I have a family in Stockholm. A bonus family that I found in Mozambique. My best friend, sister and great inspiration, and her two children whom I adore to little pieces. Ava sometimes says “My mom is your big sister, and I’m your little sister, isn’t that funny?” And it’s indeed the best possible set up I can imagine, I’m getting the best of all worlds with these three.
I only had two days in Sweden after our return from Jordan and before having to move on to Poland, but I had to squeeze in meeting my favourites. So I did. A very pleasant six-hour train ride and two days of shared time, complete with playing, loving hugs and a long proper talk. Moments that nurture the soul.
Belizeans from all over the country came to the capital to celebrate the carnival and go crazy with soca music, dancing, water, mud, chocolate and paint. My first ever carnival experience was an absolutely spectacular one and I haven’t had this fun in ages. We met up with friends and started off with the Wet Fete at 2am, a party where not one person was left dry. We continued to the 4am J’ouvert carnival starting party, with the carnival trucks driving through the entire city, followed by dancing people – completely insane! We danced, danced and danced through the streets filled with lost flip flops and rivers of chocolate until the sun came up, and I was absolutely euphoric about dancing to the sunrise again after such a long time – it was amazing!! Strangers with mud-covered faces were posing for photos, every single person was happy and energetic, old ladies, little kids and booty-popping girls – and Belize managed to dance its way straight into my heart.
We all lost each other in the crowd, obviously, so I followed one of my friends home so she wouldn’t walk alone and was just about to take a cab when Mariela showed up with her car. “We’re going to the beach, come join us” So four of us went to a beach a bit outside of Belize City, and had a beautiful relaxing swim in the morning sun. Water heals and gives joy, and after all of this euphoria overload it was the perfect way to stabilize, have the water calm us down, and just beautifully end by celebrating life and it’s pleasures.
Thank you for an amazing experience, Belize and friends!
(Enjoy the photos, don’t miss the videos below! Contact me here for full resolution photos.)
It gets lonely, it gets frustrating and overwhelming, it feels sad and pointless when uncertainty dominates the horizon. “What am I even here for?”
I’m far from loved ones, far from any form of reliable safety net, far from feeling protected and cared for and far from hugs, love and any realistic potential for growing roots and building a home. I miss birthdays, weddings and people to share my own celebrations with. It breaks my heart that I can’t always be there for my people and nourish the relationships that matter to me the most. The future always feels very uncertain and I can’t plan far ahead. I don’t know where I will be in a couple of months.
But I have something else that I can’t imagine living without yet. At some point in life I decided to live as curiously as possible and make the most out of my reality at all times. I wanted to explore, learn, enjoy and celebrate the little things. But first and foremost I knew that I have to work for a cause I believe in, feel passionate about, grow for and respect. I knew I have to be excited about things to feel fulfilled, and that I can never let fear or worries decide things for me. It’s on the other side of that threshold that things get truly enriching.
And it has been working out so far. I swim upstream, I struggle, I go alone, I take risks, I return to square one, I feel lost and hopeless at times – but on the way I have discovered the most beautiful of places, feelings, people and reasons to love the world. I have discovered that water always heals. And seriously now, I adore my job. I really love what I do and what I learn on the way.
Thank you dears for hanging in there even though I’m far away and busy with work so often. Thanks for your patience, for staying in touch, for keeping me up to date, for finding the time for calls and emails.
And when people I miss and love decide to actually hop on that long flight to come here and experience a piece of my world and reality, I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Thank you!
Friends from many of the places where I’ve left parts of myself came together and gave me truly beautiful feedback and shout-outs of support on my status update. Thank you all – it means the world to me!
One of the comments was a piece of advice from a wise friend who also lived abroad for a big part of her life:
“The things you think you are losing are right here waiting for you, I used to think the same when living far away from everything and everybody for a long time, but when I felt like starting to set my roots it was all still there, the relationships that matter get built up again, and new ones are formed. Just enjoy and forget about the pressure to “settle down”, it might be the best option for most people but not for everyone, and certainly not at the same time :)”
“I’m waking up and remain in bed. I can feel you breathing. The whole world is awake, you’re shutting off. Will this become easier some day? This is where I want to be, although I shouldn’t. Come a little closer. I can see you thinking that you should leave..
