Why I Blog

People often don’t know I  have this blog. It’s only when I tell them or when they see my posts through social media that they know. It seems weird to me, seeing as to me it’s a relatively big part of my daily life. I’m always surprised the word “hobby blogger” isn’t written on my forehead somehow. But anyways, I love to blog and here’s why.

Firstly, writing is my number one creative outlet. I love to juggle with words and to carefully consider what to put where. I love that you can rearrange and change your mind. My blog is a space that allows me te be or do whatever I want to. It could be poetry one day, it can be a lifestyle or fashion related items the next. My mood constantly changes and I thoroughly enjoy that my blog can change with me.

Secondly, it’s a fantastic way to look back on things. Sometimes when I’m not really feeling it, I scroll through my own Instagram and blog and think: wow, I’ve done so much in the past few months or years. I’m always stunned at how many good moments there have been. It’s a great way to keep those memories safely stowed and always at hand to cheer me up.

Finally, this blog gives me a platform to straighten my thoughts, to make lists, to get out there what I feel needs to be heard or simply be said, whether it’s being read or not. It’s how I structure the dreamy, emotional and creative part of my brain. What’s even better is that this part gets to interact with people; there’s nothing more fun than seeing someone like or reblog a post and reply to comments. It’s the best feeling to see that a blog post doesn’t just end with the reader, it’s only the starting point of a discussion.

So, that’s why I blog. No matter the time or effort, I’m determined to keep this blog going and I’m excited to see how it evolves as I grow.

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© Lotta from Stockholm

Let’s go

“You are not lost you are here.” “Let good things come to you. “

I read this first sentence on my way to work today. The second sentence was written on the label of my tea bag tonight. Sometimes words of encouragement can be found in the most unexpected of places, often at the best time, when we need them the most. So I wonder, do we unconsciously look for them, or does the universe in some way throw them onto our path? I don’t know. But I’ll take my chances and throw some your way just in case.

I’ve been a bit lost these past few weeks. I’ve been slowly moving to Ghent. I came back from travelling and dove straight into work. My stuff, my head, my feelings are all over the place. I’m often left feeling clueless. And I’m here to tell you it’s okay. It’s okay to not know what will happen. It’s okay to feel angry, sad and thrilled at the same time. It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing. And it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.

“You are not lost, you are here.” Or, we are not lost, we are here. Because there is no one on this earth that hasn’t felt lost. Well, if we get lost together, I don’t mind. Let’s go.

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Why I Read (And Why You Should Too)

I’ve always been fascinated by languages, words and the worlds that they can construct. It was obvious from a very young age that my interest for the alphabet and reading stretched far beyond what was considered ‘normal’ for children the same age. In primary school, I was in a reading group with the eldest children at our school, something that intimidated me. My reading abilities had nothing to do with being smart, I was just curious for words, and craved to learn more with each one that I was taught. At the age of 9, I started writing poems. They weren’t very good, but I collected them all in a bundle and sold them to my family (I was a clever merchant, and a poet, it turned out, kind of like Shakespeare, you could say, haha). I went to the library weekly, or multiple times a week. I had to take out books on my mum’s library card on several occasions, because I’d reached the maximum amount of loans for my own card. I was part of a children and youth reading group called KJV for a couple of years. I’d look forward to the end of each year of this reading group, so I could meet the authors that had created the worlds I had spent so much time discovering. I was in complete awe of their capabilities. And today, I still am. I competed in poetry competitions whenever I found the courage to share my words, because to share writing is to share a bit of yourself, I feel like. I wrote a short story about a dolphin once (and unfortunately have no idea where it went, what happened to it, and if it could’ve been a bestseller – I presume not). I was beyond excited when I was given Scrabble for my birthday. When we went to Bath with our High School, I was most excited about the Jane Austen shop, while all my other friends were telling me to hurry up so they could go eat fudge. I wrote letters, to my friends, my family, dozens and dozens. I have always been way better at expressing my feelings in words on paper than I am in real life. Needless to say, when I had to pick a major at university, there was never really a question that it would be literature and linguistics.

