Writing a Bachelor Thesis

10310982_10203028551588037_1199709443790981195_nThursday night, I spontaneously went out for a beer with a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time. This guy comes over to our table and starts talking to us. After a while we arrived at a typical topic, age. After hesitating he guessed me to be 27.
Really ?! 27 ?!! I knew I looked everything but fresh and youthful this night after sitting the whole day in the library working on my thesis but 27 crushed my ego that moment. Later when I went home, standing in the elevator, I took a closer look in the dirty mirror. Are these wrinkles around my eyes ?! Are these shadows under my eyes rests of mascara of my skin telling me that I need more sleep ? I decided that self-pity does not help. Moreover, earlier that day I got ask for my ID when I wanted to buy Snus. Hah in your face stranger!!!
Tomorrow first thing I will find my eye-creme again and this time I will not be too lazy to use it longer than a few days.

Writing a bachelor thesis is stressful -as I thought before it would be- but it is stressful in a different way than I thought. The other day I caught myself staring at the clock. Everything was prepared, energy drink, coffee and snacks, paper, pens neatly put up next to my laptop. It procrastinationis 12.55 pm . I had promised myself to start working on my thesis at 13.00 pm.

12.56 I stare at the clock.
12.57 I start contemplating about cleaning the flat while staring at the clock.
12.58 really? Three minutes are gone already, noo.
12.59 staring.
13.00 staring.
13.01 I am still staring at the clock, not moving.
13.02 F*** Laura gooo, get on it, come one!
13.03 why is my coffee cold??
13.04 maybe I start 13.30 instead….or I just take a nap. Naps are nice. So nice.

Procrastination and I have become best friends since I started writing my thesis 😉

Writing a thesis is stressful, yes, but what is really stressful about it that you have to be involved with one topic over a long time period , you Naptime-then-and-nowhave it in the back of your head all day, no matter if you are studying or trying to relax. Every time you get asked to do something fun you 10256493_10203013427609947_5118602304146115799_nevaluate if you can allow it yourself time wise. Another glass of wine ? Better not. If I have the slightest hangover tomorrow I can’t study properly…. It takes so much energy to have something in your mind all the time. It is sometimes truly frustrating. I got mad at my thesis several times. I got mad, sad, annoyed and angry but so has almost everyone I met who is writing their thesis. It’s part of the process and you just gotta accept it. Sometimes you have good days, bad days, productive days, lazy-days or just shit days where you decide to screw it for now and watch series and take a nap. That is okay. Just try to keep the balance between them so you get done in the end.

I have worked on my thesis all over Malmö. In both libraries, at home, and at various cafes. In my favourite cafe the bartender asked me once when I arrived yawning : “still working on your thesis ?” me yawning and nodding. “here you go , coffee will help!” When I talk to friends one of the first question is always, how is your thesis going ? Same when I write with friends on Facebook. You start comparing yourself with others who are writing their thesis at the moment as well. “Oh he/she has already xx amount of words and I only have xx words….” Then you notice how grumpy you get but actually you should be happy for them. You will always find people who you think work better or Ah-Finalsworse than you but actually comparing does not help. Everyone works differently, some take much time , some not. Some start last minute and still pass. Some started months ago and brag how far they are and then get a bad grade. Or the other way around. It should not matter. However, it is in human nature to compare yourself with others so I decided  instead of only getting grumpy at myself when someone does better progress than me, I get a little grumpy (can’t lose it fully) but mainly I decided to be happy for the other person. 😉

Thesis writing brings fun as well. First of all when you actually did some progress and then scroll up and down in your document and realize hey I made this !!! I know its a normal thing nowadays that people get their BA degree but still, you produce a 40 to 50 pages thesis in the end that is actually pretty cool ! Moreover you get to complain together with your fellow thesis writers over how annoying this work is and spontaneously decide actually you could go now and have beer instead of working more and you end up having real quality time. Even when the deadline is approaching one should not forget to have little fun from time to time 10254010_10203001994484126_4875933436752753888_nand tell the little mean guy in the back of your head to shut up and stop telling you that you should rather figure out how to do your analysis section. I had a great 1545157_10202996496706685_8893028120118811614_ntime with Marie dying our hair and drinking wine instead of studying.  I get really happy when studying and actually progressing and then taking a well deserved break. After finishing my thesis I will probably never forget again how NGOs can influence peace processes, which is quite handy to know in my field of studies. I had hung up my research question all over the flat to keep it in mind and reflect on it. After a few days I noticed Rickard had re-printed it and did slight editing.  I couldn’t stop laughing for a long time (see image above) 😉

My deadline is in 10 days, I have written 80% of my thesis and have my green-light supervision tomorrow morning, then I will get to know if my supervisor thinks that I am ready for the final 10169456_10202965961583326_112176163853929825_ndeadline — and what I am doing right now ? I am sitting in the library writing this blog post and contemplate about buying a bottle of wine on the way home because I think I truly deserve it. So, will I fail because I wasted some hours now ? No. I will perhaps fail if I get to know tomorrow that the way I do my analysis is shit and I need to re-do it 😛 😛 😛 Right now writing this blog makes me feel good. Trying to delve deeper in all the data I have left to analyze makes me not feel good today, so I pick the one which makes me feel good for now. Sometimes procrastinating is actually really healthy for your mind, if 10172756_10202946180488811_5685909570448075240_nyou do something else instead of studying what actually makes you feel happy or good. Even though I have been stressed and under pressure I backed colorful muffins, found my inner child again on an awesome slide in front of a friends house 10310620_10202952978338753_1823516007174089634_nand I went to Valborg in Lund with my friends and we had a great time. And soon everything is done and over and after hopefully passing we can all enjoy the summer ! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Easter, the Danger of Ikea Bags & Summer Plans

