A Scandinavian Vacation

This is a blast from the past- one of the trips we made last year for a long weekend. Most of these places might be closed now due to COVID.

I was not so keen on visiting Sweden, as I had my heart set on a sunny location like Slovenia or Italy, but as it was peak travel time, we finally agreed upon Sweden.

It turned out to be a short but beautiful trip.

Where did we stay

We stayed at a lovely AirBnb in Saltsjö-Boo in a beautiful guesthouse located by the sea. It was a cabin which had a large bed, kitchen, bath and dining table. All the amenities were available. Neel was really happy as there was a huge lawn with toys right in front of our house which belonged to the family who owned the guesthouse. It was a perfect house located on a perfect location. We could take nice walks along the pathway by the sea. While Mike and Neel enjoyed watching all the boats and ships sailing, I had a good time looking at the gorgeous Scandinavian homes. We also spent time drinking cups of coffee on the lawn while enjoying the beautiful views of the sea.

Places we visited and things we saw

1. Unfortunately, on the day we landed in Stockholm, my mobile crashed, so I HAD to find a dealer who could fix it or buy a cheap mobile. So the first stop we made was to Kungsgatan, a central area in Stockholm full of shops, cafes and restaurants. We spent the rest of the day walking around the city. We also visited The Stadsbiblioteket (Stockholm Public Library) and spent sometime browsing the books.

2. When you visit Stockholm, you cannot miss the old town- Gamla Stan. It is filled with cobbled streets and 17th- and 18th-century old, colorful buildings.

3. An Archipelago tour with a guide was a perfect sightseeing tour on a boat. For a duration of almost 3h, we got to see a beautiful collection of islands, learnt about Scandinavian culture and history and also spotted some amazing homes. Depending on the tour you take, it costs around 610.00 SEK (1 SEK= 0.12 United States Dollar) for 2 adults and for children under 5 years it is free.

4. All you Music lovers, do not miss Abba The Museum. It takes only a couple of hours to get the most out of this museum dedicated to the famous Swedish band.

5. Vasa Museum– Honestly, I was not such a fan of this museum, but Mike and Neel (die-hard boat-lovers), were really impressed. So do visit this museum if you want to know more about the history of Vasa (a Swedish Warship).

6. We also visited a beautiful archipelago town, Vaxholm. We had to take a ferry to reach this town. Wooden homes and fishing cottages beautify this quaint place. We really enjoyed spending time walking, eating Swedish lunch and lazing around while having coffee. Mike even bought an authentic handmade wooden boat from here as a souvenir.

If we ever visit Sweden again, I would love to explore more of its natural parks and nature reserves.

Madhurya.

The Monk who sold his Ferrari

I gave this book a 5-star rating on Goodreads.

It is about living your best life, written in the form of fiction. This book is a discussion between the 2 main characters- lawyers, one ex who has turned yogi and another, who is about to have his life completely changed.

The yogi who traded his prized Ferrari for a life of wisdom and inner and outer vitality, shows the way.

Well, I wouldn’t have minded if it was wholly written in a non-fiction format as at times the dialogue and humor seemed forced.

This book can’t be read in a single sitting (not for a slow reader like me anyway). It needs to be read slowly, savoring every word, sometimes re-reading to ensure certain ideas and practices stick. In short this book needs to be studied.

Throughout my read I was reminded of how life management was really all about mind management and that I am the gardener and protector of my mind. A single pest of a negative thought was all it took to unravel the carefully tended space. I began to notice when my thoughts were spiraling downwards. I started paying attention to what was going on within and without.

It is still a struggle to pull myself up when I’m upset or angry, but I’m learning ways to control myself through meditation and Journaling.

So many interesting and thought-provoking ideas like the kaizen method (constant and never-ending improvement), philosophy of opposition thinking (replacing a negative thought with a positive one) and Magic rule of 21 (performing an activity for 21 days for it to become a habit) were introduced and dwelt upon. I’d read about some of these concepts in other self-help books, but it is never a bad idea to have them reiterated.

Of all the lessons I learnt from this book the most powerful one and the one that’s already making an impact in my life in areas like my job and my kids’ education is this – RUN YOUR OWN RACE. It doesn’t matter where I stand compared to my peers, it only matters how far I’ve come and what needs to be done next.

One practice I truly want to explore is the idea of a Dreambook. It is a notebook filled with pictures of the things, people and places that inspire you. This would be such a fun activity to do with my kids.

Every second you spend thinking about someone else’s dreams you take time away from your own.’

Time is the most precious commodity we are all running out of with every passing second. The author believes that we are all born with a purpose and every life’s mission should be the realization of that purpose, but that’s where I disagree– Not all of us have big dreams or goals. I don’t. Or maybe not yet . I believe in making the best use of TODAY, or this very minute. If doing nothing but simply enjoying birdsong as I sip my Chai makes me happy, then it is time well spent.

I can go on and on about the things that stood out for me, motivated and inspired me, but I’d love for you to try the book and taste it for yourself. It has changed my perspective, and I can’t say that about many books ( the ones that come to my mind right off the bat are ‘the happiness project’ and ‘eat pray love‘) And if you have already read the book, please share your thoughts…

Love,

Manasa

What we are… (Nov. 11, 2020)

We used to post this every Wednesday, and we thought why not begin blogging again by recording what we are upto. So, currently,

Here’s what Madhurya had to say-

Reading: Get a life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Watching: Movie “The bridges of Madison County” and series ” How to get away with murder” on netflix.

Eating: All the dishes I prepared for the pre-diwali get-together we had with a couple of friends.

Making: Diwali diy decorations and Advent gifts for Christmas.

Wishing for: a white christmas, a better ending for 2020 and a great start to the new year.

Learning: to pick my battles with Neel and to take it one day at a time.

Thinking: about how our life is going to change with the arrival of another little one. Excited and nervous!

Listening: to many kannada and tamil songs.

Loving: that the holiday season is here. Let’s make the best of it!!!

Here’s what I had to say-

Reading: Oh! So many- The monk who sold his Ferrari, The lady of Bolton Hill, Don’t Overthink it and How to be a writer, depending on my mood and whats closeby. 🙂

Watching:  True Detective on hotstar. Just love Matthew McConaughey’s character, his negative but wise observations about life and the small-town America shown in the first season.

Eating: lots of veggies that are available in plenty at the local market. I’ve become quite the expert on meal-planning and preparing after all these years of cooking for my foodie family, and also because I’m always short on time.

Making: videos and props for my online classes.

Wishing for: this new work+life balance to continue. I don’t ever want to get back into the pre-covid rat race!

Learning: that it is all in my mind. I have the power to be whoever and however I wish to be. I have more energy and time for the things that matter to me. And the same goes for you too, my friend.

Thinking: of where to travel to, next. What would be safer, Goa or Andaman? Or a jungle? A girl can dream right?

Listening: to Office ladies podcast and laughing along. Angela and Jenna (actors on the show) dissect the episodes of The Office, and share the backstory and facts and tidbits. I simply devour them, being such a fan of the show, especially the first few seasons.

Loving: having friends or family over for dinner on Saturday nights.

Love,

Madhurya & Manasa.