It’s not that I am not grateful, I really am. Every day, for the wonderful life I have, with a husband that I deeply admire, a place that is like paradise to me, and so many things to be amazed of every single day. But the Gratitudes project and me… it’s not working. My fingers itch to write about games, and to Play them, in the few spare moments when I manage to contain my urge to be outside, experimenting this amazing Swedish summer.
So I am retiring the Gratitudes. That’s it, the end, bye bye. And keeping the failed result here in just one entry, for posterity.
The gratitudes that once were
The quantity of my writing (aka blog posts) is inversely proportional to the magnitude of the articles I plan to write. And I contradict myself in the process, by NOT doing exactly what I say we should all do the most: share something, every day.
I’ve just stumbled upon an old TED talk that once inspired me. It’s about happiness, success, and how badly we correlate these two in our modern societies. You can see this talk at the end of the post.
I believe if I would write more, I would be happier. So I will try to follow one of the advice Shawn Anchor provides. For 21 days, every day, I will write down three things I am grateful for.
Today the 6th of June, which is day 1 of the gratitude series, , I am grateful for:
1. The extremely tasty peaches Sebi bought this morning, because I asked him to. I am grateful for these peaches for two reasons: Summer and Sebi. Summer has arrived, and I feel it every day now, in big things (it’s warm, I can wear dresses, we can go to the beach, we can shift our lifestyle to outdoor mode as we do every summer since we are in Sweden), but also in every day small things, like the fresh Swedish strawberries and like these amazing peaches I just ate. Sebi, because he is the most attentive partner one could wish for, even though sometimes he presents himself as the exact opposite. We just argued for an hour about whether or not a husband should occasionally bring flowers to his wife. He rarely gives me flowers, but today he gifted me the most amazing peaches that I have been waiting for since last summer. I believe he should have accompanied those peaches with some flowers, too. But I’d take the peaches over the flowers anytime, and he knows that.
2. The privilege that I have to go to free Swedish classes at the campus in town. Sweden offers over the top conditions for whomever wants to study, and everything is mostly free. As an immigrant here, we are entitled to attend SFI classes (Svenska För Invadrare), but the system is not perfect and SFI classes are mainly targeted towards immigrants who come here without a job. The main SFI classes are held every day from morning to noon, so it is quite impossible to attend if you do have a job during that time. For almost 2 years, we tried to find workarounds to this problem and learn Swedish, but it’s not an easy language to grasp so we did not make a lot of progress by studying alone. We have also been somewhat verbose with the campus nearby, and luckily they acted: starting this winter, a new SFI class debuted, one that is technically a remote, online class in a virtual classroom. But you still get to go to school once a week (every Monday), and you do get a very attentive teacher to guide you and you do get to learn Swedish in your own way, without pressure. Today, in particular, I am grateful because the teacher lent me an interesting, short book, and gave me a list of Swedish movies I should watch (one was nominated for an Oscar, so my expectations are very high). I am also grateful for going to school to learn Swedish, and I get to debate på svenska subjects like Pirat Partiet , and whether or not it is a good thing that they lost their spot during this year’s EU elections (it’s a really bad thing, of course!). I greatly enjoy that!
3. For reading this article, which made the auteur subject in my head a little clearer. One of the “grand” articles I hope to write is precisely on this subject, which fascinates me because, in a way, it denies everything game making means to me. I do not believe in the lone genius who can coordinate a team of hundreds into a single minded, dictatorial creative vision. I believe that the best games are a product of highly synergistic teams, that those games are built on stories of respect and friendship and compassion and love. I think one of the reasons I gave up a good career in software to make games was to finally put myself in a position where I can actually belong to a group of people – game developers, creators of digital dreams, people who will not only listen to my ideas, but encourage me and teach me to get every single creative thing out of me. So, any day when I can read something solid on this subject is a good day.
I am following a 21 days long project to write three things to be grateful for, every day. Here are my 3 gratitudes for today, the 3th of June: books, tvättstuga and good neighbor friends – Denisa, I am thinking about YOU!
1. Good books. Like “The Executioness” by Tobias S. Buckell, which I discovered and assimilated in great haste today. It’s a very nicely written fantasy book about the power a mother can muster, to save her children. Or like “The Way, My Way” by Bill Bennett, who convinced me that I will take the Camino sooner or later sometime. Or like “The Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” by Chris Hadfield, which taught me a deep, inspiring lesson, which is: If you desperately want to go to space, you don’t have to go to space… And that is an amazing idea that I definitely write more about.
