This is me with my "we're sort of a couple but still not sure and got some stuff to work out" ex behind the camera, hitchiking up to Stockholm from Kalmar.
I'm sorry for not updating for a while, I've written like half the thing but then, you know, life just happens haha.
Soooooo, here’s my plan for the next… future! Not sure how this will or will not change, at least the months of October and after I’m not quite sure about, but here it is so far!
At the moment I’m in Karlstad to sort through some stuff, sign some papers and go to the dentist. Not the most exciting of times, but it’s nice with a break and just do small home stuff.
The next few months are very undesided yet. Seems like I will go to Israel in October, then I don’t know, then India at the other half of November, then again don’t know if I go back to Sweden or stay there or go to Nepal and then back to India…
But I know I’ll be in India from end of December (for sure) to end of March/beginning of April. Look for jobs, teach some workshops, create some awesome promotion material, shows, train, learn and heal my body.
Then I’m off… perhaps I’ll go study or work in Moscow. Who knows! Life is full of adventures, and adventures is just bad planning, right?
Perhaps I get some offers, it will all be for the best I think.
That’s it so far, now you got a brief view of what I’ll be doing. I prooooomise to update more photos etc. and keep posted of all the weird stuff that happens and the colorful events I’ll be at!
Love and light, fully awake!
Tuesday, June the 27th.
Disclaimer: this is my personal experience, I’m not telling anyone to do anything, it’s just my story.
By blood I am of Russian descent (as far as I know, my grandmother said her mom told her that her father (who died at her age of 3) was quite dark skinned and dark haired, as they were in the north or the Asian lands), both of my parents are Russian, so naturally I’m baptized and introduced into the Slavic Christian Orthodox church.
When I was a little girl I used to love going to churches – the smell of frankincense, the quiet, all the decorations, just how the room felt so important, royal and yet within reach to ask for anything and feel a warm fuzzy feeling inside. And the lightness that followed in my body when I walked out of there was wonderful! It was like a recharge!
Of course I only had this feeling when walking into an orthodox one – the catholic were only cool to watch the décor, without much of a stomach flutter (but still a little), and the protestant ones just looked like big fancy living-rooms to me. They still do.
I continued on being quite religious well into my teenage years, always feeling the same when visiting a church or imagining that my prayers were heard and that boy would like me back, or something.
But alongside of that I had also always been interested in the power of nature, witchcraft, Indian spirituality, Hinduism, fortune telling and other sinful practices, which I, Lord forgive me, carefully incorporated into my daily life.
After leaving the Dead Sea early in the morning and getting from the salt itchy weird thick awesome water into the freezing air conditioned bus, I tried to fall asleep.
The road was quite long, but after a while I gave up on sleeping and decided to enjoy the view – Jericho, who’s “walls came tumbling down”, one of the oldest city with walls in the world, over 8000 years!
When we passed the city, a while later there was a sign: “This is Palestinian territory, entering here might be dangerous for Israeli citizens”. Wow. Holy crap.
I looked carefully inside the village, and saw nothing. Not one person. Almost all houses had no windows, the parking lot was full of dusty cars, some of them on top of each other. No trash. No clothes.
No people. Scary…
We entered Jerusalem and got off the bus, immediately went to the market to find some food. After purchasing sabich (Israeli dish in pita bread) and relaxing for a bit, my friend Yonathan pointed the direction I was supposed to go on the tram to get to the old city, and ditched me.
Lovely, that one! It’s like throwing a child into the lake to teach it to swim, and darnit – it works! Hahaha I’ve been getting myself into uncomfortable situations for a couple of years now, and I feel it has really pushed my boundaries, taught me a lot about life and peoplehelped me conquer my fears & insecurities, it feels like I can do anything now!
So after moving by myself to Stockholm at age 16, I don’t remember if I was still religious or not, but at 17 I had for sure let it go. I was into Wicca, rituals, all sorts of nature stuff and since I had basically grown up in the woods I felt a strong connection to this sort of worship. Like I can control my life much more, and all the other nature related stuff that I got into such as divination and herbal remedies, really pushed me forward.
Still I believed this was just another shape of religion, and was connected in some way to my old ways.
While learning to live more and more on my own, travelling countries and seeing that the way I was brought up is not the only option, I lost more and more touch with the church. And Wicca.
Now I’m not sure what I would say I believe in… the power of the Universe, I guess.
