From nine to five – and the mystery of the mature greeting


Nines

How do you write the number 9?

Starting in the top right corner with the anti-clockwise balloon followed by a straight line down? Or starting from the base line, working your way upwards on the right in one big mirrored C, turning in on itself toward the end? Perhaps you start from the very center of the figure, moving clock-wise to the left, upwards, reaching the top and continue down in an arrow shaped hand movement until you reach the bottom, as if drawing one circle – right, lower, left, up, right again and then finishing off with a long slide of the hand, getting off track from the original circle shape? That is how I do it. The latter. I write the number 9 starting from right to left, as if writing in Arabic, which I by the way have no skills in doing. But that is not how I was taught.

Only in 7th or 8th grade, after having followed the example of my maths- physics-, chemistry- and gym teacher Mr. Å, did I switch to this much more simple and swift way of writing a nine. I saw him do those nines on the white board and it made all the calculations look so much easier! I tried it. Being 13 years old I was no longer forced to use pencils in school, but was, much to my happiness, allowed to use ball point pens, and I figured no one would tell me off for steering away from writing protocol… Continue reading

THE ROUTINE


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WAKE UP – Toothbrush, toothpaste, cotton pads, nail polish remover, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, deodorant, body lotion, eye cream, facial moisturizer, keratin treatment, brush, hair dryer, heat resisting spray, hair straightener, Moroccan oil, de-frizz hairspray, primer, large make up brush, foundation, small make up brush, concealer, medium make up brush, blush, mascara, mineral veil, lip balm, hand cream, nail file, cuticle oil, base coat, nail polish, top coat, perfume – LIVE – Cotton pads, eye make up remover, facial cleansing gel, cotton pad, tonic water, cotton ear buds, eye cream, facial moisturizer, lip balm – SLEEP.

And that’s just a regular day.

So add a little extra every now and then:

WAKE UP – Toothbrush, toothpaste, plastic gloves, hair colour, shower cap, body scrub, cotton pads, nail polish remover, shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, shower gel, foot file, deodorant, tampon, body lotion, foot cream, face mask, eye cream, facial moisturizer, keratin treatment, nail clipper, brush, hair dryer, heat resisting spray, hair straightener, Moroccan oil, de-frizz hairspray, primer, large make up brush, foundation, small make up brush, concealer, medium make up brush, blush, eye liner, dark eye shadow, light eye shadow, highlighter, mascara, eye lash curler, mineral veil, lip balm, lip gloss, hand cream, nail file, cuticle oil, base coat, nail polish, top coat, perfume – LIVE – Cotton pads, eye make up remover, facial cleansing gel, face exfoliation, cotton pad, tonic water, cotton ear buds, eye cream, facial moisturizer, sanitary pad, lip balm – SLEEP.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections


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For The Daily Post‘s Weekly Photo Challenge I looked through my photos from Cambodia because I knew I had a great picture of the Angkor Wat temples at dawn, reflecting clearly in the waters between them and me with a bright yet soft peachy pink backdrop. But as I was about to pick the photo I had intended I browsed through these others photos that yet again caught my eye. I soon realized that this photo of the tree much more represented the meaning of “reflections” to me.

So for this Weekly Photo Challenge I chose to represent not the literal reflections of an object in say water, but rather the moment of reflection that comes to me when I look at this photo. How nature is greater than us all, and even though we humans directly and indirectly destroy nature, it is so powerful and has its course. These buildings are from the 1100’s, and trees which are older than those constructions completely reclaim their space which was intended for them, growing their roots as it was set out in their DNA, yet somehow manage to coexist with these man-made buildings.

A reflection upon mankind’s coexistence with nature.

Choosing the Perfect Blog Name: Paper and Salt


A bright pink picture with an embossed leaf.

This is the desktop of my mind

I love this interview below with Nicole Villeneuve, the author of the blog Paper and Salt. The name Paper and Salt is so pretty and that is what caught my attention to continue reading the interview. The name rolls nicely on the tongue and I see it, just like the ladies having tea in her picture, in black and white. It’s delicate somehow, it’s as if I can hear the crisp sound of a good quality old page being turned in a book… Beautiful!

