What a yeah, huh?
Another Sunday, Another Naive Weekly — Observations From The Internet Wilderness.
This is an intimate celebration of the past year, and next week, I send my annual thought patterns, so you’ll have to wait until January 8 before I return with the usual links to the quiet, odd, and poetic web. Thank you for reading, and thank you 2022.
I got up early on January first in the Austrian countryside and went for a walk with Uno in the tender hours of the day, witnessing the sun waking up the birds and tickling the overnight hoar frost. It is becoming a tradition to sleep into the new year, and I cherish the morning after; it feels like walking in Ana’s photos and is my favorite time of the year. The following day, we took the train to Slovenia, visiting Ana Santl, one of Uno’s five great-grandparents and Ana’s namesake. Uno ate mandarins from her bed stand, and the dust danced in the sun rays. It was one of those rich circle-of-life moments that defined the year.
But like the birds ignore the borders and the switching of calendars, the bliss and innocence of the new year quickly evaporated into a curtain of winter darkness and the heavy weight of unfinished tasks and work quarrels. We were sick when we dressed Uno in wool baby overall and, with red cheeks, went to watch the trains and the first yellow Eranthis break through the dark winter soil.
The threads of the pandemic caught us. Curled into a family yarn wrench, I failed at sending Naive Weekly for the first time in 3.5 years. It was a forced break, like when a wave crashes you down to the seabed while surfing. There was nothing to do but wait, and I used the time to preserve the suffering through a series of sick selfies.
Fortunately, February is the shortest month. And by the end of the month, the sun became a regular visitor. The same happened with Uno’s granddad Dedi, who was staying with us while Claus, our downstairs neighbor, was traveling. So Dedi was there when we sent Uno to the carnival wearing a tiger costume, when we launched a season of Penpal Café with Zalagasper, when Wilderness Land was featured on Waxy — and when Putin invaded Ukraine.
While the news from Ukraine unfolded, I was in an online half-day workshop for a lightning project abbreviated SOL, Danish for the sun. It was only the following month that we’d pre-sprout sunflower seeds, but the Ukrainian national flower would stick with me for the entire year, like how the stripes from Uno’s costume started to shape his wardrobe.
Our bookshelf was reaching its limits, so books and magazines piled up around the house, including the Heart edition of Volvox that we received with our words and photos from Ana’s pregnancy. Home felt like our home and invited daydreaming. Uno video called family, showing them around on his own, and Ana had a tray with her knitting gear following her around. As it happens, these were the last weeks before Ana’s work would be picking up.
Meanwhile, my work was getting silly, so I purchased a cap to wear at meetings saying “Bring back common sense”. I’m unsure if it had any external effect, but I gained clarity. Or maybe the endless sunshine allowed me to prioritize my commitments, including soft-launching Wildflowers Club with Søren, Mads, and Ana, and rushing out of David’s CPH:DOX installation when the daycare called with an eye infection.
Ana was invited back to South Tyrol to photograph Klaus and Moritz Dissertori's latest wonder, and Uno and I joined her. Last year when we went there, Uno didn't walk or talk. This time he jumped, responded to three languages and counted to two. We went back to our favorite chair lift. The trip takes fifteen minutes. Uno was sleeping on me, and I was too afraid to drop my phone to take it out. It was the most rested feeling I had in 2022. Back home, the magnolias bloomed, and we went to my grandparent’s diamond wedding anniversary.
We bounced around Greece for most of May. In Athens, Uno ate more and more and more and ordered his own fresh orange juice. It seems like we were being offered a subconscious image when we were sitting under palm leaves in the National Garden of Athens, reading matching Deborah Levy books, and listening to the soothing sounds of Uno’s snores and the drizzling creek. And when we celebrated Ana’s birthday at the local farmer’s market with tender orange sun umbrellas, tasting olives, and buying flowers.
On Samos, we made sand constellations with Priszci, and Uno ran around naked on the beach and peed along the wayside flowers. On Crete, we stayed in the tiniest town, swept the windfall in the morning, made friends with the man with the red pickup truck, and became regulars at the taverna, with a paper tablecloth where a stream of fish followed a rowing boat. And finally, on Naxos, we stayed in the surreal twin houses with Remo, blending inside with out, and work with life.
Ana was working, and I was now the primary caretaker. While Uno was napping, I launched Postcard Place, and when we returned home, we were greeted by Dedi and an invisible umbrella protecting our backyard tomatoes from the rain.
We were devoted to enjoying a summer in Copenhagen, so we relocated our cargo bike to the street and frequently biked to the beaches, parks, and bakeries. I’m the happiest when biking Uno and Ana in the late, bright evenings around the summer solstice. I assembled an intimate playlist for Jacob, and on Father’s Day, I got a cap saying “Uno’s Dada.” Now everyone knew where I belong. The cap was beige, the same color as the striped suit I bought to wear at my mom’s 25th-year work anniversary.
Mathias, Dedi, Loni, and Gasper came to visit independently during their existential space circuits. It made me happy to experience Uno’s ease with the shifting guests. I had a rebel moment when I spray-painted the streets for the Tour de France time trial. And I bought another striped beige shirt for my mom’s wedding. In the evenings, I was supposed to participate in programs by Metalabel and Substack, but I only joined a few calls because Ana was working a lot, and Uno needed my presence.
