This spot is dedicated to the world and how I see it.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

24 April

How hard should it be to name one or two women who fulfill the following criteria:

"Very well known and high profile, engaged in European/EU affairs and not too political"

We are looking for a new Chair for a programme in the think thank I am working for and all candidates for the three programmes are men. When trying to find and to nominate one women, we got stuck. Can it really be that bad that we can't even think of a woman who would fit the criteria?

This seems to be a question about generations. I certainly hope that, in the future, when I myself could fulfil the above criteria (in about 20 years), it should not be as difficult as it is for us today to think of someone. I hope there would be an abundance of good female candidates!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

22 April 2007

This is an article in Swedish by Johanne Hildebrandt who is a Swedish writer and journalist currently working in Iraq. Here she is writing about that the safety that we are lucky enough to have in Sweden also can be a curse - in the sense that we have become extremely risk-aware. As a consequence we get the mentality 'why should we go anywhere else when we can have good lives here', and therefore miss out loads of exciting, thoughtprovoking and potentially wonderful things in life:,2789,1051329,00.html

Saturday, April 21, 2007

21 April 2007

I am my own hero! The feeling of getting over a phobia that I have had for over a decade and a half (being 27, this is a long time), is incredible.

I have been scared of flying since I was about 14 and even if I have been flying to places in Europe, Afrika and Northamerica, those flights have terrorised me psychologically. Well, not exactly the flights themselves, because once on board I am quite enjoying flying, but rather the weeks and days before. Prior to each flight, I have been 100% convinced that something dodgy would happen: I used to be nervous about engine failure and bad weather but it was once, when the plane was just about to take off and I left my seat, ran down the aisle and said I wanted to get off, that it my condition got worse and it started hindering my personal, as well as my professional life.

Since I was 17 I have not flown alone. I would have been stuck if I didn't have wonderful parents or friends who patiently travelled with me, or picked me up when I was to travel home for Christmas or summer holidays. Bless them. I am eternally thankful for the understanding and patience they have had with me.

Living abroad, having my family in another country, friends scattered across the world, plus having a job that requires travelling, make it pretty difficult to be scared of flying. I have been travelling by train from the Northcape in Norway all the way to Lisbon (not in one trip, luckily) and then across all Europe, east to west. I don't know how many nights I have spent on night trains and, living in times of cheap airlines, how much money I have spent on trains. Travelling by train has been a frequently uncomfortable, yet uplifting and exciting experience to be fair though.

Yet a new world has opened to me this week when I finally decided to fly alone to Italy for an interview. The trainticket would have cost be 278 Euro. Single. That was the sign that made me realise that train travelling, for as environmentally friendly is may be, it is unsustainable. Just having become single after a 3 year relationship, I realised that I am alone and have to manage my life alone too. God dammit.

So I booked the flight and had just over two weeks to prepare mentally. And it went suprisingly easy. The worst day was the Sunday before my trip-it went by so slowly and there were many moments when I could start crying and panicking. However, I didn't.

I am very proud of myself and my determination to manage to board that plane alone. It's a small step, or not even a step at all, for most people - but everyone has different weaknesses. For me it symbolises that everything is possible. Two years ago I seriously thought that if I ever wanted to go to Northamerica, I had to take the Trans Siberian railway and then cross Berings Strait to Alaska. But I managed to get on that Air Canada flight to Toronto. And back too!

When I landed in Italy last Monday, I had to start crying, being so proud and happy. I spent the afternoon on a hilltop relaxing on a bench, under some beautiful trees (depicted above), enjoying the view over Tuscany. At ease with the world, and most of all, with myself.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I am sure this is the very first time in my entire life I wished I had an air conditioner in my flat in April. It's been around 25 degrees now for over a week, it is like the peak of the best of summer days - it could be July or August. My boss even gave us Friday afternoon off yesterday! All Eurocrats and stagiaires gathered at the usual Place Luxembourg and yesterday it was extraordinarily packed. People enjoting their Krieks, wine, Leffe... For how nice it may be, one can't stop wondering if this heath is a good sign. If it stays like this in summer, I'd be more than happy. But not hotter, please...