I was challenged to answer to this survey by blogger/friend Marta. So here we go:
I. A book that changed my life.
II. A book I read more than once.
Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is making it ALL UP, it is SO obvious that NO love story can EVER unfold like this. At the same time it’s touching and somehow believable.
III. A book I would like to bring to a deserted island.
Probably 100 love sonnets by Pablo Neruda, the pink edition with beautiful and sentimental love poetry in Spanish translated into English on the facing page. Then on my island, I’d learn the Spanish versions daytime by heart, later cry them out into the lonely and very black night and at the same time understand what I was screaming.
IV. A book that made me laugh.
A Rough Guide to Sweden. Jeez, it really gives a person some perspective to read travel books on her own country. This handy guide states that Sweden really just needs two days, one in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg…
V. A book that made me cry.
All the thick ones, ’cos I have separation anxiety (GWTW/Mitchell, Diva/Fagerholm, Anne of Green Gables/Montgomery, A little love song/Magorian)
VI. A book I wish had been written.
A coming of age story taking place in the echoing halls of Uppsala University, some romance at the student clubs called ”nations” and a strong heroine taking her own high road…
VII. A book I wish had not.
Little Birds by Anaïs Nin, a sequel to the wonderful and erotic Delta of Venus that has the quality of a, well, sequel.
VIII. A book I am reading now.
The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm, a Finnish-Swedish writer who makes up a new language for every book she writes, takes some getting used to, but I think the effects of when you just don’t read a persons story, but read their language is powerful (Ett Öga Rött by Hassan Khemiri had a similar effect).
IX. A book I plan to read.
Late in November by Tove Jansson. Aron said it was great and I trust his literary taste.
X. Pass the survey on to other bloggers...
I think that Mamma and Nadja should get it once they start their blogs.
AND SOME EXTRA FOR THE CHEAP SEATS IN THE BACK: A book I give to a friend any day.
The Daughters of Egalia by Gerd Brantenberg. This is how equal rights should be pursued; in a crazy-witty-fantastic literary description of what life would be like if everything was different. I’m just saying - the scene when Rut gives birth in the spotlight on a stage in the Birth Temple before she leaves to go out to celebrate with her friends! I believe in visualizing the absurd. So does Gerd.
Three years ago, right before the referendum on joining the Euro zone, Sweden's foreign minister Anna Lindh was stabbed to death in a Stockholm department store. I remember Anna Lindh as a fabulous speaker and a political role model and her unnecessary and brutal death as a push to join party politics.
– A human being can be murdered, but ideas can't. Our thanks to you will be to carry your message on, Anna Lindh said at Olof Palme's funeral in 1986.
Today, I am remembering Anna Lindh and on Sunday, I hope people in Sweden remember the ideas of democracy and vote. I will.
Yesterday, I sat my foot down on the Uppsala soil and walked the 59 steps to my door (location, location, location!)
Summer is over. It feels kind of nice. Posts from now on will involve job searching and texts on breaking up with student life.
The slight out of focus picture is taken from the information page of Harvard's summer program 2006 in Uppsala. Had no idea the prestigious US university drag their students to Sweden summertime. Well, their summer is over too.
Not a cloud
as long as the eye can see
not a drop of rain
in several days
with an ice-cream in my mouth
and sandals of plastic
I am walking in the sun
thinking of you
When a young girl in Sweden, I remember that all stores closed in the early afternoon on Saturdays. Errends had to be taken care of during the week or in the morning hours of that day. Now all that has changed, most stores are open late on Saturdays and on Sundays and with the malls one can do shopping also in the evenings.
Here in France, shops are still closed on Sundays and it has an interesting effect on the French way of life. A sense of tranquility spreads. Sundays are for pure joy and relaxing, going to the park or visiting friends.
Normally, I am not the person advocating for time to be tuned back (nor using biblical headings). But is it really a good idea to have access to shoppning every day? What weekday is for relaxing and going to the park in Sweden?
I fell upon the most magic evening. A friend and I went to Belleville to watch the open ateliers - once a year the artists of Belleville open their homes and ateliers for the public. Suddenly, we were in a crowded room, free kir (white wine and flavour, the classic is cassis/blackcurrent), colorful people, kids, paintings and a sound installation with chanting birds. Someone made a "cling-cling" with a glass and wished us welcome to the concert next door. We went into a church room, beautifully decorated in all white with white candles everywhere. Over the stage it said in gold "Dieu est amour" - God is love. A goodlooking guitar player with an even better looking guitar came in, sat down and started to play. A redhaired singer came in, put on her guitar and started singing French chansons lika an angel, the texts were funny (I could understand quite a lot!), I befriended the older man next to me, and when people sang along...
It was a moment which is hard to explain in the blogformat.
- How the French celebrate it? They light up the Eiffeltower and the Arch de Triomphe in blue!
Um, yeah, and follow this link so you know what I am talking about… http://www.boreme.com/boreme/funny-2006/bush-bridges-p1.php
These little hang-ups that form a life. When you go to live somewhere new it is like blowing your routines up with a big bang. But the funny part is that when the dust settles, new, fresh, little greenish, habits are beautifully framing your life, once again.
