While winter can wait, Rain better get lost somewhere:)

Yet another rainy morning with the sun nowhere in sight? Sigh! Why don’t the rains get lost somewhere? Ever thought this way? Then read this.

We all need motivation that push early in the morning to get up from our beds, rise and shine and make a dash for our morning classes or the assignments lined up. Most of the time apart from the interesting activities, lunch with some girl friends or some shopping to get me through the day, what matters the most is, whether the sun is up or not. Yes it makes a difference! But alas, as winters are coming closer and closer, and the temperature is dropping to a single degree centigrade, the rains are having their share of fun too. Much to our miseries, we have all our gum boots on, umbrellas out, scarves on and hoodies adorn. Rain does dampen our spirits at times and affects our mood too.

The buses  and trams get huddled up and crowded too as there is this sudden lot of people that are inside and you find yourself standing most of time. Sigh! My plans of reading a book on the way to school just got shelved.

Yes, I can unabashedly admit that I dislike the rains inspite of the cleanliness it brings and the water surplus and what not. So I feel winter can wait for some time, while the rain can get lost somewhere. And I have my 10 reasons.

1) When rain falls mostly there are clouds, big and black and the sun gets lost somewhere.

2) There are absolutely NO particular clothes for rainy season. Why? OK we have rain boots but they can’t be counted as outfits.

3) There can be nothing sad than looking out of the window the whole day and waiting for the rain to stop.

4) All your pending work becomes more pending as you rush home from classes.

5) You somehow don’t feel that hungry like you do in winters or summers.

6) When Rain falls it usually falls at a stretch for days altogether.

7) Everything becomes slippery and slimy outside.

8) Here, there is no season for rain, it comes between summer and autumn, autumn and winter, winter and spring, spring and summer. Grr!.

9) You can’t go running, walking, cycling, Rain is a big exercise spoilsport!

10) Finally rain limits your choices, it puts you in a spot about eating out(or not!), stay at home and watch TV as its pouring badly or not wearing your new heels as it might be dangerous.

Conclusively, yes we all know that while we may not be too fond of the rains, the sun is more valued even if it takes a peek after the rain is gone. Even the cold winter is fine and can be tolerated (at least the snow!). The Rains teach us to be grateful for the good weather days that are coming on the future. But a head start to the long winters, so get ready with your snow boots, jackets, shorter days, caps, coffees and all the enthusiasm and positivity to battle the winters. They are knocking at the door!

Rainy days? Indoors fun! (non-stop!)

Hellow fellows! I had a busy week in the University but I have to say that it was equally proportional to the fun that I had!

When you are a new student here in Gothenburg, the University gives you a card full of activities from amusement parks to Yoga. These activities are really useful to get to know more about the city, have fun and also meet new students from all around the world. This week the card offered us Opera held in the GöteborgsOperan that is, by the way, a stunning place.

Growing up in a home full of classic music due to a musician father made this a special occasion for me.

The play was ‘The Marriage of Fígaro’ by Mozart, and let me tell you that the staging was more than amazing. Can you imagine real sized trees and fire on stage? We had that together with talented voices and a wonderful orchestra. Even though the language (Italian) made the play a bit complicated to understand, with the help of a small magic box (Cellphone) and the genie that lives inside (Google) we been able to understand and we enjoyed a lot.

P1240293Some people can say that Opera is boring but if you have the opportunity to come and see the amazing performances held in the GöteborgsOperan I suggest you not to miss it, I promise you won’t regret ;)

I thought nothing can be crazier than watch an opera in Italian language with Swedish subtitles but what do you think about Swedes singing loud and screaming? Well, this week I also attended a Hockey game!
The Frölunda Indians played against Luleå. I didn’t know what to expect since this was my first hockey game in my life. I am a football fan and believe me when Latin people watch football we get crazy…really crazy!. In the case of Hockey I noticed first that the food and drinks are cheap!, nothing that I expected to be sincere. Also the people get really into the game, they are screaming and cheering for the team and they even have cardboards to make extra noise.

blog1From the presentation to the end it came to be a really fun event to which I will definitely attend again, I even got the Frölunda flag painted in my face :)

blog 3Do you wanna know the score? We won! 2-1, Frölunda scored in the last 4 seconds so I’m sure you got the idea that hockey game means excitement.

Sports fan or passionate about Art? As you see the city offers a wide range of indoor activities, just get your friends and prepare yourself for tons of fun!.

Colors in Swedish Style!

In my wildest of dreams, did I ever imagine that I will play Holi so animatedly, that too in Sweden. Yes, let me unabashedly admit, like some Indians, I was not a fan of Holi. For me Holi meant one thing back in India, to get through the day quietly and to escape the prying eyes of my friends and family. So I was all raised eyebrows when I got an invite on Facebook from some college students, in end of August. I was dumbstruck and while considering turning it down, a thought crossed my mind. The idea of smearing colors on the faces of unknown “foreign” people was indescribable and so inviting.

