Tag Archives: nature

Maybe that night we make love till morning…

Sometimes we feel small and insignificant. Much like a tiny girl, walking up a massive mountain. We aren’t quite sure of where we are, or where we will end up. We have an idea of where we want to go – to the top – but the path is winding and we can’t always see the top – there is fog, trees and sometimes fires blocking the sight.

There are nights, when we are curled up by the fire watching a starry sky, and we feel calm and serene, and the path we are walking feels like the loveliest thing ever. Our muscles are tired after a day’s worth of climbing, in fact we are feeling tired through and through, but a good tired – we lived. We lived to the full and we are still buzzing, still filled with life and life force. We are almost giddy with excitement of all the wonders we have seen and are yet to see. Our eyes are still glazed with the beauty of butterflies catching the morning breeze underneath their wings, or the glorious sight of rainbows and waterfalls. Maybe a sudden thunderstorm filled us with power, with lust and then a gentle drizzle calmed our spirits shortly after, only to be followed by sunshine that made us laugh.

We may be sharing our camp fire with some exhilarating stranger we have met whose faces tell tales of faraway countries and adventures more fearful, more wild than we could ever imagine…or maybe adventures so sweet and lustful we can only dream of….and maybe, maybe one day achieve. Or maybe we are sharing the fire with gorgeous loved ones who are accompanying us on our journey and feel as familiar as our favorite spice.

Maybe the night is filled with laughter and excited whispers and tender words. Maybe children are playing and grown-ups smiling. And maybe, long after the kids have gone to bed, everyone is sharing tales that make our heart sing. Maybe we have found a boy whose eyes are sparkling in the moonlight and seemingly reflecting not just the moon, but our own soul, making us feel understood. Maybe for that moment it all makes sense – the search, the climb, the path that we are now on. Maybe that night we make love till  the morning.

At other times we are utterly lost – it’s raining, our knees are aching, we can’t see the top of the mountain – we are walking upwards, but we have no idea if we will ever reach the top, or at least find enough treasure to buy a fire that is always burning, a bottle that is always full, a bed that is always protected and love that is always tender. We are fearful, tired and soaked to our bones. We seek the light in our soul, the inner warmth, the love we know is hidden there, but the fear is overwhelming and the panic seemingly real as the night closes in on us and we shiver.

We  think about friends we have lost, lovers that crossed our path. We think about the chances we never took and those we should never have taken. We think about our own death and wonder where we will be then? Will we have reached the top? Or will we still be fearful and lonely?

We try to fight it, to be strong, but we only get angrier and angrier with ourselves when we do – because we are meant to be strong, right? We are meant to conquer the rain and walk with joy in our heart. We are meant to have learnt enough to find our way by the stars. We aren’t supposed to be lost, or lonely, or tired, or hungry. We are supposed to know better, be better.

Then, we give up. We remember what being truly tiny meant – what it was like being a child. When the world felt large and scary and we jumped up into our parents, or siblings laps and cried, or were just held tight. We were stil told that we were beautiful, that we were loved. No one gave up on us because we slipped and fell. They just hugged us better. We remember that it was OK then. OK to be lost and frightened and sooner, or later we found our way – whether by ourselves, or with the help of others. We felt tiny back then too. We felt scared back then too. But we weren’t angry with ourselves. We just were. We just allowed ourselves to be and somehow, somewhere, we always found the love we needed to find, the light to lit up the deepest night.

Then we take a moment to rest. We sink down, our back towards a cold fir-tree. The cold, suddenly intense against our back, awakens us. We look around. We see a tiny hare, followed by another tiny hare, looking out at us from underneath the bushes. We slowly reach out our hand. We are in desolate parts where man rarely walks and the hares have not yet learnt to fear us. We slowly look at them, as they are looking at us. In their eyes we see our own fear and trepidation reflected. We see curiosity and hope. We see warmth and love.

One of the hares slowly, slowly moves over, seeing whether to trust us. And then, with a final jump it is by our hand, sniffing it. Its nose feels warm against our cold skin. It keeps sniffing around, then suddenly jumps up, into our lap, and looks at us with big eyes. The other hare now follows, carefully, but bravely, seeing the success of its fellow friend. And then, you have them both in your lap, sharing their warmth, their lives with you.

Everywhere the rain is drizzling, turning the wood into a hazy, almost surreal place. The raindrops glisten in the final hour of dusk and the sun is making one last effort to shine through, turning everything golden. You feel a little warmth from it against your skin and the hares’ body heat radiating through your clothes, into your stiff, frozen bones. For a moment you are sharing your life with two other creatures, like yourself, trying to stay warm, find food, love and happiness. You are helping each other, understanding one another. Suddenly life has conquered and you once again feel calm – inside a new dawn has awoken.

You feel fresh. Every part of you has been shaken – you have been lost and you are still lost, but inside you have found the light. You know that as night comes rolling in you will eat some food that strengthen your body and find peace in your dreams. You will then awaken with the sun and move towards new horizons. Maybe with some furry friends by your side.

