30 Nov 2011
And for the record, I am still alive. Although getting used to the cold is not easy - I miss wonderful Hong Kong.
28 Nov 2011
But in short: Been to Sweden, been to Hong Kong. Loved Hong Kong. Ate a lot of great great food, saw a lot of interesting things, walked a lot, especially the feet and legs were eaten by mosquitoes (although they nibbled on arms too, just not as much).
Will have to write more and later but right now all I can say is
I am well, I am home, I am happy!
And I WILL be back!
20 Nov 2011
It's hard to know what to say about Hong Kong yet, I am hear to visit someone who to me is so special, a friend who moved here, an amazing woman who is like an extra sister to me. So for natural reasons I haven't really been focusing on Hong Kong, but on spending time with my friend, and on catching up.
So I have not yet made it to touristy Hong Kong, the bustling metropole, the energetic, the intensive, but there will be time for that too, eventually.
But what I have already started to explore is the local cuisine, the street food, and the snack. And I have seen some of the local areas.
What first struck me when I arrived in Hong Kong was how incredible, compared to my last visit to Asia, clean it is, to a point I almost felt it was sterile, there is no rubbish, no garbage on the streets out in the quarters where the locals are. It is something I remember from parts of Beijing too, from when I was there, but then, there I had the feeling that it was due to all the people that were busy sweeping the streets, in a country with 1.3 billion people (then, more now I assume) it's no wonder there can be someone on every meter in the special areas.
But here: Here I don't see anyone cleaning the streets, I just see the streets being, compared to what I expected, incredibly clean. I know that can't be the case everywhere, but here and right now, it is.
And I do also recognises that Hong Kong seems more organised, not quite so, what should I say, not so, hectic like some other Asian cities, this is like a photoshopped version of Asia - but a very well photo-shopped version.
I can truly say that I feel very comfortable here, even though I really like the kind if semi-chaos we inexperienced westerners can sometimes feel in other Asian cities. It may not be there, but we are experiencing it as chaotic, simply because we don't understand the patterns - the same way I am sure many people from the outside experience Europe, or even the north European feel about South Europe - its all wonderful and magical but confusing sometimes just because it's different.
But Hong Kong has a strong European flare to it, and it's not better or worse, it's just different, and, in a way, what makes Hong Kong Hong Kong, I guess.
18 Nov 2011
The difference is that I use my time efficiently. I never take holiday to stay at home. And when I moved here I made a promise to myself to make sure I explore while I can. So now I try and travel once a month - although most of the time that's obviously over a weekend.
And often I do like today: I fly out after work. Today my plane leaves in the evening - I sleep well on planes so I'm actually looking forward to the flight.
No need to waist an evening, I fly out in the evening so I can make the most of the day after.
Except this time I'm off to another time zone so I'll get there Saturday evening (after a good flights sleep).
About to board for Hong Kong!
17 Nov 2011
If you are going to pretend that I signed up for the things myself, and that you are only "spamming" me because I asked for your newsletters and so forth, here is a suggestion:
At least bother to registrer the correct information. I never registrer with just half my name.
And I don't registrer with a title I never had.
I certainly don't registrer with a phone number I haven't had in about 3.5 years.
It is pretty easy to spot that you took the information from somewhere, possibly bought it from a shady company stealing addresses. You know that you are not compliant with European data laws, don't you?
And you know what? I tend to remember your company name and believe me, spammers end up VERY low on my priority list if I am looking for someone to do business with....
15 Nov 2011
At 15:00 it was already starting to get dark, at 16:00 - 4 pm - it was pitch black.
And I am even from the south of Sweden, what it is like in Stockholm and higher up north I don't even want to think about.
I have always known that it is dark in Sweden in the winter but never had I really seen the difference like I did now; I have a decent amount of light coming in to my office, and I have a light and relatively spacious flat, so I really get to see the light, especially at home, as Düsseldorf is a really flat city on the banks of Rhine there are no hills or mountains blocking the light, it is only buildings, and Düsseldorf doesn't have that many high rises.
I don't think it is until you actually move away and come back to visit that you REALLY realise just how dark it gets in the winter, and how it impacts you - at least that's what happened to me. And the first times I was visiting in the winter I didn't even have time to think about it, as all my time in Gothenburg is normally spent running around trying to catch up with as many as possible. I still do that, but now I never the less noticed the lack of light.
I could never go back even if I wanted to. Which I don't.
(And while I adore the bright summer nights, they are not enough to compensate for the long, dark autumn/winter...)
11 Nov 2011
Yellow peas. Dried yellow peas. Really difficult to get your hands on in Germany, just like in France they mainly have greey peas here. But I am Swedish so I need my yellow peas for our traditional pea soup - which I make big batches of. Every time it is a struggle to find the peas, one shop I know have them but they are slightly remote, and the other shops either don't have them at all, or I have to order separately. Hassle! So instead I am going to buy a couple of boxes from Sweden, it is just easier, if I am in the shop anyhow.
