Wednesday, 15 February 2012

valentine's day

i know valentine's day is a bit of a commercial stunt and i can't say i particularly like it (at all, whatsoever, goddamnit!). nevertheless, it's a day when i feel like doing something and not just sit at home watching tv.

on the agenda for yesterday was going to a concert with some friends. and besides listening to the music, i also observed some cultural differences..

the singaporeans are quite strange sometimes. yes, i know, that in itself is not a cultural difference, it's probably more of a personal opinion.. anyway, the band was playing latin american jazz music and despite me being a 'cold' swede and kind of non-rhythmical person, i still felt like it was music to dance to - actually the perfect music to play in a bar where some people casually sit around tables and some dance, while having a drink and chatting away. this concert, however, was in a kind of auditorium, where you would expect a concert with classical music to take place. people were sitting down and no one moved one inch during the whole concert. only when it was finished they all stood up and greeted the band massive applause. a bit of a surprise as the complete silence and lack of movement during the actual concert seemed to me like an indication of indifference or even dislike.

so difference 1 is that they even have the concert where they had it and difference 2 the way they acted.

i know you can't judge from one scenario only (which is probably the reason why this has not yet made the front page of any big news paper. besides, i am not claiming it to be scientifically reliable - just an observation), but to put one more example forward and "proof" i am not generalising (maybe only a tad), this also happened at the abba mania concert i went to. and abba is definitely not music you just sit still and listen to!

the other thing i noticed was that people just started clapping in the middle of a song, like after one of the musicians had a solo. i don't know if it's only me as i am not that used to this type of concerts, but i find it really rude to start clapping in the middle of a song. i also got backed up by my german friend. to me it screams 'stop it, you suck'. my spanish friends didn't find it odd at all.

i'm quite sure there was something else as well, but i've completely forgotten. i mean, this was yesterday after all and as we say in sweden 'minnet är gott, men kort'.

all in all, it was a good valentine's day. it was nice to do something different. i would never myself had come up with the idea of going to such a concert, but it was a nice experience. i've come to realise that it's the beauty of meeting people that are different from you - you get to do things you wouldn't normally do and see things you wouldn't normally see. the most important is not to have lots in common, it's to have a good time and meeting new people with different views and interests just enrichens your life and ensures you live your life to the fullest.

i know it sounds pretentious, but that's probably one of the main things i've learned so far in life, probably a lot thanks to travelling and meeting so many different types of people..

that is all. hasta la vista!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

back in business

yes, back in singapore since almost two weeks after the most lovely month in europe. it was so nice to be back home and meet all the great people i have the privilege of knowing.

besides the people, there were also some things i had seriously missed (and still miss), which were kind of the first things i bought when i got off the plane. food and drinks were of course a big part of it and in the uk, they were:
  • copella apple juice
  • tesco's caramelised onions hummus (and pre-cut carrots to go with that of course)
  • caffè nero's chai latte (even though it wasn't as good as i had imagined it would be)
and in sweden, they were:
  • ramlösa
  • marabou chocolate (and all other swedish sweets)
..and probably lots more that i've already forgotten so, in other words, not that important..

i had also missed the crisp days with clear blue sky and, probably most of all, having colleagues - just walking in and there's a whole office full of people, someone to go for smoke breaks with, going to the pub after work for a few pints and just the whole feeling of belonging and being able to just walk up to someone and have a chat, ask a question or to discuss work related topics with people without having to wait until at least 5pm.

things i realised i hadn't missed at all were:
  • the incredibly crappy shower at england's lane (was probably in some kind of denial so was actually quite surprised by how awful it really is)
  • the horrendous transport prices; tube, taxi.. (have gotten a bit used to being able to take a taxi even to go for a coffee or definitely after a night out, but especially in london it's just not justifiable)

while in the uk, i moved out of my room at england's lane for good. really strange. a bit like closing a(nother) chapter in my life. the house was run down and old so probably wouldn't want to come back and live there again, but i have so many great memories and it feels a bit weird that i will most probably never set foot in that house again..

well, moving on.. now i'm back and, even though it felt tough to leave europe again, i do enjoy being here. still can't wait to go back in june though, but will make sure i enjoy the time in between with the great people i've met here. we're having a lovely time and it's a good experience over all. besides, my parents were here visiting for a couple of days, which was great, and they will be back for another couple of days by the end of the month. it's a bit like if you can't be at home, bring home to you.

that's all from me for this time.. just a few photos.

the first photo is of the things i took with me back to sweden and the second of the things i left behind - who would have thought it was even possible to collect so much rubbish in only two years?

my brother and his family (and santa of course)

my new little niece, indra, was being christened and luckily my sister managed to time it so that i could be there. the whole family as well as the god parents and the priest

my brother and i had a celebrity themed belated 30th birthday party - a premiere for the middle age and everyone dressed up as celebrities

kopparmärra - a statue in central gothenburg. you see the sky, that's what i'm talking about!