Balkan Fisher Family
Summer is almost over, but I still have lots of summer pictures to upload. Not to mention all the vacation photos from my two rounds in Croatia (ugh I'm so far behind). Judging by the number of pictures, fishing has definitely been our favorite thing to do in Sweden this summer in. Not that there is a lot of fish to get in the overheated lakes, but we have a good excuse to barbeque and hang out by the water. At least for most of us - some think that fishing is more important than enjoying the company, no names mentioned... Balkans Fisher Family, which we call ourselves, has just gotten bigger and bigger every time and more hungry for the old pike. If we're anything (besides overestimating our fishing skills), we're stubborn - it's not over yet!
When working days are good days
My 50th birthday present to mom was a day together at Yasuragi Spa. It was perfect. Few people, very hot baths, yoga, Japanese food, and mother-daughter time. Great way to end the summer holidays and my mother was more than satisfied. My dear, precious, mom.
In recent years I have been from one end of the world to the other, but there's nothing like motherland. It was two years ago since we were in Sarajevo, and yet it felt like an eternity ago when we stepped into the apartment and ate our first portions of home delivered cevapi. A very special feeling. Unfortunately, a rainy June is not quite what we are used to and the summer feelings was still not there, but we still enjoyed everything we've missed so much.
Jag tar nästan likadana bilder varje gång, och vi gör nästan samma saker varje gång. Men jag älskar det.
World cup days in Sarajevo
I'll start the holiday posts with what was the reason that we rushed to Bosnia as soon our studies ended in June - World Cup! After traveling around, cheering for Bosnia in qualifying matches, it felt as a matter of course that if we can't be in Brazil at least we'll cheer from home ground. It didn't quite go as we imagined though... I don't want to open up old wounds by even thinking about the match against Nigeria. Those of you who know, you know. But if we ignore that and focus on the positive... wow. The atmosphere before the first two group matches were over the top. The whole city was full of flags, signs, game jerseys, hats, honking cars. Even the tram was one big Bosnian flag. It was great while it lasted.
Back in Stockholm
Time for a new half-hearted attempt to revive the blog and upload my holiday photos. I really want to, but it's hard doing anything, whatsoever, when I'm in my lazy vacation mode. Except going on vacation. I would not mind going back a third time. Like now, right away. It's the first time in a long time that I've come home and not missed Stockholm, although it has never been nicer and hotter (what's up with the heat?!?). It's like I've missed summer in Bosnia and Croatia extra much and want to make up for not going last year, I can't get enough. How can you ever get enough of the Adriatic sea, the food, the people? Conclusion: Never ever spending a summer without that again.
Feel so much love when I see these pictures. My family, my everything. The second image I love a little extra, just want to frame it or put it in my wallet. I got everything with them by my side, it's love, family and true friendship in one. What more do you need?
I haven't posted my project on the blog, but here's a little peek. After the presentation in school, there was a few of us that also showcased our projects in Uppsala Concert Hall where we got to mingle a bit and tell the audience a bit about our art museums. I had my Uppsala family on site and after the event they say goodbye to me and Jasmin since we were going to the airport and starting our vacation.
HELLO BLOG READERS! It's amazing that you're still there! I kind of disappeared without any heads up because I had a lot to do before I went on vacation, and I have thought about just not updating at all as long as I am in my vacay mode, but the blog deserves better. It's when you've had a lot to do that life should get documented!
I came home from my stay in Bosnia and Croatia a few days ago. Have never gone as early as June 14th to Bosnia, and will probably never do it again because I now have way too much free time left until I start working on August 18. Can you have too much free time during the summer? Yes, you can. When all your friends are either working or have left the country, free time gets really boring. The only solution I see to this "problem" is to go back, and that's exactly what I'll do in a week. Spontaneously, wonderful and very wise if you ask me.
More about my vacation in future posts. With pictures of course. After school ended one thing happened after the other - birthday parties, my brother's graduation, finishing school, exhibitions - and suddenly, I was on a flight to Bosnia. It was only after a few days in Croatia with proper rest that I relaxed completely and realized that I'm on vacation for real. Now it feels so strange to be at home with nothing to do... I need another round of vacation.
Crossed the finsih line
Long time no see! As you know, the reason behind my absence has been my final project, and now it's finally over! This day seemed so far away and suddenly it's here. But not without blood, sweat and tears. It's only now that I've been sleeping properly for several days and become accustomed to the feeling that there are no musts or stress that I feel like myself again (note to self: never stay up for whole nights again) but I still can't grasp that the third year is almost over and that I basically have a bachelor's degree in architecture. BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE! It feels like I just started yesterday! Am I supposed to suffer from separation anxiety now? The new architecture school on campus is scheduled for completion 2015, when I return after my year of working, which means I've spent my last late night in this old building. No, I still haven't realized it yet.