(In Sweden it would be more troublesome to find green peas, I believe, at least the dried ones, different cultures...)
Punsch. Swedish Punsch. An alcoholic drink that can be had warm or cold. In the winter it tends to be served warm with the traditional Thursday Peasoup dinner. Just one little glass, but it really warms you up.
And then, least but not last: Swedish books. I want many books but I am also after a specific book this time: "Döden på en Blek Häst" by Amanda Hellbom, the woman who writes one of the blogs I follow, "Alla har en bok inom sig".
I need something that challenges my imagination, that makes me look over my shoulder... I have finished the books I had by John Ajvide Lindqvist, an author I very much appreciate - and now it is time to find something new, something interesting, something perfect for chilly November nights crawled up under a blanket, with a mug of hot chocolate in my hand...
If a man you know is all of a sudden starting to look a bit... scruffy...
He may just be participating in Movember - awareness month for men's health and especially for cancer. See http://www.movember.com/ - or ask the man you know. He may be looking for donations.
There are womens campaigns too, but they tend to consist of funny little games that shuts men out - because schhhh, it is a secret - and that doesn't do anything concrete except confuses people. I am not sure how it raises awareness when you aren't supposed to say something? No, then I prefer the campaigns that the men are involved in - let's talk about it, raise awareness, and lets collect.
Because if we are going to solve the cancer puzzle, we are going to need money. And all types of cancer are horrible, weather they are "female" cancer types or "male".
Cancerfonden - Sweden
Bröstcancerfonden - Sweden
Barncancerfonden - Sweden
Every country has differnt funds.
And often you can donate as a gift too - the perfect Christmas gift for he/she who has everything? A donation in his/her name? Just an idea... We all benefit from it...
10 Nov 2011
And I like to cook.
I can cook much with little.
And rather than going out I prefer having friends over, but I am afraid I am getting a little bit too intensive. I keep inviting people over and I keep fearing they will get tired of it. I try to spread my invitations to different people - also because I like to hang out with different people and I don't have room for EVERYBODY at the same time. But another reason is I don't want people to grow tired of me and my little events.
(Of course that means that some people instead get upset - why did I have an event and didn't invite so and so - but space is really an issue, I have a relatively big flat but the table space is limited and also, cooking for 20 people takes some other coordination than cooking for 8... I have to try and be a bit fair too...)
At the moment I have various different little events in the pipeline but I am really thinking if I need to scale back. Not because I want to but because it needs to be socially acceptable, I also don't want others to feel that they never have a chance to organise anything because I do it all the time? And I also don't want people to feel they can't invite me because I always have something else going on. Or that they don't dare to invite me because they compare their events to my events?
To be fair though, I tend to have my events on weekdays, so I don't block my weekend, or the weekend of others.
And others tend to do other kinds of events.
But still, I worry about these things. Perhaps silly?
But it is so much FUN to have people over, I love hearing the sounds of other people in my home!
7 Nov 2011
Aftonbladet, one of the evening papers in Sweden (not a very serious one, but a big one) has an article today on "how to dress your age" at work. It's such utter bull. How you dress at work depends on what you do for a living, what the dress culture is at the company, how the others dress - and, last but not least, what you are comfortable with.
Not what year you have in your birth certificate.
OK, Germany is very fixated on age too, but in Germany I am anyhow not fitting in, I am not German, so I don't have to try, in Sweden I am still seen as a "local" - I am a Swedish citizen after all. In Germany we are all different ages, there are other things that unite us: Interests, experiences, (sometimes being "lost" in a foreign country) and so forth. And to me, that is the way it should be. If you click with a person, it doesn't matter where he/she is born, or when.
6 Nov 2011
If it wasn't for the fact that the floor above mine is my floor too, and my guests have left so it's not them. And there is nothing else up there, I'm on the top floor?!
Something apparently transports the sounds from one place to another in this house?!?
5 Nov 2011
I think I always felt it, felt strongly for mornings, because I was always an early bird. It doesn't mean I get up early, necessarily, but I wake up early. I may not have slept enough and I may go back to sleep, or have a nap in the mid day, but I do wake up early.
Living alone I have also taken to tiptoe out of bed - especially mornings I don't have to be somewhere - and have a cup of coffee and sit and watch the morning turn into day, slowly.
It's the best time of day.
And what's even better: There is another one, next morning, and next, and next. Because no matter what happens in life: Tomorrow is another day!
Life is such a wonderful thing and I am grateful I have time to stop and smell the flowers, I have time to appreciate it.