>Swedish Moment

> Just imagine my surprise as I drive to work and see a buss with a typically Swedish name printed accross it – Haglunds buss. Still with the Swedish phone number on it, this bus today serves the citizens of Accra rather than of Ljusdal, not far from where my father was born. It is just amazing how globalized trading is.

I have written earlier about European newspapers ending up in Ghana here.

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>Swedish Silence

>I am leaving Ghana for my native Sweden for a few weeks on Saturday. I so much need the chilly wind of Sweden, refueling of Swedish foods, singing in Swedish, sleeping in silent Swedish nights and spending time with family and friends over there.

The past week and the current is busy with work and even though I started some ambitious posts they now lay dormant awaiting an end/a crucial link/a perfect picture (the Ghana bloggers will know what I mean).

So, I think I will chose to stay silent until I return from my trip. Hopefully I will be back relaxed, slightly less tanned with many stories and a renewed ability to finish posts.

>Swedish Summer in Ghana

> But you always have summer in Ghana? Temperature wise, maybe. But real summer in Ghana is totally correlated with summer in Sweden. I have some examples:

Today, I am listening to the Swedish Radio program series “Sommar” as pod radio. Every summer famous people, it can be astronauts, politicians, entertainers or an interesting entrepreneur get the chance to talk about anything they want (often themselves) and play their favorite music for 1,5 hours on national radio. Here in Ghana, I have downloaded my favorites – mostly authors – and plan to listen to them just as I did when living in Sweden.

Also, Swedish Midsummer celebrations have passed in company with Swedish friends here in Ghana. It was a wonderful event, pickled herring (sill) has never tasted so good.

This week is the annual “Politicians’ Week” in my hometown Visby, an event I love because of its wonderful meet-and-greet opportunities. Everybody in Swedish politics, media and lobbying are there. Probably right now drinking rosé wine in the sunset. All of it I can follow though news and blogs. With a glass of wine, its almost as if I am there (although over here the wine isn’t free).

Personally, I have probably never been happier. Ghana is such an interesting society. Everyday I learn new things. I have an exciting job, good prospects of starting my PhD in the fall, a happy marriage, beautiful home (and plans of moving to a better one). I have cool friends and I speak to a family member almost every day on phone.

Still, I just long for the day when I can book my ticket to go to Sweden for vacation. It will definitely be during summer.

Longing for home is a demon.

Picture from the Swedish Midsummer in Ghana. Absolut Vodka and hibiscus.

>Swedish Midsummer in Ghana

> Date: 21st of June
Time: 3 PM onwards
Place: My Place in Tema

We meet and cook and drink together while the sun sets. I have a grill and a lot of glasses and plates. The rest is up to you. It will be a “knytis” to create a Swedish feel to the event… Everyone with a Swedish connection is most welcome!

Just drop me an email if you want to come.

>On Closeness

>Sitting in a comfy chair looking out over a grayish blue ocean. The horizon is blurred, the sky is cloudy and there is rain in the air.

Today is my last but one day on the island and it has been a truly delightful experience to reconnect with my previous home, paths I used to walk, friends from the school days and marvellous dinners created by my own parents. I have been telling stories from Ghana and in formulating my new life in the south my Ghanaian relationships and realities seem surprisingly close. Close to this – very different – life in Sweden.

In the picture Sakko is sitting where I am sitting now.

>Midsummer update

>
Since today is an ordinary office day in Ghana, I will have to wait until tomorrow to meet up with the Swedish community (of four) here in Ghana and celebrate midsummer. You don’t know midsummer? It is a tradition when Swedish people gather to celebrate the ferility of the soil by making a giant fallos from flowers and dance like frogs while drink hard liquor and watery beer. This is how we’ll do it tomorrow, Ghana-style.

GHANAIAN MIDSUMMER
farsk potatis(day fresh potato)=potato
sill (herring)= Salmon from Koala supermarket
graddfil(sour cream)= yoghurt?
graslok (leek)=garlic sprouts
jordgubbar (strawberries)= mango?
pripps bla (Swedish beer)= Ghanaian Star beer
knackebrod (hard bread)= German hard bread
Snaps (traditional shots taken with song)= Absolut Vodka

Also, this weekend, I will inspect the house my bf and I have rented, already next week we’ll be moving in! I will post pics soon.

In the photo me and my bf’s mother celebrating something else.

>Nostalgia

>
What is it I really miss from home? The climate, some of the foods, my friends and family and being able to walk down the street and not wanting to capture at least 3 things on camera. Yesterday, I went to the capital with my boyfriend. Apart from one evening in an Accra restaurant this was my first visit in the capital since I came. We shared a taxi there, which took no more than 30 minutes still we ended up in a different world. We found ourselves in the hip Osu district of Accra. A place where big cars and obrunis (white people) are as common as yellow-and-blue taxis and bibinis (black people) in all other corners of Ghana. At the popular spot “Osu Food Court” I had an opportunity to choose not only between goat soup and different types of yam, but also hamburgers, pizza, coffee and cake (!) and other western/American dishes.

So what did I choose to eat? After some two weeks of local specialities I have come to really appriciate like spicy soups and stews, fish and chicken, carbohydrats in sticky balls and fruits new to me I went with…Pepperoni Pizza. Why? I don’t even eat pizza all that often in Sweden. Later that day, I had the opportunity to discuss this phenomenon with a Swedish newfound friend. We agreed that even though we came to experience new things it is just too much novelties at the same time. The heat, the smells, the early mornings, the animals running about, the new sounds, the different ways of buying a fruit/taking a taxi/shaking hands and the fact that it is impossible to blend in…all this make us inclined to once in a while look for the well-known. Even if it is a sad Pepperoni Pizza.