A few months ago I started my own blog Stockholm Serendipity. I love the word serendipity, for its meaning and also for the way it sounds and look on paper. I knew I wanted my blog name to include a city which I identify with, which for different reasons would be Stockholm, London, New York City or Tokyo. Stockholm Serendipity was a perfect match! To my eyes, my ears and my tongue. And my mind 🙂

If you want to read my blog post on how my thoughts were going about the name serendipity, you can find it here https://stockholmserendipity.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/on-the-topic-of-serendipity/ I’d love to hear your comment, and perhaps an insight into how you yourself came up with your blog name?

Happy reading!

The Daily Post

From Talking Covers to The Importance of Being Serbian, we always enjoy hearing from bloggers about the clever names they come up with for their blogs. Today, we’re chatting with Nicole Villeneuve, who writes about food and literature over at Paper and Salt.

Paper and Salt header

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Vem är du, vem är jag? – Gamla, nya och tillskrivna identiteter


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Igår kväll var jag över hos min syster Mrs. I för lite häng och för att få min välbehövda hjärtedos av hennes barn. Efter en grundlig genomgång av de olika karaktärsdragen för hajar, valar och andra stora vattendjur (”späckhuggare låter för mig relativt läskigt och rovdjursaktigt, men de ser ju ut som gulligt pandafärgade delfiner…?”), och vad som för mig ter sig som en mycket avancerad nivå av Marathon-Schlager-scenombyte, men i Mini-Vs fall mest handlar om att hinna avnjuta så många som möjligt av sina klänningar, satte vi oss och åt tacos. Barnen sjönk så småningom in i fredagsmysläge framför en film medan Mrs. I och jag började prata om… Ja vad pratade vi om egentligen? Identitet? Självuppfattning? En individs olika roller och hur de förändras över tid, adderas eller ersätts?

Jag kastade ett öga på syskonparet som satt i soffan och för en millisekund stannade tanken, precis som den gjort så många gånger förut. Hur kom de hit? För bara ett par år sedan fanns de inte, och nu sitter de där som den mest självklara saken i världen. För dem finns ingen annan verklighet, ingen tidigare sanning än den som nu finns med dem i den. För dem är Mrs. I ”mamma” och det är omöjligt för dem att förstå att ”mamma” inte var ”mamma” för sex år sedan, att hon då var dotter, syster och partner, men inte deras mamma. Även när de blir äldre och förstås förstår själva konceptet av familjebildning och generationer så är det omöjligt för dem att begripa och känna den person som Mrs. I egentligen är, eller var förut, eller kanske är vid sidan om. För hur är det egentligen, behåller vi våra olika identiteter när nya skapas och rör oss emellan dem, eller ersätter vi gamla för de nya? Jag vill gärna tro att identiteter lagras och att mitt arkiv fylls ut allteftersom mitt liv berikas med nya upplevelser, situationer, personer och relationer. Att en viss identitet får ta ett steg åt sidan för att göra rum för en annan. Vad jag också tror är att den identitet jag kan identifiera i mig själv inte riktigt överensstämmer med hur mottagaren uppfattar densamma. Min syster vet att hon är mamma till sina två barn (doh!), hon intar den rollen med dem samtidigt som hon i sitt sinne bara är ”sig själv” så som hon alltid varit, hemma med vår familj, som min syster och som våra föräldrars barn. Det häftiga är att Maxi-V och Mini-V inte har nån aning om, och aldrig kommer att kunna inse, vem denna ”själv” egentligen är.

Medan jag fortsatte att på ett tämligen maniskt eller kanske slentrianmässigt sätt stoppa nachos med systers hemmagjorda guacamole i munnen, trots att magen redan var full av middag, ledde våra funderingar plötsligt in på nästa generation, eller snarare den tidigare generationen, våra föräldrar. Mrs. I utbrister att samma fenomen ju gäller för oss syskon, att vi trots vår vetskap om mamma och vår moster och hur de växte upp med våra morföräldrar, egentligen inte riktigt kan haja vem mamma egentligen, allt som oftast, genomsyrande och från början, känner sig som. Det är tanken, den som en har inombords som ingen annan kan komma åt, som är den enda som kan förstå den identiteten.

