Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A room with a view

 My creative room is a room with a view..
At the top floor with a big balcony - three floors up is my room. As my dad told Loren it is so many stairs to walk up that the coffee will be cold by the time you get there... Maybe not really but it is good to remember to bring what you need from first floor not having to run up and down. We had a great creative room in Moscow but I think this one is better - and with a great view over a small park.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

From the parenthood djungle

Debatable success rate in parenthood when your 5 year old daughter is asking whether you are bribing or threatening her to do something.....

I am full of plans

I have many different plans all the time what I want to do now and what to do in the future when it comes to carrier and work life. I have the opportunity while we are here in Düsseldorf to go back to my creative projects and work more in both fields of illustrating and sewing. It is no secret that my dream is to create a children's book of my illustrations.  To reach this dream it does take a lot of hard work and dedication. I have to admit it is much easier to be employed and have someone who puts deadline on your work and where you know what to do and that you have to do it.  Being free working for yourself is great but I can also choose to do other things during the day which is not leading me towards my goal. Also the feeling of being needed is easier to reach if you have a job to go to. It is a mind setting if I see what I am working with at home worth something or not and it is defiantly a privilege to be able to try to make my dream come true.  Still my plan stays that when we are back in Sweden I want to go back to being a high school teacher as I think the work with young people and education is the most fulfilling business in the world together with health care.

Back to that I have many plans. At the same time that I am working on my creative projects and book dream here in Düsseldorf I am also sometimes tempted to go back working with sport horses.

When I was younger, the part of my life I call my horsey life,  I was working with professional show jumping horses. Having grown up in a stable with my own horses that I competed every other weekend I did like many other stable girls, decided to go and work in a stable out of Sweden after graduating high school. Through contacts I got job as a groom in one of Europe's most successful and fancy stables, Stal Tops located in Holland 30 min from Eindhoven. It is big difference taking care, riding, organizing and working in a professional stable from the amateur/hobby/pony club stables where I grew up. At Stal Tops I was part of a team of championship and world cup winning horses and riders and that was a complete different ball game. It is a though world where you have to prove yourself as well as cooping with hierarchies, horses of a different explosive calibers and long hours.

I had the chance to go with Sweden's most successful rider Rolf-Göran Bengtsson to the Sunshine-tour in southern Spain to groom and to ride his 6 horses while he was away competing at the World cup in Paris and Vigo with different horses. I had never experienced how wild horses will be after traveling three days on a truck from Holland to Spain nor did I know before how to travel with six horses in a big horse truck and what you need to bring, organize for such a big competition where we stayed six weeks.Me riding and training in the same arena with my childhood riding idols was so unreal that I had to pinch myself, like when I was cantering in the Spanish nature on the horse which later won the grand prix of the hole tour next to legendary French rider Michael Robert and getting a private training session from the biggest master we have in the equestrian world, Nelson Pessoa. Many experiences in my horsey life from competitions from the best and biggest show in Europe both grooming, riding and sitting on the VIP stand. Many stories, amazing stories and memories from a different life.

I don't want to go back to that life for anything, but the area here in Germany where we live is a metropolis for professional stables as it is well located on the European continent and within reach of many good shows. And so I got an idea that maybe I can go back part-time for fun and with my experience to help out in a professional stable again now when I am here where it is possible and before I get too old for that kind of work. A combination between my creative work and work with horses, would be a dream. I have been to see a very nice yard with a German rider who are competing at high international level, lets see if it will lead to some cooperation in the future.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Literature studies

We moved to Düsseldorf in August. New house, new area, new city and new country. New supermarkets, new flavors, new brand of the raspberry jam, new kindergarten or actually it is called kita here in Germany strange enough I thought kindergarten was a German word that we borrow to the English vocabulary and then it turns out it is not even used here ?! Being new is challenging, but that is not what I am going to write about in this post. No this post is about Macbeth and my English studies.

