Saturday, 31 March 2018

"Our insurance company doesn't want us to let photos being taken"

...but I was allowed to publish this interior snapshot by one of the owners, as nothing of particular value is visible here. The photo is at Övedsklosters slott and one of the first in the history, from the 1880's, coloured later. The same lady, here being about 25, is also hanging as a portait in another room, being about 50, and looks very grumpy. I have so many funny stories from this guided tour! And then a cousin from the same family gave me the tip that a castle nearby was for sale. Vildana and I passed by it in the car and it looked crispy fresh, but not very castle-like. Google "Tullesbo slott" in Sjöbo if you are interested. 

Friday, 30 March 2018

Easter in Cartagena, Spain - last year

I witnessed processions in Murcia and Cartagena, which were very wide apart to their content. Cartagenians take their parade very seriously, put in more effort and plenty of variation - and they do it at night. I gave up at midnight after at least two hours at the front seats watching the parade (cafés and restaurants offer chairs outside their premises), and there still was plenty to see.
Every maybe 15 minutes, men would come carrying new and heavy symbols of Jesus and Easter symbols.
It is quite a powerful sight. This object is super heavy and only manpower makes it move.
The steps are syncronised, micropauses made in intervals. 
From what I know, every Spanish city has its own objects to carry around the city around Easter. In Calasparra, a village of 10,000 people where here I used to live, there also were similar arrangements - and it ended inside a church that always was closed otherwise. Jana very happy. :)
This Easter I am travelling around in Malmö, Copenhagen and Lund instead. We had an Easter lunch at work, that will be the only celebration of it this year.
I will for sure NOT see gigantesque flower formations like this hovering by,
directly financed with taxpayers' money. This is also up for discussion - maybe the formations could be made more economical, with less carnations?

Thursday, 29 March 2018

"Swag", Cécile says

She was a bit cold (and tipsy in the most charming of ways after three glasses of champagne at the ambassador's residence), so I put my sweater on her while waiting for the train after a lovely rendez-vous where we touched upon love, culture and broken trains. I assure you - I made at least 52 train and flight searches to get tickets to southern Sweden. It's Easter, so not only were the tickets few and on the wrong times, but watching the prices rocket was like a good day at Nasdaq, except I didn't have the stocks. Then it came: a broken wagon shortened my route and now I am eating pastry and drinking tea in first class. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

In a lesser known part of Liljeholmen,

 I was all fancy and attended a one-day class about the new law on protection of individual data in EU/ESS. It starts on May 25th and can make companies and organisations pay millions of euros if not respected.
 During lunch, this incredible thing happened: two people found out that they were almost relatives. Via a grandfather in law or even further, they had history that started in a small, small village, where war had left it's traces and affected the destiny of a couple (sorry for being generic - I want to give them some privacy). One of today's class participants has gone to this very village
 every summer for the past 15 years, so it was a wonder she had never met with the second participant. Either way, they were very happy about the coincidence. 

Monday, 26 March 2018

"I appreciate your exquisite taste, but" - a list of previous proposals

I thought they were four when this came up at a party. Then I remembered more. So, before I forget:

I am 12. Boy gets down on one knee. I didn't know he was interested at all? This is what boredom does with you when you are twelve? We both forget about this a few seconds later.

I am 14. Man wonders hypotethically if he could marry me. I explain my heart is taken (it wasn't at the time). He then suggests adopting me. Then he sighs and admits his heart is taken, too, which I knew all the time; the proposal was simply a compliment of my character (maybe my detailed knowledge about the history of the death of a Swedish king added to it).

I am 18, in France. Man with curly hair gets down on one knee at the mere sight of me. Exclaims: "I can cook and do the dishes!"

I am 20. At a board meeting, I suggest our magazine could maybe publish an article written by Stephen Hawking. "If you manage to do that, I will marry you", young man at the meeting table announces.

I am 22, I think. My neighbour in physics class presents his stable economy, his flat at a fancy address and draws a diagram to show how optimal we are for each other. I explain we are an unsolvable equation.

I am 27. He runs to the door I just opened and pushes everyone hindering his movement: "get out of my way!" Then, lands on one knee, spreads his arms and turns to me: "Will you marry me, Jana?" Everyone stunned.

