Today is the national day of Sweden. I am incredibly proud to be Swedish, and I am incredibly proud of my country.
Today we welcome 13,000 new citizens. People who now proudly can say that they’re Swedish, with all the responsibilities and rights that follow it. I am proud that my country wants to be open and welcome people from all over the world. Diversity makes our country stronger and it makes us better people.
Today is a day we celebrate Allemansrätten, every person’s right to roam on public as well as private property. Today is a day we celebrate that Sweden is the most sustainable country in the world. Today is a day we celebrate the social welfare system that will pick you up if you fall or become sick. Today is a day we celebrate that Sweden is a front-runner in the world when it comes to equality. Today is a day we celebrate that all Swedes have the right to an education that they do not have to pay for.
Sweden is not perfect. A lot of work still has to be done. But we are on the right track. And I couldn’t be more happy, grateful, and proud to be lucky enough to be Swedish.
(Today is also my great grandmother’s birthday and my parents’ wedding anniversary. Many reasons to celebrate.)
Volvo and Swedish advertising agency Forsman & Bodenfors has released such great work upon recently that it’s hard to keep up. Following the Volvo “Made By Sweden” video featuring Zlatan, they’ve now done one with Robyn as well. And I gotta say, this is fantastic. I know that it’s only a video, but my heart starts beating a bit faster when seeing it. And especially the last line makes my body tingle a little:
So what do you do? Do you choose to see the world or keep it? And do you really want to keep if if you haven’t seen it?
2014 is election year, both for the Swedish parliament and for the European parliament. And for the first time since I was old enough to vote, the decision is not between the lesser of two evils. This year I am actually excited to vote, and it’s a decision between two parties that I’d equally want to give my vote to – the Green Party and Feminist Initiative.
A bit of background. The Green Party was founded in 1981 from a feeling of disappointment of the other existing parties’ environmental policies. Since then it’s grown into the third most popular party in Sweden and will most likely together with the Left Party support a government lead by the Social Democrats. Feminist Initiative was first found on ballots in 2006 and has since been closest to reaching parliament in 2009 when they received 2,2 % in the vote to the European parliament. They believe in a society where there is a feminist paradigm in all policy-making.
These parties both combine my two passions; the environment and feminism/equality. They are not short-sighted ideas that give instant gratification, but rather sustainable, long-term goals that consider everyone’s best interest. Something that I don’t think a lot of the other parties in Sweden do (and definitely not in the US).
Feminism is what I believe to be an ideology of the future. We’ve simply come too far to not have a feminist paradigm in politics. And my biggest sadness is that people still believe that feminism means anti-men. It doesn’t. It’s pro-people. It’s the most humane ideology there is. One where each and every human being’s potential is respected. Patriarchy hurts us all. It systematically oppresses those who doesn’t fit in, be it women, or men who doesn’t fit the mold of masculinity. If we can once and for all dismantle it we would all be better off.
The election for the European parliament is in about a month. I have made my decision, and my vote will go to Feminist Initiative and their representative Soraya Post, who works a lot with integration and especially with Romani people in Europe. I haven’t decided yet about the election to the Swedish parliament, but I still have roughly 8 months to mull it over. I have hope for this being a good year for Swedish politics.
A long first week at MRY has come to an end. Already the second day we were thrown head first into big projects with quick turnarounds. I got to write headlines for Spotify and come up with concepts for both Coca-Cola and Pizza Hut. It’s different from both my previous internships, at DigitasLBi and 360i. While DigitasLBi was heavy on production and pretty light on concepts, 360i was completely the opposite – heavy on concepts and basically no production at all. MRY finds itself right in the middle, which I enjoy a lot. Neither is better or worse, and both DigitasLBi and 360i taught me very important things that I’ll bring with me in my career, but to be able to do a bit of everything is fun.
It’s definitely been a great first week and it feels nice to go into work mode again. But I think what I enjoy the most is everything that surrounds the work. The people, the office, the agency culture. I’m realizing how incredibly important those are to me. How I’m going to have to really consider a lot of things before making my mind up about a job, with a lot not even having to do about the work. Because, no matter how trivial they might seem, get-together Thursdays and yoga Tuesdays are important. They are there for people to not only consider each other colleagues, but part of their lives. To make sure that people are happy. You have to be happy to do good work. You have to.
