Handstands on the Road

Hello there, Beautiful Bad-Ass Gift of Time, 2019! – Unique NYE Rituals, Handstands and Good Wishes

Hi, welcome, I hope you arrived well in the new year!

Before we move on to the cool international traditions and rituals, I want to wish you a happy, healthy, adventure-filled, beautiful, rich, just-the.right-amount-of-challenging, emotional, fierce, lush, peaceful 2019s all ’round! May your year be more than you want for, surprise you in the most unexpected and wonderful ways possible and smash your expectations just to surpass them. May you grow and grow and love, love, love even more. May your days be filled with life, be it tears or laughter or tears of laughter, with new encounters and old friends and may you keep breathing every inhalation deeply, cherishing this new chunk of time you have been gifted.

More time means more handstands, such as this one in Montpeyroux, Auvergne, a few days ago

While today’s date wouldn’t be anything special if it weren’t for our somewhat arbitrary calendric system, we can choose to make it special, just like any day we’ve been granted. Once again, we’ve been given a brand-new, fresh chunk of luscious TIME – and I like to welcome it with traditions, celebrations and of course goals. Maybe you do, too!

Looking forward to more happy times, inside and outside of France – also still sporting this hoodie from my old workplace in England, because those guys rock (on) and the Mile End Climbing Wall-branded Haglöf fleece came for free and still keeps me warm!

So I spent last night at my cousin’s house with a huge part of my family, parents, uncle, aunt, a family friend, cousins and according S.O.s as well as four extremely affectionate dogs of varying sizes and a rabbit. We’re out in the middle of nowhere here in France, and there were no fireworks, hardly any light pollution and the year started with funky Portuguese and Ukranian New Year’s traditions instead of a loud, loud bang. I’ve never been a big fan of the noisy pyro-displays and have hidden under the table with some scared dogs or in quiet corners with the fingers up my ears for many a NYE, so my cousin’s roaring laughter being the loudest noise around was totally, utterly perfect.

Family time can be challenging to say the least but cracking walnuts in the sun with a stone, aided by this curious little white hoover in a dog’s body is pretty calming

While I’m sure that every family comes with its own set of challenges – and of course so does mine – it was cool to share the start of our new revolution ’round the sun with this eclectic melange of Portuguese, German, French and a Ukranian, still making me feel rather lacking in roots or national identity but instead rich in influences, traditions, thoughts and cultures.

 

NYE Rituals and Traditions

My favourite part? So I LOVE a good ritual and apparently in Russia and the Ukraine, they have a tradition of literally internalising their wishes for the beginning year, and a lovely Ukrainian family friend introduced us to it.

I have always been fond of flames – and rituals involving fire are one of my favourites!

Ukraine/Russia

All you need to do is take a piece of paper and write down all you wish for – it can be letting go of some things and achieving others, it can be very literal, material even, or more abstract, it can be anything you want it to be and there’s no limit to the wishes you can make, but I recommend keeping the piece of paper small(ish).

Done? Perfect. Now once the clock strikes midnight to signal the arrival of the new year, you burn your piece of paper, keep the ashes and drown them in your champagne glass (or any other beverage you use for toasting at midnight I guess). Then you toast with those around you to the new year, and down your wish-cocktail!

Bonne appetit and be careful what you wish for 😉

Raisins of all colours and sizes play in important role in the Portuguese New Year’s celebration

Portugal

Another, even more food-based tradition than the previous one originates in Portugal and while it’s not quite as cool as the other one I think, it’s a fun thing my family does sometimes: It’s eat a raisin for every strike of the clock at midnight and simultaneously make a wish on each.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to burn my paper, eat raisins and make wishes all at the same time, so picture me stuffing my face with raisins, trying to safely burn a piece of paper indoors, thinking ‘Damn, there are no church bells ringing, no audible strikes of the clock… how on earth do I know when to… oh whatever, let’s just eat the raisins and hope for the best…” Meanwhile most of my relatives had given up on fully burning their little papers and were chomping on some ink-stained cellulose while others already tried clinking glasses with me while I still sat nursing the flames of my desires for 2019.