Uno graduated from the baby swing to the regular swing, laughed his lungs out at the water fountain in Fælledparken, and by the end of the month, Ana went on a short work trip to Berlin. It was the first time she was away from Uno, it was significant for all of us. When Ana returned, we celebrated Uno’s birthday in the King’s Garden. I was stressed preparing everything but soaked it in when Uno, with his tiny golden locks, distributed presents to his friends and correctly answered how old he was.
For my birthday, Ana gave me beige trousers and shirts. My wardrobe was now predominantly beige. Leo season was generous with inviting me into the spotlight: I was interviewed by Kristoffer for Euroman and hosted the eclipse stage at The Conference, the sweetest conference in the world. At home, it was quite the contrast. One night, our fire alarm went off. Half asleep, I fell down trying to switch it off and carried purple marks with me for the rest of the month.
It was around then we learned that we couldn’t stay at our home. The message shattered our dreams, routines, and the feeling of stability. Fortunately, Uno was thriving, sitting on his fluffy carpet, playing for hours with Duplo, counting to twenty, and looking forward to his weekly visits at Farfar. And we had a trip back to South Tyrol, but first, I had my first photo job when I assisted Ana in taking photos of Bjarke Ingels for Nomad Magazine.
We went back to Parkhotel Mondschein for work and answers, the mountain lift carried us above the tree tops, and our spirits were lifted by the thin mountain air. When we late in the evening rushed through the rain to catch a train, I completely forgot the decisions that were waiting at home. It was like a rebirth set in the scenes of a Wes Anderson movie. By coincidence, we would meet our migratory friends Bernd, Jessie, and Momo, who lives in a camper van. I first met them when they eloped, and now we all hibernate in Athens.
In Copenhagen, all the shops were selling sunflowers. I purchased twenty-two for Tanya and Dimitro’s wedding, they were much heavier than anticipated, so I had to rest them on my shoulders as I biked to the city hall. At the wedding, Ana was wearing her daisy dress, she was shining, and I was deeply touched while watching the two Ukrainian families merge.
Miriam and Janos came to visit. Or Mimi and Man, as Uno called them. We also said hi to Dedi, and I went to watch my football club play in the Champions League. In the afternoons, we ate yellow cream popsicles at Gravy. The ice cream is called Sol or if you ask Uno, excavator color ice cream.
On October 1st, we received a folder with photos of an apartment in Athens and fell in love with the rooftop terrace. We were offered to rent it for a year but decided to commit for half a year starting mid-November. We already had another short-term rental in Athens that we couldn’t cancel, so it felt excessive, and for two weeks in November, we paid rent for three flats and a storage unit.
Uno and I were visiting my grandparents when we made the commitment. Dressed in a face-wide smile and his red rain boots and matching hat, Uno picked raspberries, grapes, and the fruits from the pear tree my grandparents planted when I was born. I find it liberating to watch generations blend and life transfer between hands. Meanwhile, Ana was on Mykonos for a photoshoot. She was gone for a week, and I am proud of the giant steps she is taking in her career and for us to leap into life while being physically apart.
Zala and Gasper came to visit, and a project I had been working on with Lukas blew up on the Internet. Most of my commercial work stays within board rooms, so it was satisfying to see this project in Dezeen, ArchDaily, and many other common-name places. A week later, we toured Tenerife as Ana was photographing the volcanic poetry, and in the evenings, we sat in our jacuzzi and overlooked an entire town built for tourists. The windows sparkled with human activity, like the stars in the sky.
Ana and I trembled from exhaustion when we sat down at the Arket café inside the Copenhagen Airport. It was 10 in the morning on November 17th. The day before, I had carried hundreds of kilos and walked 31.414 steps. For days we had slept little, and for weeks, we had sorted all of our stuff: deciding what to ship to Athens, what to carry with us on the plane, what to give away, what to sell, what to throw out, and what to put in storage. It was a nightmare of words I hope to leave behind: weighting, measuring, coordinating, negotiating, and shipping.
Our plane to Athens was delayed, and when we landed, it was hard to find a taxi driver who would accept us and our luggage mountain. It was dark when we became one with the red light of the slow-moving traffic jam heading towards the city center while trying to avoid the biggest annual protest.
It was strange to arrive at our new home, and it took days for my body to recalibrate. I enjoyed the warm weather but could barely open my eyes when we met Reina, and Loni and Bine, who were visiting and relocating to Athens. But it felt like we were at the right place, and I was calmer than in a long time. Slowly I found strength and gratitude for our new home, for all the people we had said goodbye to back in Copenhagen, and for seeing my words printed in Nevoazul and Cursor Mag.
Athens is the fragrance of citrus fruits from the roadside orange trees and the seductive mimosa. It is polished marble floors, heart-shaped fig leaves, and smiling people who keep eye contact. We have welcomed visits from Miriam, Janos, Zala, Gasper, Farfar, Birthe-Marie, Jack and Dedi. In the middle of the month, while I was playing with Uno on the Philopappos Hill that rises from our backyard and overlooks the Acropolis, I had a strong desire to stay. I’m filled with a sensation of wiggle room for imagination — and I’m curious for the year ahead because 2022 was one of the best. Thank you for reading.
Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly — Observations from the Internet Wilderness.
Last year this letter was sent to 780 people, now 1368 are reading, it blows my mind. Twenty-five are crazy enough to chip in every month/year to support me making time to write. Logo by Studio Hollywood. Photograph by Ana Santl.