This blue marble

– and yet it spins


Snow confusion in Stockholm

firstsnow-3One would think that, like in Helsinki, snowfall in Stockholm would equal much shoveling and careful driving. But snowfall in Stockholm always equals chaos. Roads close, schools close, trains won’t run, and even this time the subway (?!) did not run properly.

Welcome to Sweden, where modern society has very quickly forgotten how things used to be before climate change. Where nobody skis to work anymore – and thus everything stops when the snow comes. firstsnow-2(Stockholm, Sweden; November 2016)

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Interlude: family dinners

blackcallaOne dark, cold Sunday night it was bright and beautiful inside. Lots of delicacies, lots of laughter. Some wine, too. And talks about pigeons’ quantum physics compasses, refugee policy, and age-old toys in the attic.

Families are unique. Mine can devour a significant hunk of camembert in minutes, while debating over why the universe is like the surface of a balloon. Questions are sufficient. The point is never to become any wiser.

(Helsinki, Finland; November 2016)

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Dark & cold

snowwelliesStill a few long, dark months ahead. With climate change there is no consistent winter in Helsinki region anymore, has not been for quite some years. So one day I can go to the office in rain, wearing my rubber wellies, and walk back home in snow. Thank goodness I had the mind to slip on boot liner fleece socks or I’d have no toes left.

(Helsinki, Finland; November 2016)

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Liberty of London

libertyHere again. Of course. The only department store I know of with creaky wooden stairs and ancient elevators instead of modern escalators. Such a lovely place, filled with beautiful things one absolutely does not need, and that one rarely finds elsewhere. Thankfully it is usually sufficient to simply breathe in the atmosphere of days gone by.

(Liberty of London, London, United Kingdom; November 2016)

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Selfridges’ Santa

liberty-2Want to know a secret? Last night as you were sleeping, Santa was having fun in the ski slope with a crazy parasail-skier, rocking some beats. And all the babies of his reindeer followed him, rocking the same beats through their super stylish headphones.

Of course.

(Selfridges’ shop window on Oxford Street, London, United Kingdom; November 2016)

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lcyLondon City airport at rush hour. There is no fast track and no lounge, because everybody here is a frequent flyer entitled to a fast track and lounge access. To get food it is elbow technique that counts. Even if you are a City slicker banker. Or just a random business traveler, like me.

(LCY, London, United Kingdom; October 2016)

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Interlude: spark joy

konmariItem for item, I made a conscious decision to keep only those that spark joy. In reverse, during the past month I have sold, recycled, handed away, or thrown out every item that did not spark joy. Cassandra the cat had her own opinions, too – and they were mostly respected.

With the help of Marie Kondo I discovered how, even if I thought I loved all my books, some actually made me feel really drained. I just needed to hold them, one by one, and ask the magical question. Thanks to Ms Kondo I also discovered how painful my collection of recipes was on my heart. And how many little nests of negative emotion lived in my drawers. Out, all of them out.

We are not the things we own. But the things we own have a hold on us. They either lift us up or weigh us down. And nostalgia is not always the same as lifting up. In this Western world of abundance, the ultimate luxury is to be able to only own things that lift us up. I am grateful for being allowed such luxury.

(Helsinki, Finland; October 2016)