The first time I heard the word “Semla” was my first lecture this year. Not long after that, it was everywhere! Curiosity got the better of me and then I found out about Fettisdagen. This led me to decide to stick to tradition and wait to have my first Semla on Shrove Tuesday.
WHAT IS SEMLA?
Semla is a cardamom-spiced bun which you can cut off the top and then fill it with almond paste and whipped cream. The cut-off top now serves as a lid which is dusted with powdered sugar. Sounds amazing right? Semla is very delicious that it is said that King Adolf Fredrik (a Swedish King) died because he had too many!
Semla was originally eaten only on Shrove Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) as the last festive food before Lent. However, the tradition is not strict anymore as Semlor(plural of Semla) is sold everywhere weeks after Christmas till Fettisdagen. However, after today you’ll have to wait until next year:)
So, this was how I celebrated my Fettisdagen with other international students as we assembled our own traditional Semla. Thanks to the S-chapter!
Do you love November or have you successfully proved to be tougher? If your answers fall in the black or white region, then you’re good. However, if you’re like me, with an answer somewhere in the grey region. Then, read along as I share how I am learning or better still, learnt to love this interesting month.
So what makes this particular month outstanding? It’s the “preparation month”. Changing weather conditions and darker days are the two key points. When I mean “changing”, I should really say “spontaneous”. I remember a morning this week at KTH, with the sun peeking through the grey clouds and melting the ice on the roads and on parked cars; then, in the afternoon, it decided to snow a bit and then, in the evening, the rains decided it was their turn:) Quite a day, right?
In various discussions with different groups, it is very common for the weather to be laid out as a topic of discussion. This is not surprising as people are not only interested in knowing how the next person is coasting along successfully but their perception; as most students, have just moved to Sweden for the first time.
For me, I was mentally prepared for the cold and dark days Sweden has in its nature. However, mental preparation wasn’t all that was needed. My brain clearly showed me that it has a pattern it has grown accustomed to over the years and there’s a process called adaptation. I would classify myself as a “day-person”. Someone who works better when the sun rises and slowly shuts all brain-tasking activities, as the sun sets in preparation for the next day. Some people are the opposite.
The view of the general public is that we tend to sleep early or actually get tired of studying early as the brain delivers a misconception that it has been working the whole night when the clock time says 21:00 (lol). Then, waking up to meet early morning schedules is getting harder. So, it’s a “rest well but still feel like you need more rest ” atmosphere. Guess what, the period two started this month and with deadlines lined up like it’s a queueing sequence, finding ways to love November is the right move to make as its a preparation for the future ahead:) So, here goes my list:
If you have been doing this, this is not the time to quit or get lazy. In fact, this is the time to ensure you do not skip physical exercise. You can either choose working out at the gym or simply walk or run. Do what suits you but try not to skip this very important part. I stopped working out for the longest time period in my life, but I tried it recently and can confidently tell you it had an unbelievable positive effect (the missing part of my embracing jigsaw puzzle as I like to think)
ART OF LAYERING
There’s an amazing vibe that comes with wearing nice clothes (or seemingly warmer clothes) and looking like you’re not wearing so much as to just manually putting on whatever would keep you warm. Waking up and thinking of different ways to wear what you love and successfully carrying out your wish through the art of layering, can surprisingly keep you excited the whole day 🙂
GET UP AND GET GOING
I had to point this out in this manner because it is simply what it is. Get up, leave your apartment and get to work. The number of times you spend outside, the faster you get used to it and dark days or not, the adaptation process is over sooner than expected.
STICK TO THE EXCITED CROWD
Now, if you have one or two friends that fall into the category of those that LOVE the month, hang out more often with these guys! Their happiness can be quite infectious and that may be all you need to take the first steps in your love process:)
Here, are my four points that have helped out and presently, I work well without feeling the extra wave of tiredness that comes with the setting of the sun at 15:00 (yay!!)
If you have other ways that you have tried and you feel works or you just want to share your November experience, would love to hear from you through the comments section:)
As an energy engineer, achieving the sustainable development goals by 2030 is something I look forward to ( look at goal 7 😉 ). To this end, when I saw an event tagged – Global Sustainable Goals: Connecting Columbia and Sweden. I knew I had to attend.
There were different people that brought this event to fruition and so, we were enlightened on the roles they played and are still playing generally when it comes to sustainable development. These organisations include: Impact hub, Swedish Institute and the Colombian Embassy. The guest speakers for the night were:
Paula Gutiérrez Gómez: Co-founder and CEO, Impact Hub Bogotá. Entrepreneur, change maker In Colombia and around the world as an expert associate of the impact hub network and a great connector whether through the Global Shaper network or building long-lasting bridges between ecosystems like the ImpactXchange program between Sweden and Colombia.
