Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IR 11.0 and accomodations

Ted Copman has started collecting information for a wiki, with travel tips for Gothenburg and IR 11.0. Useful stuff indeed!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

First day at school!

I have worked here a whole week now, but still feel a little awed by this high-tech building, trying to get into being here. The place is empty and quiet during the holidays, and it's also opressively hot. So is all of Copenhagen though, it's really different for a poor Norwegian dumped here.

The reception was wonderful. Flowers, a grand tour with our appointed guides, and introductions all around. Another colleague started at the same time: Adriana Araujo de Souza e Silva. Coming from Brazil, I suspect she's more used to the weather here right now than I am. I'll have to show off my autumn survival skills later.

I am slowly getting my head around some of all the things that need to be set. So far it's running a lot more smoothly than when I went to Sweden, but that may be because I am more prepared for the difficulties of changing countries. The Danes seem more familiar though, than the Swedes - a bit more easy-going and less formal. I am sure I'll be clobbered over the head with differences any minute now, though. I have a new phone, a new account (no money yet though), a place to live and a vague map of the place in my head. For a woman who's used to navigating by "up" and "down" this "flat" is somewhat disturbing. I lose the sense of distance, and there appear to be no limits the the sprawl of the city.

One thing is very different. I have managed to get a tan. Now, if you live in a place on the planet where most of the time is spent avoiding the sun, you have no idea how different this is. But for us who are more familiar with full-body rain wear than with sunblock, a tan is something to be desired and cherished, both for the variation (for once, not vampire wannabe) and for the health effects. Sunlight can not only cause cancer, but also protect against it. At the same time vitamin D is vital to protect against a lot of other cancers. This last article is interesting, by the way, as it's questioning one of the great dietary myths: That of the benefits of polyunsaturated fats.

Finally research is starting to see what Scandinavians have known for ever: sunlight is good for your health. And so you'll find us on the beaches, at the pools, on verandas, in gardens, stripped of as much clothing as we can for decency remove, and ready to soak up those rays.

Me, I am still trying to get some things in place before I hit the beach. I will though, believe me, I will.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010


I am not writing much these days. I wake up in the morning, and start sorting something. Everything goes into one of three categories: throw, give away, keep. Then the "keep" stack is split into pack, use, Copenhagen now.

The biggest challenge were the books. We have reduced 25 years of collecting books to one (full) book cabinet. There's no way I am throwing out the graphic novels, those are still stored here and there through the house. The books got split into keep, give away, and store in a secret location until we can't keep them there any more and need to do something about it.

I have gone through letters, clothes, drawings, several drafts to the greatest Norwegian novel in modern times, a million pictures (keep) and a seemingly endless amount of pens and pencils in the strangest places. The kids kept some of their toys, but I am keeping more... Like the little red and white cat, that had to get its head sewn back on. And the brown and grey puppy that saved the night so many times. That beautiful puzzle that was the advent gift one year. The red christmas dress she wore when she left the table to raid the bags of her aunt, eating bread with brown cheese under the table while the rest sat down for the Christmas evening dinner.

It's wonderful and sweet, and I keep letting go of so many things. The letters - it's incredible how many letters we used to write once. Ribbons, cheap jewelry, old glasses, ugly promotional mugs. When we sell the house and get rid of most of the furniture, we'll be where I planned: having reduced the clutter in my life by at least half. My husband eyes the beautiful glasses in the cabinet with an evil eye. I told him to pick one glass he could do without. He found two. When I showed him which I wanted to be without, he refused. Those were the ones he liked. He is as bad as me. I find him lost in old diaries, digging through old letters. He touches hand-knitted sweaters with a loving hand, muttering about how wonderful those were, once, how much pleasure we had from them. Old tickets, old passports, scraps saved in order to make a scrap book - he savours them, and I sneak in behind him and trash what he puts down for too long.

We are getting there, though. I have sorted out the plates and cups we don't want to keep, knives and forks, CDs and videos. We have even sorted coins. Today I packed my shoes: use, store, bring, thrash. The boy laughed, and shook his head when I tried on all the pairs. I managed to get rid of - mainly to the salvation army - 10 pairs. I didn't count how many I kept. I took pictures though, of the shoes lined up on the livingroom floor, looking like they were planning an escape through the door.

It's raining and cold. I think I'll be able to leave this place. But the roots have to be severed string by string, trashed, stored or to be brought with me.