Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Power of Scent ~ Living Simply in Sweden

In February 2010 I spent 10 days in Sweden (near Stockholm) ~ in a small and simple apartment with my mama. We were a few blocks from my brother’s home with his wife and new baby. My mom and I spent each night and morning in our little studio apartment, with its tiny kitchen sink and hot plate ~ its tiny bathroom, bunk beds and fold-out couch. The front (and only) door opened into the middle of the room and it was decorated sparsely and simply.

I had a backpack, a bottom bunk, a spoon, a bowl, a pan, a towel or two, and my things: a book (the Simple Living Guide by Janet Luhrs), a sketchbook and notebook, my flip video camera (see a Sweden market video), my thermal underwear and a few outfits, my hair scarf, a package of Bob’s Red Mill 10-grain cereal, tea, honey, bags of nuts and my water bottle. Also my Alaffia face wash and lotion, and of course a toothbrush and paste as well as a coat, hat, boots and gloves.

Each morning I woke when the sun said so, into deep peace, and took time to sit and breathe. I cooked my pan of cereal on the hot plate and after eating washed my bowl and spoon. We took turns in the shower and bathroom. My getting-ready routine has always been so minimal that while my mom got ready (and before she woke) I had plenty of time to sit and read at the tiny table, as well as write. At some point we headed out of our warm well-lit studio, up through the snow (2 feet) to see my brother and wife and their tiny boy in an almost equally simple and very peaceful apartment. The air was fresh and cold, the sun was bright, we were so happy.

These ten days were eye-opening to me. I was already striving for a simpler life, however in a home with a husband and two children it is hard to live with minimal possessions and maximum amounts of time to just be. This trip gave me an exceptional opportunity to live the way I have always wanted.

Each evening during the visit to Sweden, I washed my face and applied my lotion ~ Alaffia Skin Renewal ~ it seemed so everyday to me at the time. Upon my return, I ran out of that lotion and decided to try an alternative type within the Alaffia label.

Last week, I purchased the initial lotion again and was so surprised upon my first use of it after my shower. As the scent (which is a bit strange, but pleasant) reached my nose, I was instantly transported back to our simple little apartment in Sweden. It was amazing ~ the power of a scent. It brought back detailed images and memories ~ standing in the tiny bathroom, sitting at the little table reading, sitting in silence, walking through deep snow. The happiness and peace of those days easily came back to me ~ I loved it.

I look back very fondly on this trip ~ and look very forward to the time within the next year or two, when I can take my little family of four to experience that same beauty and peace. It may take some time to get there again, but in all seriousness, each night when I get ready for bed, I receive a remembrance gift of peace and simplicity in the simple use of that lotion.


  1. That is wonderful. :) I wonder if we should make an effort to seek out scents for events we want to be able to remember forever.

  2. thank you Amy, yes, I think that sounds like a great idea. Scents have served my memory well for a variety of events in my life. Some sad, some happy.

  3. What a great memory and story. My intention for the 2011 is of the same thread -- inspired by you a few weeks ago: Simplify. Thanks for sharing this story, for sharing your thoughts, and for your friendship -- all mean so much!

    Also, happy new year to you and your family, too!

    =) Liz


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Katie m. Berggren