I am 30. I enter the room of a castle called the "wedding room", these days used for lunches and conferences, and my colleagues inform me that my youngest male colleague has expressed a wish to marry. As all the women at the table knowingly are involved with other men, there are not many options left - they say. Note that this is the first day that all of us met. Love them <3

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Sold souls and the non-bacterium party

Educative parties are the best. Now I know that: during WWII, the suspicious sounds the Swedish submarine staff heard was not Russian submarines nearby, but, I kid you not, the farts of herring. Fish in general make more sounds than you think, for example to find partners, and hear with the sides of their bodies. Now I also know that hallucinogen mushrooms permanently change your personality - I thought their effects were just temporal.

And no one dressed up as bacteria/pipette/antibiotics, except for me, but Silvia brought one that she made out of the sleeve of a dress.

Olle showed a contract from the time when he and his friends were collecting souls. For 5 crowns, they managed to get this one, which is stored in a human hair and completed with personal answers (Do you do art? "Yes and no", What colour is Monday?  "Blue.") We considered the fun of contacting a person to give his soul back for his bachelor's party - that would be tremendous. 

...And now I just spoke with a friend over the phone, who spent the night in a prison. Långholmen prison! The one that is re-made into a hostel these days :) Amazing weekend ;)

Friday, 23 March 2018

"Don't come to the exam if you don't make a boat"

Yes ma'am.
(It's a pedagogical take to illustrate a cultural-specific context. Love this class. In the other, we got to write on birch bark.)

Thursday, 22 March 2018

"I don't have time to time talk, get in the car"

Right now I am late for class. I mayhaps was very lucky, 200 m from not being involved in the car accident where I chose not to look closely out of respect. (The bus is just a clever guy behind the actual accident trying to squeak by and got stuck in the field mud.) By chance, I happened to read in a book about qualitative research by David Silverman that 1/20 people that lower their speed to look at an accident, actually get involved in another car accident by doing so.

So I stepped out, and hitchhiked on a small road nearby. Car number six stopped and the driver shouted to hurry up.

It turned out that we knew each other :)

Sunday, 18 March 2018

When I fell deeply in love, like Alice into Wonderland

It happened suddenly.

We had our first date on New Year's Eve and it was clear we liked each other from the start. Details added up: he had the most fantastic eyes, transparent like the oceans near equatorial paradises on a cloudy day, was a great cook and - amazingly - we shared the same humor.

I think I know the exact time. 20 hours later after we had first met, I looked out into thin air and said it out as a whisper to myself:

I love you. 

And it turned out that he felt the same.

He called me and played the guitar. He called me when I was almost asleep and I listened to him doing the dishes as a lullaby, which was cozy and super romantic: I told him I pictured him doing art with the water and the plates in imaginative shapes.

We danced without music. I told a friend how we danced, and that friend and I tried to dance the same way with each other. It is a very special, calming way which adds to the communication.

Every single day, I would wake up and fall head over heels in love with him again. The mere appearance of his name in my calendar gave me a goofy smile and my heart started racing.  

Time flew buy when we were together. I was high as a kite on feelings and as things about him revealed, I would go wow, because it felt like a statistically incredible match. Yet, one could wonder - why him? Why now? What made it so special? My heart takes this in and just smiles as an answer.

I have never, ever, felt this way before. It was super powerful, the kind of power which makes you effortlessly cross mountains in winter without even thinking of food. I knew I was experiencing something not everybody gets to during a lifetime. Friends warned me: it is the famous phase that will fade after three months. 

It didn't fade after three months; a different fate took place. As of now, I don't know if I will ever experience something like this again, but I of course really hope so. I know one thing for sure: I cannot want anything less fantastic.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

Tonight, I'am going to make a fire

My goodness, this is a hilarious and informative video about fire-making. I am a bit biased, because a) I like dramatic voices that underline what is going on 2) I like wood 3) nature is cool 4) I am really into making fires these days (technically, seven days now). Coal fungus was used to carry fire between camps by Native Americans! Punkwood is awesome burning material! Even when wet and rainy, birch bark can act as tinder etc etc. Wow. Today, I am going to try all this new knowledge out - and I am bringing a scout.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Another occasion when the outfit actually matters

Last week's party went fairly well. I was a Medieval elf with a stitched fox on the shoulder - which has a story. I got it in third grade (I was nine years old), and it's inflammable. I can't reveal more, but cutting back till today, I was pretty happy with my last minute idea.