So in all this new things on top of new things I had the plan to go back to studying at a Swedish University on-line. Actually my plan still is to add to my MBA pedagogic and didactic in order to be certified high school teacher in business and economics but I thought that maybe it would be good to also be English teacher and needed to add a few courses of English. And so I got accepted to study English B - basically continue my literature and sociolinguistic studies of English that I started successfully 11 years ago at MidSwedenUniversity. I thought, how hard can it be.. but also of course I love studying, learning new and it is a lot of interesting plays and novels on the literature list. My first assignment was to read and analyze Shakespeare's play Macbeth. Very interesting but also a pretty hard read.
In short this is what Macbeth is about 

Macbeth a warrior with a high courage who has just got back from the battlefield when he enters the play. He gets presented as a noble man who has fought the Norwegian king with violence and who came out of the fight with victory. He seems loyal to the king and has a good reputation being a violent warrior on the battlefield. Macbeth meets three witches who gives him a prophecy that he will become the next king. Macbeth is not a good man in the beginning of the play but not yet evil. He is tempted by power but trying to resist the temptation. Lady Macbeth is a strong woman and character who wants to gain power and she has the ability to manipulate Macbeth. And she uses her manipulative skills very well in order to make her husband go get the power whatever it takes. 

I did spend some time reading, analyzing and writing my first assignment. Ok kids were getting schooled in at Kita so I only had half days to study so no not 40 hours week to study, but a few hours everyday or every other day at least... When I handed in my assignment I was pretty pleased with it. When I got it back it was pulled to pieces and I can honestly say I have never got such harsh comments of an assignment thorough out all of my University studies. The language was not good enough ( actually not even readable with bad grammar and spelling mistakes) the quotes from the play not presented in the right way and the analyzes was not good enough either. I am not a quitter and if the teacher had given the comments and been a little encouraging I had got back on the horse and worked harder.
But in all the new and with a though tight schedule for the studies I had to do some thinking whether or not this is really what I want to do and can manage right now.. 

I did do some thinking and some more thinking.  I don't want to be a quitter but I had to take the decision that for now I will focus on getting my family and myself settled here in Germany and also with my time focus on my own creative projects now when I have the chance. And I will not feel guilty for this decision.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Schooling in

Schooling in can be a walk in the park
But it can also be a little painful and stressful 
And maybe the mother would doubt if it was a good idea to let kids start in kindergarten where they don't know the language... 

A couple of weeks later and the kids are super happy going to their German kita even though I guess they still don't really understand the lingo but I am sure they soon will.. And surely they are gonna thank us later for the chance of learning a new language (?!) 

Friday, September 14, 2018

Is it a new colorful tradition ?

Me and the kids went with my mother on vacction to Spain end of August. We had a great stay and enjoyed squeezing the last bit out of this long warm summer vacation of 2018. We had a set-up with one activity per day and the rest of the time hanging or floating in the pool home. One great trip was to Bena Havis where you can follow the mountain streams along although we mainly stayed at one place swimming in the cold fresh mountain water. We also had a good day down by the ocean and swimming in the waves, rolling in the sand and after eating seafood on a beach restaurant. I loved all of it apart from the sand going everywhere. 

Another new tradition I have started although a little scared calling it a tradition as it might become pressure, is my colorful portraits in acrylic. Last year I was inspired by my mothers paintings copying Picasso - with a lot of vibrant colors. My style is very much my style. Not perfect or portrait like more kind of comic picture with a lot of patterns and colors. Anyways it was so much fun painting it.

This year I also decided to make a portrait and a lot of colors but it ended up being cold colors and not warm as last year. And I think looking up at the butterflies represented a lot of hope and looking bright at the future. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mini-vacation to Leiden

We went on a trip to Leiden in The Netherlands last week. We have friends from Prague who has lived there for a year and so we took the opportunity to meet up with them before they move back to Prague end of this month. Düsseldorf is close to the dutch boarder and to Leiden only 2,5 hours. Of course we stop on the road at a real dutch pancake place, Pannenkoekhuis Den Strooper in Arnhem. And also first day in I think 3 months we needed to put on a hoody and finally a real heavy rain fell.

