Love Bites

By Elena Kaufman

Foreigners, drifters, and eccentrics reach out to strangers in their desire to be witnessed, to be connected, and to find safety in a sea of anonymity

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Embracing darkness

Hello dear supporters,

It's a rainy Sunday in Hamburg and we're cosied up inside with the fireplace going, guitar music playing and the dog snoring on the floor beside me. In Germany, there is a culture of cosy (Gemütlichkeit) on winterly Sundays...when candles are lit in the windows of people's apartments and there's an official quiet time between 1:00 and 3:00 during which the phone and noisy appliances are off-limits. After 3:00 many Germans have their coffee and cake and chat about the week gone and the week to come.

The Danes call it 'hygge', as explained by the journalist Helen Russell:“the absence of anything annoying or emotionally overwhelming; taking pleasure from the presence of gentle, soothing things. Candlelight is hygge (Danes burn more candles per head than anywhere in Europe, according to the European Candle Association). Bakeries are hygge. Dinner with friends is hygge."

For most Canadians used to long, cold winters, it is a time to take evening walks and watch the lights illuminate our favourite landscapes. One of mine is here (photo below), along the Alster lake connecting the north of Hamburg with downtown.

The beginning of winter, when the light changes and the temperature drops, gives us a chance to move more slowly, to look inwards and reflect on where we're at in our lives. As I mentioned in my last shed post I'm expecting twins in mid-December and, along with bringing LOVE BITES into book form (hopeful thinking at 82% funded) I am psychologically readying myself for a new life phase. Exciting? Yes. Scary? Hell, yes. This and the book are constantly on my mind and there aren't many Sundays left to promote it. So, light a candle, enjoy your coffee or tea or whisky, and whisper to a friend about LOVE BITES.

Helen Russell's article on hygge can be read here:

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