As usual, during an intense period at the university, it feels like I've been in a weird bubble and afterwards I have to wake up from that state and jump back on the train called real life. I've been trying to keep up with other things during the project as well. The floods in Bosnia has been a big distraction, which also gave me perspectives and reminded me that the project is the smallest problem in the world. While it has been heartbreaking to follow the situation through media, it has also been incredibly moving to see how people engaged, spread the word, donated money and supplies and helped to each other to help. Like a small bandage on a huge wound, a bandage that is too small to heal the damage but symbolically gives some sort of consolation. Bosnia is still in great need of help and will be for a long time. In addition to people's property and infrastructure being destroyed, now there is also the risk of diseases spreading and landmines from the war that have been moved from secured areas by the water. I don't really know what I feel about going there in two weeks. Although Sarajevo was spared from the floods it feels awkward to go there on "vacation". I must do something, but whatever I do it doesn't feel enough. And I don't really know much about the state and atmosphere in Sarajevo right now. It remains to be seen.
Something else that has been stealing my attention is the political situation in Sweden and the EU elections. I hope you voted. And if not, I hope you now realize how important it is to vote after so many racist parties received growing support across Europe. The Swedish Democrats' numbers doesn't shock me, however the rest of Europe scares me the more. Still, I've begun to feel a little apathy towards the population that votes against humanity, it's like I've become tired of getting upset because it feels hopeless, like I don't even take them seriously anymore - which is very dangerous. That is why I am so happy and moved that I constantly get reminded of that there still is a much stronger power against them, and the socialist and humanist parties are growing in Sweden. I 'm still surrounded by ethnic Swedes that gets more upset than I am over the racist parties successes. You are my cure for hopelessness and you still make me feel safe in my beloved Sweden. Thank you. And now, in September, you have to vote, vote, VOTE!
I wonder if I can squeeze in some more heavy topics in this post, when I'm already going. But this is what has been on my mind lately, might as well get it out. I have actually had time for some fun stuff too the last month, despite all the work, but that I will bring up in future posts. I'll finish this post by pointing out the obvious: It has become summer!
Flooding in BiH
UPDATE: APU Network och föreningen Neretva has started a fundraiser where you can text your contribution or donate via credit card on this page: http://foreningsinsamling.se/fundraisers/hjalpbosnien/
You can also support the Red Cross that are in place in Bosnia and Serbia, text AKUT to 72900 to donate 50 SEK.
You do the countdown
Just one more month and then it's over. I only have a few weeks to get everything together, both in and outside of school, and then I can breathe and dance barefoot in the grass. Or not, because the pollen is killing me. If you are one of the lucky ones who have not noticed, it has been extremely high levels of pollen recent days, which for me is a bit of a death sentence. I've given up on the idea to lay in the sun because it ends up with me needing an inhaler to breathe. Right now it's raining though. God bless the rain.
The summer has never been such a questionmark as it is right now. It's the first time since I turned 16 that I will not work a single day the whole summer, and yet it's the first time I don't have a proper vacation planned. I have a one way ticket to Sarajevo which I bought in January, and that's about it. Maybe I will stay only a week, maybe more. Maybe I'll go somewhere else later or chill at home in Stockholm. Who knows, maybe unplanned works fine for me too? Ha ha.
Hong Kong Randoms
What a strange thing to be alive beneath cherry blossoms - Kobayashi Issa
The cherry trees have finally bloomed, almost a month earlier than last year, and again made the King's Garden my favorite place in Stockholm! Very few circumstances would make me miss this, I just have to make a visit traditionally every year with my boyfriend. And I just have to photograph it every year even though it looks the same. The only thing that changes a bit every year, are ourselves. In about ten years, I'll put together all the pictures of me in this place and see my progress, haha. But wonderful is short so you have to hurry these days to see it.
Every year I take pictures of the same flowers, but that is only because it is always as wonderful. I have already eaten my first ice cream at the Royal Garden where cherry trees had started to bloom, but I will soon make a return when they have bloomed properly. Will never be missed.
This weekend I was in Uppsala to see Dina receive her much deserved master diploma in science of law! We are very proud of this amazing girl. It's always wonderful to witness that moment in friends' lives, especially when it's such a nice ceremony like they have at Uppsala University *jealous*.
A number of café meetings a month (week) with friends is necessary for survival. The one in Uppsala after Dinas exam takes the prize in both cozyness and pastries. Where in Stockholm can I get it this nicely served? Tell me, please.
