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Total blackout

South Australia was in the eye of a nasty storm on Wednesday 28th September 2016. Despite all the announcements on radio and social media, I believe nobody really expected what happened.

Since it was my first storm in Aussie world, I decided to play it safe. I just went jogging early in the morning as it was very sunny and I noticed it was windy (I mean more than usual) so I made my way back home and decided to stay there for the whole day, working from home, just in case. Around noon the weather dramatically changed and turned into lightenings, heavy rain and a lot of wind but nothing THAT scary. I thought “well ok, not a big deal”.

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No light, no worries! I’ve got this 😉

But then around 5.00pm, things got ugly. I was chatting with my friends on “WhatsApp” and we were worried because our friend Jessica (from Mexico) was outside with this terrible weather, when suddenly we experienced a major power cut. What was unusual, is that my friends and I live in different parts: some in the suburbs, some by the sea, some in the CBD and we were all left without electricity, meaning: no lights, no heating, no TV, no internet (except on our phone for those who have enough battery). We joked about it and thought it was time to reach out for some candles (thank god, I had few big ones at home), very handy!

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Adelaide was plunged into darkness after wild storms disrupted power supplies across the state. (ABC News: Tony Hill)

A bit later, I called some friends to enquire if everything was ok on their side and to inform them about the situation. They told me that it was the same issue for them at work and actually that the whole South Australia state was experiencing a total blackout! In other words: no traffic lights in the streets, no lights inside and outside, businesses, shops, librairies force to close… So basically we are talking about a whole state and its 1.7 millions residents left in the dark! Jessica texted me to tell me that people were running in the streets, all shops were closing and supermarkets were full with people buying supplies such as water, milk, candles… (she also mentioned there were good deals on chicken breasts haha… 😉 ).

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Zinaida cooking on her camping gas stove

As the hours were passing by, my friends and I decided to limit the text messages since our phones were running low of battery and we did not know when we could recharge. It was getting darker and darker and despite all the candles, it was not very efficient to read,  write, cook (thank god I have a gas stove). It was so strange to see the city and the streets that dark. According to the newsfeed, it turned out that 2 tornados destroyed some critical infrastructures causing a network shutdown. On top of that, 22 interconnectors were knocked down by the wind. Thank god no death was reported, only properties damages, broken trees, flooding etc… People tried to make the most of it, lighting candles, playing board games, reading, drawing, meditating, checking phones, getting bored, eventually sleeping… two men were also spotted in the streets walking around with banners saying “the end of the world is coming”, “Aliens are here”…

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what a “nice” way to start a shitty day!?

On a more personal note, the blackout lasted in my house from 5pm to midnight. First time, I was in bed that early, I think around 8pm! I could not really sleep since one of my neighbors’burglar alarm went on and on the whole night forcing me to sleep with ear plugs (which I hate). And cherry on the cake, when I woke up on the next morning and I opened my bedroom door, water was falling from the ceiling so I had to contain the situation with buckets and towels and call my landlord to let him know that there was a leaking due to the storm. By the way, he sent someone to fix the issue and so far so good.

Thursday was supposed to be as bad maybe worst than Wednesday. People were asked to stay home if possible. Fortunately, despite of the rain and the wind, it was manageable. I stayed home and did not experience any power cut whereas my friend Zinaida (from Russia) did. All in all, it was not that bad but I can’t help wondering about the hospitals who had to use torches and what about if you are in the middle of a surgery when it happens, I assume they have energy power back up. And what about people on life support machines when there is no electricity… OMG I am thinking too much!

“Life without electricity, it is beyond our imagination”- Siddhant Chak

Colour the world, colour your mood

Lately I have been obsessed with coloring books for adults. It’s the new trend and it is nearly impossible to miss them when you are in a Bookshop. Anyway I own a few of them and I really enjoy using those books whenever needed. I believe coloring has a grounding effect.

It all started when my friend Ana (my former Spanish teacher from Colombia) offered me a postcard from the artist: Johanna Basford! When it comes to coloring book, this girl is a GURU, believe me! Her work is amazing: have a look at “Secret garden” (my fav), there is so much poesy in her art, she managed to create a real enchanted universe.

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Colouring book for adults “Secret Garden”, Johanna Basford

So I started with her books and her postcards that I would share with some friends. Sometimes we would go together to the café, with some pencils and we would colour some beautiful magic scenes while chatting. It turned out to be very effective, especially when we were stressed or worried about something. It acted like a colour therapy session and it was a very calming and a comforting activity.

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Texturing and colouring my breakfast bowl: a good way to start the day happy and zen 🙂

It is a combination of little things that separately are just details, but when all combined, it is like a ritual where all your senses are activated. The colours that are dancing in a farandole in front of your eyes, the paper texture under your fingers, the soft  sound of the pencils pressed on the paper, the delicate smell of the drawing in progress and the taste of gratitude as the image starts to appear more and more alive.

 So now I extended my selection to other colouring books such as: Enchanted Forest by Johanna Basford, The mini Mandala by Susanne Fincher, the little book of Mindfulness colouring by Holly Macdonald. I really enjoy them as they are a great help to meditate , to relax and sometimes to escape .

What about you? Have you ever tried it? Tell me all about it in the comments below. I can’t wait to hear about your experiences when it comes to coloring books 🙂

Enchanted Nantu Wama

I really enjoy walking in the parks around Adelaide: there is always something nice to discover! A couple of days ago as I was walking in the North Adelaide Nantu Wama park, I suddenly noticed a hut made of wood. I could not resist getting closer and visit this secret little place! I am always fascinated by children imagination and creativity. It was nicely built and there was a whole little world inside: a door, a window, a bench and even a pot with “food”!

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The magic cauldron

I must say it was a pleasant surprise and it reminded me of this artist I am crazy about at the moment. Her name is Johanna Basford and she became in a short time very popular with her colouring books for adults! You have probably heard about “Secret Garden” or “Enchanted Forest”… or maybe not?! Well they have been sold out in NO time and it is very difficult to find them in stores especially abroad (the artist is based in UK).

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Johanna Basford’s hut from “Secret Garden”

I must confess I have never heard about this artist when I was living in London! Actually I had to come here to Australia to discover her amazing work! One day, my Spanish teacher, Ana (from Colombia) offered me a postcard with a beautiful garden scene drawn by Johanna Basford and I really felt in love with the design! I like the poesy she puts in her drawings and all the tiny details that make all the difference. It makes me dream and I wish I could create a little universe full of wonderful creatures and splendid landscapes 😉

So have a look at Johanna Basford’s lovely books and maybe next time you are walking in your garden or in the forest, you will start to see the world differently! A simple hut made of wood would become a secret and poetic hideaway in the trees ❀

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Nantu Wama park’s secret hut!