It is impossible to know if we will ever reach the top of any mountain. Life is an adventure and as such, we know that there will be struggle, there will be loss, but what will always save us is our own life force, our own love of that which surrounds us, that which we do and those whom we love, including ourselves.

We will continue to get lost and we will continue to get found. Storms will shake us and events move us. We will lose what we have found and move on to find love in unexpected places.

The best we can do is find our own heart, our own peace. We can never know what storm is coming next, or how far we will get the next day. We can only continue to move with a purpose in our heart, which gives meaning to our journey. We can continue to build love in our heart, which will strengthen us and keep us calm in the eye of the storm. We can surround ourselves by love, by doing what we love and taking time to build friendships with those we love, or those we think we will come to love. We can give of what we have, as well as our gifts, our talents, and share our lives with others.

We can love and with love always comes a treasure.

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Good morning…

Dawn has arrived and a dusty peach is painting the horizon…mingled with tones of gray, pink, blue and purple. The birds have started to chirp away and the mountains look all misty and magical in the morning fog. It’s my favorite time of day and as I awoke at 4am I couldn’t help but stay awake to experience the beginning of a new day. It’s something magical and wonderous to have a new day opening up in front of you. A chance to live…to taste, feel and create. To see the wonders of this world. To paint your life in broad strokes of color. To breathe. To feel your body…to laugh. Life is right here. Right here.

Watching dawn…


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A moonlit scenery…

I’m back in the countryside to the sound of crickets and waves. Outside the moon shines through a slightly cloudy sky and stars are twinkling alongside it. The air smells of seaside and earth, mixed with a variety of flowers. Today I got to say hello to the horses that stay behind our house in summer and I nodded at the pheasants that roam around freely, disturbing anyone who gets in THEIR path. It’s not like they care to move unless you are a meter away from them, which is rather disturbing if you are driving a car. You also have to watch out for the deers, rabbits, hares and foxes. In the sea you find seals, fish, crabs and birds. The vegetation is lush, but the fields are already barren as the crops have been reaped. I keep laughing at the sign that a childhood friend once read: Look out for suffering children (it reads: Look out for children playing).

This is my home. Here I can see the seasons changing, I am aware of weather and winds. There was a time when I became quite good at predicting the weather. Today I’m a city dweller – I hardly hear a car approaching full speed. You can compare living in a city to eating spicy foods all the time – you become numb. Unless something is really spicy, you don’t notice it.

For me, being in tune with nature has always been important. I love to feed off the energy of the seasons, to indulge in them and make the most of them. It’s a completely different kick you get from being in the countryside to being in the big city. Although the city is fun, to really rejuvenate myself, I prefer the country. Out here your mind once again declutters – the numbness leaves and you begin to become aware of your surroundings and your own body.

Oftentimes we really don’t realize how much things affect us, because we grow blind to them. A bird living in a cage all its life will not know freedom, so nor will it notice its captivity. (Speaking of which – I used to have two lovebirds and my dad had thrown some bird food, that is to say: seeds, behind the garage. He then went back there to find a huge hemp plant. It made me laugh for quite some time – my dad by mistake growing weed.) I loved my birds, but never again will I have birds that have to be in a cage. It was torture to have it like that.

If you listen, if you really listen to your body and mind, I am sure you will start to notice the small things that affect you. You may say that the moon does not have any affect on you, but it controls the tide. You are 90% water. You may say that the spices you use do not affect you, but spices and herbs are potent. Especially if you eat a healthy diet – it seems the more raw foods you eat, the more sensitive you get. If you eat a lot of processed foods it’s like your whole system goes numb. In the same way, the weather, the seasons, the planets, the friends you have, the colors you surround yourself with, etc. will affect you and wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what is going on with you? Why you are sad one day and happy the next? Thoughts apart, there are many things to take into consideration, although I’d say that the day you can control your thinking, the day you can see beyond what you have learnt to what truly is…the day you can break free, truly live by love and be happy regardless, that day you may be so much in control that not even the moon can play with your tides.

I’m a bit of a witch – I believe that everything is energy and if you know how to use it correctly, you create magic. I believe in being connected with nature for that reason, to live in harmony with one’s surroundings and one’s own body. I have faith that there’s an answer to every question, like yin and yang. I love studying herbs and making potions and lotions, as well as eating natural things. I believe the closer to a natural state of being that you get, the closer to well-being you get as you are able to tune into yourself and everything else. In the big city I often get frustrated as I long for the countryside (hence my love of LA – there are gardens and nature is close by) and I don’t always live in harmony with myself – I haven’t yet learnt not to get swept away by things. One really should keep a calendar in which one notes the weather, one’s mood, one’s eating habits, one’s sleeping patterns, one’s dreams, one’s exercise schedule, the phases of the moon, one’s general health, etc. “Know thyself,” applies in more ways than one – you need to know what affects you also.  