ISRAEL FACT – Jerusalem is “home-base” for three major world religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This just shows that we are all One, doesn’t it?
After changing to full leg pants, sleeves and wrapping myself (including the head) in a big scarf, I bravely entered the Old City of Jerusalem. First on some market street, then I decided to get lost.
No matter where I went on the market, I got comments on my looks, no matter how much I covered up. It was both entertaining and a bit annoying.
This is what it looked like, getting lost in the Old City:
I somehow ended up at the Western Wall (or HaKotel in Hebrew). The wall is a remainder of a big BIG Jewish temple that was built around year 19 BC. It is the most holy place Jews are permitted to pray.
According to Jewish tradition, one should write the most sacred wish on a small piece of paper, and put it in a crack in the wall (or some other place on a sacred object).
I went down to the wall, the female side (the wall is separated into left male side and right female side), and looked at the praying women.
Somehow, something that before had been so natural, now baffled me. They are praying to the ruins of a temple, built not my some sacred person but by Herod the Great, Roman kind of Judea.
It is, just a limestone wall, simply. What makes it sacred is only the ideas behind it, and the history. Without the history, who knows if anything special would have occurred? Belief is a powerful thing, powerful enough to give great meaning to a limestone wall.
People whispered, kissed the wall, cried......
But, not my religion, not my place to tell.
Eventually I ended up on Via della Rossa, the road that apparently Jesus walked upon when dragging his cross to be crucified.
Now this is what I want to see! I really wanted to see something Jesus-related while being in Israel!
But walking on this cozy street was just like any other shop road in the Old City. Full of stores, trinkets, souvenirs, and no special feeling about it at all… why would they do this?!
At the end of that road was a HUGE church, an orthodox church built around the place where Jesus died for our sins on the cross. It was first built a small building, and then the church happened sometime after year 800. Inside was the stone plate he laid upon, the hill that was below his cross, and the “mausoleum” they put him in before the stone was rolled out of the way and Christ was find missing.
For one, it confused me that The Lords resting place was so close to his execution spot, perhaps it was not in real life, they just moved the resting place there?
But also… what if these stones were fake? What if somebody mixed them up so many hundred years ago, and this was not the real thing? How can they know, how can they tell?! Again, faith is a powerful thing.
I touched the stone plate the body of Christ rested upon. Nothing. Perhaps a small shiver, but not more than so.
I walked around the entire church, which was beautiful by the way! I explored every corner, and while it was impressive, I didn’t get that feel I used to…
When I was about to leave I heard a Russian tour group that just walked inside – I hurried with them and stood in line to see the inside of a small “house” inside the church. Inside was supposedly a piece of the stone that served as the door for Jesus final resting place, and all the way inside was a marble table, underneath which the real resting place was, safely kept away.
No photos inside.
I went in there.
I knelt in front of the marble table, put my hands together, and my forehead on the cold stone.
I just felt uncomfortable, and a bit sad over the fact that this didn’t make me feel anything. How could it be, was this not one of the most historically and religiously powerful places on earth!?
I was confused to how people could walk out of there weeping, and I was indifferent.
What happened!? Am I the devil now?? How could this be?
Was it my skepticism to whether the stones were real or not, or had I perhaps lost something important and sacred along the way? I mean… it’s just stone… it feels odd to worship something that is so unsure.
Does life have no meaning now?
Will my grandmother understand me?
But perhaps, remembering the peaceful high feeling I had the day before when we were in the Nature reserve, sitting in the creek, among the trees in the desert oasis, letting the water wash away my worries and fears…
I had been baptized, perhaps.
I have let go of the old… consciously by accident.
Nature is now my church.
Fully awake, love and light <3
Sunday the 25th.
Photos of the dead sea - lower down.
Gotta start off this post by saying – this photo is from nearby the Dead Sea, a nature reserve in a desert canyon.
The professional camera didn’t work, so Yonathan did this with my phone.. WOW!
Ever since I heard about that you can float in the Dead Sea without any effort, I’ve been wanting to go there, because I’ve never been able to float. I heard it was super relaxing, full of minerals and the desert full of stars, which is exactly what I needed.
So in my very short “list” of things I wanted to do in Israel, of course I wanted to visit the Dead Sea!
That Sunday me and my friend Yonathan went on a bus to Jerusalem, and switched to a bus to a place called ... I cannot for the love of anything remember....