For those of you who think I am talking gibberish, here are some quick facts for you, Holi is the Indian festival of colors. It is celebrated at the end of the winter season, on the last full moon day of the lunar month Phalguna. In 2014, In India, Holi was celebrated on March 17.

But why now? In August! A common friend came to the rescue and explained the delay. Firstly in March it would have been awfully cold out here and in summer everybody was on vacation. So eventually they had planned it now. So let me begin my tryst with the “Swedish Festival of colors” and how marvelously it was given a befitting end.

The day arrived and the sun refused to come out. My spirits dampened and I somehow didn’t want to go now. But then some friends who wanted me to be there, begged me to come. So I dragged myself to the venue and soon found myself stranded in a faraway forest, with some strangers.

We bought some colors and waited for the fun to begin. But all we saw were a bunch of people with a dash of colors, with very less intermingling with each other. I thought I could teach them a thing or two, but learnt something’s myselfJ

1) Took the plunge and let it go.

Since there was not much involvement between people, we began talking with a bunch. We took initiative, taught others how to play Holi in true Indian sense. We didn’t think if people will feel bad or not. We didn’t think twice before smearing colors on strangers. We Indians broke the ice and set the Holi mood. And I couldn’t believe I was doing all that!

2) Sharing is caring.

Holi in true sense meant spreading love and the message of sharing. We shared simple things like color packets, soft drinks, chips, umbrellas when it rained. The camaraderie was amazing as we were all strangers to each other but were celebrating the festival of love and sharing.

3) No “Bhaang”, the colors had the spunk to carry on.

Holi without Bhaang( indian drink with milk, fruits and some powder that makes your head go dizzy) seems incomplete. But somehow here it was not needed. The DJ was terrific and the ‘organic’ colors added to the spunk. In fact we didn’t require bhang at all. The spirit of the crowd was contagious and slowly people got the zest and were smearing each other with lots of colors.

4) Rain or no rain, we danced with glee.

With the weather being august end and it being Sweden, rain was proving to be a spoil sport since morning. So when the fun was at its peak, the rain came lashing down at us. But by that time the mood had set in and our moves created quite uproar.

5) What’s Holi without some Bollywood Music?

Talking about being zazzy, when there is Bollywood music everything else would come to a standstill. And so it did. After grooving to the tunes of the likes of Pitbulls and Katy Perrys of the world, we pestered the DJ for some Bollywood music. He looked at us as if we were talking in Greek. Luckily for us, some Indian friends had already got a playlist ready with them which they passed on. After that the inevitable happened. We became the centrestage of everyone’s attention.  We grooved to all the Hindi foot tapping numbers and the crowd swayed with us. It was quite a sight to see.

6) Make the world a global village.

What was lovely was to see people from different countries celebrating the festival in such grandeur. There was a Swedish lady who had been to India many times and knew the right way to play Holi. She had brought her kids with her and they were having the time of their lives. People from all races, ethnicities and walks of lives came together and played Holi. We don’t see that every day, do we?

7) People friendlier, hearts warmer and life’s colorful.

Evening came and eventually everyone had to start going back. But we left as different persons while going back. Colorful both inwardly and outwardly, friendlier, lots of new contacts on whatsapp and facebook and drenched not only by the rain but by the fun and spirit we made.

I on the other hand was feeling proud and amused. Pride of my festival that its popularity has crossed seven oceans and people love and adore it and celebrate it in Sweden. Pride on being part of the Indo-Swedish festival which was the first of its kind. Amusement at myself for playing holi here when I kind of ‘loathed’ the smearing of colors back in India. Amusement of being a festival ambassador abroad. And wonder at the beautiful colors of life, which can at any place, country or season recreate magic by moving its magic wand among us, the lay man who waits for every moment with bathed breath.

Kulturnatta! A night full of art and culture in Gothenburg

Are you into photography, cinema, painting, board games or maybe jazz music? How does it sound to have all of this and more in one night? Welcome to Kulturnatta!

KULTURNATTA 2

The last weekend wasn’t a normal weekend because we had the Kulturnatta! A night full of art and culture around Gothenburg. From traditional Swedish dances till electronic music DJs lit the Friday night.

If you live in the city you probably had the opportunity to visit some of the places that had performances and shows. If you are not in Gothenburg try to imagine a huge bonfire with music and artistic demonstrations just walking by the street! Or imagine going inside a cultural place and have live performances of Swedish traditional music, dance and fika all for free!

There was not better excuse to gather with friends, explore the city and have a great time.

The program was extensive; all the representative places of Gothenburg opened their doors to allow us to get in an art atmosphere.

Arena 29, for example, is a cultural meeting place for young people and that night the place offered an art exhibition created by youths. The display together with the chocolate cake and coffee was a good start to the evening!

Are you into dance? The Folkmusikkaféet offered a selection of traditional Swedish dance and music by a very talented string duo.