In the city we create many false desires and have to “listen” to a lot of things we do not need to hear. Out in the countryside you start to find your way back to just being. I love it. I am blessed that I have it.

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The girl and the ocean…

The morning sun was stretching its first rays up into the air and it created a streak of orange by the line of the horizon. It was a calm morning. The ship was moving slowly and the young man felt a twinge of impatience, at the same time as he knew it was ridiculous – you can’t change the pace of a ship.

The young man was acutely aware of the power of the sea, the winds and everything else which his world evolved around. It was not he that was in control, all he could do was to learn to cope within what was there. If he was in charge of the winds, they’d always blow in the direction in which he was going. If he was in charge of the clouds, they would only be there when the sun was too hot to muster. He wasn’t in charge though, and he knew it. He knew it because he had spent enough time at sea to know. He had been shown the powers of nature time and time again. The more he saw, the more in awe he became of nature, yet, the more he learnt to play within her games. When a storm broke loose, he would look up into the skies and ask what he needed to learn from this one, or if it was just a joke she was playing on them all. A tease. Something to make them work for their ride. They had, after all, been given her planet to play upon. If it could be called playing.

As they would reach harbor today the hull would be washed; everything polished to look nice, including themselves. They had been gone for twelve full moons. It was a long time.

The sun was slowly climbing its way up the sky and the warm rays caressed his face, making him feel relaxed. He needed to sleep. He had been on duty the last five hours. It had been a calm night, nothing much had happened, but he was still getting tired now. He wish he could sleep outside in the sun, but he knew he would have to go downstairs. He yawned.

The ship was his home. Maybe more so than the old cottage in which his parents lived. The smell of salt, seaweed, tar and wood felt more familiar than earth and grass. He had been at sea for six years. It had taught him a lot and it had kept him calm. On land he always felt restless and agitated. At least he had done. Now, he wasn’t sure. He didn’t want to keep moving around always, but the thought of staying in just one place…what was there left to discover after some time? What colors and smells would wake him up, resurrect him? He didn’t know. He had never managed to find them before. As a kid, all that ever interested him was when the ships arrived in the harbor and he got to come down and see what they had brought with them from afar – the colors, smells and sensations of different worlds from his own. Discovery awakened him. Routines made him fall asleep. They were nice for a while. They were like resting – one could switch off, sleepwalk. After a while the body had rested enough and longed to once again discover something new. Something different.

There was one thing he didn’t want to be apart from though and that was her. She had moved to their little town when he was gone in travels. Her family came from afar. She was different; she had seen some of the world out there and she wasn’t sleepwalking like the rest. Her eyes were always open in wonder, she studied, she asked questions…

They would talk for hours. They would walk through the fields together. She would ask him questions about the nature around there, questions he, himself, who had lived there all his life, could not answer. She made him wonder about the meaning of things. About how a seed can become a plant. How some men love what others hate. Everything he had taken for granted she questioned. She was like him, but what he questioned was different.

He had always questioned why people chose to live as they did; day in and day out the same routines. Once he travelled and saw how people lived differently in different places he would question even more – why couldn’t they take the best from different places and merge it together? Would he ever find a place where he would feel like their way of living suited his dreams?

He had been used to feeling different; like no one else understood him. Until she came along. They saw the world, so differently, but they understood each other’s differences. Of course there was also the Captain of this ship. He understood him quite well too. They didn’t share the whole world though, they just sailed together. He would miss him if he stayed ashore – she had asked him when they would settle down together and he had promised that when he returned this time they would get married and he would stay. Use his savings to buy a boat and become a fisherman. The idea of seeing her every day excited him, yet the idea of staying ashore did not. He knew in his heart that he had chosen her, but part of his heart died as he thought of living in a cottage always. There’d be nothing new to see apart from when the ships arrived. She found something new in every flower; every spring she’d be amazed by the wonders of nature. As the ice melted and flowed down the mountains, the flowers burst into bloom and the animals gave birth to their little ones. She praised it all. To him, it was the same as the year before.

She was sitting in the seers room, feeling a bit nervous and ridiculous. Most people did not believe in such things as the planets ruling the minds of men in this little town. In the big city where she was from some people did. Here it was frowned upon; your fate rested entirely in the hands of God. The seer entered the room with a smile; her large red and golden robe making swishing sounds as she moved. Her brown hair was hanging loosely; the curls seemingly playing with one other. Her eyes were green like jade and emeralds. She was a stunning exotic beauty and she had a warmth about her that had a calming effect on people who were close. Even the decoration in the little room was warm – red colors and wooden furniture. She sat down, still with a smile and took her hand. “Don’t worry, God created the planets too. This is not a crime, you are just checking out what God created for you.” “How can you know that already?” she asked, confused. The seer smiled. “You see, he left traces. Like the planets. The lines on your hands. The energy that radiates from your heart and soul. It’s like learning to read, but it’s not the alphabet you are deciphering, it’s people. You cannot predict the entire future – God gave you free will, but unless you break free, your path is written.” She felt a tad calmed down by this. It didn’t sound too bad.