Snabbt hinner jag reflektera över ”tanken” och hur jag gång på gång fascineras över den. ”Tanken” som fenomen. Tanken är det enda som jag kan hålla privat, det enda som ingen kan komma åt, vare sig med våld eller genom min egen oförsiktighet. Jag kan välja att dela mina tankar, men trots min ärliga intention att förmedla ”sanningen” så tror jag att en stor del av min ”sanna tanke” försvinner i passagen mellan huvudet och den skrivna texten eller det yttrade ordet. Det vackra är att jag kan välja. Jag kan välja att inte dela min tanke, jag kan välja att förvränga den innan den yttras. Jag kan välja att behålla den själv, att gotta mig i den, avnjuta den och aldrig avslöja den. Den är min.

Jag förundras över de tankar och de identiteter människor går omkring och bär på. Det är fantastiskt. Apropå vår mor och identiteter spinner Mrs. I vidare på släktskap och visar mig hur hon påbörjat släktforskning på nätet. Familj, i alla dess skepnader, har alltid varit viktigt för mig och mina nära, och det är därför inte en nyhet att min far muntligen kan rabbla upp namnen på åtminstone tio generationer bakåt i tiden och ge en förklaring av vad deras turkiska namn betyder på svenska. Också på min mors sida har jag vetat att mormors släkt är från de Värmländska skogarna, med nåt inslag av Vallonsläkt, och att morfars släkt kommer från de Gotländska slätterna. Men min systers påbörjade forskning uppenbarade också ett väldigt frekvent resande över Atlanten under förra sekelskiftet. Med tanke på att resenären fick åtminstone en sisådär 8-10 barn här i Sverige med två olika damer under de åren han var hemma, och han var borta ett par år i taget när han var over there, anar jag att det finns en hel del värmländskt blod i Minnesota! Kanske är det dags att dessa utvandrar-ättlingar får besök av sin Gotsk-Istanbulska Stockholmssläkting?

Hell’s Kitchen, Södermalm or Krabi – Where do you want to live?


NYCRock

Last night I was out walking, I mean in the very middle of the night. I’m going through some sort of delayed jetlag and if it’s one thing I really do not like it is to be in bed without being tired. I very easily get almost manic urges to go out running or cooking or cleaning the house. I see no point in wasting time just laying there “trying” to go to sleep if my body is not tired. Of course sometimes the mind is tired so whatever activity I set out to do might end with a quite poor result. In those cases watching a film or, ehrm… perhaps a little glimpse on Facebook might suffice. But yea, lying in bed restless is not for me. Better do something productive whilst awake!

So, this time I went out for a walk at 2:30am. Stupid some might say, why not some others may say. I’m of the opinion that cities are safe places, surroundings that don’t go to sleep and always folks around. Unless you live in an area know to be very unsafe due to high criminality or something of that sort, I don’t see a problem with going out alone. Rather, I see it as a fortune! I’m a city person, not a countryside individual.  Stockholm and its surroundings is the city in which I spent most years of my life, and I love this city. It’s big enough to always offer something new, yet it’s small enough to have its integrity and good qualities that larger metropolis often start lacking. – Yes yes, I know, Dubai is large and still impeccable. True, but its sort of fake, certainly doesn’t have the same integrity as say Stockholm. The same is true for, say Singapore. Brilliantly tidy and efficient and perfect, but do I want to spend the rest of my life there? Not necessarily. I like a bit of street graffiti, unpolished cobble streets, and a change of seasons. – Anyhow, I went out for a walk and to me it feels fairly normal. My aunty would tell me that it’s unsafe to be in the city and would much rather have me move to a suburb, or perhaps to a cute house in the country side. And a very close friend of mine would most likely remind me that Stockholm is not really a city, try Los Angeles or Tokyo instead. I like LA and I love Tokyo, perhaps I’ll spend some more permanent time there at some point. But as for countryside living, I only have one thing to say – No one will hear you scream…

