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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

This blog has not been forgotten, just unfortunate circumstances. With some extremely hectic last 6 month working and now the last 7 weeks with a slipped disc which effectively have kept me away from the keyboard I have spent more time out walking with the camera.
But now it is time for a proof of life. Looking back I see my last post was about Christmas in the north, so what is better than a post about the complete opposite – Midsummer celebration in the south of Sweden.

poledancing

photo: Dan Freed



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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

This year we went north for Christmas. To the town of Sundsvall in the middle of Sweden. With a population of 51 000, just shy of 100 000 in the whole municipal area I would describe it as a small town, but for Sweden it is a mid-size city. Although being a university city the population fluctuate considerable between semesters and school breaks.

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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

We finally got our longed-for summer. Sweden showing off its best side.

I never go on summer trips, I usually take some time off in May and September to travel, working throughout the summer. July and August are the best months to spend in Sweden so leaving at this time is very confusing to me.
Of course this year has been rainy, cloudy, dark and more rain, but now the summer finally arrived with sun, heat and long, bright evenings that never wants to end.
Yes I do work all day, but, with risk of sounding like someone from the cast of Grease – oh those summer nights…


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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

Last Friday we celebrated Midsummer in Sweden. This is, after Christmas, our most celebrated holiday. And it is always raining, so also this year.
Thursday it was a beautiful sunny day with blue skies. Saturday was a little cloudy, but warm and nice without rain. Friday – it poured down…

Photo: Dan Freed

Photo: Dan Freed

maypoleWe had some discussion about this during the day and the constant rain is not that much of a mystery. If we, all over Sweden, place massive fertility symbols in the ground earth should respond and give us the rain needed for good growth.
This is an ancient pagan ritual and has been done for centuries. With the entrance of Christianity the church tried to steal this celebration and transformed our symbol to a cross. The people replied with hanging two giant rings on the arms and just like that we have our fertility symbol back.

We planned to go by bicycle to the place of celebration, just a few kilometers outside of Malmö. When it was time to go the rain had stopped and we started our journey, we had not gone more than a quarter of the way when it poured down and we decided to go back and take a bus.
Well back home we were soaking wet and if I had been alone I would have stayed home grouching the rest of the evening. Luckily miss Z is here and I wanted to show here a real Swedish Midsummer, the rain is part of it.
When we finally arrived at the allotment area the rain had stopped and just an hour later it was a dazzling sunshine and the evening turned out to be great.

Everybody was there, we had Swedes, Danish, Norwegian, Mexican, Japanese and a Zombie hunter. With a mix of Swedish traditional pickled herring, Mexican style chicken and snaps, both the obligatory Swedish and a Mexican liqueur, we sang in Swedish and Spanish waiting for the grass to dry. The rain was soon forgotten.

Photo: Dan Freed

Photo: Dan Freed

Smelling the Elderberry flowers. Growing in the wild in Sweden this flower and the berries is used to make Elderberry lemonade or spice the moonshine.

Photo: Dan Freed

Photo: Dan Freed

Celebrating an ancient tradition of course we have to play an ancient game – Kubb.
I am not totally clear with the rules, but we trow a wooden stick on a wooden log. There is a lot of wood involved, but forest is something we still have plenty of in Sweden.
The origin is a little unclear, the modern version was revived on the Swedish island of Gotland.

Strategy chat, goes something like, “hit the log”.

0092

After the exercise all harsh words was forgotten and forgiven. We gathered up for desert, more snaps and strawberries with ice cream and cream.

Photo: Dan Freed

Photo: Dan Freed

Later on the more foreign guests wanted to see something very traditional Swedish. A trip to the local open-air dance floor is probably one of the most Swedish sights you can find a summer night.
Even if it was getting a little late, there were still some people doing the “Små grodorna” (the little frogs), without competition the number one midsummer dance in Sweden.

little frogs

Photo: Dan Freed

After a long day with Swedish traditions miss Z is still here, I guess it is not that traumatizing I remembered it to be.

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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

We were out for a walk downtown a muggy Saturday in early January when we stumbled upon this guy putting up a show.

And someone told me men cannot multitask.

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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

Malmö Unga, Malmö Youth, is an association for youngsters between 13 and 25 in my hometown Malmö. It was founded on initiative of the young to bring the youth closer to politicians.
Today, October 3, the association organized a charity race for The Horn of Africa, Run for Humanity.
When I see young people do these kind of things I feel a ray of hope for mankind.

It was a threat of rain hanging in the air, but in one of this citys beautiful parks 70 brave souls gathered a Monday afternoon. With all the rain we have had this year the grass is still green and the organizers had chosen a scenic place for the race.

run

Photo: Dan Freed

Before the race there were a little show and a joint warm-up.
warm_up

Photo: Dan Freed

Everyone was invited to participate, also mans best friend.
dog

Photo: Dan Freed

younster

Photo: Dan Freed


Even the youngest people participated.

Being a charity we are all winners and there were all happy faces at the finish line.

finish_line

Photo: Dan Freed

I don’t know the final amount raised, but they got a small contribution for The Red Cross. Personally I don’t think that much of the money even if it help is needed. I think more of the people, the youth, who cares enough to organize these things. Our future…

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Previously posted in www.planningmexico.com

Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.
~Benjamin Franklin

While having leftover pizza for breakfast yesterday I was gazing at morning reruns of old sitcoms when I suddenly got an epiphany, yes there is a lot to learn from sitcoms, a new life philosophy – Do not complain.
It’s quite simple in theory, if you don’t complain you have no problems, if you don’t have any problems you have a great life! So clear… And I made it a full 2 hours without complaining. Until I went out to get my daily dose of coffee.
My regular coffee bar is located in a corner by the worst trafficked crossroad in the neighborhood and even though I am used to it peoples driving skill and behavior amazes me every weekend. It is a three way crossing but on regular basis two cars manage to block each other.




Anyway, this particular morning it wasn’t the usual hormone-fueled BMW drivers blocking traffic. It was a senior citizen who got the idea to make a illegal u-turn not minding the heavy traffic. Of course it was just a matter of seconds before he was stuck. Instead of backing up and smoothly trying to get around he started honking the horn and argue with all and everyone. I admit I did complain a little.
But why? We in the free industrialized world just expect everything to work and run smoothly and blow all these small disturbance out of proportion. The trains are snowed in and cannot move, the bus is 5 minutes late, someone is blocking traffic. Or think if Internet connection is down for an hour! We would all be sent back to the stone ages.

Later that day on my second coffee round I met a couple of friends who spent some time in Belarus. The Belarusians never complains, they don’t have any other option than to deal with the situation. So the bus is not in time, the schedule says 9:14 but it can just as well be 9:00 or 9:30, want can they do? If they miss is they can only wait for the next one. Oh the electricity is out? It will come back, it always do. This thinking permeate their whole life. My friend tried to explain our western symptom “burned out,” they just could not understand it. “What do you get stressed over?” “Why?” “If you cannot do anything about the situation why care so much?”
I do appreciate our democracy, freedom of speech and freedom to think, but sometimes I wish I could think less about the things I cannot change.
Today I made it almost 6 hours without complaining, sure I have been home alone most of the day but if feels like a progress. I don’t give up, if I start every morning with the intention to not complain one of these days I will make an entire day.

I will start fresh tomorrow again, Monday… Not that I am complaining.

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