The seer looked her in the eye. “You have a beautiful soul and you will travel far. Much further than you could ever imagine. You are worried right now that the man you are marrying will leave you. He will never leave you. He loves you. No matter where he is he will love you. You see, love is funny like that – you do not have to be in the same room to love someone.” She felt anxious – the idea of being away from him still hurt her. How much time did you need to spend away from loved ones? Since they met, two years ago, he had been gone for 18 months out of 24. She did not want to live like that, but she loved him. Other men made her smile, bought her roses, sang to her…he just had to look at her, but it was difficult when he wasn’t there.

The seer smiled at her anxiety. “He hasn’t forgotten you, nor never will he. You are special to him. So if the world separated you and he was forced to be apart from you forever, no matter who else he loved, he’d still love you. Such is true love. You don’t have to worry though. Your stars tell of different tales. Before I tell you what they are, I need you to understand him though.” She nodded. “You see, like you love spring…the excitement to you of the rebirth of nature, so he loves to travel. If you imagine an eternal winter, life would not be much fun. Everything around you would seem dead and it wasn’t just there to make you appreciate spring, it was there forever. Sure you would enjoy the snow, the occasional sunny day when you go skiing, tea by the fireplace, Christmas candles and spicy treats…you would love that, but you would still mourn the spring. To him traveling is like spring – it awakens him, makes him acutely aware of his surroundings, makes him alive, smiling. You see, to him you are the world, but without spring in it, he won’t be happy.” She looked at the seer in amazement. “I think I can understand that, but are you telling me he will always be traveling? That he will always be gone for more time than he will be with me? I would have to accept that, because I couldn’t leave him and I couldn’t let him live without spring.”

The seer offered her some mint tea and she accepted, still, in her mind, trying to accept the idea of being away from him so much. The seer slowly stirred her cup. “It’s nice, you accepted it. So it’s true that you love him. However, it’s not what you think. For him, the world without you is potentially even worse than a world without spring. It would be like a world without summer.” She smiled and so did the seer. “You will wander far together. Soon a party of travelers will pass through town and you will go with them. They will not mind women on their journey, in fact they will like having you there. Your gifts are valuable to them. You heal people. What you know of herbs and spices will help them. You will help them trade with teas as well. You are truly gifted you know.”

She had always loved the sea, just like him. Somehow she felt that it could tell her the truth – for hours she would stand and stare at it as a child. It had brought her him. It had taught her that she could not tame it – she could play with it – jump in its waves and splash it around, but it would forever be what it was. It was not hers, but she could enjoy it. It would take her places, but she had to be willing to go.

The young man awoke with a smile on his face – he had had a nice sleep and now he was ready to enter the harbor. He just needed to wash first.

He could not only see land now – he could smell it in the air. It had earthy undertones and some vague nuances of burning wood – fireplaces. It always excited him to reach harbor. It was for the sake of harbors that he traveled – new places and sights. This one was, however, familiar. It always looked a tad different every time he returned though, because he saw it with new eyes. Eyes that had seen more of the world. He had changed and therefore his perspective. What he longed to see today though was not the harbor, but her. He knew she was well – he could always sense if something was wrong, but today everything felt right.

She stood there. Skirts gently rustling in the wind, a smile on her face. She was beautiful. To him she looked different than any other woman around. It was as if she stood out – everyone else looked a bit blurred, out of focus, but she was crystal clear.

He was even more tanned than before. His brown locks were slightly blonder and if possible even more tousled than she could remember. His teeth, when he smiled, looked as white as stars in his tanned face and his blue-green eyes shone like emeralds with glints of turquoise. His rough hands, would soon hold hers in them – trace her lines, make her remember that she was alive. This was what she loved about him – how he made her feel more alive when he was around – he looked as if he was part of nature, rather than separate from it. He didn’t live within a house, he lived within the world. She had never liked walls, confinements; she too belonged to nature. Together they felt freer than when apart.

The sailor returned home that night, but home was merely a harbor in her heart.

In each individual there is an individual, yet we are all made from the same materials, so inside each person is a part of who we are. Our bodies are made up of the same earth. We feed off what lived here a thousand years ago. In our genes rest the beginning of man. Our lives, as Leonardo said, are made of the deaths of others. To gain you must also lose. To grow you must, therefore, give. It is only by giving that something is returned.

It seems like some people compliment us; bring out the best in us and help us see what we did not see before. We are a team. It is true that you should be able to live on your own and feel whole in you. It is equally true that to build a house you may need one person who can visualize what it will look like and another to build it. It is true that some like to lead, whilst other like to be led.

In other people we find someone who sees the world like us. From that day on, we are never alone, no matter where we are, because our minds are connected, our hearts beat like one.

In each person is a world. How they live, how they see, how they feel might be light years from our own. When they share their world, we discover a new world and ours, as a result shifts.