Did you know that Ikea bags can be quite dangerous ?! Me neither. Well last weekend I had a little encounter with an Ikea bag which was filledBlue-Bag0403 with BBQ stuff standing next to our picnic blanket. I was the chosen Grill Master for that day and Rickard, my Mum who visited over Easter, and I had a really nice time. Walking by the Ikea bag my foot got stuck in one of the handles and I fell down , whole body length and landed on my left wrist. Pain got worse over time and so did the swelling, so to make a long story short I ended up in the hospital once again. Lovely Swedish Hospital in which have been been quite a few times in the last three years. Me and my luck 😛 The result after the x-ray was that it is not a fracture but a sprain , which ironically often hurts more than a fracture.  Now it is better but still hurting which is particularly annoying while typing but if I can write my thesis I might as well can do some fun writing for my blog 🙂 Apart from the Ikea bag incident I had a lovely Easter time with my Mother! We did Easter Egg painting, an Easter Egg hunt, we had a big Easter Breakfast and a really nice Easter Walk 🙂 The rest of the time with my Mum in general was really nice ! See pictures below 🙂

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My thesis writing is still going on and my progress is not as fast as I wish it would be but I think I am going in the right direction. I have a little bit less than a month left to write it and I think I will manage. I don’t like that my next two years basically depend on this one paper. If I don’t pass it, I won’t be able to go on with my Master Studies but hey I have gotten till here so I will finish it ! 😀 The Examination Seminar is in the beginning of June and right after the Distortion Festival in Copenhagen starts which is great timing and I already look forward to celebrate that my Bachelor Studies are over, all day and night long with my friends at the Festival 😀 😀 😀

In the end of June I will travel with my Mum to Greece. It is an old tradition since I was 7 years old to fly there in the summer and I look much forward to do it again and just relax in the sun ! 🙂 We always travel to the same nice village called Sikia which is about 1,5h from Thessaloniki on the half Island Sithonia. We have friends living there and every time I arrive there it feels like coming home. I haven’t been there the last couple of years so it will be nice to be at this beloved place again. The three pictures below are from the last time we were there:

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In August before my Master Studies start me and Rickard plan to go hiking again !!! Two years ago we did an amazing trip up up North in Sweden and were hiking in a national park called Padjelanta . We did a 160km trip! Last year we did a shorter hike along the border to Norway which was really nice as well but rather relaxed. This time we want to hike in Sarek. It is approximately at the same height in Sweden as Padjelanta but the mountains are much higher and there are no hiking passes or little huts in between. It is for sure not a beginners hike and I have lots of respect for the wilderness up there. We will have to plan the tour very well and count in at least two weeks for it since depending on the rainfall it might happen that rivers cross our way which we will not able to pass. I found this really encouraging statement of the administrators of the park 😛 :

“I want to go hiking in Sarek”, you say. We, the administrators of the national park, hope you know what this involves. Sarek is a magnificent untouched alpine area with sharp peaks and glaciers. Between the mountain massifs there is a network of deeply cut valleys with swift streams.In other words, the terrain is physically demanding for the would-be hiker. Sarek is a wilderness without roads. The central sections of the national park are many kilometers from inhabited areas. There are no touristic facilities established, no trails or cabins here.”

Padjelanta was demanding too, however, sometimes you were able to find huts where you could buy some bread or cookies and most of the time you could see a pass to follow. This we won’t have in Sarek but I think it sounds like an awesome adventure 😀
When we have planned the trip fully and took everything into consideration we have to consider,  I will post our hiking plan here so you can read about it 🙂 And in case anyone worries …… we have really good gear and will evaluate all dangers properly before we start 🙂 Look at the two pictures below , how can one be not excited to go ?!

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Growing up, Master Studies & ER encounters

“Jaså…. du ska studera i Lund för din Master ? Du är en jätte duktig lilla flicka ! ”  [Oh so you gonna study your Masters in Lund? You are a very competent little girl ]  My old neighbour tells me in the elevator a few days ago. She is the only one who can always force me to speak Swedish as she speaks no English but really likes to chitchat. Everytime I meet her I realize my Swedish is so good when I have to talk and well…. I still hardly do it.  So…. yes I am accepted for my two years Master programme in Global Studies at Lund University ! Hoooraay 🙂
It was my first choice when I applied to different programmes, so it made me really happy that I got in! Here is the link to the programme if you want to read more about it : http://www.lunduniversity.lu.se/o.o.i.s?id=24725&lukas_id=SAGLSSO

So now I just have to pass my Bachelor thesis this June. Just… well I have to admit right now I am struggling a little bit. I feel overwhelmed by all the literature I have to read and how to structure all my thoughts. The topic I am writing about is Palestinian NGOs in Israel and how they can, through Multi-Track Diplomacy, influence the peace process moving forward. I am planning on conducting a case study related to my work at the NGO I did my internship at last term (You can read about my internship in former posts).