We had booked a room at the Holiday inn - family friendly it said on the webpage... Ohhh my God, yes family friendly indeed like a charter or Finland boat ( if you have been you know what I mean) Buffet, play-rooms with ball pool, bouncy castle and also swimming pool. Euphoria for kids! And nightmare for me ( I am sure many adults loves this kind of set up also me not included though..)
I made an illustration on the theme...
Clearly different emotions for a ball pool... I can't help myself thinking about all those small dirty hands which has been playing before passing nasty germs on, but at least thank God the kids old enough now not to put things in there mouth (or at least better but still happens they lick something disgusting to try...) I tried to be cool and let the kids play not to panic over all the germs but then that back-fires and the three year old refused to get out. I asked nicely, asked nicely again, tried to bribe him to get him out, told him we will leave without him ( I know not great, but come on all parents do it right?!) then I walked away hoping he would follow, but he didn't.. Then I asked nicely one more time, threatening him with different scenarios that he will never be able to go in a ball pool if he is not listening or will not get the ice-cream I tried to bribe him with.. ( I guess he didn't believe me...) By now I am getting pretty annoyed and also I could see all the other mothers in that play-room finding my attempts pretty entertaining and I guess happy it was somebody else's kid.. I topped the entertainment with jumping in the ball pool trying to catch him!!! The three year old thought it was great - I was nearly falling over and super irritated by now... I got some support by a fellow mum and after spoken to her Filip thought it was boring so he came out and we could go. Get out and enjoy nature and not play-rooms...

And did we enjoy Leiden
I love the Amsterdam style houses,  peeking in to see their bohemian interior style, the canal, cute streets, friendly people, even the wind mills I love. I lived in Holland a couple years when I was younger, first place living away from home, and so this country and the language has a special place in my heart. We went out to the sea at Katwijk and so beautiful and funky bar. And to hang out with friends the icing on the cake, so nice to catch up and hear how life in The Netherlands has been. 

 ( Photo credit to Riina Tiira-Sramko) 

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

New Year wishes revision

As I have not been blogging for some time I have not had the chance to go through my humble 2018 New Year wishes in text - so now having already past half of the year let me do a revision of my wishes.

- A constant wish for good health and happiness not only for this year but years to follow...
- Having fun with my team on our new adventure and challenges - when I made this illustration I knew that later this year we would move again and this time to Germany although I hadn't shared it with that many people around me. Of course mixed feeling leaving our newly bought home in Örebro after only a year, but the experience of one more adventure abroad before kids are ready for school and we want to stay longterm in one place weighed up. Today I am sitting in Düsseldorf and it has been little bit more then a week here and from experience it does take some time to adjust. We have a great house, area and plans for our stay here. I know that it will be good and the feeling of belonging takes time to build in the new place, it is hard having this new in a place kind of anxiety which I am facing at the moment of writing. Hard to explain the feeling and I guess the feeling vary from person to person and some maybe don't experience it at all. I am so familiar with this feeling after 6 moves to different countries but also with that experience I know that with structure and time this place will feel like home. I will get back on this topic, moving/staring new anxiety...

- Less time spent on my phone - over all I do think I am not using my phone that much, or well it goes up and down. I have turned off the alert tune for getting new messages and that is great, I don't have the phone in the bedroom to avoid checking one last thing before going to sleep or taking my phone first thing when I wake up. Although being a little lost here I have to admit I use the phone a bit more when I don't know what to do or to get a break from unpacking boxes. Checking super unnecessary things, having contact with friends and family but also great help finding things to do here in Düsseldorf.