After a few months in Paris the dust has settled and I wake up every morning to my sister's voice. She is saying "Tjolahopp" (not possible to translate) in a recording on my cell phone. Then I turn it off about three times before I get up. I shower in the most despicable shower with small flies on the walls – I endure them by singing ANC-songs from the Apartheid times. That makes the flies seem like a tiny problem. Then I get dressed – nowadays fancy office wear – and drink a yoghurt on my way to the Metro. This is a good way of "eating" breakfast even though you have slept away the time to do so. In the Metro, I grab the free paper 20 minutes. It is a competitor to the Swedish success Metro and has won me over because of the simple fact that it is half the size and thereby possible to read in the crowded Metro. I always make sure to look up to when the Metro pass the Eiffel tower, that’s a view I can never get tired of…When the weather is good I get off a station before mine and walk past fruit shops, mailmen, school kids, dog owners and everybody else on the lively 16th arrondissement street. Turning round the corner, I stop at the quartier boulangerie and buy a croissant (I promise, I do) which I eat in front of the computer when checking my emails.
I work. That is also a routine now.
On the way home my routine is not to have a routine. I always try to find a new way home. Today it will be taking Metro 6 to station Franklin D. Roosevelt, changing to M2 which will take me to Place de la Bastille. Ok, this isn't really a straight track home, but rather to a rendez-vous with other OECD interns and with a glass of white wine.
My lovely routines which I will soon blow up.
Chestnuts in blossom?
Since Thursday, I have been sleeping, drinking juice, blowing my nose, sleeping etc. trying to get well from a mean cold. This is not what spring in Paris was supposed to be. A not so small comfort is that on Monday I finally bought "Da Vinci Code" - I must be the last one to read it. Anyway, I decided to get it en francais - and now I have had plenty of time to learn about the holy graal/sang royal as well as use the dictionary to learn word such as voûte-arch, lanière - thin strap, agenouillé - knelt. As soon as i am well, I'm off to Saint Sulpice to check out some suspicious stones.
The Greeks celebrate the orthodox easter according to the Julian calender (read: one week too late) by going to church and retrieving the fire from Jerusalem. The fire is then carried home - we even brought it on the metro! This fire is used to burn a cross over the door for happiness the rest of the year. After that is is time to break the fast!
Snowy mountains, Zürich See, the Botanical Garden, and me and my beau.
Wow, Chirac and Villepin just announced they are replacing the much disliked (to say the least after two months of "manifs") law with other measures - that is there is no more CPE. Intresting turn to this whole story. I'll get back to you later with the reactions here in Paris.
Make statistics free!
Will the enormous strikes in France have any effect? Or are they like little frog-leaps towards a shop window?
Political activism is on the streets of France again. The French are known for publically expressing their opinions and this time it is the CPE law which allows for employers to hire young people (under 26) without employment security to set in which is the reason for upset.
Since Thursday most of the universities in Paris have been captured and demonstrating students and others, sometimes wild ones, have been protesting against the CPE-law. Police have been numerous and working hard to put an end to demonstrations with teargas and other tough and violent methods. On Thursday 120 000 students protested peacefully in Paris , however in the end of the day the protests became violent with rockthrowing and firebombs.
Still, while universities are closing down, a bookstore was burning, thousends of people were coming together to defend labor rights it was fairly easy to miss that there is a small revolution going on in Paris, since I don't have a TV or radio. I only realised how big this was today when I spoke to a friend who live near Sorbonne and she told me about the demonstrations. She also said was accused of "tourisme revolutionaire" when she took a photo of the demonstrations there. So tomorrow when new demostrations are scheduled all over town maybe I will leave my camera at home when I experience the demonstrations... The chant for the 13.00 demonstrations at Pere Lachaise will be "Ne laissons pas faire!" - We won't let them do it! according to IndymediaParis. LeMonde has made a good audio/visual presentation of Thursday's demonstrations here.
It is an important question, labor rights for all, and BBC comments that ironically it is the generation of the '68 barricades that now cannot promise their children the same rights they themselves fought for and enjoyed.
When I first found out I had been chosen for an internship in Paris, I wanted to learn more about Paris. So I googled, I visited sites and I read blogs. I have already told you about one of my favourite webcamsites where one can see the Eiffeltower and some other Paris sites, updated by the second (including a university computer room!?)
Anyway, I soon found a blog that left me wanting more and soon it was like I was following a quality soap. I had to log in to see what was new in "Petite Anglaise's" life. Waiting for "the new episode" becomes quite thrilling when you know that the wait is real time. Every other day there will be a new entry, and judging from the number and content of comments I am not the only one that somehow feel I know Petite ( she calls herself more familiarily just "Petite" nowadays).
She produces quirky, funny and sometimes sad obeservations on everydaylife in Paris. To give you all an idea of the content and the style of her writing (and to keep my soap analogy going) the other characters "on the set" are "Tadpole" - young daughter, "Mr Frog" - Petite's ex, and "Lover".