In the picture new friends Annie and Johnny visiting in my mother-in-law’s house.

>weekend

>
So, weekend is coming to Ghana as well. It will probably be a calm time with a trip to the nearby capital, hopefully for some salsa dancing. Or maybe a stop at the beach. I feel good today after getting my hair re-braided and yesterday speaking Swedish with some newfound Swedish friends. It’s something special with Swedes abroad…they so often impress me. So courageous, cool and cosmopolitan.

Next week, I will upload some of my own photos here. Stay tuned!

>Intercultural hurrays!

>
This weekend SWEA (Swedish Women’s Educational Association) on their annual meeting decided to award me with the Agneta and Gunnar Nilsson’s Scholarship for studies of Intercultural Relations!

This scholarship permits me to fulfill a dream of mine, start doctoral studies in the important field of migration issues. I plan to attend University of Ghana just 30 minutes away from my current location. My local newspaper on Gotland published an article on this on Saturday. Below SWEA’s motivation letter in Swedish.

AGNETA OCH GUNNAR NILSSONS STIPENDIUM 2007

Juryn för

Agneta och Gunnar Nilssons stipendium för studier av interkulturella

relationer har enhälligt utsett

KAJSA HALLBERG

till arets stipendiat.

Hon har i sin ansökan om stipendium för doktorandstudier vid Institute of African Studies vid University of Ghana för avsikt att skriva en avhandling om hallbar migrationspolitik, en fraga som berör de flesta länder idag pa grund av de olika situationer och villkor som uppstar i samband med att människor flyttar. Hon vill ocksa bland annat belysa problematiken brain-drain och brain-gain samt visa att migration även är en genderfraga, det vill säga innebär en risk för kvinnor genom splittring av familjer och trafficking.

Kajsa vill genom sitt arbete bidra till att uppmuntra svenska studenter att söka sig till studiemiljöer i Afrika och fa till stand hallbara samarbetsprogram med Afrika i framtiden.

Imponerade av en ansökan präglad av intellektuell mognad och djupt samhällsansvar vill vi i Juryn gratulera Kajsa Hallberg till stipendiet samt önska henne lycka och framgang inom detta viktiga forskningsomrade.

I am of course very happy to get this chance and I must say I could not have imagined a better start to my stay in Ghana!

>On books

>
I was challenged to answer to this survey by blogger/friend Marta. So here we go:

I. A book that changed my life.
My diary.

II. A book I read more than once.
Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is making it ALL UP, it is SO obvious that NO love story can EVER unfold like this. At the same time it’s touching and somehow believable.

III. A book I would like to bring to a deserted island.
Probably 100 love sonnets by Pablo Neruda, the pink edition with beautiful and sentimental love poetry in Spanish translated into English on the facing page. Then on my island, I’d learn the Spanish versions daytime by heart, later cry them out into the lonely and very black night and at the same time understand what I was screaming.

IV. A book that made me laugh.
A Rough Guide to Sweden. Jeez, it really gives a person some perspective to read travel books on her own country. This handy guide states that Sweden really just needs two days, one in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg…

V. A book that made me cry.
All the thick ones, ’cos I have separation anxiety (GWTW/Mitchell, Diva/Fagerholm, Anne of Green Gables/Montgomery, A little love song/Magorian)

VI. A book I wish had been written.
A coming of age story taking place in the echoing halls of Uppsala University, some romance at the student clubs called ”nations” and a strong heroine taking her own high road…

VII. A book I wish had not.
Little Birds by Anaïs Nin, a sequel to the wonderful and erotic Delta of Venus that has the quality of a, well, sequel.

VIII. A book I am reading now.
The American Girl by Monika Fagerholm, a Finnish-Swedish writer who makes up a new language for every book she writes, takes some getting used to, but I think the effects of when you just don’t read a persons story, but read their language is powerful (Ett Öga Rött by Hassan Khemiri had a similar effect).

IX. A book I plan to read.
Late in November by Tove Jansson. Aron said it was great and I trust his literary taste.

X. Pass the survey on to other bloggers…
I think that Mamma and Nadja should get it once they start their blogs.

AND SOME EXTRA FOR THE CHEAP SEATS IN THE BACK: A book I give to a friend any day.
The Daughters of Egalia by Gerd Brantenberg. This is how equal rights should be pursued; in a crazy-witty-fantastic literary description of what life would be like if everything was different. I’m just saying – the scene when Rut gives birth in the spotlight on a stage in the Birth Temple before she leaves to go out to celebrate with her friends! I believe in visualizing the absurd. So does Gerd.

>Back on track

>
Yesterday, I sat my foot down on the Uppsala soil and walked the 59 steps to my door (location, location, location!)

Summer is over. It feels kind of nice. Posts from now on will involve job searching and texts on breaking up with student life.

The slight out of focus picture is taken from the information page of Harvard’s summer program 2006 in Uppsala. Had no idea the prestigious US university drag their students to Sweden summertime. Well, their summer is over too.

>Summer break

>

Not a cloud
as long as the eye can see
not a drop of rain
in several days

with an ice-cream in my mouth
and sandals of plastic
I am walking in the sun
thinking of you