I bake, therefore I survive

One of the topics often discussed among Europeans here in Australia is bread.
It is just not the same as at home. And it is very expensive too, compared to what we are used to, which makes it harder to accept the quality. We miss heavy, crusty loafs full of seeds – and no, you do not get that in Australia, unless you live near an IKEA. Yes, that’s right: IKEA (and no, they do not make it from the remaining saw dust, like some people think). This packet was my savior for the five years we lived in Brisbane:

I just spent the weekend in Brisbane, arriving with hand luggage only, departing with a 17kg suitcase. Our survival is secured for a little while yet.

But unfortunately there is no IKEA in Cairns and no bakery either which make this type of bread. Luckily, when I was in Denmark my friend Nina gave me the recipe for cold risen bread, which substitutes nicely (though it is not dark enough, but I might be able to fix that myself). I thought I’d share the recipe with you, just in case your stomach needs some real love.

Ingredients:
350 g of flour
15 g of yeast
350 ml of cold water
1 tsp of salt
1 tbsp of sugar
1 tbsp of oil
1 cup of oats/seeds/sawdust or whatever you like

Mix flour with yeast, salt, sugar and oats. Mix water with oil. Mix it all together – it should be like a thick, sticky porridge. Cover the bowl with cling film and stick in the fridge overnight. This step takes less than 5 minutes. The next morning you spoon the dough onto the plate (no mixing it, leave the air in) to create buns (I use two spoons for this) and leave for 10 min (that gives the oven time to warm up). Bake for 25 – 30 min at 200C. All done.

Look at the love in those! Sunflower seeds, poppy seeds, oats and all. Yum, yum, yum!

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Love is in the air

Mr Husband is on his way home. He is on an airplane heading towards Cairns. He has been away for 6 weeks, visiting family in Italy and I have missed him dreadfully. All I have wanted to do was scream “COME HOME” but I didn’t because it made me feel really guilty. I have only said it really quietly when I knew it was OK. Because it is great that he is with his family and friends – most of all his kids. He should be able to spend time with them without having me winging at the other end.

The closer he is getting to our coastline, the more I can feel the clouds rising and the fog disappearing. I am even starting to get my sense of humor back. I do not know if it is really because he is coming home or because I have done some serious inner work while he was away and am now coming out of the fog, but it seems to be coinciding.

It has been a serious long time since I last felt this energy boost. It is awesome.

Australian Border Security

Danes have a vague idea that Australians surf, have red hair and say G’day Mate (say it again Signe, it sounds so funny). BUT! To my absolute surprise, the general knowledge about Australia has been overshadowed by one major factor: Export TV.

Many Danes have a miraculous knowledge about Masterchef Australia. They know who all the contestants are and will engage conversation such as “I cannot believe that Poh didn’t win” (who? what? hang on!) and are extraordinarily concerned about the strict Australian Border Control. How do we ever get into the country? It is ridiculous how many times I had to explain that IT IS NOT LIKE YOU SEE ON TV. No one seems to have registered that the largest felony is to not tick the box. If you tick the box on your entry card that ask if you have an item, nothing happens! Just tick the box! They forget to show that part on TV.

And I’m living proof that you can tick as many boxes as you think are relevant and still get in. I remember it as if I ticked five, but I can only remember four of them (memory is slow these days). It had to do with animal products (seal skin, bone figures and other stuff from Greenland), plant products (wooden artefact), food products (oh the list is so long) and then there was something with weapons and/or arms. I bought at handmade Finish fishing knife for Mr Husband

Notice that it has a shaft in birch tree and reindeer antlers, so there: three ticks in one item.

Nothing was confiscated, it all made it home. I made it home. I didn’t get a fine because I ticked most of the boxes on the freakin card.

OH! I remember. Tick five had to do with having been on a farm while I was away. Yep. They still let me in.

Memories

I baked a cake today and all the way through the process I had a long conversation with myself about the things I would write on this blog. It was so relevant, you have no idea. And wont have, because I forgot everything. That is one of  the really unfortunate things about post-jet-lag. No memory.