Just nearby in Haga there was a live presentation of a DJ playing electronic and house music. But that’s not all, the stunning Hagakyrkan (church) opened its doors to show a concert too.

kulturnatta 1

Walking a bit around in Andra Långgatan we found a really nice painting exhibition, the theme: Women.

If you think this is already too much imagine walking in the street and get a kanelbullar by a stranger. This was possible thanks to the project Ridesharing Day that was going on in a lot of countries that night with the purpose to share something and make the people smile :)

To close with a flourish, in the Hagabions Café we found art performances following by a bonfire and chilling music. Can you imagine a woman dressed as a raven? Or a huge spider made of recycled materials? Yes, we found that and more at this place.

This event runs in October of each year so if you are about to come to Gothenburg you have one more reason to be excited, and if you are already here I’m sure you are looking forward the surprises that the next Kulturnatta will bring next year.

Second year of master… LOADING… ;)

Hej you guys!!! I wish you all are having a great time in Gothenburg!

A year ago I came to Europe. All the way from my little, beautiful land in Central America. I quit our eternal summer and warm people for the air of Scandinavia. Just here between you and me. I do not regret it for a second. For sure it is hard to be so far away from your family, friends and tasty latin food but Sweden will make it up to you :).

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So, after one year in Gothenburg I finish my first stage as a master student. No more classes ;)! (Don t get to exited I still have work to do ;) ) … Master programs in Europe are quite efficient.  Believe it or not, back home, to get a master in 2 years is basically IMPOSSIBLE. That s why I am eternally grateful for this opportunity.

Back to business. My second year of master require me to work as an intern in a laboratory. Which means I would have to work in some sort of research project for a year and write a thesis about it. Before last summer I started sending e-mails to different professors, who were in charge of projects that catch my eye.

Long story short, I am now doing my master internship at the Laboratory for Neurogenesis and Stem cell research. So far I cannot complain. People is so nice, the working environment is really friendly. I love Swedish working style.

lab

Before I chose Gothenburg I had the option to go either to Korea or Sweden. Of course it was a hard choice, since both countries have amazing technology and progress in science. Then, I came to this phrase “In Sweden people do not live to work they work to live” and believe it or not it affected my decision quite much.   They have such a relaxed view of work, and do not get me wrong. They DO work a lot! but is not as stressful and full of pressure as it could be. People gather for lunch, have their coffee, gather together for small talks.

In summary, now I get to see where this phrase came from. Even though, swedes work hard. They know how to prioritize. They keep their exercise routine, family is always first, there is always time for a little talk in the hallway. For me the most important of all is that do not matter how busy my supervisor is. He always finds time to teach me properly and without a hurry.

This experience has enrich my life and I hope that it will teach me a lot about Swedish life and working style. If you are heading towards an internship as me, do not be scared. Swedes are famous for being cold people but when you get to know their culture. you realized how respectful, helpful and friendly they are.

Good luck for all of you!

Vi ses snart,

Naza :D

P.S. They have amazing access to technology :D

Infiltrate a Swedish party: Done!

AFRICAN COREOGRAPHY

It seems like an irony, but getting involved with Swedish people being in Sweden is a bit difficult when we are living within an international community of students. Well, I have learned something this weekend; once you get to know Swedes you will live a whole new experience here!

This Saturday I changed the Oktoberfest for going to a Swedish birthday party!. I was invited by a friend and as the saying goes: ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’.

The only information I got about the party was that it was a masquerade so when I got noticed about this I immediately associated the theme with carnival or Halloween and I started looking for the most funny and horrifying mask, but I was making a mistake. Once there I realized that the theme was rather like a Venetian carnival type of masquerade.

The invitation was at 19:00 so I was thinking about going maybe at 8:30, but actually my friend advised me to be there at 6:45, surprise surprise…almost everyone was there already! Swedish time.

The evening started really well organized with an outdoors game in order to know whit whom to sit in the table. Once the birthday girl announced the availability we all were allowed to get inside the house with our respective table mates. Of course our names were on our sits together with a really diverse menu, it was a complete and fancy dinner so no potato chips or Cheetos for me at that party.

SWEDISH PARTY

We had a host that was regulating everything inside, so at dinnertime the table number 1 took the soup and the number 2 the salad and after some time we changed roles. I have to emphasize that the food was new but delicious!

Once in a while there were speeches in honor to the birthday girl by their closest relatives, and guess what…the speeches were all in Swedish of course!

After finishing the dinner the party host gave us 20 minutes of break for mingle among all.

After the break it was dessert time and the host surprised us with a guitar player who delighted us with beautiful Latin (yes Latin!) music. After that it was time for dancing, the music started playing but this wasn’t a common dance floor, we had a dance teacher! The teacher was teaching us an African choreography and everyone got excited and involved with it. At the end random music started playing, we danced with each other and we had a great time.

Someone told me that when you make Swedish friends they will remain forever. I made baby steps this weekend getting to know Swedes in an informal environment and as you see it was a whole new experience! So why don’t you give it a chance?