There is a reaction when we meet someone, but we cannot control their reaction, as little as we can control the ocean.

We love ourselves in others and others in ourselves. We love the new worlds others bring us because they compliment our own. We love and it is through love anything worthwhile is created. We sail, but it is in harbors that we belong.

Maybe I will always write stories of entertainers, sailors, healers and seers – travelers that seek truth and joy in life, whilst creating something of their own. I cannot escape myself when I write, just as little as I can escape myself when I do anything. To me those figures are beautiful, because they are my harbors in this life. They are me and I am them.


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I’m Swedish, blonde and…in your bed???….

The standard question I get when I meet someone is “Where are you from?” After they have guessed every English speaking country in the world, I will have to confess to the fact that I am Swedish. If the person I’m talking to happens to be male and somewhere in between the ages of 18 to a 100, a smile will invariably light up his face as he repeats to himself easy to get into bed Swedish, eh?” Yes, Swedish, and not so easy to get into a parallel position, but until he figures that out, I might as well enjoy his efforts.

If you, on the other hand, want a bloke to melt for you, all you really have to do is to talk about how you celebrate the summer solstice – an ancient celebration of fertility where we make a giant dick (maypole) out of flowers that we dance around and at night eat strawberries and drink vodka (it’s one of the few pagan traditions the church did not manage to relabel. For example – in Easter the Swedish witches still fly off on broomsticks with their cats to dance with the devil and en route they hand out candy to children, but somehow we are also celebrating the resurrection of Jesus). For the sake of good luck you are then supposed to roll around naked in the morning dew the next day (never mind the fact that we pick seven flowers in silence at night to dream about whom we will marry, that would put him off…marriage should never be talked about by women. You simply wait until he is so desperate to keep other men off your ass that he decides to marry you.). After that he will believe you are the answer to all his prayers (when he discovers that you actually have a brain too, he will be singing hallelujah).

Dancing around a dick…I mean maypole…

N.B. All photos in this post were taken by me, please don’t use elsewhere without permission. Thank you!!!

Apart from our reputation of being sexually liberated, the Swedes are known for: Ingmar Bergman, Abba, Roxette, Björn Borg, herring, Ikea, H&M, Volvo, Zlatan Ibrohamovic (we went to the same school, never noticed him, but I met someone in Morocco who knew him…) and other sports people whom I don’t know of. And of course, Tiger Wood’s wife. Poor thing. Sex rehab. And he’s not even Swedish!!! (No, we do not make watches and chocolate. That’s SWITZERLAND.)

When it comes to Swedish stereotypes there is a brilliant book called The Xenophobe’s Guide To The Swedes from which I will now quote freely:

Svårmod: a dark melancholy born out of long winters, high taxes and being stuck far out on a geo-political and socio-economic limb. They brood a lot over the meaning of life in a self-absorbed sort of way without ever arriving at satisfactory answers. (…) All this svårmod makes the Swedes very self-conscious and socially awkward. When two Swedish individuals meet for the first time, there are actually four people present: the two visible persons, plus their invisible alter-egos who stand close by and criticize every word and every gesture. Only when the acquaintance is well established do the alter-egos move to the sidelines, albeit still shaking their heads.

Undfallenhet: You may call a car rental firm to say the studs are missing from the winter tyres and that, as a consequence, you are unfairly exposed to the risk of having to pay for any collision damage. To this the rental agent is likely to reply: “Never mind having to pay for collision damage. What about your personal health and safety?” It’s a response that takes all the fun out of complaining. (…) Being aggressive is considered a macho thing in many Western cultures. In Sweden it’s viewed as a handicap. (…) Undfallenhet is not to be confused by cowardice. Sweden has long stood firm on its conviction regarding matters like apartheid and dictatorship.

Lagom: “just enough” or “in moderation.” Lagom permeates Swedish life. Economically it has enabled the nation to find the middle ground between Capitalism and Socialism (Progress and Humanity). In manufacturing, lagom discards gold-plated designs in favor of optimum solutions. Socially lagom puts conformity before excellence, tempers extreme personal wealth and poverty, and leaves the Swedes irksomely at peace with themselves. (…) When something is said to be “lagom good” it actually means it’s the best.

In the battle between idealism, heroism and common sense, the latter always wins.

Patriotism: The Swedes sneer at public manifestations of patriotism, conveniently forgetting that the blue and yellow Swedish flag is everywhere to be seen. (…) Swedes are not patriots in the usual sense. Victory monuments come in the form of rune stones rather than bronze statues. Ask them what link them to their native country and they will hold forth, not about government, history, or culture, but about deep forests, smiling archipelagos, crayfish served with aquavit, and flower wrapped maypoles. For Swedes the national flag is primarily an eye-pleasing backdrop. Rather than rallying people to war, it invites them to a picnic in a meadow.