Today was a fantastic day. New York was incredibly warm so the roommates and I decided to take a walk through Brooklyn to go to a roof top event with “hand made vodka” and all-borough craft beer tasting (yes, I’m aware of the douchebag-alert.). Of course, by the time we got there it was flooded by all the other white middle class kids of New York so we didn’t even get in. The day turned into a beautiful exploration of Brooklyn with El Salvadorian dinner and margaritas in backyards. Good day. Good week.
Four months ago I decided to read the Game of Thrones books. I wasn’t even that much of a fan, but I wanted to experience what people told me was so fantastic about it. So I read the first book. And then the second. And then the third. A week ago I passed the TV series, and I can’t even put the book down. George R.R. Martin is a genius. I am so excited about the season premiere tonight that I’m about to pee myself. Just like the rest of America (and the world) I guess. Valar Morghulis.
The three week break is almost over. Tomorrow a new exciting quarter begins; this time at MRY. While a break was desperately needed, it feels good to get back to work. My fingers have started itching for something to do, and my mind needs to be challenged again. I’m excited about something new. New people, new projects.
I decided to update my portfolio a little today (with a lot of help from Sonny) to give it a fresh new look before the new quarter. It’s getting there. I hope.
Have you ever played Call of Duty or Battlefield, or any other first person shooter game? Imagine how it looks when you pick up a sniper rifle and aim to get ready to shoot; you can see everything in the middle clearly, while everything on the sides are still in your regular view. Do you have that image in your head? Well, that’s how I feel now.
A couple of weeks ago I booked an appointment for my first ever eye exam. I had started noticing everything in the distance was getting blurrier. Watching TV in any other language than Swedish or English was a pain because I had to squint to see the subtitles. I realized I needed glasses, and yes, the eye doctor agreed. So yesterday I got my brand new pair of Warby Parker “Benson” glasses.
It’s such a strange feeling. I’ve never used glasses before, and it’s a very new experience. I feel like my head is in a fish bowl and that my eyes open up way too wide for normal conversation when someone talks to me. I have already missed a couple of steps when walking on the sidewalk and I don’t expect it to be the last time. Today I’m venturing in to the city with them for the first time, and I’m even a little bit nervous. Wish me luck.
It’s Tuesday morning. The sun is out and for once it’s more than 50 degrees. I’m sitting on the balcony trying to soak it all in. The time the sun is out always feels so short. But what can you really expect? It’s April. March is hardly even over. It should be cold and cloudy for at least a couple of weeks more before Spring really sets in. I guess that’s why every minute I can feel the sun warming the back of my neck is so important. San Francisco never had very distinctly different seasons, and the sun was always out. New York on the other hand has had what’s felt like an eternal polar vortex.
There’s so much I want to say, so much I want to get off my chest and, most of all, off my mind. This spring has been difficult for me. A new city. A new apartment. New routines. A new beginning. Again. I hate to start over, but I can’t seem to stay in one place for long enough to settle. Everything has just been too much in too short time. I’m trying to enjoy New York as much as I can for the time that it lasts, because I really don’t know how long that will be.
In September I graduate, and after that it’s just a big question mark. I have no idea what I’m doing after that. Studying has been the basis for most things I do for a very long time. It’s always been that next semester. The next class. The next set of grades. There’s always been something tangible in the future that I’ve been working towards. Now I’m getting closer to the point where I’m done, and I don’t really know what comes after. Will I get a job? Will anyone want me? Have I worked hard enough these two years to actually deserve a job? And when all those questions are exhausted, where will I go? Do I want to work in the United States and am I even good enough to get a job and visa here?
These thoughts are not so much doubts as they are thoughts and questions that I don’t quite know how to handle. Sonny misses China, I don’t feel quite at home in the United States, so we’ve started looking into the idea of moving to China. I was more interested in Shanghai, but Sonny wanted Beijing because it’s closer to his hometown, so this time he won. We’ll see what happens. All I want is a job to make great things at, a home to feel comfortable in, a city to be inspired by, food to cook and people to love.