An illusion of time10 March 2019
You can find me in Budapest or (think.BDPST)5 April 2019
“A delightful spring weather” or you can turn into Swede just in 2 days and go out looking for the sun, as soon as it shows in the sky 🙂
In August I took part in Swedish Institute Summer Academy for Young Professionals, and even though I wasn’t able to take full part in it, due to the big family loss, I was incredibly fortunate to continue the collaboration with other alumni and take part in writing a collective monography. The main topic of which is focused on migration and integration, sharing out the best practices in Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Lithuania, and Sweden and building inclusive and resilient societies.
I believe, that this is a bridge-building monography, a chance to tell to the people, who are looking for some practical toolkit about the ways and methods of our work, including the social cohesion, peacebuilding, housing solutions, communication techniques and much more. Most of the Eastern partnership counties still lack political culture and active citizenship and seeing how passionate are my colleagues about the work that they do, makes me proud to be one of them. We look for the people who want to take the ownership of integration and adaptation measures and are trying to become some kind of “tour guides”, giving out what we can actually do about the problems with migration.
I am also incredibly grateful for Gregg Bucken-Knapp, Manana G. Buachidze, and Karin Zelano for their continuous support, helping us to turn the biggest challenges into biggest opportunities and a chance to come to Sweden. For just being a super professionals in everything that they do, but besides that, having a simple human empathy and creating the connections with every participant. I think that it is something that in Sweden is called lagom, or philosophy of achieving a balance between work and free time, which can be given to the family and society. And lagom is more than a lifestyle, it is the philosophy of moderation, which is based on a sense of balance and care for others.
And since today is International Day of Happiness (March 20), it is symbolical in some way that I write about happiness again.
For me, Sweden is a country where everything is done for people. It was 5 pm and I was running from the University of Gothenburg, where we had our working meeting to the hostel, where I had my online facilitation on the Soliya program on “Newcomers and Nationalism: Exploring the Challenges of Belonging in Diverse Societies”. The streets were full of people riding the bikes: driving from work to pick up children from school, young stylish dads with strollers walking along, and students getting some fika time. And fika is another concept of Swedish happiness philosophy.
It is a coffee break used with something sweet (a traditional cinnamon bun, chocolate balls, a cupcake, a cookie), but that is only one side of it. And the second and no less important is communication. Sharing the latest news, gossip, views about the political climate – all that allows you to escape from work and socialize. It is interesting, but recently, this tradition began to quickly spread around the world. Today, ambitious and influential managers in New York, London or Sydney do not just take a coffee break, they give out 15 minutes for their fika in their busy schedule. The purpose of this is not only to get another dose of caffeine but to make a real pause in the working process.
We were getting our fika time too, both during coffee breaks at the University of Gothenburg or after long walks around the town, in our hostel kitchen. And the city deserves some words as well. It combines so much of everything that we would consider incompatible. It is a place with stunningly beautiful sea landscapes, a university center, one of the European capitals of pop music, a port, and a town with lots of restaurants with delicious food. And yes, maybe the weather is a bit unpredictable, with raining heavily for 10 minutes, just to give you the sun for the next half an hour, it has its own charm.
And Swedish nature has a special magic. You don’t even need to go far away to see it. Already, in the town, there is the Botanical Garden (Botaniska trädgård), and Slotsskogen – a huge park with a zoo that flows into each other so that you can not even notice how.
Being in Sweden these couple of days, made me realize why in the Scandinavian countries live one of the most welcoming and happy people in the world. They are not afraid of neither cold nor bad weather, because they know how to create a cozy mood for themselves and their loved ones. That is probably why the Scandinavian lifestyle is attracting more and more followers, because the secret to happiness is incredibly simple – create a warm atmosphere of love and care with your own hands, spending time sincerely with loved ones or alone, comfortably sitting at home with a cup of cocoa and baking or just do as your intuition tells you.
I believe that we have reached some lagom in our collective monography too – by providing the examples of really working approaches, focusing on what is best for the people, and not chasing after what is considered ideal.