Welcome to the space where I share what I am up to. (scroll below this for the latest post)
On this blog I post my latest photos, music I am discovering, thoughts that cross my mind, work-related issues, travels and other randomness. It’s like a personal diary that I share with those interested in what I do – but also where I archive memories for myself. Things in here can be serious or not – mostly they are just random updates. Anyhow, I’m here – so if you want to get in touch or ask a question, feel free to send me an email via the contact form!
I travelled to many places with the IFRC as Regional Community Engagement Delegate (so, coordinating the way the red cross interacts with, informs, and collects feedback from refugees – across Europe) – but I definitely spent the most of my time visiting refugee camps in Greece. I started off my contract by immediately being deployed to the island Lesvos – where most people were arriving at the time. I also went several times to the north of Greece, to Idomeni and different locations around Thessaloniki and Athens. The job was difficult and very demanding, but also very rewarding – I had the opportunity to meet with amazing refugee volunteers, and the Greek people was extraordinarily hospitable and helpful in this very difficult situation.
And then, as a great bonus, there were all the colleagues and staff from partner organisations that I got to work closely with – engaged, passionate and hard-working people. Work-wise, it was both the most demanding and inspiring assignment I’ve had so far, with true solidarity at its core.
I didn’t get photos of all the workshops, missions and travels I did with the IFRC, but here are some of them. I had the opportunity to visit some of the Red Crescent community centres in Turkey’s Ankara, Konya and Istanbul, I got to visit different camps in Macedonia, I did presentations in Sofia, Budapest, and Vienna, I participated in the Regional Disaster Response Team training in Bulgaria, and I took part in a global workshop to define the first Red Cross Red Crescent movement guide for community engagement and accountability. An intense learning period, definitely.
My time in Budapest on a very interesting mission is coming to an end, and I am leaving the city tomorrow – ready to take on a new challenge and new adventure, this time in Stockholm, Sweden. (After a couple of weeks of travelling.) I have photos and stories to share and will do so at some point soon – but first a quick shout out to those who sent emails asking what happened with the blog – I’m very much okay! And a big thank you to Budapest for embracing me with its enchanting architecture, great food and long walks. A true gem in the heart of Europe. Even being here, in such a great city, the job has still been responsible for most of the pleasure these last couple of months, it’s been wonderfully enriching and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
Photo taken with my new Minox35ML, I’m trying this analog thing now. :)
UPDATE: Posts will slowly but surely start appearing under this post. Because I like things to come in chronological order. :) Don’t miss!)
So, in theory I lived in Budapest for 7 months – but I spent many of those weeks on mission with work so in the end it was mostly about packing and re-packing.
While I was in the city though, I was often excited about the fact that friends now could visit me (and bring Swedish snacks), about the access to great food experiences – and I happened to be around for both Balaton Sound music festival and Budapest pride. I found a community of “secret dining” at Zoltan18 where I went a couple of times to have a first class dinner around a table with 20 strangers, hung out with a group of med students and other new friends, went for art exhibitions and concerts, and had the best colleagues one could ask for.
Being back in Europe was very special. I could move around more freely, I had access to things and people, I felt like I was transitioning into finally settling down. And I finally bought that vinyl player. So symbolic!
I chose not to extend my contract in Budapest as a new opportunity came up that was a better option for me – I was a bit sad about not getting more time in the city, but I felt I definitely made the best out of my time in one of Europe’s most gorgeous and wallet-friendly cities.
Some photos from when I in June decided to become good friends with solitude again, and travelled to Beirut by myself. I had wanted to visit for a long time, and no friends were really able to join – so I went anyway, and had an absolutely fantastic time with the most hospitable people I’ve ever met, many of whom became friends.
I stayed at Staybridge suites, an apartment hotel with great staff, great location and an absolutely fabulous rooftop pool where I really found the headspace I needed from some of the most intense months of work ever for me. I strolled alone around the city, I took some time to read, to swim to sit in the sun. To be alone. It didn’t take long before I found my new friends at the hotel though. Less than a day actually. Among them was Maja, a polish girl I met in the elevator who also happened to be alone in Beirut. And Marwan and his friends, who became the best possible Lebanon guides. There were also a bunch of other strangers who always prove to be courteous, friendly and great.
Needless to say, there was a lot of dancing. And I can hands down say that of all the cities in the world that I’ve danced in – Beirut nightlife wins. Sunrise and all.