Nevertheless, over the years, as words turned into endless papers, my poems turned into empty pages, the library cards hadn’t been used in years, because my obligatory reading lists were so long,  I have sometimes forgotten what it is that I enjoyed so much about reading. So, this is for myself, for you, for anyone that hasn’t touched a book in a very long time. For anyone that loves to read, but just needs to be reminded.

Why I love to read.

Because there is no better way to forget that there is an outside world, to get lost in ages, places and cultures that aren’t yours, but very much seem to be so when you are emerged in them. To forget all your problems, because well, nothing beats going on a quest. Whether that is for love, safety, something that was lost, someone. I mean, priorities, right?

Because there is no better way to learn. Foucault knows it: words are knowledge, and knowledge is power. A power that sets society in motion and makes the world go round. There is no better way to learn to speak eloquently, to expand your vocabulary, to learn about the history (of our languages). To experience different cultures and habits from the comfort of your own couch, with a cup of tea.

Because there is no better way to empathise. To feel whatever the main character is feeling, to go through the motions with them. To feel the loss that Harry Potter experienced, to feel the feminist empowerment that Hermione represents, to gain the patience and wisdom of Dumbledore and to learn to relativise with Ron’s wit. And to understand others even if you don’t agree with them.

Because a Billy library from IKEA just looks a lot better with loads of books in them. Plain fact.

Because even if all your books are taken away from you, if you donate all your books to charity, if you give them all to friends, no one can take away the stories you’ve lived.

Because it’s a great way to learn a new language. It’s one thing to master the grammar and vocabulary, it’s another thing to form sentences that make sense, to learn the idioms, to learn what is socially acceptable to say.

Because it’s something you can discuss, talk about, (dis)agree about. It’s a great way to connect. Whenever I find myself on the train and I see someone reading, I’m always curious to see what they’re reading, and I’ve struck up numerous conversations with strangers because I was reading something myself. It’s nice.

Because why the hell not?

Happy reading,

Love,

Silke

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#2 on the Bucket List aka Learn Swedish

“Why Swedish?”  It’s the one question all of us, every  –  single  –   one  –  of us that studies the Swedish language in Belgium is confronted with. Many times. Too many times. Why NOT Swedish? It’s as good as any other language. “It’s not a world language.” But isn’t it, though? What makes a language a world language? I believe that learning a language is not just about studying the grammar and the vocabulary. It’s important, but learning a language is also learning about the culture it is submerged in, it is taking part in social dialogue, it is learning to take a new perspective on the world. Hence also: any language is a world language. Any language is a language of the world. Whether that language has two speakers or millions. Language is about connecting. And does that then mean I should choose to learn a language because it allows me to connect to more people? No. I pick a language to learn because it allows me to connect better.  So once and for all: why Swedish? Because it’s a damn beautiful language, spoken in a fast-moving, progressive country that is just as breathtaking. Jaha. Så där.

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My 5 favourite words in Swedish:

1. Fika
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. I’ve gone on and on about this to pretty much anyone I know.  It’s a wonderful concept: coffee/tea with sweet pastries. Taking a break, making time for friends, family, colleagues. Taking a breath.

2. Lagom
The key to Sweden: not too much, not to little, just the right amount. As life should be.

3. Älskling
A Swedish word for ‘darling’. But so much better.

4. Hemlängtan
This translates to the English ‘homesickness’, which I think sounds awful. Hemlängtan has a bit more of a positive connotation, which I like. Because being homesick is a good thing; it means you have something wonderful to go back to.

5. Hej!
Gone is any formality. In Swedish everyone is addressed equally. And getting a ‘Hej!’ never manages to disappoint: it sound cheerful, happy. Even if the person who says it isn’t really happy to see you, they would have to try REALLY hard to come across that way.

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Hej då!

Love,

Silke