When working days are good days

I'm alive, I'm fine, I'm happy! And I need to update since my friends actually yelled at me for visitng my blog every day without anything to read. But starting to work means big change and new habits, and I've barely opened my laptop for weeks... However, to the important thing: I LOVE it! I love the office, the people, the architecture, I love to just be there and take it all in. So far so good. I have already been taking part of interesting meetings and projects, I got to go on an ArchiCAD course and even got to go on a study trip to Hamburg. I really look forward to the rest of this one year long chapter of my life. It sounds corny, but I feel in love. You know, when you can't stop smiling and think that everything is just amazing. And for the first time since... can't remember when... I go to sleep early and wake up early, because I can't wait to go to the office. Now I know it has only been three weeks and everything is still very new, and I am probably going to get tired of it more than several times, but I promise myself to never stop appreciating that I get to work in a profession I love. And as long as you appreciate and value that, it's hard to not also be very happy about it.

Sarajevo Snapshots

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.

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.

June Reviewed

After three years together at architecture school, it was time for the grade to go separate ways. Some will continue their studies, some will start working, and some will do something completely different. It's hard to digest that we actually spent as much time together as in high school, but since most of us are left in the same professional circle we will meet each other from time to time. In any case, we had to gather one last time at Långholmen.
World's best mom turned 50. I know, who would think that?! Let me be as youthful, strong, wise and full of infinite love and happiness when I'm 50. After nom and dad's romantic birthday celebration in Paris, we also organized a small party at home and celebrated with loved ones. She deserves the world and more!

June was certainly a month of celebrations. Not only did I become a bachelor of architecture and my mom celebrate her 50th birthday - my little brother graduated from high school! I can hardly believe it! It feels like it wasn't that long ago since I graduated and suddenly he is standing there in her graduation cap and is supposed to take the next step in life. My eyes tear up just thinking about how proud I am of the little shit.

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?

Istället för en klassisk studentmottagning ordnades en fest a la bosnian style för Dennis och hans två partners in crime sedan förskolan. You know the drill - massa mat, släkt, familjevänner och ett gäng aspackade grabbar som sjunger till bosnisk musik.
Of course, I had time to celebrate summer with my girls. Especially since Erna has moved into her first own apartment and invite us to dinner to show of some of her cooking skills. Can't wait until we gather again!

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.

Vacation Mode


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

I have ignored the blog to avoid having to deal with this "long time no see"-post. How do I start it? How do I summarize the recent month? Do I even remember everything? Should I just ignore it forever snd stop posting? - No! I'll deal with it now, and start updating more frequently again. I have, after all, a lot in stock. Here we go:

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

The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina was bad before, now it's catastrophic. Flooding in the country and the rest of the Balkans has destroyed buildings, roads, bridges, knocked out electricity and some people have drowned. Help is needed. The best I've found through social media so far is to donate to Djeca Djeci, but you're welcome to come with other suggestions of organizations and initiatives undertaken to help the victims. Since many of us are going to Bosnia soon it would be helpful with info about what can be done on site too, no matter how long you're there. Where do you turn to help?

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.
Våra Barn has done a wonderful job of collecting supplies to send down to Bosnia. You can donate money at their website: http://stiftelsenvarabarn.se/ and visit their FB page for information about what happens with the supplies and fundraising.


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.

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.

Birthday Celebration

In recent years I have been bad at organizing a proper birthday celebration for myself, this time of the year is always stressful and all bigger plans fails, just like this year. Luckily, my nearest crowd still counted on celebrating me and therefore I could still gather everyone for a dinner. We ate Lebanese food att Tabbouli, super delicious and super cozy down in a red cave. But the best was, of course, my company - my god, what amazing people I have by my side. I could go on and on about how talented and ambitious they are and what great inspiration they all are to me. But the important part is that they are so genuine and nice people in every way, and wonderful friends. I'm so lucky.


Yesterday I turned 22! After spending almost the whole day in Uppsala (the location of my project) I went home and celebrated with my family and boyfriend. Great day with a great mood, just like every year! It also felt like the first real day of spring which was absolutely wonderful. Less wonderful was that I was not prepared for the POLLEN SHOCK! At first I couldn't figure out if it was the allergy or the cold I have suffered from this week, but by the evening I had difficulty breathing and could barely look through my red watery eyes which revealed that my dear enemy is back in the air.

As a result, I made my first accomplishment as a 22-year-old this morning - drugging myself to sleep. I accidently took a strong sleeping pill instead of my allergic pill (I know, HOW?) and I realized my mistake as soon as I had swallowed it. It's now clear to me that I can't force vomiting after I tried in every way. I even tried to hang upside down with my boyfriend holding my legs while I pressed my fingers in my throat, but no. I only provoked tears and sat on the bathroom floor crying/laughing because I really didn't want to fall asleep since I had so much to do today. The whole situation was very comical and my brother stood beside us, laughing, and repeated how screwed I am.

