I got this from Liz and Rob for Christmas. For such a pretty thing, it’s
actually a ceramic hot pad for putting warm pots on. I love the movement of the
school of fish across it, the different colors, the bubbliness of the water,
and that the fish seem to be happily swimming along.
I saw it at
the Christmas market at Schwezingen, where it stuck out among mode impersonal
geometric designs. It turns out that the seller himself had actually made this
piece, and we talked to him as he ate his goulash dinner from a thermos. Hard
job, this, to be in a stall all day. He said that the different colors were
actually different thicknesses of glaze. There was no story behind him choosing
a fish pattern. Maybe that just goes to show that not all pretty things have to
have an underlying thought. So, these fish have a mass-produced kind of nature,
but also – in having met its maker – also had the character of a handicraft.
ended the conversation, we biked out of the market with Liz 12 Euros poorer and
with the fish wrapped in newspaper, inside a plastic bag on my bike handle.
- - -
me yesterday what my projects were for 2014. Since 2012, I have tended to see
my new years as an opportunity to make to-do-projects for myself, to pursue my
own personal goals. Rather than making resolutions (which anyway shouldn’t just
be done in January every year), I make a list of a number of things that I
would like to experience or accomplish during the year. It could be something
that I want to improve on, or a dream of a travel destination. It could be a
training- or work goal, or an ambition to learn something new. During the
course of the year, these projects also have a way of leading into new goals.
2012 was a
year of indifference to fear, and at the same time a search for some kind of
juice in life. I took my Swedish license and bought my own car. I started strength
training again and hiked a lot to prepare for hiking in the Swedish mountains.
I also challenged my own discomfort with water to new heights, and I learned to
paddle a kayak and to swim crawl. I even hopped from a diving platform for the
first time in my life. Behind this I guess I also wanted to test the limits of
mental toughness. I enrolled in a survival course and a military weekend that
autumn (And actually, they were quite alright, too!).
When I home
on New Year’s Eve after celebrating Christmas in the Philippines, I felt a
sense of hope. 2013 for me has been a year of optimism and a belief in the
future. Many of my goals also had
to do with improvement, and many of them also became good shared memories with
friends. I improved my balance on skates (with a slippery start in Valla’s ice oval!),
learned to ski better (also in powdery snow!), and even tried downhill skiing
for the first time. I discovered during downhill skiing that I’m not as indifferent
to fear as last year, even though my past successes give me hope that I can learn. I
also ran my first marathon and climbed Sweden’s highest mountain in good time
before turning 30 - Hoorah! (Yes, that reminds me: I have to blog about that climb one
day. Haha!). These experiences have contributed to a lot of joy in my life this
year. Anything is possible!
Some scenes from this year's New Year's walk in the city.
- - -
now. Time to think ahead again. This year’s big thing is the dissertation. In
some ways this is even bigger than my previous projects, just because I get a
title from it :-) Ending the thesis also seems a good way to start the first
quarter of the year: I see a clear goal, and I can almost taste it now. Funnily
the next half of the year is a big unknown terrain yet where work is concerned.
Hopefully there will be full- or part time research- or teaching positions open
in my university (and in my field) by spring. Otherwise, it’s up to me to apply
for post-doc funding to place here or elsewhere (depending on the conditions
attached to the post-doc). The prospect of moving isn’t very tempting though.
first on my 2014 project-list is:
(1) Finish my dissertation. Make it as good
as you can do it. Graduate and get a job within the university.
thought of other projects, but they kind of pale in comparison to graduating.
But here they are anyway:
(2) Set up
radio, do DX-ing. I already contacted my landlord about the possibility of
setting up an antenna.
(3) Load my
film camera with film (two whole years after Lea delivered it here!). Start
taking pictures with the film camera, learn the basics. As a motivation, maybe
post some of the best results online.
more. Not just lunchbox food, but good ole’ home-cooked Sunday meals like I
used to have time for. Started today by defrosting a whole chicken. Half of it
became nilaga (Sunday chicken soup), and the other half
became some thai dish (future lunchbox item). I love cooking and I should
invest more time into it.
(5) I also
have a fifth project at the back of my head but seems impossible in this rainy
winter. I got money from M&M to enroll in a skiing course, since I want to
improve. If this waits till next season is something that’s up to the weather.
On the other hand, since I’m all busy finishing my dissertation right now, I
don’t actually mind a dry and unexciting winter weather outside.
for now. Let’s see what the next half of the year brings job-wise so maybe I
can start planning other things too.
Not the fish, but chicken in the nilaga. Just posting it because I'm to eat it now :-)