Wonderful that summer is here. We are so well-deserved of summer holidays. I try to keep up the training even though it is very hot. Therefore, I have for craving for salt and it is perfect with herring and potatoes. I was lucky to get a few sunny days by the Mediterranean in the south of France before summer started in Sweden. To stay on the safe side. I remember rainy Swedish summers even if they are few.
Somehow it felt safe to be in France. Right now there are riots, but the police and sometimes the military quell the unrest. In Sweden, people are shocked to see someone in a military uniform. President Macron claimed at an early stage of the pandemic that we have an invisible enemy in front of us. I had a chat with the man at the hotel reception and he said that “like all other countries, France shows sympathy for Ukraine”. Even though I was on vacation, I had Ukraine on my mind when I flew over the Alps.
I remember the breakfasts in France. At that time, I stayed with a real Madame. At the top of the house, I had access to a small balcony where I saw the Pyrenees every morning. At breakfast, I had coffee, a croissant or a petit madeleine. Then it was time for the wooden stairs, as you can see in the picture below, and I was off for the university.
French breakfast is still delicious, and I tried this week to have some baguette with ham and cheese for breakfast at home, but it can never be as good as in France. Tried prawns for dinner an evening in Juan les pins as a change to fish balls in my everyday life. French cuisine just cannot fail. Also great to enjoy the incredible fresh tomatoes from Provence. A concentrate of sunshine.
Back home in Sweden, I felt grateful to Finland, which has recently become a member of NATO. Our Nordic neighbors have always protected us Swedes. We have two centuries of peace, but Finland, Norway, and Denmark know that war occurs, with all that it can mean.
Ten years pass so quickly. I have had the opportunity to advance, and also to continue on my thesis but in a different format and dimension. The Internet, and data in general, has changed our everyday life. A parallel life in the internet space that I finally have agreed with.
A picture is worth a thousand words, it is said. My camera has been my faithful companion throughout these years. My illustrator when words are missing to describe the context. Currently, we are in the middle of summer and everything goes a little slower. It is relaxing, and rest is needed because it has been a tough winter and spring. I think most closely of covid-19, but also of streptococcus which seems to have taken hold. The war in Ukraine affects everyday life. What appeared to be the beginning of a civil war in Russia last weekend took a rapid turn. Perhaps the purpose was to create confusion.
Now it is fruit- and salad season for me. I charge my batteries with fresh vitamins. That energy will be needed in November. To remind myself that life is on holiday, I will listen to the traditional Swedish summer radio program “Sommarpratarna”.
When I studied at the University of Uppsala, I met many other students who did not study biology and chemistry. A new world opened up because I was used to going miles to meet friends. All of a sudden you could socialize without needing help with being transported by car.
At the beginning of my studies, someone asked if I studied languages. Humanities. Strange, I thought, isn´t it obvious that I study pharmacy? It made me think of high school, and that I actually genuinely liked languages at that time. We had a very dedicated English teacher who really taught us British English. When I visited relatives in America, they told me I spoke haughtily with my British accent. I got confused.
The French language was completely different from the English language. Grammar in French was structured in a completely different way. There also seemed to be something completely diverse that could not be found in Great Britain. My image of France became easygoing. Perhaps it can be symbolized by the fact that the nickname of my French teacher was “the Rattle”. She gesticulated a lot and wore funny clothes and jewelry on her arms and neck that rattled. Always a lot of makeup with red lips. Every time very polite, happy, and caring lady.
I got surprised by how life can be turned out. A little question that aroused so many reflections. This humanity issue made me have a sabbatical year to study in France. I affirmed the hidden humanistic part of myself. France is not just the language. It is the whole culture. The way to live. I understood “the Rattle”. In addition, French cooking was of great importance that I hadn’t thought of before. Those who know me, know that I love food and also Swedish fika.
During the past ten years, I have worked on connecting my interest in biology and chemistry with the humanistic part of myself. Perhaps these photos illustrate my passion for writing and finding new knowledge. Below, is my dissertation in pharmacology 20 years ago. Above, a little more easygoing, still happy, and with my great pathos for France.
Today, a little like “the Rattle” but without bracelets and necklaces.