So I spend most of my time nowadays sitting in the city library trying to concentrate on my research and not on Facebook, Buzzfeed, 9gag or 20140407_130616Newspaper websites… I really like this library though. Most of the times I am sitting with a friend together studying, talking, taking breaks and what not . Actually I am sitting here right now and of course writing a blogpost seemed much more appealing than doing further research on social movement theory…. 😉 Also I decided to start 20140407_130130reading more for fun again. I used to always have at least one book to read which is not connected to my studies to keep the balance a bit. However, lately I have not done that so its time to change that again. So I took a little walk through the shelves and picked out three books and hopefully they will take my mind of the stress a little bit. I have been drawing a little more lately as well which is 1613981_10202770433735252_1093659941_ngreat for stress relief. Last Friday a friend was hanging out with me at my place and we spontaneously got out the finger-colors and painted like little kids , lots of fun 🙂

I am planning on doing a blog post soon just about my drawing and painting, so keep visiting my blog if you don’t want to miss it (: Sport is great for a more balanced mind as well, so if I manage to talk myself out of the bed in the morning, I often take a trip down to the gym, which is conveniently in my house on the ground floor.

Studying so much and knowing that the next two years of my life are planned for now feels kinda…. good but scary too. Not badly scary but it feels very grown up. I also have the chance to do an internship or exchange studies for one semester, I am thinking maybe somewhere in Africa or deeper in the Middle East…. Lets see what life brings….. Sometimes I think time is running a tiny bit too fast. But oh well that is life and growing up brings good things with it as well. We learn the more we experience and we learn to reflect on things we do, decide and think. And it is still fully legit that we sometimes prefer a glass of red wine over some decisions or studying 😉 Moreover remember when you were with your parents at the supermarket, and you really wanted some candy or similar and you wouldn’t get it ? Now (if your student budget allows is ) you can buy as much candy as you want 😀 (keeping the small good things in mind…. 😉 )

Last week I felt quite grown up as well for a moment (where being fairly grown up came in very handy..) when my friend called me feeling really bad , fainting and so on after she had been hitting her head really badly . So I run to her place , put her in a taxi and we drove to the ER.20140402_23474720140402_234630 This was also one of the first time I developed something like motherly-protective-feelings (or at least that must be how it feels…) when the nurse took my friend away from me to do some tests and I was not allowed to follow in that area. I got really really upset because I wanted to know what was going on… so I might have been letting out my upsetness onto a silly barbie like looking Swedish nurse…. 😛
Later I was allowed to be with her again to wait for a doctor in our own room. Then when I had the feeling again I can protect my friend from evil nurses 😛 I was able to let my inner child out again and tried to entertain her to make the almost 6 (!!) hours we had to wait till the doctor arrived around 03.00 am, a little more bearable. The highlight probably was when I figured out that you can adjust the doctors seat super high up and so I started to “fly ” around the little room 😀  When the doctor did all her test the result was that my friend has a concussion and can’t do much more than take some meds for the pain and rest , rest , rest . Well better than something worse !

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Some days ago I also was at my first Swedish funeral. Rickard’s Grandmother unfortunately had died…. I sadly never got the chance to meet her but I went with to the funeral anyway. It was a beautiful funeral, with many flowers, nice people, nice words spoken and beautiful music. I am glad I came with. It was really sad as well and it made me think a lot about the people I have lost. But if we want or not, this is part of life and we have to learn to deal with it … We had lunch at a really nice restaurant afterwards with the whole family. They are all really really nice people. (:

Another day which made me feel sliiiightly old was when me and my friend went to a party of old friends which I hadn’t seen in over a year or even more. I used to hang out with those guys when I just wanted to take my mind of things and have a good time with wine, playstation, funny conversations and so on til late into the nights…. Now when I saw them again one of them got married last year, the other one has a girlfriend since two years, the other one didn’t come because he was home with his girlfriend he now lives with, and another really nice couple I met at that party was married as well !!! It was still a nice party with lots of drinks and fun conversation but still, married ?! I am 23 years old and my friends start getting married, planning on having kids and so on… Feels odd. Very odd. Especially since those friends always were the most chaotic party people I knew. Later we went to a student party where no one was married and the conversations where more towards cigarettes brands,school, old friends, drinks, music and so on . Felt a lot more normal….. 😛

IMG-20140403-WA0001Over easter my mother will visit me in Malmö, I look a lot forward to see her again !!! Then I can be the kid 10167991_650683624980948_1270861432_nand she the mother  again 😉 My Mum sent me lots of very old and sweet baby pictures from me, most from 1991 . (:

Spring takes it sweet time , like every year in Sweden , and right now I am looking outside seeing a foggy , grey sky. BUT the flowers start to bloom and the trees slowly get their green color back , so there is hope !!! I am sure studying and anyways everything gonna be a little easier when spring and warmer weather hopefully soon arrives 🙂

 

Lastly, a really sweet comparison : My Mum as a kid and I as a kid ! You really cannot deny the similarity ❤ (:

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A little poetry on a Sunday eve

I took some of my favourite quotes and mixed them together to a little poem. Turned out to be quite beautiful and suiting for many different situations one might face in life.
I hope you enjoy this little piece and stay tuned for future updates on my blog .

For a moment there, I saw an ounce of promise in you. But you weren’t strong enough to follow through on that. I just hope, for your sake that you one day find it again; that you manage to brush away the rubble in your head.

Sometimes something becomes too little or too much. Like a clock reappearing, the hands pointing the correct time but on the table the remains are lying. Like left-overs from a party. We tidy up. I tidy up, without flinching.

Now I’ve learned that some poems just don’t rhyme. Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality.

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not yet ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back.

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“Escaping reality days” – Everyone has them sometimes

1499437_731369633540684_1600945894_nThe moment Rickard asked me if I wanna go to the gym with him and I’m sitting in my chair where I haven’t moved away from since I got back home and only watched series while scribbling on a piece of paper and I said  “naaaahh I might get a glas of wine though,” I realized it’s one of those days. “Escaping reality day”  (or by all means hours).

