Archive for February 2012
I am blown away by this to the point where I don’t even know what to say. My blog friend said it all in her post already. Click here to read.
Hope your day is as beautiful as mine.
forty years later an imperfect moon
unfolds like a water lily of the sky
gradually another light
begins to lap the shores of night
now all light is one
inward moon and outward sun
by South African poet
A moment ago, it was dark, now my room is room is full of light, of this day.
I have been up since 5 a.m to meet your evening. By now, you are fast asleep.
We take turns to tread this wheel; you keep my head up, I keep your heart strong.
And once in a while, when the stars align, we meet at the bridge of infinity and tell our stories, share a smile.
Time got nothing on us.
Forty years later, we’ll still be 23.
…really do come true!
This video can’t be published here, so pleeeeease YouTube THIS:
One of the best inspirational videos ever – Susan Boyle – Britains Got Talent 2009
I’ve lived in Norway 10 months now. I came here for the same reason as nearly 150 000 other Swedes: to work and save money. I work in the service industry and I work a lot. I share apartment with two other Swedes that also work at hotels. We are young and we go out a lot but we never let in influence our day jobs. We still complain about the cost of living in Norway although our salaries are set accordingly. We save less money than we expected but we like it here better than we thought.
We don’t live in a collective house in Grünerløkka and I wouldn’t say that we are “Party-Swedes” (see video below) but other than that we represent the typical Swedish workers in Norway quite well.
Norway’s economy is booming and the capital Oslo is growing fast.
Unemployment in the country is a little under 3% at the moment. On the other side of the border, 25% of Swedish young people are struggling to find work. No wonder we go west.
In fact, in central Oslo, roughly every 10th person i Swedish.
If you ask a Norwegian company manager why they often times prefer to hire a Swede instead of a Norwegian they’ll say that Swedish workers are more service-minded and hard working. There is even talk about Norwegians being lazy. I think in truth, young people in Norway today just don’t appreciate the standard of living that emerged with the findings of oil supplies. Norway is quite a newly rich country but the generation growing up today don’t know anything else. So the Norwegians have their eyes on high status jobs, often times in the finance or shipping industry, and the other jobs – they leave to Swedish and Polish people.
Norwegians themselves admit that Norway wouldn’t have managed without us. And us Swedes, we return home rich or go travelling until we need to go back to Norway for a new travel fund. It’s a win-win situation but we don’t know what it means for the future of our countries.
I don’t know any hotel, restaurant, café or bigger clothing store that doesn’t have any Swedish staff but at my work place I am the only one at the moment. And so last Friday when my manager called me in the morning and asked if I could do an interview with a TV-team that were headed to our hotel in ten minutes and wanted to talk to one of our Swedish co-workers, I didn’t have much choice. I was on my way to yoga class, with greasy hair and no make-up but I said I could be at work in half an hour, knowing my manager really wanted the publicity on TV.
Me and my Norwegian colleague Karoline were filmed in the front desk and by chance one of our regulars happened to come and thank us both with a box of chocolate, so we got that on tape and some good shots of the hotel. They asked us a couple of questions about the difference between Norwegians and Swedes and how we work together. Karoline is one of the most ambitious, service-minded and friendliest people I’ve ever worked with, and all my other colleagues do a great job, so I don’t think it’s a matter of nationality but rather personality.
The 5 min clip was shown on the TV news that night and there is a link on the web, but I’m not telling
Swedish and Norwegian is very similar but to make it easier at our work places, we tend to speak a kind of “svorsk” – a totally unique, random blend of Swedish (svensk) and Norwegian (norsk). We don’t give this made up language a lot of thought, but someone recently told me it has become an issue in kindergartens where a lot of Swedish workers influence the children’s language, especially if the children’s parents have yet another origin. Imagine the language confusion at home.
Swedes and Norwegians are also very similar kind of people, although I’d say Norwegians are more nature-loving and less pretentious than Swedes. And of course, we love to make fun of each other.
Here is a mockery rap song that was popular last summer about all the young Party-Swedes.
