Saturday, April 28, 2012

Katrina, the happy tourist

Japanese Tea Garden
in the enormous Golden Gate Park.

Today, I was a tourist
and my name was Katrina.
Makes ordering food
and shopping a lot easier :).

I walked, walked and walked;
people watched and nature watched;
got lost and found my way again;
made my own decisions and wished I could share my excitement...
I enjoyed, enjoyed, enjoyed!

My reward: a smoothie.

It was on my way back home (that is definitely how Ed and QA's place feels to me), holding my reward(s) that I realised...
I am a Belgian small town girl...
Living (and working) at an Ashram
in Santa Rosa, California...
Walking around in San Francisco...
Having a home to go to and friends to go see...
I am lucky and loving my life!

Women's day out!

Friday, I left the yoga center and got on a bus to San Francisco.

It was a long busride, espacially bathroomwise... But thanks to the amazing help from Eric from Santa Rosa, who I met on the bus (and who must have seen the nervousness on my face, little did he know it wasn't about finding the place, but finding a bathroom in time), I got off at the right stop and found the Asian Art Museum.
I met up with Cheryl there and she made sure I was all comfortable again, so we could start our wonderful day!

Picture from the gift store at the asian Art Museum.
I was too occupied in the museum itself!

... had a delicious lunch at the Asian Art Museum, including Cheryls first mango lassi

... walked around in the museum. It felt like walking meditation... So peaceful!

Ceiling at City Hall San Francisco.

 ... visited City Hall and watched the newlyweds and the brides dresses

... drove to the ''de Young Legion of Honor Museum'' and stared at the amazing views over the bridge, the water, the nature...

... found a lot of ''Jan''-painters in the Flemish and Dutch rooms

... got to know some American artists and were amazed by the beautiful and chic temporary exibition of the ''Victorian Avant-Garde''
Outside of the ''Legion of Honor''.

... had dinner at the Beach Chalet, with view over the beach, ocean and the brilliant sunlight and had the best Lemonade, ever!

... loved San Francisco!

Thank you Cheryl for showing me these lovely places and for the wonderful woman's day!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Basketball and Pupusa's

Today was a stressless day
with mindblowingly cosy and interesting conversations 
and friendship!
And how about this friendship...

The wonderful Michaela and the awsone Carlos.

We built up an appetite shooting some hoops on the basketball field 
(which was almost as revitalising as a good meditation session)
and then got delicious Salvadoran Pupusa's!

Awsome day, awsome people!
Thank you Michaela and Carlos!

A job for K

We have clean, labelfree storage-jars now!

Leftover labels in drain.


Yesterday, I mindfully crafted my first stamp.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Nature loves me?

I think I might have allergies!
Bad ones!
Ones that make me feel 10 years older and
look like I've been crying for three days straight!

But I love nature!
Love me back, please...

Ok, nature does, love me...
I found these...


Blue was the wheelbarrow that I filled with dead leaves.
Blue was my sweater, keeping me warm.
Blue was my waterbottle, helping me drink the drops.
Blue was my shin, hurting from another clumsy act.
Blue was Maya's toy, being thrown but not brought back.
Blue was the bright blue bird, hanging out with me while working.
Blue was one of Maya's eyes, looking at me with excitement and love.

Blue was not my mood, being more of a bright orange-red.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What can you pack in one sunday?

Beautiful Xylem clothing,
made out of Soy fiber and organic cotton.
From Eugene, Oregon.
You can pack:
- a delicious granola breakfast in the warm morning sun, looking out over the mountains
- a super fun and cozy ride into THE city (thank you Arun!)
- the amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge disappearing in the mist
- an interesting Earthday market/festival/happening with somewhat strange vibes and energies
The Xylem booth with the lovely Mariha.

- 8 hours of work in a cute booth with beautiful AND organieco-    friendly clothes (check it out on
- meeting awsome and interesting new people it was so nice getting to know you Mariha and Bri!)
- meeting strange and kind of creepy people
- a narly sunburn and a tiredness I haven't felt in a looooong time
- an angel of a friend showing up when you most want her to (thank you so much QA...)
There was a lot happening on the market, including funny bikes...
 This is my favorite detail from one of the bikes.
They are made in Santa Rosa, the town I'm staying in.

- a delicious dinner cooked by three sweethearts of guys (thank you Ed, Murph and Tim!)
- and a welcome shower and a heavenly bed

It was an interesting sunday, it was a good sunday!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Some of the lovely foods the garden gave us.



And some kind of root... Pastinaak?

Kirtan night

Instruments of the "chantleaders".
Friday evening we had Kirtan.
A monthly chanting party.
A lot of people came and a lot of voices sang.
It was powerful and fun.

I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't dealing with a headache that lasted for two days and just kept getting worse...
Tibetan Cranial Healing? The sun?
I got a Reiki treatment today and it looks like I'm through the worst!

