Feb 27, 2011

Sweden vs Switzerland: Part 2 - Who do you think you are??

Simple question, right? WRONG! At least if you live in Sweden...... 

You may have heard about the Law of Jante? Well, hearing or reading about it is one thing quite bad already, but experiencing it in every day life is way worse....trust me. 

To explain this "phenomena", I'd say it's a kind of normalcy rule....a rule that says you are not suppose to be better, smarter, stronger, prettier or have anything else, for that matter, more than others. This is how we (Swedes) are brought up and it's, to my great displeasure, more or less embedded in everyones DNA.

Experienced, I would describe it as a kind of small-town-jealousy-syndrome, loaded with negative energy. It triggers an anger in people that they sometimes even can't quite explain and it starts gossip and rumors sometimes even of the deliberately false kind, to bring the person, not abiding to this law, "back to earth" meaning back to the "normal".

As an example, "normal-Jante-law-driven-people" would be going on their everyday life when their neighbors suddenly buy a brand new shiny Porsche and park it outside in their driveway. This would provoke the normal people so much that they would be standing in their windows, staring at the new Porsche owners with disgust saying things like "Who do they think they are? They are no better than us just because they can buy a Porsche....and it was probably anyway bought on pure credit and NOT with their own money!"
If you are a Swede who ever dared to step out of the "normalcy pattern", this will sound very familiar to you...especially if you grew up in a smaller town...as should it to those of you reading this who are very much having this in your DNA ;)

These behaviors are all too common and can also even trigger anger in people reading this blog right now! Especially people who do not know me so well, but know of me, for instance from an old workplace or my hometown, who would stumble upon this blog, would with a high likely hood find themselves thinking right now: "Who does she think she is, having this blog? Like anyone would ever be interested in what SHE has to say!"
Another example of Jantelagen behaviour is feeling joy when the rich, successful or good looking people fail...  I think this behavior is truly ugly and hope that time will erase it.......in the meantime, I am very happy to be away from it! 

You shouldn't have to be afraid to show openly who you are and to be the best you can be and be proud of it!

Sweden vs Switzerland 0-1
Shame on us Swedes!!! 

To be continued......

Feb 20, 2011

Sweden vs Switzerland: Part 1 - Minding your own business

After 2 years and 9 months here in Switzerland, I must say I have grown to love this country quite deeply and needless to say, I also still have a deep love for my home country Sweden. With this in mind, I have hereby launched this new series of posts with "battles" (if you will)..... Showing the annoying and the lovable sides of each country. I promise I will try to be objective, all though it may not seem that way considering the first post. This first battle, which I will call "Minding your own business" is, undoubtedly won by Sweden and here I think Switzerland could learn from Sweden ;))
As I mentioned, I have truly grown to love Switzerland, however, there are some things that will never seize to amaze me and I think I will never ever get used to them...... I have many stories to tell here unfortunately about NOT minding your own business, but will focus on this one. The note you see on the left hand side was found a while ago on my car, parked in the nearby parking garage. When I saw this note, it took me around 1 minute to figure out why on earth someone had put this on my car as I was parked safely inside MY "parking space". After a brief walk around my car - I finally see what had annoyed this person so much that it was worth finding time, paper and a pen to write an anonymous note about it: My car was closer to the left side (I'm talking about marginally closer...really!) of the space than the right, meaning not entirely in the middle. If you don't know what the note says, allow me to translate: "This is not the way to park!"
Dear Lord, forgive me for I have sinned...........by parking without using a foot rule.

Sweden vs Switzerland: 1-0
To be continued......


Lissie - Everywhere I go....on repeat!

I can't stop listening to this incredible Lissie song!! Obsessed!


Feb 17, 2011

Live - from the sofa!