Being rich in Sweden has never been easy. As Ingmar Bergman found out, even millionaires can have difficulties making ends meet when income tax is levied at 102%. But even after taxation, the filthy rich remain merely filthy in the eyes of the not-so-rich, who themselves are far from poor. Manifestations of personal wealth have always been  frowned upon in Sweden, based on the assumption that for every winner there has to be a loser.

Religion: there is a saying that all Swedish people are born free, but taxed to death. Until 1996 all children were born into Lutherian faith. These days they are allowed to choose their own faith. Those who have not opted out show their Lutheran piety by attending church on at least four occasions, namely for their baptism, confirmation, wedding(s) and funeral (I might add here: and the 6-12 or so times you have to attend mass to get confirmed. Ahem. I mean, amen. Swedes are still religious though – we celebrate nature and whatever force created it. Some call that pagan.)

Money Matters: The Swedes truly understand the joy of giving and taking. They give as much as they take, neither more, nor less. (…) Restaurant bills are divided up evenly after meals (not equal shares, but each person pays for their own food). Ulf and Ulla out on a date are equally intent on settling their score evenly. A foreign observer of scenes like these could be forgiven for thinking that the Swedes are pathological skinflints. The truth, however, is that they load becoming dependent on other human beings through indebtedness in any shape or form. Accept a gift and one feels obliged to reciprocae in kind. Receive a favor, and expect to be called in at a later date. (I would say it’s a sense of fairness. Right be right. This can also be applied to dating rich people: then they pay for you, until you make your own millions, then you pay for them and believe me: if you are Swedish you will remember to pay back.)

Women and Men: The stereotype Swedish woman is beautiful, opinionated and speaks three languages. She has a strong aesthetic sense and her attitude to sex is accommodating. While single she travels the world and samples the local climatic and climactic delights. Once married, she invariably has a career and keeps her own money.

The average Swedish man is seen as being shy, taciturn, submissive, sentimental principled, reliable – precisely the sort of male companion the Swedish woman covets as the father of her 13/4 children. He is Mr Fixit (if you don’t know how to handle a hammer, just forget it). He is basically a loner and is happiest at work, on the ski slope or at the country cottage which he is constantly rebuilding. (I kinda like outgoing social type of guys that radiate warmth from a mile away, but maybe that’s just me???)

Swedes congratulate themselves for having been first in the world to achieve total equality between the sexes.(…)

By international standards, Swedish women have always been highly emancipated. In the days of the Vikings, only a woman dared tell a warrior what a corny oaf he was. (…) Nowadays, members of the Women’s Movement are campaigning for men to sit down when urinating, their point being that men have been flaunting their anatomical advantage for much too long.

One thing Swedish men and women have in common is a curious diagnostic to human relationships. Social, as well as sexual, intercourse techniques are analyzed and compared in great detail – along the lines of “How was it for you?” and “How can we improve it next time?” (In stark contrast to Californians’ attitude of: if it’s bad, let’s say it’s good. Problem solving? Are you kidding me? I’d have to confess to there being a problem? That’s a sin, no? Tell everyone they are great and if they aren’t – just never talk to them again. Whatever you do – just never say anything negative.  Sneaking out the backdoor is so fucking Cali and to a Swede – so fucking confusing. I’m thankful to be here, I’d just be thankful if I could learn to understand them too…)

Children: The statutory maternity leave is 12 months at 80% of the mother’s most recent salary, plus another 3 months at a reduced rate (you can take this out any time from the child is born until s/he is 8 yrs old, you also, kids or no kids, get 5 wks of vacation every year, plus general holidays). Since nearly all couples have parallel careers, it is up to the mother and father to decide who stays at home with the newborn child. (…) Spanking a child – even one’s own – is against the law in Sweden.

Hospitality (and honesty): The Swedes stake out the limits of their hospitality in no uncertain terms. They assume that you will do the same. So when you tell them to come and see you anytime, they will do precisely that. And if you protest that they are leaving much too soon, they’ll stay on to keep you company. It’s a square, square world. (Unlike Cali, where everything’s a bit fussy around the edges. How do you know when someone means what they say if they only tell you the truth 50% of the time?)

The taboo subject: The Swedes consider themselves the most broad-minded people on earth. They boast that only in Sweden are you free to discuss absolutely anything, be it sex, money, incest or euthanasia. Don’t take their word for it, though, because generalizing about nationalities (other than the Norwegians) is definitively out. Swedish people love to criticise about their own country when amongst themselves; but when a foreigner enters the room, suddenly Sweden can do nothing wrong. (Mark my words, I warn thee.)

Anyone who’s wondering what really make the Swedes tick need look no further: it is coffee. (The coffee shop culture in Sweden can be summed up by saying: a café in every corner. We don’t hang out. We go for coffees, or rather a “fika” meaning coffee and something to eat with it.)