Since mid-January, I have been following Petite's whereabouts and I feel like I know her like I know a celebrity - some of her lovelife and thoughts, artistry and family. However, still much of her life is hidden in privacy/secrecy. Last week, I decided to make my first comment on her blog, which was caused by seeing this ad (above) in every street corner in Paris. Are the ad-makers loving her blog too?
She replied instantly. Her email read simply:
"do you fancy coming to the blog meet up thing too? Now you are here?"
But my heart jumped. When was the last time a celebrity wrote you? To ask you to come to a party? I am very excited, this weekend I am meeting an Internet Celebrity! As a plus, I get to meet up with other ex-pat bloggers in Paris - and globalization spins another turn...
This weekend, my siblings came for a visit. We had some great moments in the chilly Paris springtime. My sister and two brothers turned out to be real experts on what I'd like to call "alternative sight-seeing" which they performed energetically, especially after noon. This means that conventional sights, like the Louvre or the Sacre Coeur Cathedral, was of little or no interest, but that other - and maybe even more typical Parisian things - caught their attention. Here is a little list, to inspire future Paris-visitors.
- Take photos of the climb up the Montmartre Butte (trees, stairs, feet - no views or towers)
- Ordering fabulous "planches" (plates of bread, cheese and meats) to be consumed with wine
- Looking at Roadworks (common here, always surrounded by green metal fences)
- Playing cards in a café with a Café Crème in one hand
- Playing cards in a bar with a happy hour drink in one hand
- Walking around with a baguette under one arm
- Listening to live jazz
- Singing in phonebooths
- Trying on sunglasses (for some reason Parisians love their shades and put them on as soon as the sun comes out - is it because they are divas?)
- Sleeping inbetween two sheets - where is the påslakan?
- Spending hours writing postcards that has nothing to do with Paris
I haven't had so much fun in a long time.
That is what my mother, wise as always, used to tell me when something broke down or was smashed to pieces. With tears in my eyes, standing in the middle of the mess I accidentially had created I would try to grasp her words...it doesn't really matter... it is just materia, noting living...it is worldly matters. (My computer broke down again, and as you can see, I'm laughing about it, thanks to mom).
Some few months ago, I was living in the dark. I was unaware of the wonderful things life had in store for me. Aimlessly, I went around and bought my fix for money. I din't know it could be for free, I didn't know it could be so sweet, I didn't know a call could be for free. Skype, I love you! You make life in exile so easy!
After five minutes, you were all mine and I can easiliy spend hours in your company. You are beautifully green, you are logical and have such great qualities. Also, you are generous and let me talk to and even see other people. (in 24 hours, I have talked to Berlin, Visby, Gothenburg, and I have talked to, sang with and even seen live images from Uppsala).
Skype, I wish everyone could get to know you. You are the best program I have ever had.
Today it was Monday and it was raining and the dog poo was running about the parisian streets. I was typically wearing my thin leather boots (the red ones with funny laces) which cannot take any rain and that only because of the fact that my heels are injured from wearing new shoes (ironically sneakers to spare my feet). Anyway, I was running late, in the rain, for my internship workplace since paying the rent turned out to be "très difficile" here in France.
PAYING BILLS IN FRANCE
1. Noone tells you when or how to pay, there is no bill
2. You get a note in your mailbox from "la Direction" which says that you are late with paying the rent
3. You try to pay it, but instead of telling you what to do the guy in the reception tells you "c'est pas grave"
4. As a Swede, you get nervous - will I now get kicked out?
5. A second guy in the reception informs you that you should pay to the secretary.
6. You work 9-18, the secretary works 9.30-15
7. The nice guy in the reception says you can leave the money €340, no reciept, in the reception at "you own risk" for the secretary
8.As a Swede, you choose not to
9. There is no account to which you can pay, you just have to be there 9.30-15
Anyway, today I thought, what the **, I can be late for work. I showered and went downstairs at 9.45 (wanted to give the secretary a break). I asked for the secretary.
- "Ah, non, elle ne travaille pas cette semaine..." She doesn't work this week. However now the SAME GUY who couln't give me a reciept last week, could give me a reciept. A bit relieved, I payed, got my reciept and then asked, how come you now can make me a reciept. He looked at me like I was stupid,
- "Because of that the secretary is on vacation".
The Metro was packed, had to stand all the way (about 30 minutes) to the 16th arrondisement where I work. When I got there they had worried about me. "You know, you have to call when you will be late". Ok, sorry. It was dark, still raining, as I left the office.
Today it was Monday, and did I say it was raining? I didnt think Mondays in Paris would become gray Mondays so soon. Today, I punished France by dining at McDonalds.
Here are some pics.
And I have to tell you about an interesting birthday happening. For lunch on my birthday, I attended a meeting with an adjoining lunch at the Swedish embassy in Paris. I was seated next to a man who cheerfully said as I introduced myself "Oh, Kajsa, that is my wife's name!". Minutes later he told me that he almost didn't make it to the program, because...today was his wife's birthday! Of course Kajsa and I were introduced and after having eyed eachother in silence, the other birthday-girl-Kajsa exclaimed: "This is an amazing coincidence, I will have to write about it in my diary!". For you who know me well, you can see how I had to utter "Me too!" for the second time that lunch.
Thank you to all of you who called/sent emails/sms!