One Health.

Damn, where is this going to? The Netherlands back in lockdown. Yes, it makes you feel down when you think of the small businesses, the folks working in hospitality,  theatres, healthcare, the constant loneliness, insecurity and fear that is pumping through young and old bodies.

Exactly one year ago, I was in the Netherlands for a month. Strolling in Amsterdam with my sister and niece never had been so unforgettable as back then. The silence, the peace. Beautiful, but also strange. Because something wasn’t right here. Now exactly one year later, the same. I will never forget the café owner, sitting behind the window, a cup of coffee in his hand. He looked at the abandoned streets with just a handful of people passing by. There was something sad about it. 

Perhaps this could be a good read for Christmas: Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience” from his famous book Walden.

Meanwhile in Spain minister-president Pedro Sánchez has declared this morning the current covid-19 situation in the country as an “extreme risk”. This Wednesday the Minister of Health, the government, and all autonomous regions will discuss the situation. In Spain almost 90 percent of the more than 47 million inhabitants has been vaccinated and the “booster campaign” is at full speed. Omicron got in between. It seems like a never ending story which needs another approach, which is proportional and just. I don’t believe another lockdown is.  

A sustainable plan to fight pandemics as covid-19 is still missing, so the chance covid 2.0 arrives, is high likely. This will be the era of viruses if the political will is still lacking to fight the roots of it: intensive animal farming which expands the risk of zoonotic diseases (especially the Netherlands is at extreme risk with a population of 107 million of cattle and poultry to 17.44 million of people living on a small surface), deforestation, the destruction of eco systems, the climate crisis, the severe cuts in Dutch healthcare for many years.

It’s all intertwined.

Where’s the political will to fight these crises and to understand there’s only one health? That of humans, animals and our environment together.

Con Amor,

Eva

Illustration: Vanessa Rose Graham

How Starting a New Life in the South of Europe Changed My View on Food.

In this Spanish village where I live, it wasn’t toilet paper that people were stacking away during lockdown, as people did in the Netherlands, my native country. No, it was flour. Flour to bake bread, cakes and pizza. As we all had to stay in our houses and my only weekly visit was to the local supermarket, I felt suddenly there was an abundance of time. So, “let’s cook”, many fellow villagers must have thought (me included).

Like in all South-European countries, food is more than just food. It’s more than just adding fuel to our bodies. It’s a social act, an occasion to come together and spend hours eating, drinking and chatting. Not a quick cheese sandwich for lunch, but a warm home cooked meal, preferably served with a chilled glass of wine.

People here are taking the time to eat. 

Please read further… here and if you like what you’re reading, consider give it a heart and comment on the article page. Many thanks for your support, always appreciated!

Con Amor,

Eva

Image: Ibiza Dalt Villa by Belinda Fewings

Moody.

When I look in the mirror and see my hair getting more grey lately, I can’t say I find it charming anymore.

When I open the tap and there’s no water running, as the water pump has been turned off again, I can’t say it doesn’t matter anymore.

When I try to find some summer clothes in the wardrobe and I don’t seem to find the right pieces as they are all in one box on one shelf, I can’t say I don’t care anymore.

I do my best lately to not be a grumpy, ungrateful woman.

I have a good life, the sweetest man beside me, who is always supporting and positive, we are healthy and alive, yet I wake up each morning feeling sad. I do my best to make something of the day. “I’m fine,” I answer them when they ask me how I’ve been lately.

What do you say when you feel that flaming fire that used to keep you alert, excited and happy, slowly quenched? It’s all so so. I have always been that person who enjoys the small things in life: the butterflies in the garden, the cup of coffee in the morning, the bike ride through the small caminos, being together with the one I love. I don’t need much to feel happy and alive, and I always appreciated this within myself, but somehow I lost it and this stop-and-smell-the-roses sentiment the past couple of weeks.

There’s a heaviness hovering between me and the world. My heart goes out to the elderly locked in nursing homes, who haven’t seen their families for months and are more likely to die from a lonely, broken heart at their old age than from this whole damn virus. Also, I think of my own mum who lives alone and doesn’t have close friends around her with whom she can exchange thoughts.

I know I will be able to shake that heaviness off me, but not now. I decide to not fight it any longer and just let it be. Accepting these uncertain, some say pivotal, times just as they are and let my plans in my head stay there a little bit longer, so they have time to develop into a better shape. Accepting that I’m moody lately and rather dive into another novel to escape a bit and be grateful that I can. Accepting that I can’t see my mum and family in the Netherlands for a while.