Drinking: It is often said that the Swedes have a drinking problem. (…) As a matter of fact the Swedes consume less alcohol than most other countries in the EU. (…) The Swedish government is defying EU law by restricting the sale of spirits. Outlets are few and far in-between, open late, close early and mask the whereabouts of liquor by displaying everything but spirits in their windows. Citizens who do manage to find one are charged exorbitant prices for anything stronger than wine. (This is why Swedes get drunk when vacating in the Mediterranean and buy all their spirits in Germany.) (…) Another deterrent is the stiff penalty meted out to anyone caught driving a vehicle with even an extra molecule of alcohol in the blood. One hapless driver, who was pulled over and breath-analyzed seconds after swallowing a rum-filled chocolate, tested positive and was driven away to a police laboratory for tests. The tests showed no trace of alcohol in the blood and the driver was acquitted, but only after agreeing to pay for the test as well as a fine for wasting police time. (Of course they do not count how much home-made spirits are in circulation, only deaths and blindness caused by these every year. Just a note.)

Obsessions: A great deal of emotion is associated with childhood memories of summers gone by. It has to do with the taste of wild strawberries and the smell of freshly cut hay, listening in bed to the cuckoo at dawn (in the south dawn is around 3am and sunset around 12am), catching crab with fish heads on a string, and watching the fishermen tar their hulls. The Swedes are the world’s greatest nature lovers and will spout about it until the cows go home. (…) The Swedes have a dream: to save nature from man. This is more than just a vision – it’s as close to a passion as the Swedes ever get.

Leisure and pleasure: The Swedes indulge in sport for leisure and sex for pleasure. (…) President Eisenhower once noted in a speech that there was a country in Northern Europe where moral standards had fallen to an all time low. The subsequent avalanche of American tourist upon Swedish soil left little doubt which country he had in mind. The visitors were not disappointed for they returned home with photographic evidence that the Swedes swim naked whenever they think nobody’s watching (and who has less morals: the person watching or the one thinking s/he’s alone with nature?). (…) In the 18th century Linnaeus studied the sex life of plants with such intensity that he became known as the Peeping Tom of Botany. (…) It is true, however, that their attitude to sex is largely unencumbered by taboos. The Swedes, like the Dutch, believe in easy natural sex as a way of resisting unnatural forms such as prostitution, incest and child abuse.

Cinema: Sweden has a lot in common with Disney World. On the surface people seem to lead a carefree existence in a fairy-tale paradise. Underneath is a whole different world, which is out of bound for most visitors.

If you didn’t get enough – buy the book. I laughed till I cried, but then I am Swedish. You may have an inferior sense of humor.

On a very Swedish note about nationalities: I find being Swedish an asset. I love my home country and feel lucky to have been brought up with some of the values over there. Like people still know how to use a hammer and a sewing machine. Common sense still exists and I like the idea of progress combined with humanity, not one over the other….and don’t even get me started on saving nature from man. I also left for a reason. I just didn’t feel like I was “only that.” I am more than just a Swede. I am a human being. And so is every other person, were they born in the fires of hell, or the kingdom of heaven. No one probably wish to be born in a country, or part of a city, labeled by the rest of the world as dangerous, or nasty in any other way. Nor do people probably grow up wishing to become criminals. Beneath it all: human. People can only see life for what they know of it. Show someone love and they may end up lovable.

Also, I don’t like everything from my personal past. I am sure the Germans today don’t love Hitler either. What good is there to say that the Vikings were warriors? I am not a warrior, well at least not in that sense. Maybe we can learn from the past, but to boast about it? Nor do I agree with all the politicians in Sweden. If someone said that because I’m Swedish I would be like Gudrun Schyman, I would, oh man, faint. And I mean Americans are supposedly against communism, but their greatest financial debt is supposedly to China. Not to mention Swedes being against apartheid and dictatorship in SA and Chile, but neglecting it in Russia (too close for comfort???). There are contradictions everywhere. I love many Swedish values, I get disturbed by seeing all the homeless people in LA (someone told me they amount to a startling number of 160,000) and the segregation between rich and poor (paying to go to school? Please, shouldn’t children at least be equal? How can they become great if they aren’t given a chance?), but I still prefer to live in LA. I am a funny mix and so are probably most of us.

Californication “…little girls from Sweden dream of silver screen quotation…” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

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Filed under Humor, Life, Men, People, sex, socializing, Society, Thoughts, Traveling, Uncategorized, Women

Moments…

Long stretches of sand, twirling their way along the coast…the smell of the ocean, reflections of the sun dancing in the water, seagulls crying out to one another, sand between your toes, laughter… That pretty much sums up my day today.

Cali never seizes to amaze me with her beauty. Maybe because I was brought up in cold, rainy Sweden, living amongst palm trees = paradise. Maybe because I am back by the sea and not stuck in dark old London town. Maybe because I missed nature like crazy when I lived in Paris. I don’t know, but Cali is bloody marvelous.