One of those days where you might have even been to school, to work or to the library (or not) , telling yourself hey I have done stuff today now I can go home and do whatever, even though you know you could take care of things you need to do, things to plan, things to read, friends to call you promised to call since many days, answer your mails or else. But the only thing you do is sit on the couch, bed or at your desk you check the pages you usually check, like facebook, your mails, maybe some news stuff, 9gag and so on. Then your mind reminds you hey maybe you anqAW2b_700bshould take care of some things or maybe you should work out, go grocery shopping because when you look into your fridge everyone knows immediately that you are a student…… Well, you tell your mind to f**** off and start watching series while simoustanly chatting with some friends or like me grabbing the next pen and piece of paper around and scribble around.

You find the most comfortable position on your chair/sofa/bed (when it comes to me it usually looks like I really really want every part of my body on this chair and really do not wanna touch the ground with my feet) and then you watch the first episode. Then another one. Then another one. Then you think okey one more but then I should maybe go to the kitchen or at least answer this one important mail. Maybe I should check  my bank account since I kinda spent money on the weekend I don’t reaaaally have. Oh well no. Next episode.

While you watch this next episode you start doubting yourself a little bit. In my case because I am watching the second season of Gilmore Girls again (yes….. Gilmore Girls…….yes yes I know……..) I have seen all seasons at least twice already.  Then I remember how I watched aG9zwEz_460sGilmore Girls the first time at home in Germany on VOX in the afternoon, after school and I wanted to be like Rory. So much. She was so pretty and so god damn smart. I wanted to be that smart and I was wondering will I ever study at an University.  So I guess at least this question is answered. I am studying. I am studying in the last semester at an University to hopefully soon get my Bachelor degree. Wow. Feels like yesterday that I watched Gilmore Girls in my Mums livingroom laying on the white carpet trying to convince my grumpy sweet cat to come over and cuddle.

Oh well. So I am sitting here watching Gilmore Girls, chatting with friends, listening to music and didn’t really change position since I got home a couple of hours ago. I probably should be okey, I studied for quite the while today, I was outside , I met a friend so one might think okey what does she wanna bring across?! Isn’t normal to get home and just relax. Yes it is. However what I am talking about is the “kind of relaxing.” It is different than coming home after a full exhausting day and laying down on the couch watching a movie because you deserve it. It is more a “I did spent some hours studying and I did meet a friend but now I am home and I could still do things and take care of things, think about things which should be thought about but I don’t.”
I binge watch series and chat with friends about really unimportant things. I do this since about three hours, however, I have done this other999847_721449231214772_329267312_n days for a whole day when reality was simply nothing I wanted to deal with and frankly I was way to lazy too. (One thing though, if you need one of these reality escaping days because someone in your life does not treat you the way you deserve (and you deserve to be treated well!) you should probably try to kick this person out of your life, he/she is not worth it that you waste your precious reality escaping days if you could use them for escaping  important life decisions or university deadlines 😉 and you should have a  look at the picture to the right  )

I have heard from quite a few friends who do the same and so I think it might be a student thing. I mean obviously it is not a thing someone hard working would do, they would probably actually appreciate their free time or at least feel like they reaaaallyy deserve to be lazy now. Sometimes it is completely fine that one has those days, especially if you live in Sweden and it is winter. I mean hey, this greyness is truly not inspiring. If you study something like me (International Relations) in Sweden you have to do lots of work on your own, means you have to structure your time and have to set your priorities. Something what is sometimes very hard if you do have deadlines coming up but they are not that close. ‘Should I really start thinking about this paper/exam?’ Naah I still have a week or two. Was it a week or two?!! Maybe I should check.  Oh look another episode of Gilmore Girls. Sweet. Shut up mind, I need to know why Lorely is in the end not marrying that guy.

Pathetic? Sad? Nah. I wouldn’t be that harsh. Rather escaping reality for a while.  Because you can’t make up your mind if you already wanna be that mature, grown up person who takes everything overly serious. It is for sure nice to be not a teenager anymore but does it has to be already that proper grown up thing … ?! The first years of your twenties are funny and confusing. You can feel you are something like a grown up but yet when you look at other “real grown ups” people  over, lets say 35, you don’t feel that you belong to that group really. Sometimes 374997_544899768881589_1373945504_nfor sure. When you have to deal with your finances , pay your rent, buy food and what not. However in other cases you really wonder will I one day be that grown up like my parents who seem to be way better in dealing with every day life than you.
When I am like that, will I still use my laptop mousepad as a plate for my sandwich, when I am hungry and there is nothing really in the fridge will I still go for some olives and a spoon of peanut butter because the store is so far away and its cold outside, will I still go out in a bar and spend wwaaayyy too much money for way too sweet drinks even though I know I actually do not have that money, will I still tell myself after a weekend okey no alcohol for a while and then sit the next day with a glass of wine and write a blogpost about exactly that, will I still wait for deadlines to come really close to get started on work , will I still question my life and where I go all the time, will I still spend time out until 02.00 am being with friends even though I know that I have to wake up at 07.00 am, will I still bake blue colored waffles 04.00 am because I simply feel like it….. ?

Well, obviously some things will change but which ones and when? I don’t even know how I got to all this grown up stuff. I guess that’s what happens when you start thinking on a day where you actually should just watch series and eat junk food , or don’t eat because nothing in your fridge is attractive and you have that wine bottle which seems much more appealing.