But I won’t accept these ridiculous restricting rules any longer. If I want to hug somebody it’s a choice of two people, no government has any right to tell otherwise. And I hope children with parents in nursing homes will stop accepting that they are refrained from visiting their emotionally broken parents. Because that’s the effect of these incomprehensible rules of European governments: broken bodies and broken spirits, which deserve much better after a long life. I hope that we all use our common sense and start breathing again.

P.S. Writing this down a bit, already makes a difference. If you perhaps feel the same lately, start writing. Let’s write together! ♡

Con Amor desde Mallorca,

Eva

Photo by Thomas Griesbeck / Unsplash 

Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live…And let’s change the way we treat each other.

Remember Tupac’s “Changes”? I still love this song.

We’ve seen that it has been just a matter of weeks that our world has changed into a new one. The world isn’t the same anymore and there’s much uncertainty we need to deal with. It all seems quite surreal, but this is our new reality.

It’s possible

What strikes me most these days is that we are caught up by a health crisis that made governments decide which seemed impossible before: airplanes stay at the ground; traffic has been restricted dramatically; borders were closed; people stay home and can’t shop anymore, only to buy the most necessary; private rooms have become little home offices; schools are empty. Severe measures were taken which have resulted in an unusual world where speed and busyness no longer exist. Suddenly we are forced “to be”.

Stillness lives in city streets and the wild is seen in places which are usually occupied by human activities: dolphins in the waters of Venice and wild horses in the streets of Sarajevo.

Immediate threat

The fact that the health of our planet is suffering, that we breathe polluted air that kills us, that wild life slowly dies and that we see forests and its inhabitants devoured by ferocious flames, are no urgent reasons for our political leaders and for us, world citizens, to massively reconsider our choices, to make pressing regulations and to slow down for a change. This health crisis is an immediate threat to humans, whilst apparently the climate crisis isn’t; we don’t see the effects in our daily lives. But this could be — again — a new reality in the future to come.

Obviously, these weeks are about human fragility. We are fragile, but so are our systems — health, food, economy, livelihood. Let’s use this time to re-think and contemplate humanity. It’s a beautiful chance for everyone, isn’t it?

No bicycles

Yesterday morning I was pulled over by the policia local on my way to the eco centre “Centre de Resiliència Mallorca”, which we are developing with a few friends. I was on my bicycle and they said I wasn’t allowed to cycle. “Don’t you have a car?”, one of the police officers asked me. “Well, no I haven’t, this is my way of transport,” I answered him. I felt a bit intimidated and showed them the authorisation and my passport I carried in my bag. The police officer read it carefully and I was allowed to continue my journey.

A message

The night before I slept terribly bad and a sudden fear got hold on me. I felt total chaos and my head was spinning with so many thoughts and worries. In general, I have never been a really stressed person, but somehow a sleepless night has the power to change me into a fearful human during these dark hours. In my dreams I received a message from my deceased father which he had written on his typewriter. It was a piece of paper telling me that we must wait. With a date on it. Not sure who are “we”, my family or all the people?

Emotional

When I was cycling on the calm caminos and looked around me, I noticed not much of a difference with some days before, but yet it was a total new world I had encountered. After the police stopped me, I thought of the war-books I had read and the stories of my mum about my grandmother on the hunt for food in times of occupation and danger. Of course these were different times, but somehow it crossed my mind and tears welled up in my eyes. The whole day I felt emotional and thought about the people around me and the impact of this crisis on their lives. Imagine if even worse things will happen…

We are so fragile and we are so comfortable with our lives. I see this health crisis as a test, even as a warning of Mother Earth, The Universe, God or how you call it. It’s nature’s way of saying “enough”. This ego-driven world can’t continue the way it does.

Changes

The systems which we have created together, need to change. It makes sense to start community-gardens, to learn about growing our own food or, if you can’t, to make connections with local farmers or shops which sell their products. The huge dependence on supermarkets isn’t a healthy system. It makes sense to become self-sustainable and to build communities, we can’t do it all on our own. This doesn’t mean that viruses won’t kill us, but it makes us less fragile when we need to live through even bigger crises. It makes sense to become resilient beings.

“We gotta make a change
It’s time for us as a people to start making some changes
Let’s change the way we eat, let’s change the way we live
And let’s change the way we treat each other
You see the old way wasn’t working
So it’s on us to do what we gotta do to survive.” ~ Tupac Shakur

Let’s use this time to re-think and contemplate humanity.

Make the best of these weeks at home. I received a sweet message of a friend who said she feels quite calm and happy, as she spends more time with her little daughter now…this busy bee could finally slow down. Maybe we will miss these days when this is all over.

