The Summer that never was and the summer that is...

Posted by Nicole Duranton Sigl on

Hello hello hellooooooo,

Are you still with me? How's everyone? So sorry for neglecting my writing a bit but - truth be told - there weren't enough hours in the day. Yes, you have guessed it, it's been a busy summer for me so far. No complaints though, it's all good! Let me explain and take a long overdue moment to bring you up to date with everything...

You know the way how we all make plans and the universe is just having a good laugh about it? Well, I guess "life" is what just happens while you had other ideas... You try to change the world while the world is changing you! The mind boggles at times... but I suppose at this stage we had better all start to expect the unexpected. So where do I even start? When did "it" start to not go to "plan"? Of course, a global pandemic was bound to impact even us out here in the lovely middle of nowhere eventually. Instead of spending most of my summer travelling all over the continent to visit family and meet friends as usual, everything got cancelled. For obvious and good reasons, it goes without saying. I'll admit freely though that not being able to go home (where I haven't been since last summer!!!) and see my family (who I haven't seen since Christmas!!!) was a big, if not entirely unexpected blow, given the circumstances. 

It's not always easy to deal with missing my nearest and dearest or even explaining to my little ones why we can't see any of their grandparents, uncles, aunties, or cousins (one of whom newborn who we haven't even met in person yet) at all for the foreseeable future. Homesickness has taken on a whole new meaning and my chosen expat life has now a new permanent layer: anxiety.

It helps to count my blessings and to constantly remind myself that all of this is a fair price to pay for our privileged, multicultural, transnational lives. It's more important to try and keep everyone safe so that, when eventually we will get to be together again, the reunion can be a happy, healthy one for all. In the meantime, we all have to cope and deal with things as best we can. It's not all doom and gloom just yet. We have to keep living in hope!

Between these emotional ups and downs on a personal level, of course it was only a matter of time before my business got affected. How do you go forward in uncertain times like this? What's the right thing to (not) do? Luckily, an answer presented itself in an unexpected, for my part quite sudden opportunity: a full summer in Ireland... weather that's not entirely bad... people staying locally just like myself... outdoor markets! In a time where everyone has to reconsider their way of spending/consuming, small local businesses are indeed the answer. We can react faster to changes, are more flexible and are literally ready to take over from where the big chains/companies left you.

We, the local makers and producers, however, are right here! A vital if not slightly overlooked or unknown part of your community already, and waiting for our chance to shine - quite literally in the case of NDS Jewellery. Hence here it is, I'm giving outdoor markets a go while it's possible since the usually busy winter indoor markets before Christmas may never come, at least not this year. It may be my only chance to meet everyone before we could all be locked in, locked down or whatever else 2020 throws at us. Who knows!? Meeting as well as getting to know you in person is so important to me, the personal element that I value and pride myself in is priceless. I feel we were off to a good start though during the past few weeks... so much fun and chats. I'm still overwhelmed and touched thinking about the warm welcome I received in both Skibbereen and Schull.

So yes, please do support your marketeers in any way you can! Come, stop, chat, laugh, and even buy something at your local markets, if it suits. Soak up the atmosphere and remind yourself that life is still out there! For those too far or maybe uncomfortable being out and about (which is also absolutely ok and understandable): follow, like, share and comment on our social media! Send us positive feedback, finally write those 5 star reviews, interact and engage with us! Spread the word! You are our ambassadors, the marketing/PR people that we can't afford, the walking-talking advertisement small (micro!) businesses don't have the budget for... let alone time!

We, too, have had to homeschool/mind our children, care for people, do our chores etc etc... without a fixed, regular income. I'd like to think we give a lot back and contribute to our local, often otherwise quite rural communities. We bring our craftsmanship, liveliness and flavour! And we love to share the happiness that our work brings with you all! Yes, being your own boss comes with many positive aspects... but also next to no guarantee that another "good", successful day may come again at any time. Personally, as a one woman business, I try to focus on the positives, the silver linings. It's a lifestyle choice more than anything. Me writing this is most certainly NOT a complaint. On the contrary, it's an appeal. Please support your local artists/makers/producers and don't stop now or ever. I know we're all having to adapt in different ways, making it up as we go along... let this one thing be a lasting change though.

Not that I ever doubted this but being a tiny part of this now I can assure you: every single one of your local marketeers is working hard, all day every day. Not just for themselves but also for their families who they, in turn, need to support. Ultimately, it's also for YOU! So that you can have the best possible produce and quality makes. If that's not worth supporting, I don't know what is.

In short, things change, times change, circumstances change... but we're still here for you and we're still in this together. Let's put some meaning into this! Let's continue to support, uplift and care for each other. And let's also not forget that kindness costs nothing but is the easiest way to make someone else's day. Even a little goes a long way... I'd like to end on this note and thank you sincerely, my friends, customers (old and new), supporters, followers/subscribers, fellow makers, new market acquaintances... you're certainly all making my days and I feel truly grateful to have met you and be a teensy part of your lives, too.

Thank you for visiting me at my new market stalls, it's so lovely to feel that - although far from my original home place - I am not alone here in my chosen home and that, after 15 years in County Cork no less, I may be slowly turning into a local myself - blown in for good reason, I'd like to think. No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place, or so I'm told... 

With love, kindness and gratitude,

Nicole x