And hopefully holding onto it for a bit. Hard with my kids home from school all week making studio time scarce. But things are clicking for me right now.
Last year I took part in the October drawing challenge Inktober. It was a lot of fun and ended on a high note so even though I struggled to get going I quickly forgot about the struggles. This year I looked forward to Inktober for months and even got numerous friends on board. Then it came and I chose to use a brand new Leuchtturm sketchbook and picked a theme. And I totally flopped. Sure there are sketches that I liked in that month and I did draw in ink every day. But overall the experience was disappointing. Why so different this year over last year? My drawings this year were easily better than my drawings from last year. Still I did not have fun and ended up looking forward to it ending. It is easy to blame it on the sketchbook I chose not behaving with ink the way I am used to but I could have easily just used something else and not forced myself to keep up with that sketchbook. I could also blame the restrictive theme of portraits that quickly bored me. But really the problem was me and my own expectations and my unwillingness to let go of them and enjoy the process. So now I am back to that book and sketching in ink and not sharing the drawings with the world and I am happy. No November challenges for me. Yeah right!
That happens in everyday life. Adjusting to being back in England after holiday in Spain has been a challenge. It still doesn't feel quite like home, especially after time away. But there is a lot of beauty and magic here as well even if I have total wanderlust for more and more trips.
I felt better prepared for this trip both mentally and with what I packed. The time with family, tourism, activity and relaxation all just seem to flow with the chance to make art woven throughout it all. It's pretty great.
(Almost) Six months into packing up everything and moving to England we are pretty much adjusted to our new life. I have some observations.
1) Living abroad is lonely. Moving to a country with the same language certainly helps but the cultural differences are still hard to overcome.
2) You adjust. My kids adjusted the quickest and my husband and I a little slower. Adjustment doesn't happen all at once but it ebbs and flows.
3) Visitors from home are awesome! Our first visitors from the states came in May and we really appreciated spending time with them.
4) But when they leave homesickness will be rekindled.
5) Living abroad is addictive. I love not being super tied down and hope to live in other countries in the future.
6) There are so many flowers and birds in the UK! At least in the area that I am blessed to live in.
7) I am allergic to at least some of that beautiful plantlife. This past May was by far my worst experience with allergies.
8) I don't know why crosswalks exist since drivers constantly block them.
9) Traffic is the worst! But walking, biking and public transit are all reasonable options. (Despite the crosswalk blocking vehicles)
10) Living here still feels like a dream that I am going to wake up from.
It's been a month already! It has been a long and challenging month with stress and illness. But good things are ahead and I am very excited to stretch my creativity in England and the rest of Europe. In a month I will be all moved into my new art studio and it will be spring. Spring and flowers in March! I can hardly contain my excitement.