I am not saying I have these days all the time. If everyday would look like this I would have a problem and maybe should really start thinking what to change and how to do that. I have those days or by all means hours or “half days” especially in winter and when there is actually lots to take care of what I don’t wanna deal with right now. Some days I just get my ass up and take care of stuff. Think about things which have to be thought about and go to the gym and be happy afterwards and feel good with myself.

I think these “escaping reality days or hours” everyone needs sometimes even though they actually should do or think about other things. It is just natural that one has more of those days when one is studying or only working sometimes (and when you live in Sweden and it’s winter!!).
I just wonder if everyone does that or if its just me and some friends I have heard talking about it. Sometimes I sit in class and hear some people talking about theories and other stuff I really (REALLY) should know about by now, but I don’t and they seem all sorted out and knowing. I wonder if those people have their escaping reality days as well or not. I guess everyone has some bad days but how many people binge watch one episode after another, drink a glass of wine instead of eating dinner, ignoring successfully all the thoughts in your head you actually should take care of.  Maybe more than I think. Maybe less. Maybe people have other methods to escape their reality for a while.

Originally this should have been a funny and slightly ironic blog post and it kinda took a more serious turn than I intended to. I find it still a 299225_630749586951404_293521020_nlittle ironic in a good way. I mean hey, I should take care of my Bachelor thesis idea, go to the gym, meet a friend I promised to see since so long and instead of doing that I watch the fourth episode of Gilmore Girls and honestly…. I don’t even feel too bad about it. One of these escaping reality days just motivated me to write this post , so sometimes those days even bring you something unexpected and fun !

Well, maybe I can anyways make my point with this post and make some people feel a little better if they have to deal with the same phenomenon 😉 I think everyone has their escaping reality days or hours and everyone has their methods and that is okey. That is very okey. Just take care so that it is not your whole life which looks like this. Then you will be fine. You will be fine anyway. If you feel bad right now, tell yourself it’s just a phase and it will pass. If you feel good right now or at least not particularly bad tell yourself hey great I don’t feel bad lets make this phase last as long as possible. And if binge watching series and drinking wine makes you happy today then do it. Fuck it ! Tomorrow is time to take care of things. You are not like this every day and therefore you will be fine !

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Malmö – Lose your greyness !

I just noticed that I am back in Malmö, Sweden since almost three weeks…. Can hardly believe that. It’s probably because since we arrived I was either stressed out with university stuff, stressed out because I had a liiiittle hard time to adapt to Sweden again or I was sick. Only since a few days I finally start to feel that I really arrived and feel home again. Me and Malmö is probably some kind of a hate-lover relationship 😛

When we came back from Israel we first stayed a little less than a week in Vellinge until we got the flat back. The people who had lived here while we were gone moved the Norway and stayed here until around the 1st of Feb. Then it took us for ever to make the flat feel home again because first thing arriving here was that I got really really really sick and as soon as I was fine again I had to prepare for presentations in university. Now all presentations are finally done and I should catch up on the other reading. Weeeelll…. anyways not gonna happen today 😛

The weather gave me especially in the first two weeks a very hard time as it’s simply always always grey here. It’s either dark grey or light grey or it’s night. Well today the sun came out what is really nice but in Israel we had nearly every single day sun. I regret that I stopped appreciating the good weather there after a while because now I know what I lost. Almost every day when I wake up here and look out of the window the only thing what comes into my mind is : meh.

So Malmö lose your greyness and get spring over here !!!!!! Or simply keep up that sun from today!!!! 

What gave me a hard time in the beginning as well was that in Israel I had a very structured life. Work everyday and then you actually enjoy the weekend because its something special. Now I have university 2-3 times a week that’s it. Yes, I do meet up with friends or do sports or paint or what ever but it is almost every day simply up to me what I do and if I can get myself to study and read or not.  But I get used to it and by now I manage to structure my days fairly well 🙂 Sometimes I wonder if I am the only person who has such a hard time to adjust again when switching country of residents, I just get emotionally way to attached to places and people. I think I will try to work on that, it would make my life so much easier 😉

We had an amazing welcome home party where I got to see all my friends and even had Emilie from France here and Andrey from Amsterdam. So much fun !!! Soon I will be a week in Germany to visit my family and friends. Also , good news concerning my cat Jimmy !!! His tumor in his spleen got smaller and the blood data is better as well, so no need for surgery any time soon and he only has to go the doctor again in about three months. This made me so so so happy !!!! 😀

After Germany I soon have to start fight with writing my Bachelor thesis. Scares the hell out of me but I am sure I will somehow manage it. Obviously I will chose a topic what is connected to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict so I can use all my knowledge I have gained in the past half a year 😀

So that was a quick update about how things are and I will attach a few pictures I took since I arrived in Sweden. Soon I will pick up writing my blog regularly again and share more of my thoughts and ideas for my future !!! Thank you all for reading and keep following!!!

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 The old gang reunited !!!!!

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Thank you all for an amazing welcome home party !!!!!

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Three of my most favourite people !!!! ❤

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In Vellinge, Rickard is trying to get Kepp out into the snow

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 Bromance !!!!

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Yes I have a serious side too !!!

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Angry at grey weather and having bad mood?! Get the kids finger colos out and have some fun !!

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Our study group for the presentations turned out to be awesome , thank you to all of you for the great work !!!

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Reunited with Schnuppi !!! ❤

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Reunited with my favorite Malmö-Girls ❤

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Adventure Time Cloth is best !!!!

Roadtrip awesomeness !

