As much as I loved living in Las Vegas, one of the things we missed out on was a change of seasons. Over the last few weeks, we’ve experienced our first fall in many years, and I feel like a child enjoying it for the very first time.
Here are some of the details I’m most enjoying about rediscovering this exceptional time of year, illustrated with photos of nature’s lovely colors.
As I write this, I’m wearing a turtleneck sweater, listening to acoustic music and sipping on hot tea. Something about this season seems to bring out the cozy details in life. We’ve had a fairly relentless chilly rain the last few days, but I’ve also made it a point to get every single day. When I stop in coffee shops to get out of the rain, everyone is huddled over bowls of soup and hot cappuccinos, and no one is in a rush to leave. Cory and I had a leisurely lunch out yesterday, and a friend and I lingered over warm drinks this morning.
I love these details in life that make us feel warm and close to each other, despite the cold, unpleasant weather outside.
Walking home from the subway yesterday, I pointed out a green leaf with yellow veins that had fallen from a tree and was stuck to the sidewalk. The sidewalks are covered with leaves, and with the recent bout of rain, they’re also clogging the drainage ditches. But the fact they look so fabulous keeps my attention turned toward the details. I might be hiding beneath my umbrella, but I’m looking carefully at everything, just so I don’t miss out on spotting a “perfect” leaf.
Speaking of the perfect leaves, I’ve seen people collecting handfuls of leaves presumably to take home with them. Normally I’d prefer people to leave nature as it is, but it’s only a matter of days or weeks before these leaves are rotted and covered with snow, so it doesn’t bother me all that much. In fact, I love how many little kids are collecting leaves. And, even though they are bundled to high heaven (parents here believe being cold results in illness, so kids are already in snow pants and mittens), their parents are patient as they find the perfect additions to their collections.
Unrelated to leaf collecting but still related to this train of thought, the other day I watched a young girl jumping through puddles, and her mom just stood by watching. We should all take time to puddle jump.
I own an umbrella. It’s various shades of pink and is a bit temperamental, but it’s all mine, and it goes everywhere with me.
Cory and I were discussing how the west coast of Washington gets a constant drizzle of rain, but everyone just walks around in the rain without the proper protective gear. He told me he never had an umbrella or rain coat or rain boots growing up in this part of the United States, and that’s just ridiculous – and unfortunate. With the proper gear, we’re dry, warm and comfortable, and we don’t resent the changing weather.
As much as I love tank tops, I absolutely adore sweater weather. I bought a couple pairs of fleece-lined leggings before we left the U.S., and they are the most magical pieces of clothing. Take a pair of fleece-lined leggings, add a baggy sweater and scarf, top off with a pair of boots, and it’s the epitome of European fashion.
Nature is a beautiful thing. I knew this already, but I appreciate having the chance to experience a new environment with new trees. I like having a fresh perspective on my surroundings. It reminds me that there is still so much in this world and this lifetime to explore and discover.
In general, I’ve been able to slow down since moving to Ukraine, and, despite being a metropolis, Kyiv has a slower pace of life. As we enter fall, I feel like nature, too, is putting on its brakes and encouraging us all to take an extra moment to just stop and be.
In light of slowing down, as fall has been settling in, I’ve been pondering how I can use my time as an expat to try my hand at some new creative pursuits. Before hunkering down at the cafe today, my friend and I poked around an art store I’ve been itching to check out. Admittedly, I almost walked out with acrylic paints and a sketchpad, and then I remembered I had bookmarked a bunch of short, creative classes over the years that I’ve been meaning to try out – classes on calligraphy, sketching, watercolor, map making and more.
This might actually be the perfect time to revisit those things that piqued my creative interest in passing when I was too busy to pursue anything else. And maybe I will buy that sketchpad and paint before too long.