We went a long way, around Palestinian area of Jericho and some date plantations, passing by the mountain of Ararat, and further on south into the desert. We arrived quite late, a couple hours before sundown, and after the 3 hours in busses with (to me) ice cold air conditioning, the 40 degrees Celsius were MORTIFYING!
There was no way to get out of the heat, undressing would not help, it felt like a strangling sauna. I think I should count this as being in Africa, haha!
ISRAEL FACT – The Dead Sea is the lowest (natural that a human can walk on without ladders) point on earth.
Yonathan suggested we don’t bring a tent, and why should we? There’s not much to hide from there, so when we went to look for a place to sleep, a green patch under some palm trees besides a spa-hotel seemed nice.
After waking up a buttload of times because there was insects, we slept in a slope and it was just too damn hot, sometime around 3 am the sprinklers went off.
In panic we dragged all the stuff further uphill, and tried to go back to sleep while half the stuff was still wet.
A bit more than an hour later, they went off again. Everywhere.
So we had to pack up everything quickly, and moved to the beach.
Around 04:30, the sunrise came…
One could see Jordan on the other side.
I gotta say – waking up at 7 am and immediately walking into the water, was absolutely amazing. I was surprisingly awake, and there was not many people around. The water… well it felt like a warm puddle. An enormous, warm puddle. It felt thick, like magnesium oil, and a bit creepy to think this enormous puddle didn’t have ANY life in it.
I felt a bit tingly all over my body, and all the teeny-tiny wounds hurt like hell.
And laying down, floating between earth and sky…. Absolutely magical, and so relaxing…
Everyone should try it sometime. Wow.
Then we went to eat, and into a canyon in a nature reserve. Yonathan had told me about the beauty of it, and it was already after 9 am so we needed to hide from the sun before it burned us to ashes.
We went in there, and WOW it was beautiful..
After a while of walking we decided to do a photoshoot on the cliff, and asked the forest ranger, Brian, for this area for permission to climb. He wanted to supervise so he came with us, but the camera didn’t work for some reason, so the ranger asked if we wanted to come into the closed part of the nature reserve.
OF COURSE WE DO!
We climbed up and over a cliff, and as we turned a corner to walk right through the creek running in the middle of the canyon, Brian turned to us and said “Welcome to my office!” with an ecstatic gleam in his eye!
And oh… it was beautiful….
Cannot even describe the beauty of it, and how calm and serene I was when we walked out of there.
All we had time for after hiding for hours in a small pool in the creek was to catch the bus, and go on further up north where we found ourselves a spot for the night.
Again, without a tent, but luckily without many insects, and without sprinklers!
Next morning I floated one last time in the Dead sea, and picked some salt with me, haha!!
As much as I enjoyed it, we eventually went back to the road, and went on the bus to Jerusalem, where I would spend the next day.
More on that in the next post…
Love and light!
It’s not surprising that I don’t get much writing or overall online presence done when I’m on “vacation”, believe me I tried!
But the times I was wiped out from this countries intensity, or that time I burned myself in the sun and had to lay inside for a few hours, I still could not manage to write anything. Perhaps it was my friends’ constant reminder of “don’t do anything, relax, be lazy!”, or my body just finally understood that some mindless tahini-eating and staring from the hammock is good for it sometimes.
At the moment I am in Russia, in Tver, visiting my relatives. Because not much is happening here, (and also the weather is shit) I’ll take this time to eat my grandmother’s pancakes and update on my travels in Israel Instead!
As I’m writing this I already realize how much easier it is to get into the flow of writing, without the temptation of fire-spinning meetings, sunbathing on the beach, or ice coffee at Shay’s place.
I wanted so badly to update every other day, because each day was just packed with LIFE!!
But now I’ll just mention the highlights, otherwise the writing won’t be as interesting. Also, I’ll skip the small stuff in-between the fun stuff.
To start things off, I’d like to say – I have more friends in Tel-Aviv now after two weeks, then after 5 years in Stockholm.
Of course in Sweden’s capital I know a few hundred people, great amazing ones that I can hang out with and do cool stuff! But here stuff happens much quicker, easier, people say yes to life, visit and help each other much more, and I feel a closer relationship with these loud, late, honest people than with most of my colleagues and friends in Scandinavia.
So why did I go to Israel in the first place?!
You know how you travel, meet new people and always say “oh yeah I’ll totally come visit!”