The time in Israel & Palestine is coming to an end. Tomorrow early early morning a taxi will pick us up and drive us to the airport. After a stop in Istanbul we will be back in Sweden Sunday afternoon….. I still have a hard time to comprehend that this time here is really already over! Right now I am blogging from a really awesome hostel in Tel Aviv were we will spent our last evening.  Let me give you a quick recap about the last week and our awesome roadtrip and then you will find some pictures from it below as well.

After leaving Jerusalem on the 21th in the afternoon we got our rental car which looked liked a wannabe version of a pitty cruiser and was probably as strong as a trabbi, but it carried us everywhere we wanted and so I shouldn’t really complain. For me a car has to drive and not much more. 😛 Our first stop was Nablus in the West Bank were we stayed at a really nice little Hotel and were amazed by the friendliness of all the people around us. We enjoyed a stroll through the city markets, had good food and of course smoked a shisha. We meant to go to Jericho before that but we decided to skip it after all, as there is not too much to see apart from that it is a really old city. We took it in general a little easy on visiting sites, ruins and other things like that since we both felt a little done with history and ruins after our Jordan trip and all the things we did and visited in Jerusalem and the West Bank. Our focus was a little more on relaxing, enjoying awesome views , meeting nice people on the way and simply doing what we felt like and not “what we have to see.”

After Nablus we drove up north to Nazareth were we had lunch and took a stroll around, it was nice and all but to us nothing super special, probably again due to that we just have seen so much in the last 5 months. After that we went along to Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee and immediately loved it. The weather was warm and nice, we visited hot sulphor pools and had really good food and felt really homey in our hotel which had a awesome roof terrace all to our selves. So in the end we decided to stay two nights instead of one. Didn’t regret it 🙂

Our trip went on to the Golan Heights which is occupied by Israel as well and belonged before to Syria. It was a beautiful landscape up there and we really enjoyed driving on the fairly empty streets. On our way to Mount Hermon right next to the Lebanese and Syrian boarder suddenly the road was blocked, we could hear machine guns and saw lots of soldier in the mountains. We got out of the car to see what this is all about, being fairly close to crisis ridden country boarders it was a very interesting feeling to experience. It turned out that it was the Israeli Army which did training in the mountains and we were told that they are done soon and the road will be open again. So we took our chance and took lots of pictures which surprisingly the army did not forbid. Normally the IDF is not very keen on pictures 😛

Arriving at Mount Hermon and getting up to the top with a lift we got an amazing view and funny enough, some snow and they were renting out slides up there ! So we took the chance and rented one and went down a little snowy hill with all the other kids 😉 Our journey went on to Akko in the late afternoon. A beautiful and cozy coast city I immediately liked a lot. We had walks on the city wall along the cost, of course again really good food and we even visited a citadel and went through a Templar tunnel which was really interesting ! We enjoyed a really really good dinner at the port in Akko. After having been eating Falaffel, white bread, hummus, tahina and all the other nice Arabic foods you can find around here, it was great to  have seafood and full wheat bread 😛 🙂

Next day we went to Haifa and had a look at the beautiful Bahai garden. The garden has 17 or 19 terraces and provided an amazing view down to the sea. We did not spend too much time around there as we started late that noon with driving and we wanted to get rid of the rental car in Tel Aviv before 06.00 pm.

Last stop before arriving in Tel Aviv in the evening was Caesarea where we had a look around some ruins and beaches and enjoyed lunch in the sun. Arriving in Tel Aviv we found our hostel fairly fast. It just opened half a year ago and is located in an old textile factory(Overstay Hostel). The whole style of it is very alternative, relaxed and cool ! Everything is full of graffiti and art, people are super nice, lots of different furniture types can be found and the roof top has an awesome lounge -chill -out area. You can rent a bike for one Euro a day. So we did that the next day and biked around Tel Aviv and the coast side. I like Tel Aviv a lot ! I thought it would be bigger, noisier and not so welcoming but that’s was totally wrong. The city has many awesome corners and cozy streets, nice bars and cafes and the beaches along the coast are awesome to hang out and enjoy a beer ! Today we took the bikes to old Jaffa which is right next to Tel Aviv and hang out along the water side and were over all pretty lazy. We might had have a few drinks in the hostel the night before, met some cool people and therefore we miiight be a little hangover today 😉

Over all the short roadtrip was relaxed and really great. No problems and lots of fun. Now I gonna slack around the hostel and hopefully catch some sleep before we have to drive to the airport. Thank you Israel and Palestine for amazing 5 months, I saw a lot, experienced a lot, learned a lot, met amazing people and the time here gave me over all a great opportunity to grow! I look forward to my next adventures and will keep you updated here ! Let’s hope I won’t freeze to death in Sweden, there it is about 30 degrees less than here right now…. 😛 Now enjoy some pictures I took in the last week :

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21 Things I will miss about living in Jerusalem

Less than two weeks left in Israel & Palestine!
Since my post about the ’27 reasons to miss Malmö’, I thought Jerusalem deserves something similar. So here you go:
21 things I will miss about living in Jerusalem:

1. All the friends I have met through my work and all the friends I have met outside work, Palestinians and Israelis. They are great people and I will miss them much.

2. All the stray kitties we have met on our evening walks, some of them we even have fed for a while. If I could, I would adopt them all.

3. The friendly old newspaper guy I met every morning at the corner of the Mamilla Mall. Even though he knew I can’t read Hebrew he gave me a paper every time explaining something to me in Hebrew. When I started to learn a few Hebrew words his smile in the morning got even brighter. I think he never gave up the hope that I will learn Hebrew some day.

