My sri lankan home

breakfast

September 11, 2016

Not really much of a time difference from Sweden to Sri Lanka, 3,5 hours this time of the year, but it seems it’s enough to make me jet lagged. Staying up too late and super tired in the morning. I’m finally back to where I want to be: early mornings and early nights. Petter has been working as a surf coach this past week and I’ve been home doing a lot of computer work, catching up on the things I never had time for in Sweden and also been getting our home nice and tidy. It’s crazy how often you have to maintain things here in the tropics. We had to paint and touch up here and there. The week started off good but the past days I’ve been super tired. Dizzy, headache and also pain from in my throat, not inside the troat, but on the outside where the thyroid is.. It makes me so sad not to being able to give 100%, I get so disappointed with myself.  Got so many ideas in my head just waiting to come alive.. I often have energy until 3 pm. I’m trying to get as much Sunshinestories work done as possible. Answering emails, writing/planning blogposts, answering/sending out collab requests, interviews for online magazines, updating social medias, having Skype job interviews with new yoga teachers, designing new merchandise and ordering buying new stuff for the retreat. But I’m also meeting with the tailor for my kimono project, exciting to have more energy to work with that!

When my energy runs out I’m trying to focus on giving my self time. Petter reminded me that if I would be in Sweden and having a work I would probably be on sick leave (best case scenario, worst case had to work anyway ). I also focus on giving my body the best fuel I can find. Good breakfast that gives me a lot of energy. Somedays I’ve even been able to sit down on my new yoga mat. Mostly doing yin yoga or different poses from Lyndons sequence that I feel I need that day.

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Every other day I eat oatmeal with homemade coconut milk, tumeric powder, chia seeds, flax seeds, cashews and Sri Lankan small bananas (best in the world according to me). I drink luke warm water with lime and a shot of super boost mix.

My sri lankan home

from the backyard

September 8, 2016

One of my favorite yin moments is to walk around in the garden with the dogs around my legs and finding new leafs and other greens to bring in and put in vases.
When I  first got to the island a few years ago I had a hard time finding vases and used all glass jars and bottles I could get a hand of. Now I’ve discovered Manjari depertment store in Galle has several, both big and small. The big vase on the pictures just below came with the house. So did the round table, it’s a very anglo indian / colonial thing, these round tables in the entrance and I like it a lot. Feels very welcoming. Pineapples & coconuts are also very nice to use as decoration, though I couldn’t find any pics of my coconut installations.

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Maybe Too Personal

work hard, rest harder

September 7, 2016

Last year was probably the most fun, eventful and earthshaking year of my life so far. In January we were trying to finish university with distance studies from Sri Lanka at the same time we were welcoming friends and guests in a spontaneous bed & breakfast we were running with two employed staff. The spring 2015 we had to take some big life changing decisions, go home to finish school or finish what we had already started here in Sri Lanka.. We had a potential investor visiting us and more questions rose, how did we want our future business to look like? Going slowly, slowly on our own or fast, quick and big from the start with somebody else.

We came back to Sweden with big plans in Sri Lanka and no plans of finishing our bachelor at the time, as you probably already guessed. We didn’t have our own home so we renovated a small cabin without electricity or running water.  Petter started working 300 hours a month as a restaurant manager. I was shooting 15 weddings. At our miraculously free time we were either tailing a kitchen wall in our cabin (with the help from youtube) or planning our future Sri Lankan business. In the end of the summer we were exhausted but we knew the work was just starting with our company. Petter surprised we on my birthday with tickets to Paris the same afternoon and the day after he asked me to marry him. We had three fantastic days together in Paris. I shot my last wedding for the season the same day we got home and then we started to pack to move to Sri Lanka. We finally had time to launch our surf & yoga retreat! Two months before we planned on opening, we were crossing or fingers that some guests would come.

We decided it would be fun to travel to Sri Lanka via the states.. Some vacation before the hard work would start again, also so we could network/buy new surfboards/other stuff. We spent some days in California and the rest in New York where we also attended a Nordic Food Festival and a restaurant that sells Petters family restaurant’s meatballs! It was a fantastic trip 14 days trip, inspiring and in hindsight we made some of the most important connections for our future company there. But it was not really a vacation.

Finally in Sri Lanka we had 27 days before we had our first guest arriving. At this time bookings were somehow miraculously starting to come in. We went on a 10 day excursion to the other side of the island together with our surf manager to “develop our surf methodology”. We were surfing and having Skype interviews with yoga teachers, surf coaches and at this time we were getting fully booked for our first weeks. Which was fantastic! But we had to get the villa ready. We had 2 weeks to settle in the villa, getting enough beds, surf boards, yoga mats etc. Remember there’s no IKEA here, beds and mattresses and other furniture has to be special ordered.