Then I got a text message from Olle.

I was invited to a TUBERCULOSIS BACTERIA PARTY. In March, it will be 136 years since Robert Koch discovered it, and now I plan to dress like a...

...Petri dish?
...pipette? flyffy bacteria?
...a microscope? 

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

My new words as of 2018, part II

Orogeny - scientific term for formation of mountains.

Shell shock - the psychological state soldiers experienced, a war trauma, after the First World War. They were not taken seriously and sent back to the war field. Their symptoms were believed to be simulated and their mental health was taken into consideration much later.

Gerotranscendens - thinking positively about aging, while aging. This incudes for example being happy spending more time with oneself and the acceptance of not being able to understand all the mysteries in life.

Uzi - an Israeli submachine-gun.

Edit-a-thom - a marathon of editing! For example arranged by 50 Swedish agencies on 8 March to add to the number of biographies of females on Wikipedia.

Stripmall - shopping mall with all the shops arranged in a row.

Monday, 12 March 2018

"Under det rosa täcket" ("Under the pink duvet") by Nina Björk

I actually have attended one of Björk's lectures and asked her a question. The discussion at that moment went about what boundaries the state and the citizens have in relation to each other, and at one point I was compelled to know if she supported the ideology of the state paying its inhabitants to have children. She did not.

But that is a side point. This book reflects about the female, the Woman, the female body, feminism, the individual, de Beauvoir, Butler and many more. The concluding words are that we can never look at anything without a pair of cultural glasses; what is feminism to us here is not necessarily the feminism needed somewhere else, and that we always create our values in relation to each other. What's , for example, the point of gender? Our biological looks can stay exactly what they are without any musts or expectations to them. How interesting isn't that? Omit all you know that you define as masculine, omit everything that you define as feminine - then what is left? And how are we going to use this information?

Definitely an interesting book to read.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Planet service, a semi-elf and probably the happiest bacteria ever

 Naturhistoriska riksmuseet is cool with its huge whales and informative species exhibitions - but my favourites are almost always the gemstones section and today, the temporary exhibition by Erik Johansson as well. Is it hanging in water or the sky?..
 Oh no, how can we skate now?
 This we sort of knew. They are surely polished every night, too.
 Fluorescent stones <3
 Silvia said that if you hold sulphur in your hands to make it warm and listen to it, you will hear a buzzing. How cool! I also learned that fish make sounds (actual soundtracks were available) and hear with the sides of their bodies.
And this is my party outfit for the forest theme! I did not score any points in the best costume competition, but today I got another invitation - to a BACTERIA PARTY. It's 136 years since Robert Koch discovered the source of tuberculosis, so I might get dressed as a pipette, or a microscope, or a bacteria. 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Recipes for smiles

Let's be amused by my digital inbox for a few seconds. 
 Yeah, totally, because how else would one teach?!
 This joke works the best in Swedish: minoritet. But, with some effort, "mine tea", or "minority [mine... tea]" could also be considered fun in English. Hey, I didn't say it was easy or straightforward. 
 I am thinking, the more detailed the question, the more detailed the answer, but as the answer will contain information we not yet know, it could be very difficult to understand. Moreover, if the answer must be restricted for humans to understand, it might not be the entire answer after all? And, who is answering? And how - in an email? As a soothing conversation in our heads?
 "Paris. Doctor's strike" :D 

These made me smile - but the latter takes the price.  I still giggle when I think of it.
. . .
And my favourite: the presentation of a group of plants that need some care while the owner is gone.
"They are nice, tidy, non-smokers, with a good economy. No pets"
OF COURSE I will water them ♡

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

What was the password? What was inside the gift?!

As you might remember, there was a particular gift box I got for my birthday: it needed a password and had to eat cookies to get acess to the clues inside. 
Let's not keep up the tension: this was the gift - MORE pastry of the same type. I'll say it again: it was super delicious, like the work of a prixe-winning bakery.