I did take a picture of the ingredients, just to make a happy food item. I scooped all the items into bowls because I didn’t want to advertise. Then I checked the recipe to make sure that all ingredients were in the picture (and that I was ready to go with the mixing). I had forgotten the sour cream. By the time I got it out of the fridge, I had also forgotten the I’m-not-giving-you-any-credit-if-you-don’t-pay-me, which seemed so important.

Weight watchers? ME? that is just because Australia doesn’t have Icelandic products. I didn’t know it until this very long trip away, but apparently we should not be able to survive without skyr. And I’m serious. No one should advertise for weight watchers when they make butterscotch sauce to go with their brownies (mr husbands idea, but I think he did some brilliant thinking on that one).

 

To travel really is to live

There is only one word to describe how I feel at the moment: unsettled.

The past three months travels and all that came with it has been mind-blowing. It takes time to settle back into life, time to adjust to how things are here, time to filter all the new knowledge and let it all find its place. Relationships have been established, built, re-built, strengthened or fallen apart. Options, alternatives, preferences have been reviewed and questions of who I am, where I am, who I want to be, values, purpose, importance, significant others and all that comes with life and living, has been clarified.

I’m in a good place.

I currently feel as if I’m walking at the edge of my capacity. Hans Christian Andersen said that “to travel is to live”. I don’t think I ever understood the truth of this as much as I do now. If you let it, travelling is not just something you experience; it is something that transforms you. Travelling can force you to grow in a way that hardly anything else can. The journey continues for a long time after the ticket runs out.

Good to be home…

So it was all so different than I thought it would be.

Before leaving, blogging and the entire writing process was helpful, a stress relief, even cathartic. While in Greenland, it was a catalyst for all the non-work experiences – work being the number one word for that trip.

But then in Denmark. Then it became too confusing, too complicated, too hard (the writing that is – the stay itself was great). I couldn’t do it. Couldn’t get my head around it and write about my experiences in a meaningful way.

Now I’m back in Australia and the urge to write is slowly returning. I have kept a record of many stories I could write about from my trip away and I may just do that. For now, I will see what happens on a day to day basis, the largest upsets being a MASSIVE case of jet-lag and a crashed hard drive. Right now, Mr Husband and I are camping at my workplace on a Saturday night to skype home and write personal emails.

This is the first tentative steps of me returning to the blog. Can I just say: it is good to be home!

Back again and on the road

So I knocked myself out completely and am still feeling the side effects a little bit. I promise that this will be the last time I will use the word ‘exhausted’ (at least for a long while), but I do get tired from doing hardly anything at the moment. Luckily for me, I (finally) have the opportunity to do as little or as much as I please.

The last couple of weeks have been really nice. Most have been spent resting and I have plowed through no less than 9 novels. I have been stunned by all the amazing literature available at my family and friends houses – books I have never heard of by writers I may or may not have heard of IN DANISH! It has been a thrill to get acquainted.

Most days outside, I have spent with old friends, hanging out and chatting. It has been so nice. I know some great people in this country, truly outstanding and amazing individuals. I have caught myself thinking “I am so lucky to know you” more than once.

And they spoil me, comfort me, listen to my stories and share theirs. And serve cake. We are a nation of “taking the opportunity to have cake” which will show on my waistline on return (I don’t care one bit). How can you not love a person who says “come for tea tomorrow morning” and serve you this:

 

At this very moment I am sitting on a train taking me to the south west of Denmark (Sønderjylland), the unbeatable cake region of the country. They have a thing called “Sønderjysk kaffebord” which includes somewhere around 20 to 30 cakes. I googled this picture for you:

 

My best friend from school has moved there as she married a dairy farmer (organic) from the region. I am truly hoping they will stick to one cake at a time – I’m not a great fan of eating cake for 5 hours until I explode. Instead I hope the sun will come out and we can sit in their lovely garden, chit-chatting the days away. We were born on the same day, have known each other for most of our lives  and sat next to each other for most of our 12 years at school together. There is a lot of catching up to do in the next week. Especially in me getting to know her two girls, who only remember me vaguely. It will most likely be an irregular blogging period ahead. Think of me in a summer garden eating cake instead.