4. Even though I often cursed that I live so far away from my work (depending on the different location we have lived at, my walk to work was always between 30 and 45 min) I overall enjoyed walking first through the center of the Western side and then arriving at the busy Arab side where in the morning people sell freshly baked sesame rings on the side of the streets. While listening to music on my mp3 player and walking I had lots of time to think and reflect on my life here. (In case you wonder, the bus connection and the traffic here is so inefficient that it wouldn’t have made a difference in time spent).

5. I will miss my work. A lot. I have learned so much and I got to know so many interesting people. My boss is one of the greatest persons I have ever met and all my colleagues have been wonderful. Even the grumpy Armenian 😉 Finally getting the chance to work practically in the field I have studied in since over 2 years has been a great experience.

6. Being able to get a freshly pressed pomegranate juice on almost every corner and feeling a nice vitamin boost after a night out.

7. Taking trips to the West Bank to the vibrant city of Ramallah or having a shisha on the main square in Bethlehem watching all the people passing by on their way to the birthplace of Jesus.

8. Going out to clubs and bars around Yaffa street with my friends, catching the happy hour at Hataklit and then going dancing in the crowded Video pub. The atmosphere around Yaffa street especially on Thursday nights is awesome.

9. Visiting the old city and wandering through the different quarters, especially the Arab quarter feels sometimes like being in the tale of 1000 and one nights.

10. Hanging out in the Austrian Hospice and enjoying the silence of the garden while listening to the Minarets singing and watching the people walking by on the street below.

11. History. I have to admit I was never too much into ancient history but since you can find history here around almost every corner, it was easy and interesting to learn something new almost every day.

12. The countless interesting conversations and discussions about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about the whole region in general and about the different cultures and traditions which can be found around here.

13. Dinner nights with friends, always full of good food, fun topics to talk about and overall simply a great time spend with lovely people.

14. Night adventures on Jerusalem’s playgrounds with friends.

15. Arabic food. I just love it.

16. Meeting new people from all over the world and receiving many invitations to visit the different countries they come from.

17. Going to the Mahane Yehuda market, buying fresh food, fresh halva and spices and simply enjoying the vibrancy of this place.

18. Seeing the people living here getting overly excited about the snowfall in December was more than fun. Nothing worked in the city anymore, the office was closed and so on. This made snowing a lot more interesting than in Sweden or Germany.

19. 
The friendly guy working in the little store next door to the office. He alway welcomed me and the other interns with a big smile and asked how we are today. He ecouraged me to speak Arabic and taught me how to pronounce many words correctly. I really like the language and hope I can improve it in the future.

20. The weather (apart from a 10 days period in December) has been great. September to November it was really warm and after the snow in December it is now pretty mild again. During the day the temperature reaches around 16-18 degrees. It has rained maybe 4 times in the whole period I have been in this country.

21. The singing from the different minarets around the city. You can’t hear it that much in the Western part but even there if you listen from our kitchen window very closely, you can hear the wind carrying it around the city. So it turns out I have a thing for Arabic music.

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Last Weeks in Jerusalem & the Conflict’s Presence in Daily Life

Three weeks to go and then we will be back in Sweden. I can’t believe how time was flying the last few months.  It still feels like we just IMG_3727arrived but that is 4 month ago…..

I have very mixed feelings about leaving this country. On the one hand I am of course looking forward to see my friends again, to be closer to Germany, have central heating and as much warm water as I want while taking a shower…. and I look forward to finish my bachelor and hopefully find a cool master program for the next autumn . On the other hand I will miss the people I have met here,  the nice weather ( apart from the snowstorm of course 😛 ) , the city of Jerusalem is very beautiful and interesting and I have loved my trips to the West Bank. Not working at CDCD anymore will feel weird, I have enjoyed the work here so much and I have learned a lot . Before I came here I hoped that I grow with coming here and that it will  help me to widen my horizon how I think about certain issues and it did. It did a lot. The thought of leaving this organization and the work with the conflict here feels almost wrong. I can just leave and go on living my life in comfortable Sweden but the people here , especially the Palestinians , have to keep on dealing with the circumstances and can’t just leave even if they wanted to.

IMG_4758I will keep on working with CDCD, however, this will be of course not the same as being in the office with my lovely colleagues and in direct contact with the people we work with.  Israel is not a country I would want to live in permanently , to that conclusion I came, however if I would have no plans for the next year I would probably try to stay and keep on working since I seem to be one of the few people who have not given up hope that things can actually change and of course because I have enjoyed the work here to such a great extent.

The conflict and security issue in this country is always present in the daily life and it has affected me as well. Therefore I can only imagine how hard it is for the people who live permanently here . I have no doubt about that it is the hardest for Palestinians but I am also talking about both sides in this case. I have met some very lovely Israeli friends who have very understandable and sometimes really good points of view when we have another discussion about the situation here after a lovely dinner…  For the Israelis who want peace and are willing to make compromises ( and that is the majority I at least have met) the situation is not always easy as well.

Let me tell you three examples how the conflict and the security issue here as affected me in my daily life.

1. One of my best friends was kicked out of the country and another one got interrogated for over 9 hours when he wanted to enter the country again….. and these are not the only stories I have heard. Other people had no problem at all. Everything what is done here about visa and migration seems arbitrary and random and that is exactly the problem . You never know if you will be interviewed for 10 min and all is well or for 9 hours and still get kicked out . With reason or without, doesn’t matter.  If I would have to pick one word which describes many things which I have experienced while my stay in Jerusalem then I would pick the word ‘random’. From traffic planning over shopping in a supermarket to visa issues and entering the 485px-Emblem_of_Israel.svgcountry. Everything what happens to you is random.