My thoughts are going to the heroes and heroines out there, who are caring for the vulnerable and the sick with so much dedication. Be safe.

Con Amor, Eva

Landed on Mallorca: Cold Showers and Heart Warming Soul Food

Words as “new beginnings” have this openness to new possibilities and chances that may cross our path and give us purpose. They carry hope. Who doesn’t love to be in this kind of state when the world looks so incredibly messy and hopeless?

Letting go

Especially these last days of December which tend to be nostalgic and introspective. I believe we all deserve a second chance and an opportunity to do it better. And to start anew is the best we can do or sometimes the most courageous act in our lives as often we need to let go of that which gives us certainty, comfort and clarity. Sometimes we need to let go of the things that usually aren’t bad for us, but neither do they bring us a step closer to the lives we wish for ourselves.

New beginnings

“New beginnings” are going to school again as we’re never too old to learn.

“New beginnings” are becoming a mother.

“New beginnings” are to change jobs as the work no longer serves us.

“New beginnings” are ending an unsustainable relationship.

“New beginnings” are buying a house as we want to invest in a place to live and so we can.

“New beginnings” are moving to another country where nobody knows us.

“New beginnings” are changing our bad habits.

During our lifetime we all live multiple lives and each life asks us different things and presents us different values.

Embrace change

The “new beginnings” on Mallorca ask me to embrace uncertainties and change. My landing on this new island has gone well so far, together with my man and two cats, and it’s all still very new.

This is our new place:

This cozy “shed” is located right next to the house of the Argentinian landlords, who have a little daughter, a Golden Retriever and a Persian cat. The family lives consciously with water and their solar panels are very limited so we constantly need to be aware of this. However, the generator is there to help when there isn’t enough electricity available.

This morning I had a really cold shower as the water sometimes doesn’t warm up. We don’t have a bathroom, but we use the bathroom in the family’s house. It isn’t ideal, but it deserves time to adjust. Our Eco tiny home on Ibiza used to be comfortable and we never experienced a lack of electricity and warm water. So this is new for us.

Warm bedroom

Christmas Day we spent in the upper north east of the island. It was a long and beautiful bike-ride. Our good friend, who wasn’t there, gave us the key of his house. We sooo appreciated the warm showers we had and the electrical heater in the bedroom! These things we always take for granted are actually quite special. Because honestly, isn’t it a miracle that there’s always water running from our western taps?

It’s good to realize that these normal things that seem to have become a luxury, actually aren’t so normal. I don’t know how long I can do this though, but I feel there are far more worse things to live with, and despite those inconveniences I already have started to love this basic, tiny home on the gorgeous countryside, 4 km outside the closest village called Algaida.

Ancient village

Algaida has the looks of an ancient village with its brown stone houses, hand crafted wooden doors and classic yellow street lights at night. The old village has a square, a church, a couple of cafes and small supermarkets, an ecological wine farm and a postoffice.

The other day a Mallorcan friend ~ with whom we collaborate to start a small, sustainable community ~ was so kind to invite us to have lunch in a nice restaurant here that serves traditional Mallorcan dishes. On this sunny Monday the restaurant was packed with locals having lunch and drinking red wine, talking in a language I don’t understand a word of: Mallorquin. Our friend who was born and raised on Mallorca, passionately explained the Mallorcan food culture to us. I wondered if I could do this in the same way when it’s about the Dutch kitchen.

Warm belly

Most of the Mallorcan dishes are made of animal products, but I was able to choose the day menu which had vegetarian options! The Mallorcan Tumbet, a stew of gently fried aubergines in extra virgin olive oil with a tasty tomato sauce on top and a fried egg was rich and nutritious and warmed up my belly nicely (great food for cyclists too!).

It’s good to mention that Tumbet, without the fried egg, is a vegan dish. We drank a bottle of supple red wine from the local ecological wine farm. I find so much pleasure in finding local ingredients these days, so this local ecological wine farm needs our support! The day menu in Hostal Algaida was also economically very attractive. We will come back.

Food video

Talking about food…right before we went to the restaurant that afternoon, I watched a video that was spot on and thought provoking. It completely confirmed my motives to eat plant-based. Although it’s a very serious topic, you can’t suppress a good laugh at some moments. It’s satire and this Dutch guy, Arjen Lubach, is good at it.

The video is in Dutch, so for the Dutchies amongst us, I share this video. I’m not a fan of the words “must-see” or “must-read,” but this video I would call a “must-see”.

Here it is:

Perhaps for you this could be a “new beginning” too.

I would love to help you in any way I can. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

With hope and compassion,

Eva

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