...because you thought Sweden was Switzerland!

Friday, October 26, 2012


22 October 2012

The internet was down when I came home, and what do I do after work? I sit down in front of the computer with coffee and some jazz and play Solitaire for the better part of an hour. Strange when you realize that you start to resemble your dad. Now all I need is someone to massage my head (a stand-in for Lea) while half-listening to stories of relatives’ whereabouts (a stand-in for my mom). Some peanuts won’t hurt, too. Just a thought.

This half-year I had some people asking me every now and then how it feels to be alone now. Unexpected people sometimes drop a line to say ‘hi and how are you now’ – even my high school physics teacher whom I’m surprised even remembers me (hi Ms. Lebron). When I do try to look at myself from some other people’s perspective, I can’t believe I have gone through the things I have. From my point of view, life goes on a month at a time now without me thinking about things too much. I look at the back of calendar and feel proud that I’ve checked virtually all things in my to-do-in-2012 list. But the thoughts are still there somehow (comes and goes), and sometimes I wonder if life would anyway have been easier if Marcus was still around. It’s not sure that it would really have been – life was tough then too – but that’s just how I think. Things are easier when you're two; at least when you've gotten used to being two. So yeah, part of me does feel sad that I’ve lost that someone to come home to and tell me stories about everything and nothing (even stories of relatives' whereabouts will do!), to do and plan projects with, cook with, randomly hug and all those things. But I can enjoy playing Solitaire at least, and I really enjoy the jazz. It’s a start. Maybe one day there will be someone, somewhere out there, to be happy with year in and year out. Can one get true love twice? I don't know if I even know how love is different from affection or companionship anymore. But what the heck; I'll worry about that later. Besides, I got to be attracted to a person first, besides him being able to stand all my philosophizing. Ha!


If there is one thing that I’m sure glad as hell for that Marcus got me in to, it would be that he shared his interest in outdoor life with me. I would probably not have survived this year so well if I had not had the rewards of friluftsliv (lit. "life in the free air"). The things that he never was able to teach me, I’ve decided there’s no excuse not to learn for myself. Besides, I think that I learn pretty fast doing things I like to do. This explains why I’ve been crazy about going courses lately. I think I learn a lot about myself and lots of other things as well, from being outdoors, finding a challenge and trying things out.

Third weekend in September: I signed myself for Military Weekend.

Three days and two nights where you can try out doing stuff in green clothes. It’s unashamedly designed as a recruitment gimmick for the voluntary organizations, the home guard, or a career in the military, so it was a weekend packed with heavy recruitment information, speckled with some (for civilians) exciting things about military life such as barrack- and tent living, camouflage, march, first aid, gas mask use, and shooting rifles and machine guns. I find it pretty charming of Marcus to have taught me to some of these things even though there is a high probability that I would never use them (among stranger details that I remember are signs on how build formations when walking as a group and what distance to keep from each other – which is of course only useful if you expect others to be discovering you and shooting at your direction at any time). I also discovered that, compared to young Swedish people, I have been bizarrely molded by my school years and Kendo years to think that falling in a straight line in a corridor is normal, as is calling your authorities by their titles. There are indeed few situations in adult life where you do this anymore (both lining up and calling authorities by rank), even in the Philippines. Perhaps only in martial arts, where, apparently, a lot of things to do with discipline, material care and giving and receiving instructions resemble military ways.

Photos c/o Försvarsutbildarna (2012). Happy Joy despite bad hair; me shooting some blanks; and if you look close enough in the last picture you will find me in the middle of the first row, and you will also find someone whose friends "camoflaged" him as V. 

I liked this course, actually. It made me more convinced that I want to continue some aspects of this kind of training – and actually exert my body and brain for something that, potentially anyway, could be of some societal use and at the very least some fun. I have to prioritize my dissertation before I invest in any of this weekend warrior thing, though. But otherwise, the volunteer organization that organized Military Weekend has an amazing array of practical courses for civilians who might at one point be expected to use this knowledge for something (leadership, radio, radioactive safety – you name it). If only university courses were half as exciting!

First weekend of October: Went with Susan on a course on "Practical survival".

A 26-hour course arranged by the outdoors society Friluftsfrämjandet, designed for those curious on how they might make it without much food, water or materials over a longish period of time out in nowhere. Also a "light" variant, in that it is designed to give one the idea of how a survival situation could look like over a period of time, without actually having to expose us to a situation of actually needing to survive. Consequently, because we knew that the course would end the next day, our group of four (me, Susan and two other course participants) kept good humor despite having no food but some strange roots, little water, and little comfort. Mostly, I think what the course contributed to me was to underline the importance of thinking strategically, creatively and positively, even if you realize that you’re in a hard situation. For me, it was also a little of a physiological experiment.

Photos c/o Friluftsfrämjandet (2012). Three views of our windshelter, where we slept (or tried to, in the cold) as a group.

The only thing that makes me curious about this course is how I’d feel after more than a day in the same circumstances, and how the group dynamics would hold up then. But there is a rumor that a follow-up course is on the drawing board, so I’ll wait for that.


I think sometimes when I do these things that Marcus would have been proud of me for enjoying myself, and for not making his absence an excuse not to be out. But it’s not what he would have thought that matters – not factually. I feel that I inherited something from him that I truly enjoy for myself, and I feel good because I’m the first person I can make happy.

... Oh yeah – on the topic of courses, there's swimming, too. Last week was pain and hell, this week was pain and hell, and next week will also surely be pain and hell. But I haven’t drowned yet, so I must be learning something. I think.

... And the internet is back. Hooray!


Anonymous Foodie Bugi said...

I love your blog! Hope to read some more from you!

Hello from Dubai!

11:36 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How cute are you!! Haha! I'm impressed you signed up for Military weekend, I'll have to tell Per about it -- though a bit afraid he might push me to do something like that one day :) Nice to hear how you've been doing, now that I got a chance to catch up on some of your blog!! The cats are so cute, I really want one, though the commitment is too big for me right now. I also thought about learning to kayak - it looks really fun. Though I'll admit I'm too lazy and non-committal right now :/

1:08 PM

Blogger Ahoy! said...

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for dropping by, both of you!

Joyce: I'm sure you'll think Military Weekend was cool. Don't worry, it wasn't that exhausting, just hectic. Beware of a 6-hour long "teoripass" though! Kayaking is a great experience. Try Sankt Anna, it's really beautiful down there!

11:20 PM


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