Please just turn around, give me something to dream about, we’ll never be like them..
No one is like we are. People all around but. No one is like we are. All we know. No one is like we are. High above the ground. No one is like we are. And so what? No one is like we are. And you are just like me. No one is like we are. I’m of another kind. No one is like we are. It’s never going to be like it’s supposed to. No one is like we are..
I’m waking up in a different city. Where I’m not supposed to be. I’m imagining how it all could be. This heat is making me weak. Nobody knows that you’re just like me. Stay a little longer. I’m saying your name but I get no response.
Please just turn around, give me something to dream about, we’ll never be like them..
No one is like we are. People all around but. No one is like we are. All we know. No one is like we are. High above the ground. No one is like we are. And so what? No one is like we are. And you are just like me. No one is like we are. I’m of another kind. No one is like we are. It’s never going to be like it’s supposed to. No one is like we are!“
Little Jinder & Melo – Inga e som vi e (2014)
Listening to the pink, fluffy and very high pitched love duet by Little Jinder and Melo. The video is continuing on the satirical and stereotype pushing wave that Swedish pop lately has been riding, and it’s all just sugar-coated and cheesy enough to create a double-negative and turn the experience into something beautiful. I believe. And then there’s of course the sincere looking making-out session, and the high quality video and light, accompanied by, again, overly cheesy editing. You know that wonderful, warm, sunny bubble that turns you into an irrational, giggling, emotional and constantly overwhelmed fuzzball? Yes, that one. Even the video manages to capture the sweet absurdity of it, and Little Jinder explains further in an interview with the magazine Nöjesguiden:
“A lot of your music, and this video, seems to be about capturing a certain feeling. Is this song about being super-duper mega in love?”
“- Exactly. I think it’s interesting how you just “lose it” when you feel very strongly for other people, both negatively and positively. This particular song highlights the need of creating a bubble that can maintain the conviction that what you feel is totally unique and very, very right.”
And me? I got late for the dinner I was getting dressed for when this song started playing on my streaming radio. The urge to flow around, sing along, and press repeat was too strong to ignore, and I was filled with a feeling of love for the world, happiness for finding time to cultivate my work-out endorphins, and just.. calm. Then I got dizzy from spinning around and realized I should get going, so I threw on my long black dress, painted my lips red to match my freshly bruised knuckles, and jumped into the car.
It’s been a busy, hectic and exciting bunch of days since I last updated anything on here.. First, we spent three days in the field, travelling to the most remote villages in Toledo district to speak to people and health workers in the communities and assess the situation of women and children.. I have quitw a lot of photos and will share some as soon as time allows me to. I got rubber boots to get by and it was the best purchase of the year, I could go anywhere, climb muddy hills and cross rivers – awesome!
I flew back to Belize City on Thursday, washed everything, went to the office, packed, and took a flight to New York on Friday morning.
In New York I attended the UNICEF Global Communication Team Meeting along with over 170 participants from more than 90 countries, where the first ever UNICEF Global Communication and Public Advocacy Strategy was presented and discussed in preparation for the big launch.
I spent 10 days in New York, and apart from working, learning, meeting exciting people, and going for a bunch of brown bag lunches, I met with some of my good friends who live in the city and got the opportunity to spend some time with Luc, eat wonderful food, go dancing, see the super exciting play “Sleep no More”, and buy stuff, clothes and gadgets to keep me entertained for the rest of the year.
Then the much dreaded Tuesday of good bye’s came.. and I took an early morning flight to Miami for a 3 hour sushi overlay, (the sushi in Miami airport is actually really good – no kidding!) and got back to Belize City early enough to get all my laundry done and bags unpacked while it was still Eid al Fitr which is a UN holiday. Being back home was good. And sweaty.
Today was a day full of work. And then, at 5.30pm I suddenly realized that it was Wednesday, and rushed to my Danza Revelation class where my dancing buddies welcomed me back with hugs and smiles and we danced ourselves sweaty, happy and ready to take on another set of adventures.
“When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.
For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.
Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire, that you may become sacred bread for God’s sacred feast.
All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s heart.
But if in your fear you would seek only love’s peace and love’s pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love’s threshing-floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.
And think not you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love’s ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.”
Khalil Gibran – The Prophet
On Love (1923)
Painting by Saad Ali, seen in Amsterdam