The beds arrived with  01:30 am the same day as the first 17 guests. I’m so grateful for those first guest, for all guests, but especially the first ones that kind of help us shape Sunshinestories to what it is to day. Petter and I didn’t have our own home so we slept together with the staff at a open air loft. It was five of us + a stray puppy that found his way to us the first week we opened. We woke up at 5:30 and worked until 10 pm. All of us. We had so much fun. We were so tired.

We were too blue eyed in the beginning trusting a man who we thought was our friend, we hired him and his wife to help cook and clean. We quickly realized we needed more help, I had worked in hotel business before and cleaned the villa 4 hours a day as well as answered all emails, sent out all invoices etc. We tried hiring more local staff, offering good salary and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t wanna stay. After 3 months it turned out that our first employee was “cock blocking” us, scaring away everybody that we wanted to hire because he wanted to control our whole villa. Apparently he was taking 20% + on everything that came in the villa: coconuts, furniture, fruit, vegetable and so on. After he left suddenly it was super easy to hire good people and we slowly built up a fantastic group of people. My big brother came in January and that help a lot, he took over the manager role.

This meant I could stop cleaning! At this time we had moved in to our own house. We had 6 personal guests (family & friends) that was visiting us at this time and we all lived in our new house. They helped us watch the painters etc and I’m so grateful for that but we had zero time to hang out with them. When they all left I kind of crashed. I started laying in bed answering all the emails & bookings and didn’t have the energy to surf or do yoga. Not even any energy to eat. All I wanted to eat was snickers or twix. I had anxiety because this  wasn’t the life I had in mind when moving to Sri Lanka, nor was it the life I had made a movie about back in December selling our life as the dreamiest life ever. I was crying a lot and sleeping but without getting more energy. Some emails seemed impossible for me to answer, I couldn’t summon the energy or gather my brain around it. Couldn’t focus for a longer time. Petter decided to hire a front desk that could do all the administrative work like bookings etc to lift it from my shoulders. We had our plane tickets booked home for 29th of April but where thinking of staying in Sri Lanka longer to finish up things like financial statements etc,  but instead I was going home alone while Petter stayed and together with Joel and the new front desk kept everything smooth and running.

I went home to my sisters couch. We booked a charter trip to Greece and all I did was laying by the pool, reading or laughing with my sister. Much needed quality time. I hoped to come back well rested and full of energy in time for Petters return to Sweden. So happy to be reunited with my love and we celebrated his birthday with his family, went to Stockholm burger festival together with our favorite couple Ida & Robin. Coming back to our cabin we had a very short deadline of a big freelance job, we had a hectic two weeks. But that was probably the most hectic we had this summer. We decided we would take life slow. And enjoy the summer, Sweden, our family and friends. I only shoot one wedding. Very peaceful. Best summer since I started working at age 14. We were still operating Sunshinestories but Joel & the rest of the crew was doing a great job taking care of it and we only had Skype meetings every other week.

But I was still tired. And fat. Nothing I did seemed to change the fact so a few weeks ago I went to a doctor and said “I have no energy, just getting more and more fat, am constipated and sad when I should be happier than ever, please help me”. They ran some tests and called a few days later saying I had to come back for more tests and then she called again telling me that my thyroid gland doesn’t work properly. In easy words it’s not producing enough hormons to break down food in to energy. It’s called hypothyroidism. It’s fairly common, especially among women. This has probably been going on for many years in my case but culminated this past year. A lot of the same symptoms are the same as for burnout. And reading above text about what it is I have actually been doing the last year I am probably a bit burnt out too, I clearly can’t keep on in the same pace. I need time to rest.

Every cell in the body has receptors for thyroid hormone. These hormones are responsible for the most basic aspects of body function, impacting all major systems of the body. You can think of the thyroid as the central gear in a sophisticated engine. If that gear breaks, the entire engine goes down with it.

Most people know that thyroid disorders can cause weight gain, digestive problems, and fatigue. But did you know they can also cause symptoms like brain fog, depression, dementia, dry skin, hair loss, cold intolerance, hoarse voice, irregular menstruation, and even infertility? – source. 

I feel like I’m on the right way. After my diagnosis I got medication, levaxin, and it is helping a lot.. The fist days when starting taking it it felt like a fog disappeared from my brain.  I felt like I was actually seeing clearer, I got energy to wake up from bed, energy not to have to nap to be able to stay awake after 5 pm. Feels like I got my life back. I’m a bit sad that I probably will have to take these pills for the rest of my life. But grateful there’s a cure for my condition and thank god that I don’t have a worse decease.
I have realized that I need to change my life and habits to a healthier life. Right now I’m trying 3 weeks without sugar, alcohol, gluten and processed food. I’m also bosting my system with extra help in form of a bunch  of minerals and vitamins. And remind myself to take time to rest, yoga and read. Even if my head is finally exploding with creative ideas again and for the first time in months I feel like I have the energy to execute them. It’s all about balance. I’m not back 100% yet, but I will get there.