- Get back to reading good books... Well yes I have read a few book this year. I was so excited to get the fourth part of a feel-good book serie that came out earlier this year " Hjärtslaget i Rosengädda" nice sweet characters, eating good food and having different issues and I really enjoyed this last part of the serie. At the moment I am reading the latest book of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The labyrinths of spirits - the fourth book in the serie of The Cemetery of Forgotten Books.Plan better and get up on time etc... totally not had to think of that since beginning of June when I went on summer break and before that my mornings are normally chaos because well mornings are not easy for me I want to do more things in very short time then what is possible and with kids having to ask, beg and in panic get them ready and myself and sent to kindergarten....

Be creative - During this long warm summer break I have managed to be creative in the garden planted some new plants arranged a part of the garden with pebbles and more. I have also used my creativity to rearranged furnitures and pictures at Lundsätter - I have a strong passion for moving furnitures around... Also having more time to start blogging and making illustrations again, lets hope I can manage more of that during rest of this year.

-Believe in myself and not listening to everything... Sometimes I believe very much in myself and are not listening at all to what other people think and say and sometimes I exact opposite.

-Not to get upset about minor things - I think I wrote this when I was having a coworker who was interfering in things and at the moment I don't have issues with that.

- Enjoy stable life... Not at the moment. I sold my SWB horse Qina in April. It was a good decision although hard decision to take. Qina was sold to a great girl which will enjoy her very much and spend all that time I didn't have with her. I am hoping I can find a stable here in Düsseldorf where both me and Mila can ride. Germany and this area of Germany is the metropole of stables for professional riders in Europe.

New dishes to be cooked.. No not really, same thing over and over in order to get the kids to eat.
Laugh more... I don't know probably not more then previous years
Beating Loren in board-games - no not yet but I will

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

New start / New adventures

I am back writing in the blog... And Team Nikolovski are away on new adventures again as we just moved to Dusseldorf in Germany from Sweden.
I have updated "This is team Nikolovski" a short introduction of who are and what we do.

Cecilia Book Nikolovski is me and together with my husband Loren Nikolovski, Mila 5 years old and Filip 3 years old we are Team Nikolovski. This might sound like a small team but be sure it is a strong team! We are a mix of European northern and southern spices with me from Sweden and Loren from Macedonia & Mila born in Prague & Filip born in Örebro. 
Beautiful Prague was our home-ground for three years 2011-2014. Working for Swedish international company and enjoying great network of other internationals/expats in Prague. After Prague we moved to Moscow a huge city with a wide mix between the past and the modern Russia with a population of 12 millon people. We lived in an apartment down-town, Shabolovka with walking distance to Gorky Park and Red Square. Later in a town-house closer to the airport at Ivakhino. We stayed on and off in Moscow for 2,5 years and gained a lot of experiences from this new culture which is far away and close to us in the same time. Since 2014 we shared our time in Moscow with our country-house, Lundsätter, located in the deep forrest in Sweden. Lundsätter, the place where I am born and the place where I always want to come back to,  where my creativity can blossom and where the kids can enjoy the nature and country-side adventures.
From  2016 we have lived in Sweden and  I have been working as a teacher teaching Economy and English at senior high school level, having a horse again, kids having a great kinder-garden and having grandparents, friends and family around. Enjoying sharing our time between town-life in Örebro (Sweden's 6th biggest city)  and country-life at Lundsätter. Although loving our time and life in Sweden we decided to head for another adventure for a couple of years. This time our destination is Düsseldorf  in Germany. We have recently moved and you are Welcome to follow us on this new journey here on the blog.

We are spontaneous as well as big fans of making lists and plans. We love to travel, organic fresh food (especially our homegrown tomatoes), colors, art and to enjoy life as much as we can.

Daily happenings & adventures of Team Nikolovski's are the inspiration to my illustrations and my illustrations are the base and inspiration of this blog. Why say it in words when you can say it in colors are a great philosophy, even though I like a combination of both.
The illustrations in this blog are mainly a combination of pen, ink and watercolors.