Yep! Curled up in the sofa underneath a cosy blanket, doing absolutely nothing and LOVING IT! I can't remember the last time I had an evening like this to be honest.....and it's amazing how good it feels.
This is of course also why I have been such a baaaaaaad blogger lately.
So what's happening right now?  Well.......currently, I'm (besides enjoying a glass of wine and experimenting with my new MacBook Air, hence the photo ;))):
Happy about: Being able to spend a lazy evening at home, without feeling the slightest bit guilty. Recently I have been spending most of my evenings in a combo of the office and the gym, just to come home and literally crawl into bed.
Disappointed about: With so little time on my hands, it's difficult to have time for disappointments.....but on the other hand, this is a little bit of a disappointment in itself I guess?
Looking forward to: Sunday!!! Patricia, Enzo and Nelly (trying to make a long story short, it's my "ex-exteded-family-in-law" you could say.....) are coming here from Sweden to stay with us for a week and I love them just like family. I'm super excited!!
Thinking about: Things to do in Schaffhausen that will keep two kids from being bored here for a whole week while allowing me to catch-up with Patricia =))
Listening to: "She don't want the world" by 3 doors down on repeat....all though the lyrics don't apply to my life at all at the moment. Beautiful song. Also to "1234" by Feist - so catchy!!
Hoping: That there will be some snow on the lower altitudes for us beginner skiers so we can take the kids there next weekend =))
Laughing about: A lot of things at the moment! I am very lucky to have such a great friend in Chris with a very similar sense of humor and I also have truly entertaining colleges who keep me laughing and smiling all though times are quite tough.
Wondering: If I lost a lot of readers by my low posting frequency here lately (so please, if you read this - comment and let me know you are still here...).
Planning: To plan another diving trip but not as far away this time. We are thinking about Sardinia or Sicily......but let's see ;)
Smiling about: Some lovely comments that I have received lately. Comments that people don't really have to say, but they take their time to say them, knowing it will make you feel good. I find this inspirational and amazingly contagious!!
Inspired by: People. All kinds of people actually....hearing about their life experiences, plans, ambitions and emotions. Also very inspired by what I wrote under "inspired by".
Wishing: That our friends Milly and Simon would change their minds about moving to Kenya and stay here in Switzerland =(( ...but considering the chances of that happening is around 0.0, I try to focus my wishes on seeing them soon in a much warmer place ;))
Sad about: Having received the news about one of my dear, sweet colleges and friends who have been diagnosed with cancer. She has a tough period ahead - but clearly this cancer didn't know who it was messing with. She is such a positive and strong person so that cancer doesn't stand a chance!!!
Thankful for: That they found this cancer in stage 1 and for the reminder of how precious life is.
Wanting: To see her ASAP and give her a BIG hug.
Feeling: Happy! ....and that is what is really important in life and it means I'm on the right track. I wish the same for all of you, so if you are not - just grab it and hold on tight! The magic of happiness is in the small things....just open your eyes and enjoy it ;)) An important lesson, maybe one of the most important ones in life, is that no one but YOU can make you happy and expecting someone to have that as their responsibility is not fair. Never rely on anyone but yourself to provide you with this most important ingredient of life BUT surround yourself with people who give you enough strength to feel it.


Feb 6, 2011

Inspiration by J. K Rowling

This morning I noticed that I had a new follower on Twitter and decided to check who this was. I visited his blog to realize he is a Life coach and I found there this incredible speech by J.K Rowling, so heartfelt and amazing that it almost brought me to tears (it was also partially very funny ;)). I can't believe I had missed this one.
I sincerely urge you to take 15 minutes of your valuable time to watch this speech as it is highlighting so many important parts of living as well as the traps of pretending to be someone you are not and choosing apathy over empathy. It also made me again see what I have been told so many times in the past: Even the most successful people get nervous when speaking ;)

Incredibly inspiring and truly humbling!!

Feb 5, 2011

Whatever happened to being real?

I just finished watching "Somewhere" by Sofia Coppola. Yet another reminder, as of lately, of the importance of staying true to yourself and your values.

The past few years, I am becoming more and more skeptical of our future generations, considering the pace in which we are destroying ourselves all in the name of fame, capitalism and superficiality. Where and when do we get to see the real people? The people who make a difference in the world? The people who's actions, talents and characteristics we should really be following as an example? Why are we so keen on imitating stupidity, taking on ideals that mean we have to suffer, act like we don't have any brains and preventing ourselves from being happy with who we are and what we have? Why do the media focus on these things? ...and why do we read, watch and listen to all this crap?