It took the help of two friends and quite some time to figure out - maybe 30 minutes altogether, not counting the days of eating, but I figured it out!
Cristina hinted it should be a towel; I was thinking the same. She also suggested "gum" - so I excluded "Stimorol" and "chewing" from the "chewing gum". Sandra thought it could be a candle or even an egg (though soft inside).

C. figured the entire password out before me, but happened to give me a hint not on purpose: that the answer might have been in non-English, after all. It turned out to be kind of a mix? "Grattis" is "congratulations" or a short form for "happy birthday".

Two hundred and four (the chess board question)

Now, I have the best birthday gift for Silvia figured out, but for the summer. She was not happy at first, because she still was enjoying what was left of her current age, but I am quite sure my timing will be perfect :)

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

An occasion when the outfit actually matters

Now someone surely thinks I allude to an Arctic pole expedition, and it's not too far-fetched.

This Saturday, I am invited to a party. Topic is "In the woods". I asked the hostess if she really meant what was said in the description, that we would go to the forest after a while of partying first and then get lost?.. She replied - luckily - that we would stay indoors, and I could relax about how to stay warm and not wet in the deep snow.


What should I wear? Olive leaves, like the Greeks? Paint branches on my arms? Be an... elf?

All ideas are good ideas. I have the green dress from the Spanish wedding which steers the thought to Renaissance forest creatures with some imagination, and then of course I could interpret all forest times with flowers, being a carpenter (still wood), or be a bird maybe?

"You should dress up like Näcken!" colleagues saidm (This fairy tale creature only wears a violin.) I wrote this to the hostess, who quickly came up with other ideas :)

Monday, 5 March 2018

Museum Mission: The home of Astrid Lindgren / Astrid Lindgrens hem

 "This is a home, not a museum", one of our guides said. Technically, the apartment of author Astrid Lindgren is still a rental one, but with furniture intact, personal belongings at exactly the same places that they were, so it is a time capsule - a museum. Some visitors keep coming back and I understand them - each guide has a unique approach, with more focus on anecdotes, or less. Today's main guide had known Astrid Lindgren in person.
It is very difficult to get tickets to Dalagatan 46. I have tried for about two or more years. Photos are not allowed unless for private use, so this restriction doesn't let me to publish much more here, but you can take a virtual tour inside and even look inside the books on her bookshelves :) 

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Navigating inside printed stories

Where in the drama or nature description was I? This ladybird will tell. 
Or this Eiffel tower. Could match a Paris story.
This bookmark I made myself out of a stretchy string that held a pair of shoes together and added the beads.
It turned out to be perfect, as the string can be stretched to reach through even bigger books and the pearls hang beautifully on each side.
Another nice thing to keep track of where you had to do something else but reading is a postcard - preferably from your own city.
I have also mandala-ish postcards that I have cut in pieces to create bookmarks. You might wonder, why so many bookmarks at all? Because I tend to read many books at once and variation is nice.
This is the coolest bookmark of its kind, but unfortunately least practical. Probably most suitable for really big books.

What about you? Do you use dollars, dried flowers or something else between the pages to remember which page you were at? :)

Saturday, 3 March 2018

At Gyldene Freden (and essentials at Gamla stan)

I got a drink gift from 1722, one can say, at Gyldene freden, where the Swedish Academy has its traditional dinners every Thursday; pea soup and pancakes.
It smells like spilt beer in here, in a good way, though. Upon entering, M. pointed at her breasts and said "weapons of mass destruction", which apparently is the same as quoting Dolly Parton.

Before settling for one of the alcohol free alternatives, we got to try them. I chose a sparkling white.
We shared some nice stories, and the bartender asked if the wine was tasty. I nodded back, so he filled up my glass. He did in fact not ask if it was nice, but I heard what I wanted to hear. Classic mistake.
Bouquet of wine. Birthday gift, anyone? :)
We also stopped by at a Mexican place which had party next to the ceiling and the nicest staff
and found things at windows of shops for all needs and tastes, including dolls to scare (your) children with.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Three more birthday gifts :)

Something old, something new... maybe the third gift will be blue? (It arrives in twenty minutes.) I revisited a place I forgot I knew about - I held a surprise party for C. here and she said she stopped suspecting things because I acted so natural - and got a drink at Gyldene Freden. More interesting photos tomorrow, and more Gamla stan details!