There was also a funny TV-program called “Svensker er mennesker” (“Swedes are also people”) and the popular TV-show host “Skavlan” was recently awarded by the Nordic Culture Fund for his “svorsk” – and his way of joining the two languages.
Borders are meant to be bridged.
I can’t think of anything that warms my heart more right now than being cuddled up in Maria’s bed speaking to Lorena over Skype, making plans to reunite in Cape Town for Christmas and New Years, renting a big beach house together and going on chica loca road trips.
And when I got home from work today there was a little kinder egg and a note from Maria by my bedside:
Life is full of surprises!
Bring em on!
love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
/ e.e cummings
My days are like snowflakes: I wake up and they are there, around me, as I walk to and from work. Sometimes they are cold and in my face and I am trying to get where I’m going. Other times they are twirling beautifully around me and I stop and absorb the miracle of nature changing form. At all times, the snowflakes fall to the ground and melt away.
I’m trying my best to enjoy this winter, but I’ve been working so much and fallen into a routine where I basically eat and sleep.
I rarely get fresh air, or daylight.
No wonder I’m tired.
So today I decided to make it an energy boost day. I slept until I woke up from the buzz on the street outside. I got up and made myself coffee and a crisp bread sandwich with avocado and coriander. My room mate Charlotte was getting ready in the bathroom. I put music on loud and we danced around in our robes, and joked about how the Swedish term for “morning robe” translates to “morning rock”. How appropriate.
I talked to a couple of friends. I called my grandma who’s in the hospital since two weeks and she sounded better. I helped a friend out with her CV and checked for train tickets to go visit my little sister in Gothenburg.
And then I took a long walk around the city…
I walked around the designer shops in Vika and down to the trendy, over-priced restaurants by the harbor where I had coffee at Kaffebrenneriet with a half nude David Beckham spinning on a poster outside.
When I got home, my other room mate Maria told me how happy the little note I’d left had made her and then we discussed whether it would be best to buy an apartment in Sweden or Norway.
I went to a Shape Pulse class at the gym while Maria made us pesto and feta-baked salmon with salad, which we ate late in our little kitchen. Charlotte stayed over at her boyfriend’s since they are leaving for a ski trip this weekend.
Me, I’m invited up to Karoline’s cabin in a few weeks. Until then, I’ll just have to make the most out of what Oslo has to offer. And try not fall too deep into hibernation.
Tell me, do you feel you make the most of the seasons?
You live like this, sheltered, in a delicate world, and you believe you are living. Then you read a book… or you take a trip… and you discover that you are not living, that you are hibernating.
The symptoms of hibernating are easily detectable: first, restlessness. The second symptom (when hibernating becomes dangerous and might degenerate into death): absence of pleasure. That is all.
It appears like an innocuous illness. Monotony, boredom, death. Millions live like this (or die like this) without knowing it. They work in offices. They drive a car. They picnic with their families. They raise children. And then some shock treatment takes place, a person, a book, a song, and it awakens them and saves them from death.
From The Diary of Anaïs Nin: 1931-1934
It is minus 20 degrees outside. The air cuts like knives.
The 12 minutes it took for me to walk home from work today felt like forever with ice cold jeans rubbing against my sore thighs. If only there were thick layers of white, powder snow, like at home, the cold would at least be dense and settled and the wind wouldn’t blow so bitter and harsh.
Needless to say, we stay inside.
Me and Maria made red curry lentil soup and drank red wine which didn’t really match well but what the hell. We spoke about changes in the world, what we want in life, what makes a man and what turns women on. With a little more wine we got into trips we’ve done and experiences we’ve had, and how much beauty there is to see. We looked up cheap flight tickets to Istanbul or was it Budapest, either way, we started planning a trip to meet up with Lorena, who will be in Switzerland this fall, so we could even meet her on the border to Italy…
The evening ended with us listening to emotional music on Spotify and remembering:
Beautiful days when the sun shone bright on our smiling faces, when the warm breeze played in our hair as we cruised along down to Cape Point, where the freezing Atlantic meets the mild Indian Ocean.
Life is full of contrasts.
No need to label what is better or worse, no need to try and hold on.
Tomorrow, I’ll put on extra layers of clothing.