June 24th, 2017
naye: a forest road seen through a haze of light (going where i want to be)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 12:48pm on 24/06/2017 under , ,
It's so weird to consider leaving Cambridge.

I mean, leaving Britain is something I've been wanting to do quite badly for exactly a year - waking up to the Brexit referendum results early in the morning of June 24th was a gutpunch and I've never really caught my breath again. (Mostly because the Tories/Theresa May/Brexiteers keep refusing to treat us migrants as people, preferring to regard us as bargaining chips... and they're so bad at bargaining.)

But Cambridge?

I live here now. I have friends here! And a yoga studio and a hairdresser and a weekday morning running loop and a selection of weekend long runs and a job and a dentist and I've spent longer here in an unbroken streak than anywhere else in my adult life. (I lived for longer in a Stockholm suburb with my ex, but did a year in Japan in the middle.)

It's familiar, it's safe, it's pleasant. I don't dislike our flat - I wish it had a better view (any view!), and I wish the bedroom wasn't right on the street, and I wish we had a garden or something - but it suits our needs and the landlord is nice and it's got a dishwasher and a washing machine which I will now never be able to live without. And we've made it cozy and ours.

But there's no future here. We can never get on the property market - not in Cambridge, and not anywhere within a 30 minute commuting distance. I think the current property prices exceed 10 times an average yearly salary. Even for us DINKs, that's... not really feasible. And that's not even going into how small and dark and cold British flats are. (These are facts: Britain has the smallest living space per person in Europe. A lot of British houses don't even have double glazing. And possibly due to that, or due to legacy "window tax" issues, there are generally fewer and less generous windows than I'm used to.)

And jobs-wise, Skuld might keep getting promoted, but I've worked myself into a situation where there's no room higher up in the organisation, and I don't have enough experience to take the step to management anyway. Plus I've got a foreign degree in my field, and no experience of the local system, which means I can't ever get a foot in the library door here without taking a severe paycut.

Finally: I miss living close to actual nature where you can roam off the beaten track and there are lakes where you can swim in the summer and skate in the winter and you can pick berries and mushrooms and flowers. Here we have cultivated parks and a slow meandering river you can follow up to the point where personal properties cut pedestrians off, and then it's just fields. Sweden has so much nature. And you're allowed in all of it! We have an amazing law called allemansrätten. I never understood what an amazing gift this law is until I lived in countries with fences and PRIVATE PROPERTY NO TRESPASSING signs and conversations like "there's a nice view up here but we shouldn't get out of the car because the landowners don't like it". I mean, look at this from Wikipedia:

Basically the only places you can't go camping is in peoples gardens and protected areas like bird sanctuaries. )

So there's plenty of reasons to long for Sweden (including the summer nights I keep going on about), but to actually move there? And not be here anymore? So strange. I can stay in touch with friends online, but where will I find a hairdresser as nice as George, or a yoga teacher as patient as Kathy? Where will I buy my kewpie mayo and frozen karaage and other necessities? There's no UNIQLO in Sweden (yet, maybe) so that's half my wardrobe I can't replace. And will I not regret this move when it's mid-April and sleeting, and instead of being out running I'm online looking at friends' beautiful shots of gardens in bloom and green grass in Cambridge.

Because the grass is always greener, and all that...

(The exception to the rule is Kyoto, which I've always felt lived up to all my love for it. It will always be the first city of my heart, and one day I hope to spend some time there again.)
June 20th, 2017
kjn: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] kjn at 10:59pm on 20/06/2017 under
Well, not anymore, but the Swedish Church Law of 1686 included the following statute:

Ingen Brudeskara må komma til Kyrckian, med Trummor, skiutande, och hwariehanda otienligit Buller; Skeer thet, tå skola sådane plichta efter Stadgan.


Basically, "no bridal group may come to the church with drums, shooting, and miscellanous unhealthy noise. If you do, you will get fined." I couldn't resist trying to set this peculiar piece of history to "Banned from Argo".