So today we had an appointment at the Ministry of Interior to extend our visa. I was kind of anxious about it as many of my friends had problems with the authority here as I wrote above. It was my turn first and I went to that Israeli lady who did not even look up when I sat down and said Hi.  Then she looked at me and almost screamed at me; why are you here, explain yourself ! Why do you need a visa ?!?!  So I stayed calm and polite and told her that I do an internship as a part of my Studies in Sweden and to be able to finish it and afterwards tour the country a bit I need an extension of my visa. What’s the name of the organization where is it ???? I told her the address and the name…. I don’t know where that is she angrily said….She went through my papers I had brought with me ( passport, letter of explanation, internship contract, bankstatement, flight tickets etc…) You are here on a tourist visa you CAN NOT extent a tourist visa, NO, no way!!!  So I said well, I talked to the Israeli embassy in Stockholm and Copenhagen and they said I can. Since it is an unpaid internship and only lasts for 5 months. She mumbles something and went again through my papers….. Where is the date on the flight ticket there is no date, she screamed….. I smiled and point it out to her. Same with the bank statement, wheeeerreeeeee does it say you have enough money to support yourself ?????????  I again point it out to her. Then I said, you know, we only need 4 more days on our visa, then we leave anyway we just want to see a bit more of this beautiful country after my internship finishes and then we leave on the 26th. I smiled again.

Suddenly she got somewhat friendly and said okey, if you sign me here that you promise that you leave the country on the 26th and that you do not intend to try to extend your visa again its okey. BUT we have an eye on you if you don’t leave the country we will know and you have a big problem ! Thats fine, I said . Then she even said, you know what, for only 4 days you do not need an extension. I will put it in the computer that its fine that you stay 4 days more and you show this paper at the airport. You do not need to pay the new visa. Go get your boyfriend so you can talk to him about it. So I did and she said everything what she said to me counts for my boyfriend as well. Yeeaaayyy all solved and we left 🙂 So I was right when thinking to go with the truth is probably the best idea.  Still, her behaviour was just random.

2. A very odd incident I experienced was last month at a flower shop. I was going to buy a sunflower and went in this cute , little shop and the lady in there was really friendly. After I payed she said can I ask you a question ? Sure I said, why not. Do you know what it means to imageswear this scarf you are wearing ?! She said. (At that time I was wearing the scarf around my neck I got from my friend in Jordan which is a traditional Middle Eastern headdress usually worn by Palestinians or Bedouins but also in general by Arabic people, called Keffiyeh).
I said, well I think I know what it means but why don’t you tell me what it means for you ? Where did you get it from? From the old city???, she asked visibly more suspicious. I got it from a friend in Jordan I said.  Then she said, well it shows that you support Arabs, do you like Arab people , do you really like Arab people ?!?!?!?!?!? My first impulse was that I wanted to start laughing or asking her if she is a racist, well I didn’t, I said yes I do like Arab people and I have no problem with wearing a scarf which is usually worn by Arab people. I think there is nothing wrong with liking Arabs. Even more upset she said, you know it sends a message, it provokes people , you might get bad reactions for it !!! I think I am fine with that and will be just fine to deal with it, I said, smiled, and wished her a good day and went out. I was thinking about starting a discussion with her but I was just too tired to deal with this topic again that day and hoped that my polite but straight forward reaction gave a something to think about.

3. I visited the Palestinian Refugee Camp Al Jalazone close to Ramallah the other month together with friends from work and Rickard. We had a really nice meeting with the director of a center where children can go after school and do different activities in their free time, like making music, learning a new language and many more things. We talked about how we can create a webpage for the center to inform IMG_9694about their work. When we entered the camp we were greeted by many very sweet kids dancing and running around us and asking us to take pictures of them 🙂 We had a really good time there.

Some weeks later I was reading the news in the morning and I read an article about a 13 year old kid shot in the Jalazon camp  by the Israeli Army in front of his school in the back. He died. It really really affected me and made me feel so sad and angry. I was in that camp and met so nice people there and so many sweet kids and one of them gets just shot dead.  According to the Palestinian news there was no incident of demonstration , stone throwing or similar and many people in the camp witnessed it. According to the Israeli news this kid was not 13 but 15 or 17 and was shot accidentally because he was trying to climb a security fence but he was not meant to be killed. To me it does not matter if 13 or 17 climbing a fence or not who shoots at kids with live ammunition?!  The Israeli people I talked to about the incident believe the Israeli news and the Palestinian people I have talked to about it believe their news.

Exactly this  problem I have noticed so many times when reading the Israeli and Palestinian news reporting about the same issues. Therefore we got an idea for a  project which I do not want to talk about in details as its not developed fully yet but the basic idea is creating a web page which when an incident happens related to the conflict, displays the news from both sides, Israeli and Palestinian. If there are some facts which are contradicting each other or the reports are in some way significantly different we simply highlight it and give the newspapers a chance to write a statement. If this page would reach some kind of popularity and would be read by Israelis , Palestinians and other world citizen it may create awareness that nothing should be just looked upon from only one side and in best case it even encourages better reporting. Let’s see if we can pull it of…. I will keep you updated about it 🙂

When I leave the country I will take all these experience with me and hopefully still keep on working with everything I started to be involved with. I also plan to write my Bachelor thesis about the conflict and already have some ideas but I have to figure them out more in detail.
I will keep on updating this blog about my travels, my work and my life experiences and hope you won’t stop following it when I am back in Sweden as I am sure I still have interesting things to share 😉

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