Sunday, November 28, 2010

Run Wild for a Child, the aftermath

It's done! I've finished! I am finished!

A while ago I announced that I was participating in a children's charity run, "Run Wild for a Child". Today I ran it. As I have mentioned before, this is my Everest. The race is only 5 km (3,1 miles), but you have no idea how out of shape I was when I first decided to run a 5 km race. Let me tell you.

I took my body and mind out for a test run a few month ago. I was shocked! Not that I thought I was in good shape, but I didn't think it was humanly possible to have so little stamina. Without exaggerating I managed to jog about 200 m (0,12 miles) before my lungs started to burn. Something had to change! I decided to run a race. That would give me a predetermined distance and date. I recruited some friends for support and off I went.

My goal was to run the whole race without stopping, without really bothering about the time. I soon realized that people with long legs could easily walk the same pace as I jogged. But at least I was out there.

It really is a pity that I'm such an expert procrastinator. I started running regularly way too late. As a result I didn't quite reach my goal. I did the 5 km in 38 min which is about a 12 min/mile. I spent about 5 min walking. Maybe I could have pushed myself a little bit more, but regardless of the result, I'm really, really proud of my self, especially considering where I started.

I'm still not a fan of running. But this experience was a great experience. I will probably not keep running for fun, but run for charity is the least I can do.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Giving thanks

Time to be serious and to share some thoughts. It's Thanksgiving weekend. I want to take the opportunity to reflect on the things in my life I'm most thankful for.

There are plenty of things I take for granted, that by no means are available to all, such as a roof over my head, food on the table, cloths to wear and healthcare. I'm thankful for everything I just mentioned. All of it enables me to live a good life. I'm thankful that all the basic necessities are so much a part of me that I can't really imagine how life would be without them. I even have a car to drive, a dishwasher, a wardrobe full of stuff and almost an endless supply of entertainment. And on top of it all, I'm healthy!

I'm thankful I have all the tools to live a good life. But the reality is that I don't live a good life, I live a great life.

What makes my life great? People do. I've always pride myself in being an independent person. If I want anything done, I will do it myself. I'm self-reliant, self-motivated and self-confident. But would I be any of it if I didn't have people in my life cheering me on? I can call my self as independent as I want, but the truth is that I'm totally dependent on my loved ones.

My parents would do anything for my well-being. They always have my best interest in mind (even though I don't always appreciate it). My husband is the love of my life. I don't know how to function without him. My best friend is as much my soulmate as my husband. She knows me in ways no one else ever will. I gladly serve them my heart on a silver platter, and I thank them for handling it with love and care.

I have great friends. Some old friends in Sweden that I miss dearly. I have some friends in Europe, Asia and Africa I don't know when I will see again. I have new friends in the US who brighten my everyday. And then there are all the friends I've had but no longer know, from school, summer camps, work etc. I'm glad to have known you.

I want to thank everyone who has ever put a smile on my face. I can only hope that I have given as much as I have received.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I'm from Europe

I was at my dentist yesterday. While in the waiting room, I casually chatted with the receptionist about Thanksgiving.

Re: Any plans for Thanksgiving?
Me: Well, we are celebrating with some friend of ours. All of us live far from our families so it's a good thing we can take care of each other.
Re: That sounds great! You are from Canada, right?
Me: No, I'm from Europe.

What's up with that?!? I'm not even going to discuss the fact that my accent apparently sounds Canadian. My main concern is how I said "I'm from Europe" or actually, my concern is what I didn't say. "I'm from Sweden" is what I should've said. Or at least "I'm from Scandinavia".

I spent the rest of the teeth cleaning contemplating my choice of words. I never say "I'm from Europe" and if I have in the past it's only been as a last resort, when people don't seem to know where Sweden is. I know how the European Union want to strengthen our European identity, but as far as I know, French people are still fiercely proud to be French and Scottish people don't even like to call themselves British, let alone European.

Then I thought a daunting thought. The only people I know who frequently treat Europe as if it was one country are Americans. OMG! Have two years in the US really made me lose my sense of national identity? Have I lost the understanding of cultural differences? Or have I just lost my mind. Either way, I can't shake the feeling the I have lost something...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Love is in the Air

Gadgets! Gadgets! Gadgets!

... is not a thing I would typically say. I wouldn't call myself a technophobe but I'm very far from being a technophile. And if there is something I'm definitely not, it's tech-savvy. Without my tech-savvy technophile husband I would probably still be inserting my floppy disk into my Windows 95 computer, hooking up to the internet via my modem and logging onto ICQ and searching for stuff on Alta Vista. I would listen to my portable CD-player and wishing the CD wouldn't skip all the time and I would play "Snake" on my cell phone which would have a huge antenna.

