Archive for July, 2007

Less Is More

I’ve wanted a heading like this one for a long time. A good friend of mine has used it as an expression a couple of times and I’ve had time to think about it. I’m not even 30 and our house is already filled. I love old quirky antiques and both my husband and I have inherited wooden chairs, mahogany tables and crystal chandeliers from our Grandparents. At the same time it’s fun to have some modern furniture for who wants their house to look like Grandma’s place? Plus we live in my Grandparents’ old house anyway.

Zaman still has three more weeks of vacation. It’s difficult to find the energy to write or peace of mind. Tomorrow I take the 8:02 a.m train to Vingåker, by myself. It’s a weekend with the Swedish military, sleeping in a tent with various activities. I am glad that I am not as tired as I was last week so I should be okay. Besides, it will be good to get away on my own. We all need that, don’t you think? Time for ourselves every now and again? I’m split-minded about being part of the Swedish military, though. There are possibilities to go to Afgahnistan, but I don’t think that’s where I should go right now. However, I could join a Crisis Management Group in Gothenburg. Considering the amount of rain we’re getting, maybe I should sign up for one straigt away.

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Uniquely Me

I am
a confusion of cultures.
Uniquely me.
I think this is good
because I can
understand
the traveller, sojourner, foreigner,
the homesickness
that comes.
I think this is also bad
because I cannot
be understood
by the person who has sown and grown in one place.
They know not
the real meaning of homesickness
that hits me
now and then.
Sometimes I despair of
understanding them.
I am
an island
and
a United Nations.
Who can recognise either in me
but God?

-“Uniquely Me” by Alex G James

I started reading from the book Third Culture Kids that was given to me by Martin’s family during a visit here in Sweden. I almost started crying when I read some entries from within. I’m onto chapter 3 when I landed on the poem “Uniquely Me” and felt compelled to write.

Who are “Third Culture Kids”?

“A Third Culture Kid (TCK) is a person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture.  The TCK builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the TCK’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of similar background.”

Here is also a good article to explain what many of us TCK’s are feeling. My husband and I have been back in Sweden since 2002 and we’re rooted. Yet I still have this haunting feeling at times. Having changed my medication AGAIN (third time now) where vertigo and depression are among possible adverse events, I’m not sure what is Maria and what is just down to neurological chemical glitches. I chose to marry a non-TCK for I’ve always known where home is and that is where I want to go. I have my parents to thank for that; that my brother and I are not islands, but United Nations.

Deathly Hallows

If you haven’t heard, Harry Potter’s coming out of the closet again at midnight on Friday. With all the “heavy” books going on (and me complaining that I’m not reading as much), perhaps I should make my way down to the bookstore and get a copy.

broom

My husband just finished reading one of them this weekend – the Order of the Phoenix. Now we can go and see the movie. I have so far found the movies boring, though.

Why do I like Harry Potter? Perhaps for the same reason that I like Robbie Williams. NOSTALGIA: sitting on the Tube going back and forward between East Finchley and South Kensington every day for twelve months. If it wasn’t The Economist, it was Harry Potter. It was Maria and the pin-striped suits sitting side-by-side reading about riding broomsticks.

So, what’s the deal? Dreaming about achieving the impossible or just passing time?

Jesus A Mystery?

My thoughts have these past six months turned more and more towards religion. Either I have been away from work for too long or I am allowing myself to plunge into what will eventually save me in the end. For those were my last thoughts on the operating table: I have reconciled with (forgiven) Jesus and that I have no regrets. All the people I was looking forward to reuniting with were also going through my mind. Even people who I’d never even met. Oh, and my dog, Moa.

Astonishing Clues to the True Identities of Jesus and PaulVad hände på vägen till Damaskus?

A friend of mine, Karin, gave me books for my birthday. I started to read one of these up at the summer house and it caught me. The book’s originally in Swedish and called Vad hände på vägen till Damaskus?: på spaning efter den verklige Jesus från Nasaret (The Jesus Mystery) by Lena Einhorn.

“The Jesus Mystery” explores what may have happened if Jesus did not die on the cross. Noting discrepancies between the historical record and traditional New Testament chronologies, it reinterprets early Christian history giving to show that Jesus may have had a radically different – and direct – role in the spread of Christianity throughout the world. Reading “The Jesus Mystery” as the author builds the evidence is as thrilling as reading a mystery. The author’s theory is entirely supportable through scriptural reading and historical references; it’s also profoundly credible psychologically¨.

Basically, that means Paul and Jesus would be the same person. I’m only into the second chapter and hence brushing up on my background knowledge. I’m not sure yet how pertinent it is that the author is Jewish.

I have been focusing on understanding Islam and Christianity as of late that it is time to let some Judaism in here. It would only be fair. I also like the fact that Lena Einhorn is a medical doctor within the fields of tumour biology and virology. Not only is that close to home, but I like the fact that I’m reading a book by a Jewish doctor telling me her version of Jesus. Oh, and that she is brave and willing to conquer various fields around her, other than medicine.