Well I figured what the hell, and decided to actually come visit Yonathan Russak; check out his page, he is a frikkin’ amazing photographer, one of the best I had the honor to work with!
Click the button above!
And why not – most of the Israelis I’ve met were loud, creative, unified (even for new people in the group) and just great people!
So as soon as I come to Tel-Aviv, good stuff starts happening all around!
First day I got there, I shared a cab with a German guy, whom I and Yonathan ended up meeting later that day for a drink. One can just bring their own beers to a restaurant in Tel-Aviv, nobody gives a flying frick!
We walked around town, had dinner, met some awesome Americans and had random conversations, and went on to visit the other two Israelis I had wanted to meet. There I met one of the guys girlfriends, Ebony from Australia who was crazy happy to discover I didn’t speak Hebrew – finally she had someone to talk to! She’d been there for a month and they do have a tendency to speak Hebrew most of the time.
We met up to go to the market the next day, to buy some fresh fruits and veggies (Yonathans fridge was almost completely empty…)
After many compliments to both of us from the salesmen (very rare in Sweden, haha), and one old man who didn’t speak English just stuffed our bags with eggplant and cabbage saying “no money, no money” and shoving us away, we arrived at the end of our hungry shopping spree, I just needed garlic.
The man selling them was shouting quite loud and couldn’t hear my request (everyone told me to “be Israeli” and just tell people what I want, cut in line, etc), so I shouted at him.
An older lady beside me looked at me with plate-sized eyes, and outburst “don’t scream! You are beautiful, he is wild! You’re not supposed to scream!”
… thank you for the life advice, hahahah.
ISRAEL FACT – Tel-Aviv is considered “the gay capital of the world” – there were almost as many pride flags hung up on walls, balconies and poles as there were Israeli flags. And there were A LOT!
After that we went home to eat, got really drunk and took her bike to the beach – me driving it, and her sitting on the saddle trying to contain all her excitement. Girl, I love you!
We spent the best day at the beach, went home to eat tahini and veggies, totally wiped out.
The next day we went to explore the old city of Jaffa, eat hummus, and then the beach again.
Leaving the beach, I was walking by a patch of grass and saw a large group of people doing acro yoga.
After talking a little with one of the guys there I spontaneously joined them; so many strong men and women, they were really good technically!
I got to try new stuff and learned a few new tricks.
See – stuff just happens here!
Next day relaxing a bit at home, walking around town in the afternoon, a man stopped me in the street. He saw my indian shawl and started talking to me about India – how he was from there, what he experienced, what I thought about it… etc. Then he walked me to a restaurant, bought me food and water, and sent me on my way. WHAT?!
An our later I meet a guy on the beach and exchange a henna tattoo for a massage; he was so happy he asked me to marry him. I hope it was a joke… or not. J
Another hour later I met Yonathan, Ebony and some other people to do some fire spinning (without fire, just the props, it’s called “flow arts”, then we went to Shay’s place to chill at his rooftop.
Wait, this is getting way too personal… I don’t think anyone that doesn’t know me would find this interesting.
So from now on - crazy photos and short descriptions in this post!
Wednsday the 21st I performed at Bascula Circus cabaret, with many other amazing artists! I did my mystical contortion act.
Thursday the 22nd – party in Herzeliya, waterpark rave with the university there, and seeing my friend Rebecca again who moved away to do army service a few years ago, then started studies and hasn’t left Israel since!
Friday 23rd – going to the beach 40 min north of Tel-Aviv, for a flow-arts (fire arts) meeting with a bunch of awesome people from different corners of Israel! They are so talented and amazing, and the spot was beautiful!
The sun burned me a bit though, so other half of Saturday was spent in bed
Saturday 24th – resting from sunburn, then busking in the streets with some awesome fire dance! It took only a couple hours to gather some people, I LOVE how fast one can make stuff happen here!
Sunday was quite a slow day, but after lunch sometime me and Yonathan finally left to the Dead Sea.
More on that in the next post!
Of course the days were much more than these short descriptions and random stuff, I just cannot describe enough how happy I am to have been here, met all these people, and how grateful I am to the beauty of this world!
Love and light <3
.... and, you know,
all the other things that would interest you if you're a fan, if you like my writing, or if you are a pontential employer/client for whom it is important to know if I am a republican or if I eat bacon every day.Fortunately for you, I am/do neither. Bacon is not healthy.