It ended with me sleeping the whole day. Tomorrow, I'm supposed to present how far I have come with this project since we came home from Hong Kong. Feels like a joke after I have been suffering from food poisoning, cold, pollen allergy and then drugged myself to sleep for a whole day. Wish me good luck!

Hong Kong Island

Hong Kong is truly a unique city and very different from the cities I visited in the past. Although I can't compare with other Chinese cities since I haven't been, it's clear that East meets West in this city. It's a mix of everything and contrasts everywhere. It's also one of the most compact cities in the world. There's 7 million people on an area that felt as big as Stockholm, since a big part of Hong Kong is mountains and forests. It is literally a concrete jungle next to a jungle.

We arrived in the afternoon and checked into our hostel. The first thing we did after that was to visit a skybar, of course, to wait for the rest of the group who came with other flights. It felt so good with 20 degrees at night(!), and to be able to sit outside in just a sweater and enjoy the view. It felt unreal. And as you may know, I am a sucker for megacities + views.

When the others arrived, we went to a restaurant where we got to try a bit of everything. In the middle, there was a spinning table with all the dishes and you could pick what you wanted. Very nice first dining experience! Unfortunately, it went downhill after that, but we'll get to that.

The next day we began to explore the northwestern part of Hong Kong Island, with Central and Soho. We went to the Mid-Levels-escalators, the world's longest escalator system which covers almost a kilometer. There wasn't anything fun at the end of the whole route which was a bit of an anticlimax, but you got to see a lot of the area while you are resting your feet.

In Hong Kong, trees grow on walls. How COOL is that? You can't stop nature.

We visited the Man Mo Temple. Not much to see from the outside, but quite nice on the inside. And very smoky. We also saw Hong Kong's first mosque (below).

Hong Kong in a nutshell, nice next to shabby. Sometimes it's a little hard to get a grip of an area since one moment you think it's shabby and then you suddenly see a Prada or Gucci store. There are very few homogeneous areas.

We got to visit OMA, one of the most prominent architectural firms in the world(?). They have offices in Rotterdam, New York and Beijing, in addition to this one in Hong Kong. We got a tour of the office which was surprisingly small, and then they showed some current projects in Hong Kong and China. A very interesting experience!

After that we walked around in the financial district in Central and visited several skyscrapers and went up to the observation floor if possible. Bank of China is probably my favorite in Hong Kong, it lights up beautifully at night and stands out in the very large amount of skyscrapers.

Not a group selfie but selfies in a group!

These Lippo Towers also stood out in the crowd. At first I thought it looked like something from Star Wars, but apparently it represent koalas hanging along the sides, inspired by the original Australian owner. Now I only see koalas.

And that's enough for the first post.

Freezing the Moment

Last week's anniversary date didn't include our traditional ice skating in King's Garden, so we made up for it yesterday. For those of you who don't know or didn't understand it from last week's post, it was at this place we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend. It would be typical to say "feels like yesterday", but it actually feels like we are four years better than when we were here the first time. The pictures, however, looks pretty much the same, with the obligatory kiss picture.


Tickets on the wall

As I have told you earlier, I have a need to save and document everything (maybe that's why I still have a blog after 6 years!). I also have a box at home where I save everything from postcards and letters to pictures and tickets. For me, tickets have a special value that a photo doesn't, because even if the photo is a capture of a moment, the ticket has been in my hand at that particular time and place. Moreover, on the ticket there's usually a date, time and venue. As a gift for my boyfriend, I collected many of our tickets, everything from the train ticket that I had when I went to him for the first time, in 2009, to concert tickets, match tickets, museum tickets and other train tickets from all of the many cities we visited together. It was very appreciated. However, I'm counting on that it will hang on our shared wall one day, otherwise it would have been harder to give away these very valuable small pieces of paper.

We're on each other's team

Let's pretend that this picture is from Saturday because I have no pictures at all from my wonderful weekend. I'm failing in my project to document all of life's good moments. The weekend has filled me with so much happiness that it should be enough until next weekend. I've been spoiled with romance by my boyfriend for our anniversary celebration, and I have been hanging out with my amazing girls the rest of the weekend (forgot to mention that Erna came home from the U.S. last weekend and I have been overjoyed because of that!). And I have started working out again. I can almost hear how people who know me are laughing, but this time it's group passes and no gym, and I go with my mom. There's no other person that can make me do it so if I fail this, I'll give up on exercise for ever. AND... it's only a month left until I'm off to Hong Kong, which I almost forgot for a while.
Life always feels extra good after study periods.

