, the church with its doors wide open, and the buzz of people enjoying conversations and brunch. The whole atmosphere made us feel happy and relaxed, so much so that with our second round of coffee we ordered something sweet: a mini financier and a pecan-brownie.

With plans changed and meeting Rowena at home instead of at the café, we decided to do a small island tour and give the car some driving time. My mom’s car is made to travel far and fast, and so Sunday around lunch time is the best time to take her for a longer, fast drive.

For lunch I made an omelet and the three of us picniced outside in the garden, enjoying the beautiful day, before spending the afternoon doing our own thing. I spend most of it writing on my blog, chatting with a new friend about our individual travel plans (which happen to be very similar) and went for a run. The evening was spend working on my book and some more reading, the chick-flick was too good to leave unread!

Picnicing with our omelet.

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