There hasn't been a lot of partying lately, but the after work event Out of Office was the most fun in a long time when it comes to partying in Stockholm. Crazy atmosphere! It didn't matter that it was still light outside, people went crazy. And the best part was that it ended early so I could go to bed on time without feeling destroyed the day after. Fun 22-year-old girl.
Otherwise, most of my time right now is spent on school and my graduate project. And just as some people feel their mood varies after the weather, my mood depends on the progress of my project. If its good, I'm the happiest alive, and if its bad, I'm not my best self. Creative professions may be fun but there is a downside too, and it is definitely the anxiety when you get stuck with no ideas. I just wanted to throw everything in the trash and start over, but I can't because of the time. I must learn to distance myself from my project, because it won't work if I'm going to feel bad and cry every time it doesn't go well. And maybe I should lower my expectations on myself a bit (story of my life).
Hong Kong Nights
Hong Kong at night is amazing, not only because of the neon lights and the illuminated skyscrapers, but also because everything is open very late and there is a huge variety of dining and nightlife options. It is really too bad we didn't have time to experience more of the nightlife. I wanted to visit more clubs and more skybars.
My newfound friend Elton from Hong Kong, that some from our group already knew since he was an exchange student at our school, got to be our guide a few evenings. He took us to Lan Kwai Fong, a street in the city center with hoards of people, bars, loud music and party atmosphere. There was not enough room in all the bars so people was drinking on the street. If you get in the mood for party despite feeling tired and unfresh? Yes.
If you turn through and alley from Lan Kwai Fong you will find this amazing place. Partly indoors and partly outdoors, where everyone sits with hookahs. It was only Western mainstream music which I thought was perfect but everyone may not agree, haha. Elton knew the bartender and gave the whole group free drinks which I also thought was perfect until the next day.
Other nights we sat on this rooftop bar that was near our hostel. Love the combination of high, wobbly bar stools right by a glass railing...
One evening we spent in Mongkok which is located in Kowloon. Mongkok has an insane amount of markets and cheap shopping. There is a whole street with just sneakers (ie real Nike, Adidas, Reebok, etc..) for cheap prices, a whole street with electronics and so on.
And like many times before, we weren't quite careful with where we ate or what we ate. Until one after one started to suffer from food poisoning. Yes, 9 of us 12 fell victim to it, I was of course one of them. We all got sick on different days of different food so there is a big risk of being getting the tourist sickness if you're not careful. Luckily it only lasted one day for all of us. Towards the end of the trip, I ate only rice, crackers and bananas.
The last night we went to Happy Valley, where races are held every Wednesday. Again, awful lot of people and a very lovely atmosphere. None of us really knows anything about horses but most of us still went to bet each round.
And as an appropriate farewell, some of us went up to Victoria Peak the last night for the most amazing view ever.
One of our trips was to Macau. Like Hong Kong, Macau is a Special Administrative Region in China, and was also a colony until the late 90s. Unlike Hong Kong which was a British colony, Macau was a Portuguese, and the traces of colonial times is more obvious here. Looking at the picture you will find the houses and squares in Portuguese style, signs in Portuguese and other elements of the city such as a lot of mopeds. Macau is in general a very strange mix, not only is it a mix of Portugal and China, but throw in some Las Vegas in the mix too. Yes, Macau is the Las Vegas of Asia.
The ferry, or whatever it is (to me it mostly reminded me of a huge jet-ski that flew over the water) takes about an hour from Hong Kong, and you have to go through passport checks like you're visiting another country.
Ruinas de Igreja de São Paulo is one of the most popular attractions, although it is only a facade. I can imagine that it looks more amazing in good weather (the entire city had probably given me a better impression with better weather, by that time it was raining and I felt most wet and miserable). Too bad.
Men trots sina portugisiska inslag påminner större delen av staden om att det ändå är Kina vi befinner oss i.
Most smaller streets looked like this, crowded and shabby with balconies that looked like cages. Awesome or terrible - you decide.
And as always, there was a temple to visit, this time the A-Ma Temple.
When we got tired of walking around in the rain, we figured it was time for gambling, and went to Macau's own version of The Venetian. Which is named exactly the same here. Macau may not have as many casinos but they are huge and apparently they make more money than in Las Vegas! The casino part of The Venetian (where you could not photograph) was bigger than any of the ones I saw in Vegas.
The typical indoor sky was there too, of course. After a whole day of rain even a fake-sky felt good. How strange to walk around in a Venice Inspired place in a Las Vegas inspired place in an ex-Portuguese colony belonging to China. Inception?