I’ve been afraid to talk about this with too many people because sometimes when I’ve started to mention it i hear “but you shouldn’t complain, your living the dream life”. Yes, I’m aware that I am very lucky to live this life. Or it’s not luck that has taken me here, it’s hard work, tears and sweat. You never know how someone behind a blog or an instagram profile really feels. I don’t want to get personal on my instagram with 3000 random people. What I share on social media is just a small piece. I choose to show what makes me happy. This blog on the other hand is more for my own sake. Felt so good getting it all out there. Sometimes life spins so fast, it was really nice to sit down here for an hour just pouring my brain out. Work hard, but rest harder. So grateful for my love Petter who is supporting me through this. Couldn’t make it without your understanding and support.

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My sri lankan home

a messy house and a pretty villa

September 5, 2016

Our home is not really ready yet, will a home ever be ready? Over the summer our home has worked as a storage for everything we don’t want at the retreat.. It dosen’t help that me and Petter both are hoarders. One room is filled with 44 chairs we “rescued” from a junkyard and had renovated, another room is filled with various things plus Petters motorbike and the last room is filled with those 1000 pieces of Jeep that I was mentioning before.. I’m trying to make small corners here and there pretty. See the beauty and potential in all the chaos.


I sneaked over to the retreat where things are more in order.


Pia is always opening the gate to Sunshinestories with a smile. Micheal our surf coach teached him to throw a “shaka” while we were gone and if you ask nicely for a hang loose that’s what you’ll get. Elin our newest addition will be our yoga teacher for the next three months and she did what I’ve been dreaming about for years her first day: bought an old bike! I love it. Charles the dog was happy to help me pimp the villa with fresh pineapples here and there.

 

Colombo

a quick stop in Colombo

September 4, 2016

Our jeep is in 1000 pieces, undergoing a major renovation.. With still some weeks to go before it’s ready so we’re on the hunt for a new vehicle! I have always dreamt of an old mercedes. The w123 from the eighties is really comfortable + it has AC! The past week we have been going around the island looking at all the old Mercs that’s out on the market at the moment. We will see what will happen. Crossing my fingers that we will find what we’re looking for soon. One day last week our car hunting took us to Colombo.


Petter was not really happy about this one.. Sounded better from the advert. So we said thank you and decided to go in to Colombo town to have lunch. Every time I’m about to go out and eat in this city I ask either our friend Shakthi, Colombo local that knows all the cool waterholes, or Anders, Swedish wine dealer that eats out a lot in this town, where to go.

Read more about our visit at Café Kumbuk at the Sunshinestories blog.

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We strolled down Horton Place and popped into a photo gallery for a quick look. Note that Petter brought his favorite “tollor” aka clogs from Sweden. He claims they are perfect to wear here in Sri Lanka..

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Then we reached one of my favorite little spaces in Colombo, PR. Just a few minutes walk from Café Kumbuk. I’ve been getting some of my favorite dresses here over the years. This time I didn’t find anything, better luck next time.

Then I spent 4 hours tracking down eco friendly yoga mats for the retreat while Petter was looking for spare parts for his motorbike. We were almost too hungry when we showed up to one of our old Colombo favorites; the Japanese restaurant Nihonbashi. Just  two minutes to eight, just before their happy hour ended and ordered way too much delicious sushi and other yummi stuff. Then we rolled home to Ahangama  in a small car packed with yoga mats.

 

Living in a new country

Homebound

August 27, 2016

Cailins mum Doreen wrote a comment on Facebook asking what country that feels most like our home now, Sweden or Sri Lanka? It’s a though question. Peter answered “none of them”.  And sometimes it feels a bit like that. That we just don’t belong in any of them. I like to think that maybe it’s common when you have moved to an other country.. So many social codes and cultural structure that you don’t know from the new country and not enough of a home base in your old country.

We arrived to Sri Lanka this morning. And at the moment,  laying in our bed in our room in our own house with our two dogs next to me I feel very much at home. But it’s something with Sweden, my motherland, that always will make me feel like it’s my country. Like I know it in my bones. It’s almost a melancholic feeling, so many memories and connections.

I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for some time. Both to get my thoughts out there for my own sake in some sort of ventilation and also to share this experience I’m going through right now, living in a new country. My grandfather said to me last week when we had dinner, do you keep a journal? Before I always blogged about everything, it was my journal, and I love to go back and read that. Then we travel blogged together and the blog kind of got too big and we got less personal and then it wasn’t the same thing. Now our blog grown in to a company and finally I feel the urge to blog again! My first thought was, oh I’m gonna write in Swedish because I need to keep the Swedish language alive. But know I feel like I need to practice my English. So.. Here I go!

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Our Torekov home photographed by Krickelin

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Our Sri Lankan home, before the remake.. Also photographed by Krickelin, just when we had moved in.