What to write

Besides the lack of pictures this dark month, the absence of posts has been due to studies. During the winter "break" I have written a draft of my bachelor thesis. I'm very happy with my choice of topic. It's hard to choose when you can basically write about anything in architecture. I knew I wanted to write about something related to urban planning and public places but couldn't think of anything more specific. Until I realized that I should do what I have always done, start from myself. So finally I chose to write about Skarpnäck (a borough in Stockholm) where I grew up and have been living for 20 years, which is also very interesting from an urban planning perspective. Pros: I already have a lot of knowledge and it's fun to read about it because I really want to know more.

Throughout my years in school, when it comes to essays I have always chosen topics that have something to do with myself. I have written a number of essays about Bosnia and Bosnian politics, history, religion, war, about nationalist propaganda in the war and national identity among Bosnian-Swedish youths vs. ethnic Swedish youths. The latter was mine and Karin's last project in high school and is still the work that I got the most out of, ever. In architecture school the subject choices haven't always been as free, but when I've been able to choose more or less freely I always choose something that has to do with a place where I 'm going or have been. I wrote about Rome before I went there and I wrote about New York before and after my visit.

My tip to you and to future me: If you don't know what to write about, choose a topic that has something to do with yourself. This way you really get something out of it and you might be able to contribute with the knowledge you already have. Think about your background, your current situation, at your future wishes or destinations, on something that you are passionate about. It feels more meaningful and you get knowledge that you can really benefit from.

Linje 17

Few people in Sweden have missed the events in Kärrtorp, both last week when protesters were attacked by nazis, and yesterday when 16,000 more people gathered for the demonstration 2.0. There were also alot of demonstrations in other cities around Sweden to show support, and even outside the country. To see so many people made me incredibly proud. This is why I love Sweden, this is Sweden in my eyes. Despite the fact that it stills happens things that require demonstrations like these, and even though there is a xenophobic party in the parliament which is growing, I have strong confidence that most of the population will never let racism and nazism take a greater place in this society. It's important not to let racism get normalized, which is why demonstrations such as these are of great value - also to remind narrow-minded people what my beloved Sweden really is.

San Diego Nightlife

If you're gonna party American style you can't do it without the red cups! Unfortunately, we weren't on a typical American college party but I still have a few years before I get too old to cross that of my checklist. We atleast got to pre-party with some nice Americans... which later turned out to be not so nice. And we tried out San Diego's nightlife... which turned out freakin' awesome! I don't know if it was because it was summer, but the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown was really packed with young people the whole evening, and everything at street level seemed to be either clubs or bars. We tried a few places during the nights we went out, don't really remember what they were called and didn't take as much photos as usual, but I have a few to post!

Sun, sand and San Diego

San Diego. Last stop on our road trip through California was in this beautiful and sunny city. Long beaches, relaxed people and awesome nightlife is a good summary. One week was plenty of time get into a San Diego mode ourselves and rest after all tourism in previous cities. We lived with Erna and Alex on their campus, one day later, Melisa also came to visit from Vermont and we were suddenly a whole bunch.

We spent several mornings at the pool at SDSU's campus (not something we have in universites in Sweden...). Great way to start the day in that desert heat, and you did not have to take your car there. San Diego is by the way also very car friendly, although not as bad as LA.

Other days we hung out on the beaches. We went to La Jolla (above) one day, a more luxurious area in San Diego with all beach villas. However, I didn't like the beach here as much as those closer to town, like Pacific Beach (below) which is much larger and more happenings.

I suppose that you are well aware of my love for cookies, especially soft, american, cookies... Check this out: Cookie + icecream with cookie dough + cookie. Died. Atleast my stomach died a little after half of that. Erna, you know what to bring home to me.

San Diego borders to Tijuana in Mexico, if you didn't know. I have a pretty good knowledge of American geography, so shame on me that I didn't know that San Diego is larger than San Francisco, San Diego at 8th place, while San Francisco is on the 14th(!). Anyway, one afternoon we took the car to a large outlet mall which is located on the border to Mexico. You could basically throw a rock over the wall. It was really appealing to drive over to Mexico, but we couldn't take the risk if with trouble getting back into the United States. Anyone who has been to Tijuana? Should we've turned left?

When life gets you wrapped up

Long time no see. I think. I have had very poor concept of time recently. When the weekends are just a blurr and some days are way too long, it's hard to keep track of what was two days ago and what was two weeks ago. Now, however, I can return to a non-stressful and more social life since the urban project finally is over! I can't say that it has been as stressful as usual because we were able to distribute the workload on three people, but just the fact that we for the first time are working on a project in a group can be energy-consuming since you have to compromise, check every decision with the group, keep track of what the others do, adjust your time and so on. But it has, however, gone well and yesterday we had criticism and a project-is-over-celebration afterwards. I will post the project later when I changed some details and adapted the layout a bit more after my own style.

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