Gustavo Marquez Castellano: Master in Sustainability and Environmental Management (SEM), Harvard University. Entrepreneur, Impact investor and sustainability expert with a special focus on clean energy.
Assad Jater Plenipotentiary Minister of the Diplomatic Mission, Colombian Embassy.
If you’re reading this post, this might cross your mind – “this event looks centred around Colombia. What is the main aim of reading this post anyway?”For me, the event was for anyone who had any interest in the “global sustainable goals” and would like to broaden their knowledge by sharing with like-minded individuals on how these goals can be achieved.
Year by year, we see how various actions taken by the different countries of the world affect everyone. Due to this, world leaders are beginning to see that the steps taken by each individual in the world has a ripple effect on our planet. To this end, we are forced to look beyond our countries and ensure we make the world not only suitable to meet our present needs but capable to meet the needs of the future generation.
Personally, I loved the flow of the event as it brought to mind that to make these goals achievable, everyone has to be on board: investors, universities, the government, financial institutions, individuals, and the list seems endless. The event started with a short introduction on Columbia and the treasure that lies within. Gustav shared his story as an entrepreneur and the various projects he is involved in; all with the aim of achieving a sustainable lifestyle in Colombia.Then, the event ended with a fishbowl panel. Personally, I loved this section of the event the most and I think it is something any conference or event channelled in getting the most out of its audience should try to fit into their programme plan.
If your mind is brewing ideas that fit with making sustainable impact in your community, I would like to leave you with these quotes:
The value of an idea lies in the using of it- Thomas Edison
I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work – Thomas Edison
Those who have the priviledge of knowledge have the duty to act – Albert Eistein
Everyone has a part to play in achieving the seventeen sustainable goals. What are you doing in your little world?
If you’re reading this right now, WELCOME ON BOARD! This is my first post as a KTH Student blogger (YAY!) and what better way to get this exciting part of my journey started than to let you in on the first few “Stockholm Signatures” that caught my attention.
So, I moved to Stockholm a month ago and it has been interesting so far. “Interesting” feels like an odd adjective to describe the beauty that Stockholm holds but this post is about the first five things that caught my attention in my first week!
Without further ado, let’s get the ball rolling:
GENDER NEUTRAL RESTROOMS
The above icon means the restroom is regardless of gender and to my astonishment, most of the restrooms even at the University have signs like this. I found this very surprising because, in Nigeria, I can’t imagine boys and girls using the same restroom. The thought alone cracks me up! I recall having to use the restroom at the central station and the sign just read “toalett”. I walked in and only saw men! (lol). My natural instincts told me,” Oluchi, you might be in the wrong place” but I had three seconds conversation with myself where I said, “you’re in Sweden; this is totally normal” (LOL!)
These pictures above are very prevalent in Stockholm. As shocking as it is to see this a lot, I absolutely love it! So, the same way we have maternity leave in Nigeria and in most part of the world, the Swedes have parental leave. Parents can share the 480 days between themselves of paid parental leave when the child is born or adopted.
CLEAN YOUR TABLES AFTER EATING
You know that sense of entitlement about not cleaning up after eating in public and letting “some people who have those set of duties in their job description take care of your mess?” This ideology has to be erased from your mind. Yes, there are some restaurants that you do not need to clean up after yourself but some like the ones in IKEA and McDonalds and most restaurants at the KTH Campus operate in this way. So, after eating, you throw your trash away, stack your dirty tray in the provided area for that. In summary, you clean up your table for the next person. So, why is it on this list? Because even in small school cafeterias in Nigeria, most of us do not clean up after eating. There are actual people who have it in their job descriptions to do just that (LOL!) To me, it was an interesting twist and look at it this way, you just eat and then leave seconds after. You do not need to wait for your check or have to tip anyone.
WOMEN AT WORK
I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria and during those five years and beyond, it has been glaring to me how unlikely you find women taking technical jobs independently. Let’s get past engineering, you hardly see women as drivers for the public transport system and even when you do, they are in the minority. However, in my first week, I was astonished when I was walking down Brinnelvägen and a lady was working all by herself at the construction site. As I was still basking in my new finding, I got to the bus station and guess who the driver was? A woman! You might say it may be two out of 100 but I beg to differ. I am studying sustainable energy engineering and to the best of my knowledge, we have an equal ratio of boys to girls in my programme. Personally, I love this! It shows Sweden is really on the forefront of gender equality in the workplace.
DRINKING WATER FROM THE WASHROOM BASINS
This is something I had to get used to seeing a lot, especially at the university. Some people just come into the restrooms just to get drinking water from the same sinks you may wash your hand in after using the restroom. So, yes, tap water has proven to be very safe in Sweden and because of this, you find most people with water bottles as opposed to buying bottled water when they are out of their houses.
So, there goes my list of the first five things that caught my attention in the first week. Does my list match yours? I would love to hear from you.