When's the next Kirtan party?

Garden work

Thursday, Friday and Saturday we worked in the garden.
Everyday it got a little hotter.
Everyday I knew a little better what I was doing.
And everyday the garden looked a little better.

The lawn, my Thursday work field.
The rest of the action happened in the vegetables and herbgarden.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Happy puppy

Let me introduce you to Maya, the sweetheart of a dog that lives here.
We are trying to get her to loose a little bit of weight... So less food (which makes her a bit cranky) and more moving around.
I've tried playing fetch... but she doesn't ever bring back the toy. So that doesn't work.
I had the urge to go deeper into the nature that is so beautifully present here. So I combined that with Maya's workout and we went for a walk.

We were both really tired afterwards, but it was worth it!
Amazing views, awsome plants, almost no sounds, a wild turkey on our path, hawks (or some kind of big bird) flying right above our heads, great trees, the most beautifully coloured birds, ...
And the sun in our faces and on my white white legs.

''Aaaaaaw'' en ''Mmmmm''

My journal with a picture from the flyer
of the Tibetan Cranial Healing art.
One of the ladies that lives here is a certified Tibetan Cranial Practitioner. She had a ''Tibetan Cranial Clinic day' today and asked me if I wanted a treatment (payed of course). Sure! I had no idea what to expect and what it would even mean... but I was curious and I like her.

So I had my Tibetan Cranial treatment. It's an ancient healing art that is good for the flows in the body and the circulation, balaces the body and increases energy and clarity of mind (which I really need for my meditation skills...).
I had to lay down on a table and she made me as comfortable as can be. She pushed pressure points on my skull, neck and face (and even in my mouth).

It sure felt good for my neck and I felt extremeley relaxed. She hurt me only ones and it REALLY hurt! But she warned me beforehand and it was a good pain... A pain like she knew what she was doing.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A lot of ahaa's

Studying the yogic history, knowledge, ideas, believes, wisdom, ...
I feel a lot of ''ahaas's''... I feel excitement and curiosity. 
A lot of it makes sence. A lot of it are things I believe in.
I am too much of a beginner to grasp everything and to understand everything to the fullest...
but this feels like what I've been looking for...
Balance, health, connection, bliss, love, ...
I am not there yet, I have a long way to walk...
but I feel like I opened a door...

My room at Ananda Seva.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunny sunday

This weekend we got inspired by a workshop about ''Permaculture''.

David Holmgren's definition says:
''consiously designed landscapes which mimic the patterns and relationships found in nature''

And what is more inspring then nature and it's colours, it's patterns,
it's tasts, it's warmth,  it's beauty, it's smells,
it's force and it's softness...

Free as a bird!

Saturday I got to ''break free''.
I needed it! It got to the point where I was kind of feeling nervous about being around unknown people again...
That's what I get when I'm in the house for too long...

I felt as free as a bird
 when I walked down the drivewaw,
on to the street.

Because I like lists, and I'm not a great writer (especially not in English) I'm going to give you a list of my favorite and/or weirdest highlights of the day.
  • The big, mentally disabled guy that (at first) scared the hell out of me. He started walking towards me with his black eye and dark clothes and asked me all kinds of questions.... He kept staring back at me on the bus... but then just let go... Fiew.
  • The man pointing at me and shouting ''You are the pure definition of beauty!''... Of course I turned as red as a tomato and I wasn't sure if that just made my day or made me more afraid of people...
  • Culture shock: the Californian blondes in Macy's: perfectly shaped, perfectly blonde, all the same looking and all getting make up smeared all over their faces... Man, I really felt like I didn't belog there, so I ran... I'll find my laptopsleeve somewhere else!
  • The waitress in the sushi place I went for lunch... She took extra good care of me because I was there by myself. With all of my concentration and attention I could actually understand what she was saying! (I have trouble with understanding accents in English.)
  • The strawberry the gave me as a treat after my sushi meal... It was the best strawberry I ever had!
  • Finding yoga pants I really liked, which are actually long enough. And having the shopkeeper say... Oh and today, everything is 50% off.
  • The woman on the bus talking to herself about the 3-berry pie she brought on the bus and how the previous one she had with her was an apricot pie. Nope, she wasn't talking to the driver or the person next to her.
  • Having the button for the crossinglights pushed for me by a dancing Micky Mouse who was advertising cheap haircuts.
  • Almost getting run over by the bus I had just gotten off from at that same crossing.
  • Sitting on a bench,
    with the sun on my face
     and a forbidden beverage in my hand.
  • Having great Mexican food for dinner with an awsome new friend.
  • Meeting more awsome people at a cool art gallery with awsome live music.
  • Having a lovely email to read from my amazing guy just before I went to bed.

    Oh and did I mention: spotting the Peanut-caracters
    and getting excited by the Snoopy's.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


To the mind that is still,
the whole universe surrenders.
Lao Tzu from the Tao Te Ching, China

In meditation room @ Ananda Seva.