This morning, after 3 rounds of sleep and my night walk and another forced nap, I remained in bed in the dark and browsed BuzzFeed, being determined not to rise before 6:30am. I took this test to find out What City I Should Actually Live In? With 9 questions, each with 9 possible answers to pick from, I could sort of make out which answer would categorise me as a certain type of person. I mean, what are the stereotypes for “a venti-skinny-soy-non-foam-sugar-free-vanilla-latte” and “a cup of black brew”…? Yes, exactly. But I tried to ignore the obvious and refrain from letting my subconscious(?) predetermined idea of what city I would like to be associated with control my answers. You want to know my result?! New York 🙂 Apparently, I am “a BOSS, made for the concrete jungle. Of all of your friends you’ve always been the most ambitious. You love the fast-paced beat of the city and are constantly in search of bigger things. Basically, there’s nothing you can’t do.” Basically I’m pretty amazing. And sorry to all of my friends. And yes, I do love Jay-Z’s and Alicia Key’s Empire State of Mind. I spent 4 years in Manhattan and I think I’ll be back. Jay, I’m not sure I’ll be hood forever though. Not sure I have ever been hood… Can I be more like Alicia please?

I’m back to blogging!


I took a month(?!) off from blogging. Haha it sounds like blogging is hard work and as if I’ve been doing it for ages, when in fact writing is something I do for myself anyway, regardless if I post it in a blog or not, and that I have been doing for ages. Blogging though, I only started in December! Anyhow, I was away during the holidays, I’ve had to work on some projects that took up most of my time, and I have been doing a little thinking on this blogging-thing.

Before the new year I started blogging as an experiment, just to get some of my texts out for people to read them. I had been recommended by different sets of people I know, and don’t know actually, to start blogging. These folks were interested in things I had been talking about, stuff I contributed with in discussions and they were curious about my angle on certain topics. This was certainly ego boosting and I figured blogging could be fun! It should be noted that I had never, before December last year, read any blogs in the sense that I followed them and was notified of every new post. I had read a few blog posts by various people via Facebook, only because my Facebook friends would have posted certain texts in their news feed, and I had logged on to probably 4 or 5 different ones that my friends had set up for specific, time regulated, journeys like long-distance trips or a pregnancy. Today I have logged on to a handful of blogs by people I don’t know, like a mega celebrity or a known name in the local blogosphere. I reckoned it would be a good idea to do some leisurely research, at least to get an insight into blogging from both sides, not just as a writer but also as a reader. It seems though as if I need some time to get into the reading :-). How will I find time to read all those interesting blogs that I am sure are out there? Does that mean that people won’t find the time to read and follow my blog either?! Yikes!

What I have concluded though during my little think on this blogging-thing, is that I need to take a stand between Blogspot/blogger and WordPress. In December 2013 I started on StockholmSerendipity.blogspot.se simply because I already had a Google account and it seemed easy enough. My experience was overall positive but I know some readers expressed difficulties when trying to comment on my posts; and the mobile version, whilst being graphically pretty, didn’t work as well as I had hoped. I also saw an increased number of interesting topics on Facebook that were linked from WordPress accounts. So, what did I do? I naturally set up an account here too! This way I can try it out for a while and then I’ll be able to better determine which location suits me the best. I promise I’ll let you know…

Happy reading, and please feel free to comment!

P.S. I transferred my most read post from the previous location to here, so if you wish, you can read them all here now, all marked with today’s date: Friday 17 January 2014. Ah, some are in English and some are in Swedish. I tend to just write in whichever language comes to me when I come across a certain topic. I apologies for any inconvenience. Sometimes Google Translate helps. Sometimes it makes for a good giggle…

On the topic of serendipity


Serendipity. Not the most common of words. I only learnt it some 6-7 years ago when I was in graduate school in the States. It was my social anthropology professor who used it in class when he was telling the story of an anthropologist in history who had made a random but all the same a very exciting discovery without even having been looking for it. My professor, Prof. C., had to pause his story to tell the class what the word meant as I believe almost everyone in the room, including my American native English speaking class mates, looked questioning at him when he had the described the anthropologist’s pleasant discovery as pure serendipity, quite the serendipitous moment. I remembered that moment in class, scribbling down the word in my notebook the way I guessed it should be spelled, I think got it right (!), and rolled it over my tongue. I loved that word – Serendipity. I liked the way it sounded when Prof. C said it in his mature, somewhat noble, yet relaxed and cheeky Greek-immigrant-newspaper-boy voice; I liked the way it looked on my paper with a capital S and a rushed non-polished handwriting; and I liked the way it played in my mouth as I said it quietly to myself a few times – a British pronunciation? Perhaps American? The word stayed with me. Serendipity. It had an interesting meaning too; a positive, surprising encounter by chance that in my mind translated into slight mystique.