As we sat by the beach in Malibu today my friends were talking about sex, as they tend to do when straying away from the meaning of life…then again, sex is the meaning of life, right?!! Procreation and all that… Anyway, they sounded something like this:

– Maybe he’ll be like vanilla…mmm…

– Nah, I think he’ll be more like sticky toffee…

– Wait, who are you talking about? The other guy? No, yuck, he’d be more like…moushy potatoes!

– We should be talking about how to move on with our career girls, or how to get one of those houses over there.

– In other words, we’d still be talking about shagging… Just kidding, just kidding…seriously we shou…hey, look at that surfer!

As for the rest of our day and conversations, I’ll let the photos speak for themselves…when was the last time you took some time out just to breathe? To truly enjoy Mother Nature???

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Night my dear, is a love affair…

Out here the night has released her curtain and let it sweep down from the skies – enveloping the world in a blue grayish daze. It is misty tonight. The lights reflect in the tiny drops, creating a hazy look. The stars won’t be seen tonight – only the lights across the sea, the sharp light in the lighthouse and the yellowish light from a single streetlamp. Otherwise, darkness. Well, maybe  just a tiny splash of moonlight – only there to let us see how dark it truly is.

At this hour poems tend to fly through my mind like lightning – it is as if my mind has been illuminated by stories, beauty, love…and nature. Nature when she is a mystery, because nothing can be seen, yet everything can be felt. As the rational day fades away, maybe we are forced to look inside? We seem to get lost in the dark alleys of the city and of the mind. We walk through the night in search of light, in search of love. We dance through the night. We talk to strangers at night – open our hearts and show what’s on the inside. Come the morning light we are once again razor sharp, pure, ready for challenges, but at night… At night we dream. We let ourselves loose. We walk into situations that in daylight would seem crazy, but at night we do not ask questions. We just let ourselves be swept off our feet. We dance along to her tune of mystery, allowing ourselves to reveal our deepest secrets, as we feel safe behind her blanket of nocturnal bliss. As if we were hidden.

Night time slows us down. You take time to do the things you would have never done in bright light. You gently sip your tea whilst leafing through a book. You have time, because what’s there to do at night, but wait for the new dawn? Even if you have a million things to do, you slow down. You adjust your pace to the night.

Dawn has always been my favorite hour – when the sky lights up in pastels, when the mind is clear, focused…when the energy of the new day awakens us, re-enlivens us and fills us with power. Adventure is lurking. People are getting ready for it, yet they do not know what they are getting ready for. Fresh scents fill the morning. Life hath, once again begun afresh.

For all my love of morning though, I cannot deny the magic of the night, or that of any hour. If you only take the time to breathe it in, each hour of the day is filled with magic. After morning there is midday – the sun a tad more yellow by now. Time for a break from duties. People talk. Laughter is shared. Food, too, is shared. Delicious foods. Every day you get to taste life. You are life and life becomes you.

Then comes the afternoon with her orangy light. The magical hour of photography, of sweet, romantic light. Everything soft. Warm. The fast pace of the day is slowing down and people ease up, relax in the glow of the afternoon sun.

In evening people are set free from their duties of the day. They feel the approaching darkness and huddle up together. Share stories from their journeys through the day. Heat up by the fire as cool winds come by. Reward themselves with meals, laughter, wine…

And then, there is night. Night of mystery and wonder. Night of dreams and secrets. Night of revelations and revealing truths. Night, when we see not the world, but ourselves and we wish to escape into the arms of someone else.

So now you know what I think like when twilight hits the world.

(Twilight is) the safest time of day for us. The easiest time. But also the saddest, in a way… the end of another day, the return of the night. Darkness is so predictable, don’t you think? – From Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

Dreams are illustrations…from the book your soul is writing about you.  – Marsha Norman

The stars are the street lights of eternity.  ~Author Unknown

Is there not
A tongue in every star that talks with man,
And wooes him to be wise? nor wooes in vain;
This dead of midnight is the noon of thought,
And wisdom mounts her zenith with the stars.
~Anna Letitia Barbauld, A Summer Evening’s Meditation

By night, an atheist half believes in God.  ~Edward Young, Night Thoughts

Night, the beloved.  Night, when words fade and things come alive.  When the destructive analysis of day is done, and all that is truly important becomes whole and sound again.  When man reassembles his fragmentary self and grows with the calm of a tree.  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The night sky is a miracle of infinitude.  ~Terri Guillemets

It seemed to be a necessary ritual that he should prepare himself for sleep by meditating under the solemnity of the night sky… a mysterious transaction between the infinity of the soul and the infinity of the universe.  ~Victor Hugo

Sensations

On the blue summer evenings, I shall go down the paths,
Getting pricked by the corn, crushing the short grass:
In a dream I shall feel its coolness on my feet.
I shall let the wind bathe my bare head.

I shall not speak, I shall think about nothing:
But endless love will mount in my soul;
And I shall travel far, very far, like a gipsy,
Through the countryside – as happy as if I were with a woman.

Arthur Rimbaud
March 1870.

Night time in Paris…the city of light…

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Filed under dreams, Joy, Life, poetry, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Writing