Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reflections on "Santa Day"

Here I am, feet up on the table, stretchy pants on...  Christmas 2010, or Santa Day, as our 2 1/2-year old calls it, it almost over. It was pretty much a picture perfect Christmas, except for the fact that all that lovely snow that we got earlier this month now is gone. Oh, well. We do live in a rain forest after all. Meanwhile Sweden is under a thick blanket of snow and there were some crazy stats coming through on the web: -33 degrees Celsius in Northern Sweden, people literally snowed in in the South. That leads me to believe that I should be happy with what we've got - the ability to look out the window on snow-capped mountains and only a short 35 minute drive to one of the world's most premier ski resorts. Yeah, that will do!

Right now the whole family is kicking back after two days of celebrating: Swedish Christmas with all the fixings (including Tomten, Swedish Santa, coming to our house to hand out the presents, Donald Duck at 3 pm and lots and lots of food!) on the 24th, Canadian Christmas on the 25th. Boxing day has been a day of rest and recovery and now we are looking forward to one more week of school holidays, for Bella at least. I have an other exam coming up and not enough time was spent studying these last few weeks, so I've got some catching up to do....

Monday, December 20, 2010

O me, o my - it seems obvious that blogging wasn't my passion in 2010. Four lousy little posts in nearly a year! Well, the thing is that a) I guess I am not that big of a narcissist that I need to constantly update people on what is going on in my life and b) life sure was busy in 2010!

My last post was right before the Olympics started. What a wild time that was! I am still suffering from post-podium depression and have secretly been eyeing up opportunities at London 2012. Having dual citizenship mean lots of advantages, one of them being the ability to work anywhere within the EU (the other being double chances of winning gold in hockey!). So... technically I could go. Logistically it would be a bit harder, but dreaming is problem free, so here's to London 2012 and my involvement in it!

Being part of the Olympic experience was monumental. Long work days, lots of hurry up and wait, met so many wonderful and inspiring people, lots of laughs and a few tears. The energy in Vancouver and Whistler was tangible, and what made me the proudest was the constant comments on how friendly and caring all the volunteers were. A French athlete told me that this was his most memorable Games ever, due to the welcoming attitude and the happy faces that surrounded him on an every day basis, where ever he went and what ever he did.

The "big" Winter Olympic countries definitely meant more business than the smaller ones. The athletes were focused and driven and had very little time for a friendly smile or a hello. Until their competitions were over, that is. The further into the Games we got, the bigger the smiles, the smaller the nerves. One section of WVL should have been named Serious Street, while others were more along the line of Happy, Go Lucky and Easy Street.
It truly was amazing being part of it all and I can't wait to give it another go some time in the future.

Other than that, the spring of 2010 included my husband going away during the weeks and left me to single-parent while keeping up a busy course load. Since he was away anyway, I took the girls home to Sweden for a month. While in Sweden, we also went to Gotland, the island in the Baltic Sea where I used to go to University - and where I still am attending University through cyberspace. I hadn't been back in so long and it was a great feeling of home-coming to walk the narrow cobble streets once more. At least once a year I have an urge to move back. Thank goodness for Hemnet, where I go to get my Gotland-fix!

The summer and fall went by in a blur. Our oldest daughter started attending the new Elementary program at Squamish Montessori and we are amazed at the things she is learning. The most important thing though is how she is loving learning, and that is in no doubt because of the fabulous teacher she has. I have had many great teachers along the way (and some really crummy ones as well), so I know just how important, and hard to find, a magnificent teacher is. I consider ourselves so lucky for having Nikolai in our daughter's life. The man is amazing and it is absolutely mind-blowing how he manages to inspire his students to go above and beyond.

Well, the snow is falling outside, there are bear tracks in our back yard and our deck, Christmas (or Santa Day, as the youngest one calls it!) is only four days away. Here's hoping for a white Christmas, a happy and healthy New Year and peace and joy to all!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Red mittens

On the Eve of the Olympic Torch arriving to Squamish, I realize that I still haven't bought those - by now famous - red mittens for Bella. I've been telling her for over a month that I'll go get her some. And here I am. Less that 24 h to go and not a red mitten in sight. Don't get me wrong, I know that she will survive this too and I am sure that there are many other children that don't have theirs, but still.... I should have gotten her some mittens! My only hope is that there are some cheap knock-off ones in one of the local stores, because I obviously won't be able to get to the Bay before tomorrow.
Last night Bella asked if I have ever seen the Olympic Torch before. She was quite shocked to find out that I haven't (what that says about how old she thinks I am, I do not wish to dwell upon...). I explained to her that this is a very unique thing that is happening around us and that most people never get to experience what it is like to have their home-town host an event of this magnitude. It was as if this was a completely new revelation to her - she seems to have been under the impression that the Olympics and the Torch Relay take place all over the world, all of the time. Did we miss telling her this? In all the talk about the sports and the costs and the venues and the roads, did we never mention what an honour this is? How rare this is? Did we never talk about Olympism, of promoting peace and understanding through sport, of the sense of pride we take in the accomplishments of our nations athletes, of how this is BCs chance to shine? Well, thankfully it is not to late yet - I have 8 more days...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The temperature is rising

- and by that I am not only referring to the fact that it looks very much like spring in Vancouver these days. 10 days to go until the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and the crab-apple tree in our front yard is almost in bloom. 10 days to go and there is barely any snow on Cypress Mountain. 10 days to go until the world will get introduced to a Canada that most definitely does not fit the stereotypical image of a cold, snowy country up north.

Yes, the temperature definitely is rising, both literally and figuratively - it is starting to dawn on us that the Olympics are finally here. 6 1/2 years ago, when Jaques Rogge made the announcement that awarded the 21st Winter Games to ¨the city of .... Vancouver¨, and during all the years of preparations following, February 12, 2010, seemed so far away. Hard to believe that as of tomorrow we are actually down to single digits on the count-down clock.

These days everything that is said or done seem to have one thing or another to do with the Olympics. The weather reports. The traffic updates. The lack of parking in Whistler. Olympic buses and other vehicles everywhere (dang, there sure are a lot of those Acadias around!). Red mittens and Canada flags. The mass exodus of locals heading for sunnier shores. It's here. It is all that we expected and much that we didn't.

In two days I start my own Olympic experience. I will be working as an assistant to one of the National Olympic Committees (guess which one ; ) and I can't express how excited I am to finally being able to put on my blue jacket and be a part of this once in a life-time event! The Olympics are coming to my own back-yard. How wild is that?

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Who would have thought? Me, a blogger?
Well, actually, I have thought it for a while but never got around to it. Until today. Why today, one might ask. For the simple reason that I am currently reading Fältetnologi (Field Ethnology) by Swedish ethnologist Karl-Olov Arnstberg. His text brought back memories of doing archaeological field work in the Trobriand Islands, Papua New Guinea some ten years ago. At night, after a long, hot and humid day's work in the bush, I'd sit on the veranda of our palm-leaf hut in the middle of the village and write in my field-journal. What a great way of getting some distance and perspective on things!
It has been a decade since then, a decade which involved moving from Sweden to Canada, of marriage, home-renos, dog-ownership and raising young children. A decade that saw me becoming a Canadian, of working in a field where I had never pictured myself and then, in the last year of that decade, re-discovering what I really want and love to do. It meant going back to school, and by doing so I also remembered how much I love reading, how much I love learning and how much I love writing.