Phonetically the word is versatile, with a number of ups and downs in intonation making it sound rather melodic, as if it skips lightly a few times and then finally hops off the tip of your tongue. I picture the white dressed dervish dancers of Turkey and Iran whirling round and round with their skirts floating high and wide around their bodies…Ssssss….errrrrrr…eeeeee..nnnnn…. and then a chance in music and they skip….di! pi! ty! Or possibly as a romantic ballet performance, with gracious long slow stretched movements right before the vigorous high-toe hopping away across the stage. The initiating S graphically constitutes half of the symbol for eternity, you know, the number 8-shaped symbol laying down where you can follow the lines up and down, forward and back again and always return to the same pattern, over and over again, for an eternity. S is a sleek sexy letter yet fun and squiggly. There are so many different reasons to love the word!

I don’t recall ever having looked up the word in a dictionary. I just went by what Prof. C said and on the very rare occasions I actually did use the word in writing or speaking it was most often, if not always, within the realm of anthropology where I soon came to realise it was commonly used in ordinary expressions. Today, if I hover over it with the cursor and control-click, the computer dictionary generates the following synonyms: chance, fate, destiny, karma, providence, luck, fortune, coincidence, accident, and kismet. Perhaps some of these words are more familiar to you? I also just googled serendipity and the first hit is *of course* from Wikipedia which states that “Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise”; a fortunate mistake. Specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it.” That pretty much sums it up!

In this blog, Stockholm Serendipity, I sat out to write about some of the things that cross my path in life. Moments, which for some reason have stuck with me, situations I have found myself in and continued contemplating, and a variety of topics I come across when communicating with the world. The actual subject matters of these discoveries per se are indeed not always happy pleasant or positive, yet I consider the fact that I stumble upon them a real luck for me, it is indeed often unexpected – quite serendipitous.

What is the best thing you know?


December 2013

That is a question I was asked here by a reader, and I made it a challenge to write about it. Well, there are many things and situations and people that I like, and after giving it some thought I realised it is a much harder question to answer than I thought!

My family and everyone I count as family, my friends and people who have past my path and stayed with me are all obviously important to me, I love them all. But to answer the question with something like “my nieces and nephews” doesn’t really seem that ground breaking. They are always a fundamental part of me and I’d like my answer to offer something more specific, a response more significant to me. I think it’s safe to say; a lot of people love their families 🙂

So, what are some of my favourite things? They are small and big. I love to take long showers, I enjoy drinking my coffee in take-out mugs whilst on the move, I find it fascinating to visit new places and I can lose track of time when immersed in an exciting book.

Maps intrigue me, big world maps which put things in perspective. I’m also blown away by my dreams, the ones I actually remember when I wake up, how vivid they are and sometimes makes me question what’s really real and what parts were just a dream. I’ve had to phone up people to ask if certain things have truly occurred or not!

But alongside all of this, there is one thing, a certain situation that always puts a smile on my face, literally. Where I, without doing anything in particular, always burst into a big smile, a grin on my face, and feel all tingly and bubbly and warm inside. It’s when I’m travelling and looking out of the window whilst actually being transported by a vehicle, e.g. sitting in an airplane or a high-speed train, or even a car on a motorway, and looking out of the window into a clear blue sky with bright sunshine. That energy, the invigorating light and the sense of being on my way onto something new, it always gets to me! It’s such a positive feeling, as if the sun welcomes me and says, “hi, this is your day, the blue sky is your ocean and you can do anything you like!”. When on the ground, I imagine the lives and stories behind the people and buildings I pass, one scenario links to another and in my head there is a full saga of possible realities which I continue to move through, one onto the next one. And all the time I think of new things I would like to do in my own life. My brain works on turbo speed in pace with the train which speeds through the landscapes. Some days I get to work, open my iPhone notes and scribble down all those immediate thoughts for later reflections, and then other days I simply take the time to enjoy the rush, leaning my head against the glass and allow myself to get lost in that refreshing energetic charge that is sun, speed and travel in symbiosis.

Now, what is the best thing YOU know?