Good thing I'm not. Since I met my dear husband I've become the proud owner of a whole lot of new technology. He hooks us up on the latest stuff and I get to benefit from it. I've appreciated pretty much every addition he's made (even though you can question the size of our subwoofer).

Until recently, I've not been proactive at all. I've just adapted. But a few weeks ago I suggested we make another addition to our collection of gadgets. So, after some contemplation, we decided to buy an 11 inch Macbook Air.

I adore it! I don't just love it, I'm in love with it.

I'm sure it's a great machine and has great technical specs, but to me it's just so wonderfully light and portable. And who knew a gray, metallic square could be so pretty. I treasure it so much it even prompted me to sew a custom skin for it. I'm no Martha Stewart but I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. Let's face it, when I was a young girl, I loved dressing my dolls. Now, I'm a grown woman, living in Silicon Valley. Now I love dressing my Macbook Air.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Emperor's new invisibility cloak

My guess is that all of us has, at some point, wished we could be invisible. It's the perfect fantasy. It opens up possibilities that can only be limited by the own imagination. The coolest way to turn invisible would obviously be to be able to control it with your mind, but if that is unattainable I could easily settle for Harry Potter's invisibility cloak.

But the reality is that it's only a fantasy. At least that's what I thought until very recently. I realized that all of us can turn invisible when ever we please. Unfortunately it's not enough to use our minds, we need a invisibility device. Introducing the cell phone.

Last week, while sitting on a tram, I saw one man turn invisible. He was a man in his 30s, well dressed and he looked like he belonged in the financial district. He had some problems with his complexion, but else from that, he was very well groomed. We sat in a fashion where I was facing his profile. His invisibility device rang and all of a sudden, he couldn't stop touching his face. While on the phone (which sounded like a business call) he began to pop his pimples. He had zits on his face and neck and he kept popping them for a good 5 min. Apparently he had turned invisible. The same second as he turned off his invisibility device he stopped touching his face and returned to be the pulled together business man he was when he wasn't invisible.

Similar thing happend yesterday. I was at the mall, waiting in line to pay. In front of me was this 18-19 year old girl. She had perfect hair, perfect make-up and she looked straight out of a fashion magazine. Her invisibility device started ringing and as soon as she turned invisible she started picking her nose. After plunging her perfectly manicured finger into her nose, she retrieved it, looked if she caught anything and plunged the finger into the other nostril. She was not embarrassed at all but why would she be, she was invisible.

The Emperor wore his new cloths with pride, even though he was naked. If he had an invisibility cloak he could have had the freedom to do what ever he pleased, where ever he please and he would do it for the whole world to see.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Looptroop Rockers - On Repeat

I don't always agree with Looptroop's political messages, but I applaude them for their latest song, "On Repeat". They wrote this after the Swedish election as a response to the Sweden Democrats' success.

get out! this is meant to be shocking
perverted disturbed this bird's mocking
Who's to say what's culture who's watching
who's knocking
get out! they're here to carry me away
not done till I'm buried in a grave
and no one left to hear me when I say
they got rid of em all
get out! turncoats turn folks into scapegoats
burn crosses burn mosques lay low
no way burn every flag every nation
high horses hypocritical halo
swastika carved on your face yo
9/19 what a day of shame for
the most enlightened country or you say so
but how modern is it to be racial

well it looks to me
like our history's
running on repeat
over and over again

oh no, I don't follow you
'cus you're clearly delusional, all of you
in here we a family, I know it bothers you
feeling left out of our little rendez vous
boo, it's scary thought I know
that my brother's bilingual and minutes ago
I was talking to my mother in law
still got an accent after 35 years in this snow
whoa, what a horrible crime
cooking something that I've never seen in my life
and she's scared of this Sweden that you vote and she paid for
modern, enlightened, I heard when you said so..

when it looks to me
like our history's
running on repeat
over and over again

go, get out now how you gon' react?
go, stay out the ball is bouncing back!

you wanna isolate yourself, crush peoples dreams
deny families to live in peace
but tell me how it feels out in the cold
when the hate that you breed is coming for your soul
once again ignorance is hiding
wolf in a sheep's suit and tie crying
(get out) and they call it a bluff
that we see kids in apathy cus they had enough
who's gonna stop us, who's gonna close the door?
as long as we live and got our vocal cords
watch who you voting for, this state's so
modern, enlightened, I heard when they said it's so..

well it looks to me
like our history's
running on repeat
over and over again

Friday, November 12, 2010

Rom-Coms, fall 2010

Hey Girls (and boys, I'm not here to judge).