We must have looked quite funny to an outsider, but don’t all families, communities, circles of friends?

Starting into the new year sassy and of course upside down

Germany

While we didn’t do this one yesterday, I still think it’s great and rI should try and make peace with one of my nationalities wherever I can I guess – so here goes:

The German (and I think also Finnish, Turkish and quite possibly a bunch of other countries – Germany is just where I know it from) tradition of lead casting or lead pouring at NYE, also called molybdomancy, consists of melting some tin (or, nowadays more likely, aluminium) above a flame, to then chuck it into cold water, were it solidifies immediately. The solidified shape is then interpreted to make predictions about one’s future. Just like for most methods of divination, there are whole books on what different shapes can mean!

 

Goals and Inspiration

For new year’s day, I will do something that I rarely do and share part of an entry from my very personal paper diary with you all. Maybe it resonates with someone or inspires you to set some goals for yourself that are satisfying and achievable, instead of self-deprecating and not very enjoyable, such as dragging yourself to a gym stuffed with people full of New Year’s guilt. That’s not to say that I don’t recommend working out, it can be so intensely satisfying, beautiful and connect you with your body instead of punishing it for not matching someone’s usually unjustified expectations.

Go for those goals!

So here’s what I’d like to accomplish in 2019:

  1. Financial Independence – to me, this means making enough money to get by without incessantly worrying about things such as accommodation, transport and some very basic social security, and also without having to rely on my family’s generosity on my birthday or for Christmas. It means still being OK in case of small unexpected expenses, and maybe even enough to settle somewhere for a little while.
  2. Handstand on, of course! Tangible goal: at least 10 seconds of a solid, consistent one arm handstand on both sides. Bonus points for different shapes.
  3. Become fluent in French. It’s alright now, but I want to become actually fluent-fluent in a third language instead of mainly making small-talk. I also have serious thoughts about returning to this beauty of a country for some time in the summer, so here goes. To accomplish my goal, I am, amongst others, currently reading Joanne Harris’s Chocolat in French. If you are not familiar with the Chocolat series, I can highly recommend all three of them: Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes (also known under its US title The Girl with no Shadow) and Peaches for Monsieur le Curé
    If you guys have good suggestions for French novels, please do tell me in the comments, it’s much appreciated!

    To do: Fix that runaway-hip in ’19
  4. Establishing some kind of shelter, base camp, HOME for myself. While I love traveling and seeing new places all the time, I long for a base that I can return to, for building something more permanent and having a community. I long for making commitments such as “See you next Tuesday, same place, same time” and, the biggest luxury, seeing four seasons pass in one home. I know that I won’t get to see four seasons in one place by the end of the year, but I wish to have built such a place by next winter.
  5. Keep practicing meditation. I don’t have any more specific goals here, no promises of ´doing it every day or meditating for a minimum amount of time, but I have found it to be so hugely beneficial even though I have started very recently. I love learning to perceive my breath as the gift, the incredible luxury it is and training my mind to be calm, to find stillness.
  6. Eating and living healthily. Again, nothing too specific here as I know I’m a bit of a sucker for too much sugar, too many carbs and a lot of dairy. Reducing my sugar and caffeine intake are the two biggest ones I think, although I’ve been doing alright without coffee and on simple black tea lately. Let’s see how that goes ones I’m starved of daylight and work again for some 12-15 hours on a winter wonderland husky farm, shall we?

What are your goals for 2019? I’d be happy to learn about them in the comments section!

MORE LOVE for the new year!

…and once all ashes were drunk, all raisins eaten and the imaginary strikes of the clocks had subsided, I did the first handstand of 2019, joyously clapping my feet together in celebration with the others clapping their hands. And, letting go of inhibitions, I took my tights off under the jeans so I could bare my feet, and went outside, jumping around barefoot in a tank top, playing with the dogs and throwing my feet up in the air in more happy handstands.

Husky-filled winter wonderland posts coming to you soon from Finland – I’m off on the 4th – stay tuned!

x

Miri

handstandsontheroad

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