The Church of Sweden got its law in sixteen eighty-six )
naye: a photo of the view of ocean and sky through a window at dawn (dawn)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 09:30pm on 20/06/2017 under
Midsummer. A wonderful time in Sweden, when the nights are short and light and the days are long and balmy and you can go for twilit midnight walks or just wait a couple of hours for a 3.30am sunrise around where I used to live.

Of course here in the UK seasons seem to matter slightly less - or maybe I'm just less attuned to the local signifiers? (Strawberries and cream I get! And music festivals.) There's definitively no Midsummer holidays and long slow summer where most people take weeks (or months) off and many businesses wind down to run on a skeleton crew.

Speaking of Sweden: I just submitted my first Swedish job application since leaving the country in 2012! We still don't know when/if we will get a visa for Skuld, but it's been almost a year since we applied, and it's time to start actually planning for the big move there. Which includes trying to maybe have a job lined up. (Having a job lined up would also possibly help us appeal any denial of visa based on me not living & working in Sweden as I'm currently living & working with my non-Swedish spouse...) I've got my eye on another position, but see above re: skeleton crew and businesses winding down for the summer. Due to all that, their application deadline is August 1st, so I'm not in any hurry.

But yeah, with a bit of luck we can celebrate next Midsummer the way it was supposed to be done: by enjoying the company of family and friends and all the beauties nature has to offer at this the brightest time of year.


Like a Midsummer's Night
June 17th, 2017
naye: the whole aang-gang hugging (a:tla - group hug)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 11:40am on 17/06/2017 under
This month you guys.

It's been a normal month with everyday life for me and my wife and my cats. But this country's seen two terrorist attacks, one really stupid general election with ensuing political chaos, and one absolutely nightmarish disaster brought on by greedy businesses and greedy politicians. On top of that this week it is the 1-year anniversary of Jo Cox' murder (by a white supremacist terrorist) and the Pulse shootings both.

And on top of that Brexit negotiations were supposed to start on Monday (1-year anniversary of that particular mess coming up next week) but nobody knows who's in charge or what Brexit even means right now.

And on top of all that this weekend is going to be the hottest of the year, and we have no garden and no greenspace by our house and the sea is a stressful hour's drive away (but we have no car) oh and also London is a powderkeg of grief and anger and protests that could so very easily turn into more.

Oh and the US is doing great, too.

All of that and just existing in proximity to all of this feels exhausting and disorienting. I haven't had words for anything - what could someone like me say about all of this except that it's terrible and tragic? I haven't even had the ability to focus on others' words - after tearing through books at a breakneck pace, I've hit a wall where I'm unable to do reading right now.

I've found a bit of an outlet in Instagram (of course I got hooked the moment I tried it - there's a reason I've been avoiding it), in the expressive wordlessness of photos, my own and others. And in just... looking at lots of beautiful places and adorable cats and wallow in nostalgia (Instagram has people posting snapshots from all the places I've lived in Japan) and cuteness.

But mostly I'm just feeling drained and dull, and I imagine that's a comparatively good way to feel with the week we've had here.
June 13th, 2017
naye: (one piece - nami color)
posted by [personal profile] naye at 07:31pm on 13/06/2017 under
It has finally happened. I had been avoiding Instagram like the plague, because I absolutely do not need another app full of shiny to obsess over... but because of wanting to work in libraries again I had to make an account. (I swear it made sense at the time!)

And then once I made an account for myself, I accidentally made one for the cats, too. Because of course I did.

So hey! Are you on Instagram? Please let me know and I will do the follow there, and give you lots of hearts whenever I'm around. ♥

My account is [instagram.com profile] swuun. Expect photos from places I've lived and places I've traveled - capturing light and life and details, with a few personal touches.

The cats' is [instagram.com profile] tennenlaperm. (Yes the cats' account name is a Gintama pun because that's the kind of people we are.) Expect Meenie and Nora being cute! I'm currently building a timeline for the kitties - I'm in mid-2015 - so there'll be a lot of new pictures until I catch up with mid-2017, and then we'll see.

Oh, and my own Instagram I'm planning on sharing with people I know from outside of fandom, so keep that in mind if you usually keep private and public accounts and identities separate.

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