Father-Daughter Trip

My father and I drove out to the island of Hönö this evening. This week 28 is none other than Hönökonferensen, a Christian conference, which is TRADITION to attend if you are “frireligös” i.e. part of the free church movement in Sweden, which my family is. Unlike the Toastmasters Conference that took place in one of Gothenburg’s fanciest hotels, this conference is situated in a circus-like tent, where people cram themselves in to listen to inspirational evangelical pastors from near and far. We didn’t get a seat for we missed the ferry by 30 seconds. It just wasn’t our tur, I guess you can say (tur in Swedish means “boat trip” as well as “luck”).

Going off on a tangent, since my illness, I find every day amazing. The grass has never been greener as it is in my life today. I had a beautiful birthday yesterday with family, neighbours, colleagues etc. We all had to cram into our “small” house as the weather had seen better days. Zaman had made smörgåstårta i.e “sandwich cake” (another word for the English dictionary?) and my wonderful mother had baked a delicious rice crispy and strawberry cake which she served in their house. Thanks everyone for a perfect day.

Getting back on track, this one father-daughter trip to Hönö was not for me to attend a religious service. I love spending time with my Dad and always have. That goes for my entire family. In addition I was introduced to two new and interesting people who don’t know me, but I sure got a glimpse of them. The speaker for the evening was Patrick F who spoke of recovering after the tsunami in Thailand two years ago. He loved and hated God all at once and I could relate to that sentiment. However, I’ve never hated God, just wonder what he has in store for me next.

The second person was Lena Nevander-Friström and this brings me back to tur again. Dad and I had planned our ferry trip back to the main land so that we would be in time for the 11:10 p.m departure. We would hence have enough time to have a pleasant fika with friends in their boat beforehand. However, when we arrived at the ferry terminal it said “Next ferry 11:40 p.m”. WHAT? We were sure that we had read the timetable correctly plus there were other cars waiting as well.

As part of our 30 minute wait ahead, we turned on the radio – P1 (the “boring” channel that I love). They were playing “Ten years together” by Peter Paul Mary, which we both like so we kept listening and then a woman, Lena, started to speak. Suddenly the ferry sign outside lit up flashing “EXTRA TUR“, whilst Lena said something very wise:

We live now and then we’re dead for a very long time.

Think about that.

Lena Nevander Friström. Foto: Sune Fridell/ Natur och kultur.

Rich in Heaven

Yesterday I experienced something that my Grandfather spoke of when he was getting worse (which I’m hopefully not). He would wake up in his bed and not be able to figure out whether it was in the middle of the night or middle of the day. Sweden is a country that can do this to you, especially during the lighter part of summer and darker part of winter. I went to bed on Sunday at 8 post meridiem (p.m). and it was light. I wake up at 9 and it was light. I remember being astonished that I could dream all that in just one hour. Was my head starting to work faster? Now I can fully see why we work on the 24 hour clock in this country. The time was not 9 p.m (21:00), but 9 ante meridiem (a.m).

Café Rosendahl

I wrote wondering if things got Heavier Than Heaven a while back. Now I found a story about being Rich in Heaven (Rik i himlen) from the “Cricket” book. What would you stick in your suitcase if you were allowed to bring one? Is it healthy to even be thinking of these sort of things? I much rather at this point want to find out when my scan is to see if the treatment has worked. Zaman reminded me that only two months have passed since I had my last dose of radiation. TWO MONTHS! But if you think about it, almost SIX MONTHS have passed since all this started. Isn’t this the time when a project should have some sort of interim analysis or at least “what have we learned so far”?

A very wealthy man realised that he didn’t have that long to live and started to look back at his life. When he thought about how hard he had worked to earn his wealth, he squirmed at the thought of not being able to bring any of this wealth with him to heaven.

As a result, he started convincing himself that he should at least be allowed to bring one suitcase when he died. He prayed and prayed, and finally an angel appeared who promised to seek permission for one single suitcase.

The man turned his entire fortune into gold bricks, that he packed in the largest suitcase he could find. When he died it didn’t take very long until he stood in front of the gates of Saint Peter with suitcase in hand.

“Stop there”, said Saint Peter. “You have to leave your suitcase behind. No one is allowed to bring anything with them.”

“But”, said the man. “I have a special permission. Check with your boss and you shall see.”

Saint Peter disappeared for a while and came back with a surprised look.

“But why on earth do you want to bring a suitcase full of cobblestone?”

You Can Stop the Clock

I receive updates from Conservation International (CI). Today, on 07/07/07 (a pretty cool date to have your birthday on, like my brother-in-law has) my CI update read: “You Can Stop the Clock on Species Extinction“.