I'm not there yet,
but working on it
and excited about it.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


This Easter I left one tradition
(Chocolate easter eggs, they just didn't cross my path this year),
and refound another one...

We picked up wild flowers for Tims mom (thank you Cheryl for the lovely sunday!)
 and also a little for you Moe...
I remembered the times when we were smaller and used to pick you some.
You were always so happy and always put them in a little vaze 'op de kast'.
We miss you Moe!
Happy Easter to you too!

Wild flowers.

Lovely Easter dinner

We spent Easter in Half Moon Bay where (a big part of) Tims family created an amazing Easterdinner.
Thank you guys! It was tasty and forbidden (and that made it even more tasty). I was a bit afraid they would smell the onions on me here... but so far so good.
It was great to be around family and it is such a relief knowing that they are out there and fairly close by.
Special thanks to Caitlin and Eric for driving me all the way up to Santa Rosa again...

I didn't take a picture of all the food,
because I was too busy eating it...
 But here's to show it was good and not much was left!

Easter weekend get away

The painted ladies!
When Tim said 'Turn around', I could not believe my eyes!

Friday evening I ''got out'' and one of my wonderful collegues of the ''Yoga life program'' gave me a ride to San Francisco.
After an exciting hour drive (exciting because I saw the outside world again, there were so many pretty things and because I would see him again of course)... we got to where me and Tim would be staying.
Man it was good to see him!
Our hotel was in the Tenderloin district... apperently not the nicest neighbourhood, but right in the centre of the city.
Saturday morning we walked around to look for a breakfast place and the Tenderloin was a lot to take on an empty stomach... I can not get over or get used to the misery of people sometimes... And I kind of hope I never do...

We did the stuff we love to do:
- got great food (a lot of forbidden food in my Sattvic diet,oops)
- walked around
- took some pictures
- got more great food
- met up with great people for great ice cream
- enjoyed eachothers company very much
- went to a cofffe shop and read and journalled, side by side
- went to see some nicer areas and some amazing views
- ...

And we tried to forget that the next day, we would have to say goodbye again...

Street deco in San Fancisco.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


I found a little book in the desk in my room.
''365 Inspirations, Love and peace''

This is what I read tonight...
Couldn't be more perfect.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.

There is a tacit understanding
between my pencils
and the trees outside;
between the rain
and my luminous hair.

The tea is boiling:
my golden zone,
my pure burning amber.

I can be alone,
I know how to be alone.
By tea-light
I write.

Nina Cassian, Romania

New experiences

Sunday, april 1st... I started a new chapter in my travel adventure.
I am spending two months in a yoga and meditation centre, by myself.

Yesterday, april 4th, I had my first full day without crying and wondering what the hell I am doing here.
Choked up a little, but no tears!

Today I did a big chunk of my 20 hour work duty.
And I reminisce on the things I learned so far.

Here's the update:

  • I learned to see that there are things to learn everywhere.
  • I learned that listening to my instinct really pays off.
  • I learned that all people are very interesting, but that that doesn't mean that they are more interesting then I am, or that I am more interesting then they are.
  • I learned that I can talk to people, make friends, be fun and open.
  • I am learning to live with people, in one house, sharing everything.
  • I am learning the new Sattvic diet or Yoga diet (f.e. no onions, no mushrooms, no alcohol, no chocolate, no garlic).
  • I learned how to use an American laundromat.
  • I learned how to keep smiling after I having a shopping cart full of food and having to put half of it back, because it wasn't right in de Sattvic diet (I learned about the diet afterwards, they forgot to tell me).
  • I learned to perfection some yoga asanas (postures). I'm most proud of my boat asana. I finally got the hang of it!
  • I learned that I am not really flexible... yet!
  • I learned that meditation keeps me grounded, brings me really close to myself and makes me feel peacfull.
  • I learned that I will learn a lot here... And not just about yoga and meditation. 

Yoga and meditation room Ananda Seva.

San Fran-tastic!

Two years ago, when I first visited San Francisco,
I didn't have that good of an impression of it.
It just felt like another big city.
This time I loved it!
And that is thanks to you, Ed and QA and "the guys".
Thank you for taking us to amazing foodplaces,
for having us in your beautiful house,
for "sweetening" us with amazing bakings,
for sharing your great dog with us
and for just being awsome!

Cooper, Ed and QA's amazingly well trained
 (he can clean up his own toys!),
  excited and super sweet dog. 

Ed and QA want to do something new every month.
What a great idea!
The special, cozy and maybe somewhat pretentious tea place we went to
was a perfect new thing for them.
Although they were out of my favorite genmaicha tea,
it was a great experience and so much fun!

Here's to new experiences!
And boy am I experiencing new things right now....

Om Shan Tea in San Francisco. Great tea, sweet athmoshpere!