In all honesty.... I have been unhappy with myself most of my life. Why? Well, because I never understood who I was, what my purpose was and why I never ever felt that I was good enough. Now I am happy, but what is the difference? 
Most of my lack of self confidence came from images seen in the different medias that made me feel bad about myself when I was younger. By reading, watching and listening to all this, I was made to believe that if I could just be pretty enough, dress the right way and be successful and famous, everything would be amazing and I would be loved.
The, so called, role-models were and still are (even more now!); 
1. The girls we call "models". Girls of skin and bone. These women/girls, who can never enjoy life because they have to watch every gram, every calorie that they put inside their mouths. They spend tremendous efforts trying to do everything humanly possible to look their best and yet - there is always someone who is skinnier, prettier and more successful.....not to mention that not giving your body enough nutrition makes you literally dumb. ...and whose careers are over before or best case, around the age of 30. Do you think they are happy? Do you think this is a good ideal? I sure don't.
2. The celebrities: Aaaahhhh the rich and famous! The people who every day have to put on fake smiles for the cameras who follow them around everywhere they go. The people who's job is to work-out with a personal trainer, have botox treatments instead of lunch, who's job security is almost equal to 0 and who's earnings are actually quite small (besides around 10-20 lucky few, the rest live on sponsorships and freebees). The people who, most of the time, feel that they have to do drugs or drink to kill their apetite for food and instead increase their apetite for the many parties they MUST attend not to loose value in comparison to one of their competitors. The people who mostly feel so much loneliness from being in a world where you can't separate your friend from your competitor/enemy that depression is not a temporary downfall, but your everyday life. The people we think we know at least by their looks, but in fact, the pictures we see in magazines are all so retouched, airbrushed, made-up and edited that you would hardly recognize them in real life? The people whose stories and love lives we think we also know, but in fact most if it is just made up to sell more magazines or just used as PR tricks.

C'mon! We know better. Why are we reading all these gossip columns and magazines as if it is the truth. Why are we following bloggers who can only pose in the latest bikini and pout with their lips, urging us to follow their lifestyle as if they really know anything about life? ....because for sure, if you would know anything about life, you would know that, in the end, it doesn't matter what you wore, what your boob-size was, what color of hair you had,  or whose hand you shook at which party. You would know that the only way to really be remembered is by making a difference....if only by planting seeds....by making heart-prints and leading the way for future generations.

For sure there are many smart, happy AND beautiful famous people out there, but do you honestly think the ones who really matter are the ones who make the most headlines? I don't think so. Maybe in some few, rare cases. Or let me put the question this way, do you think it is likely that Robert Pattinson, Brad Pitt, Megan Fox and/or Shakira will find the cure for cancer? Or ensure we have a planet that in the future is not overheated? Or stop the extinction of rare species that are all a part of balancing our ecosystem? 
I know it is exhausting and painful to sometimes think of these things and maybe these characters and this gossip truly amuses you or that you even see these things as an escape from reality - well be my guest! But don't let it blind or distract you to the degree where you loose track of what is really important. Important things like happiness or sustainability of our planet is not in the fastest, most expensive car, the big houses, the hottest body or the fame......happiness is knowing YOU are unique. Happiness is appreciating what you have. Happiness is knowing YOU are important and that YOUR actions, all though individually small, can move mountains when they inspire others to follow your lead!! Happiness is giving and receiving love.
Love yourself. Take small actions for the good of our planet or the people you love! You will inspire others to do the same. Read something useful for once instead of flipping through the infinity of channels on your TV or reading gossip articles about celebrities that are most likely untrue anyway. Imagine if everyone gave a little of what they had for the good of people less fortunate? We can all make a difference and chose not to be indifferent. It is OUR responsibility, not hers or his or theirs. OURS!

You are already amazing, just the way you are! ....because you are unique. Nobody else can use your voice. Enjoy life. Stay healthy by eating and exercising normally. A little fat on your belly is NOT a world disaster! Not having enough fat on your body to survive is. You don't need surgeries or a miracle to feel good unless you already let yourself go to irreparable levels or unless you are really physically ill!!! If he wants you to have bigger boobs or smaller thighs to love you or if she thinks your biceps are too small - is that really love he/she feels? Is it really love you feel that makes you want to give them to him/her or is it just fear of rejection and insecurities? How long can we debate these topics? How many ridiculous "Loose 5 kg's in 2 weeks" articles do we need to read? How much time do we need to figure out that there is nothing to figure out? Enough read, seen and said!  Can we just get on with it already?? 

I'm not perfect, NOBODY IS PERFECT, but I am unique and amazing! Just the way I am.....and so are YOU! How about the next time we want to buy a fashion/beauty/life-style magazine we chose to instead give that money to charity? I'm in. Now, who's with me?!!?