After being in Las Vegas, Macau didn't quite live up to expectations when it comes to the casino part, despite their large and super luxurious casinos. All hotels are not found in the same place as in Vegas, some large casinos were on a completely different island so we had to go across the bridge. There was only one area that reminded me of a weak copy of Vegas.
But you can't complain about the insides. In MGMs hotel we found this underwater world which has to be one of the craziest indoor environments I've been in! And apparently it is only temporary as they have new themes after a few months.
We had a last drink there before it was time to take the big "jet-ski" back to Hong Kong.
There's no place I'll rather be
I'm so HAPPY!!! I didn't want to say anything until the papers were isigned, but guess who an internship at an architect firm after the summer?! ! It is paid and it's for a whole year, so it's really more a form of short term employment since I'm also taking a one year break from my education. It will be SO MUCH FUN! I was really surprised when I got the news only after a few weeks because I was not expecting it until April/May, I thought the whole job-seeking process would take much longer time so this feels really good. Not just because I have next year settled, but also because this is the first real validation in the profession I've chosen.
Not only that, I feel that the work with the candidate project finally is going well after having a bit trouble. Don't know if I've mentioned it before but we had four options to choose from; a bathhouse, housing in Tyresö, a preschool in Södermalm or an art museum in Uppsala. I chose the art museum. I have realized that it is not the easiest thing to draw a whole museum of over 3,000 square meters, but it's fun. It's so fun and satisfying that every day I feel so grateful to have chosen architecture as profession, I never want to do anything else.
When winter turns into spring
As much as we complain about Sweden's dark and cold winters, we must admit the positive with the seasons, and it's that wonderful anticipation as winter turns to spring. Even if you are drowning in work, it is easier to endure. Right now I am busy with the candidate project. We had mid critisism yesterday, already! Today I took a day off, it was needed after a lot of hours of work and a few hours sleep.
Lantau - Tai O
After Ngong Ping, we took the bus to Tai O, one of the last South Chinese fishing villages on poles. This trip was truly an experience, I've never been in a place that is so different from what I'm used to. The first thing we did was to take a boat trip between the houses, but unfortunately we didn't come far into the village since the water was very low as you may see. We saw more by just walking around afterwards. Recently Instagrams own account added a picture from the same location as the picture above, but with sunset and high tide. A bit jealos, but whatever...
There is a whole network of bridges and piers between the houses, which basically functioned as normal streets where we could walk everywhere. However, I couldn't help feeling that we were trespassing, you almost go through the houses and see into their homes and how they live. It's very fascinating to see how little space and things people need to live.
Some houses looked like huts and others looked like cubes of aluminum. There were quite many that looked like the latter. I read afterwards that it had been a big fire there in 2000, which perhaps explains it.
And then there were some newer houses that look like ordinary villas, although on poles, of course. The white to the left has its own matching zigzag walk to the house.
Unfortunately I think the village will change a lot in a very short time, they are already building a wide promenade along the water and apparently the government has plans to spend millions to transform the area. Have subsequently read about it and that the residents are protesting. It's incredibly sad if Tai O loses what makes it special, and if Hong Kong loses it's last traditional fishing village.
As darkness began to fall, we took the ferry back to Hong Kong. It's difficult to imagine that this also began as a fishing village not too long ago.
Lantau - Ngong Ping
We went to Lantau, the largest island located west of Hong Kong Island. Very mountainous and beautiful scenery but unfortunately we were not lucky with the weather. Almost every day we were there it was very foggy, as was this day. Too bad because we certainly missed out on stunning views. But we saw a lot else! We took the train to the island (the airport is also here so there are good connections) and then the cable car Ngong Ping 360, which took us over the mountains to Ngong Ping.
You could choose between going with a regular car and a "Crystal Cabin" with glass floors. The brave ones took the latter! Totally worth an extra buck, the glass was very clear and it took a while before I actually dared to stand on it.
The whole trip took 25 minutes and we went high up above the mountain peaks. The higher up, the more fog. On some occasions there was so much fog that everything around us was just white, white and white. Like I said, it was unfortunate because we didn't see the view, but the fog was actually pretty cool too.
Once in Ngong Ping, we came to what looked like a small Chinese village, a pretty touristy one with souvenir shops and Starbucks. It was surprisingly a lot of people up here, all the way to the monastery and the huge Buddha.
These breathtaking stairs (literally, my breath was gone after half the way) leads up to the 34 meter high Buddha, one of the world's largest. Which you can't even see here because of the fog! I was a little shocked when it suddenly appeared before me, it was bigger than I expected. So you could say that the fog worked as a cool, mysterious effect. Heh.