Fall is here and it's high time to put away the bikini and the flip-flops. Replace the sun chair and chicken salads with blankets and hot soups. No more putting on summer dresses and sipping icy cocktails. Time to put on the sweatpants and curl up in the sofa with a cup of tea. What goes better with cosy days in than movies? I've recently had the pleasure to catch quite a few romantic comedies recently/currently running at the cinema. None of them have been mind-altering och life-changing, but sometimes you just want to be amused and smile for a while. Based on my totally subjective judgement, I recommend the following movies in the following order:

1. Going the distance, starring Drew Barrymore and Justing Long
2. Easy A, starring Emma Stone
3. Life as we know it, starring Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel
4. The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman

I will soon be going back to the cinema to watch "Morning Glory" and "Love and other drugs". We'll see how they fit into the list.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

It's all in the hair

I just got my hair cut. As always, my hairdresser Christy, did a great job. She's not the cheapest Chinese hairdresser in town, but she knows asian hair and she has proper qualifications from Vidal Sasson. Also, she is the sweetest person ever! I found her two years ago when I first moved to California. Having lived most of my life in Sweden, I've always wanted a hairdresser who knows chinese hair. My east-asian sisters out there, you know what I'm talking about.

When I started going to her, she was working at her sisters salon. They are both from China and they moved to the US to try to make a better life for themselves and for the family they had to leave behind in China. So when I received a call from Christy about a month ago, I was surprised to hear that she had started working at another salon.

Today she told me why. When she was working at her sister's place she had to worked 9am - 7pm, 6 days a week. But now she needed more spare time because her son is finally able to move to the US. They had just finalized all the paperwork and he will be arriving in 4 weeks. For the past three years she has only been able to see her son once a year. So now she's renting a chair at a new salon, she's working flexible hours and she's taking an English class to prepare for her son's arrival. She was so happy but her story almost made me cry. Think of the heart-break and the sacrifice.

When I was leaving, I payed the $50 and tried to give her a tip. She gave me the tip back saying I shouldn't give her anything extra, but I could help her by giving her a good review on I shoved $10 in her hands and told her I would write her a great review.

If you live in or around Mountain View and need a good hairdresser and want to support a good human being, visit and ask for Christy.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Shopping brings happiness (sometimes)

Today is a good day. I've had a headache all day. I'm dead tired and I have eaten a way too big lunch. But today is a good day and nothing can bring me down.

So, what is the root of my happiness? A pair of shoes. I realize that this is my third posting dedicated to shoes and so be it, I love shoes.

For the past month I've been on the hunt for a pair of winter booties. I've had a very specific style in mind and I've been all over the place looking for them. As I am a bargain shopper I have also limited my choices to a very tight budget. Seriously, I live in California and will not be using my heavy black winter boots that many weeks of the year.

I found nothing. Well, I found a whole lot of lovely shoes, but not the perfect pair for the perfect price. So, what am I willing to give up? Giving up the idea of the perfect shoe or giving up on finding the perfect price? I decided to compromise the price. I had found a great pair at Urban Outfitters (one of my favorite stores). They were $69 and I had a 20% off promotion code to use online. However, I couldn't get the stupid code to work so I decided to drive to the store and buy them at the original price.

I almost tore the store apart. I couldn't believe they didn't have my shoes in store. I asked a shop assistant if they had more shoes coming in. She asked me which ones I was looking for and after trying to explain which one I wanted I was asked to show her on the computer. After going through hundreds of pairs of shoes, we found them. And they had them in store. In the sale department!

Online, they shoes I wanted was listed as "News" but in store they were recently sorted as a sale item. By recently I mean they were marked down yesterday! So, instead of paying $69 I ended up paying $19.99. Bring on the euphoria! I ended up finding the perfect pair for a perfect price and that is why today is a good day.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Music festivals 2010

I've been to three music festivals this year, everyone of them very different from the other. It's been hip hop, alternative music and an acoustic benefit concert. Even though they are different and they were great in their own way, I can't help but to compare.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Welcome to my new and improved blog. After careful consideration I've decided to integrate my three blogs into one. This will hopefully make my blog easier to follow and I will be able to post new stuff more often. I will continue to write about culture, society and about my life. If you want my opinion about something specific, let me know! :)

Thanks for reading!

Carpe Diem!

Yesterday, when I was driving, I heard a song by Kris Allen on the radio, " Live like we're dying". The song got me thinking. You know how people say that you should "live your day like there is no tomorrow" or "live each day as if it was the last". I'm not sure if I could do that.

If I knew I was dying tomorrow or if today would be the last I would probably spend the entire day crying my eyes out. I would force my husband to stay home from work and hold me all day while I cried in his arms knowing that I wouldn't have time to say good bye to my family and friends, especially those in Sweden.

If I found out when I was dying, regardless of if it was tomorrow, next month or next year, I actually think I would mourn the fact that I was dying more than I would celebrate that I was alive. I think I'm enjoying life and making the most of it because I hope and believe it will last a long time, over a long life. I might die tomorrow or today, but my hope that there will be many tomorrows to come makes me happy and hopeful that I have many more happy days to live.