2. Tvättstuga, a Swedish concept of a shared space to wash your clothes. It usually includes several washing machines, tumble dryers and well ventilated rooms, and it’s usually free to use and included in the rent. I am grateful for the tvättstuga because ever since I get to use one, I never ever have to to hang clothes to dry around my house. I also love it because it makes me more organized. And it is also an opportunity for me to live the way I hope to live in proximity to others, since I leave the stuga as cleaned and ready as I wish other neighbors leave it for me – and it generally works quite well, constantly proving to me that people are awesome.
3. Awesome neighbor friends. What can be considered a downside to the tvättstuga is that you have to book your time to wash, and you must drop all plans and make all efforts to meet that time, otherwise you are left with your clothes dirty and nothing clean to wear until the next slot is available. But we are humans and we forget when we book the time, which is what I did today, and I stole my neighbor and friend Denisa’s spot. It was my fault, especially because I should have checked that I remember my booking correctly BEFORE using the machines. And any other neighbor but Denisa would have been very mad at me. But I stole my friend’s time, and she quickly forgave me and took my slot which was booked tomorrow. I am so grateful to her for forgiving me and for being my friend!
I am following a 21 days long project to write three things to be grateful for, every day. Here are my 3 gratitudes for today, the 4th of June: Roller blades, the Green around me, and Tase with whom we make an extra effort to celebrate Hug Your Cat day.
1. Roller blades. That one hour I spent with Sebi today from Källby to Filsbäck and back, even though I would have chosen not to sweat myself today, even though I would have preferred a bed and a good book. But Sebi always picks me up when I am at my laziest times. So we roller bladed, for 12 kilometers or so, and he was funny, and I was funny, and the air was fresh and full of lilac scent, and the landscape promised summer, even though this awesome Swedish summer decided this year to come with dark clouds and rain sometimes.
2. Green. The green I see every time I go to work and every time I come back home. I don’t know how this love of green lurked inside me, for I have always been a city girl, and I have lived in cities, even in the capital of fashion, the city some dream a life time to see, Milan. I could not count the seconds to be out of there. But I have always lusted for green. The woods, that hide the elves and the fairies for me. The lake, which conceals a dragon (its true!). The fields, and their scents, and that hidden apple I know, that will give us fruit in the autumn, and the berries that will soon be ripe.
3. Our cat Tase. Somewhere over the internet, I learned that today is Hug Your Cat day. The problem is that in our household, every day is Hug Your Cat day, since we have an overly attached cat, so we are at a bit of a loss on how to celebrate this special day. So Sebi and I sat on our very pink couch, and took turns at hugging Tase, for like half an hour. He is fluffy and soft and so, so loving. He is the best cat in the world!
I am following a 21 days long project to write three things to be grateful for, every day. Here are my 3 gratitudes for today, the 5th of June: The Bonsai, The Sky After Rain and Jordgrubbskaka! Okay so that was yesterday; better late than never!
There is a story here. Once upon a time about 6 years ago – could have been 7 or even more – my dad gave Sebi for his birthday a bonsai. Sebi cared for that bonsai a long time, and you could see how that small tree appreciated the love and care he received, as he turned into a beautiful, perfect masterpiece. He was a part of the family just like our cat Tase is, and he traveled with us when we had to move for work in Bucharest. But we could not take him with us when we left Romania. We left it in good hands with our friends. And ever since, we have been craving a new bonsai to care for.
Last year for Sebi’s birthday, I searched far and wide all around the small city I work in, but I could not find a bonsai to give as a birthday gift. I tried to compensate with other plants, which is why parts of our house look like a greenhouse now (and we love it!), but… no bonsai. We widened our search till Göteborg without any luck.
But yesterday, the miracle happened. We stopped by for a quick visit at Lidl, and… here he was, one single bonsai in a corner, alone and neglected and dying. With falling green leaves, holding on to its tiny little life but without a drop of water in his small patch of earth. We knew it was waiting for us. Now he is in recovery, in Sebi’s capable hands!
2. The Sky After Rain. Rain is not a welcomed guest here in the summer, because it stops us from our outdoor activities. Yesterday, however, the weather was rather undecided, which resulted in 2 skies, The Dark menacing storm promising sky, and The Puffy White with brilliant blue background sky, split almost straight in half. Look one way, and all you could wish for was a nice home protected from the wrath of a summer storm, a good book in one hand and a fluffy cat in another… Look the other way, and you felt like in paradise, almost wishing for the power to jump from cloud to cloud, almost convinced that you are dreaming of a fantasy world, and not a real one.
3. Jordgubbskaka. Yup, her time has come. So you see, in the summer, doing intense sport activities is a MUST, because of this treat. Its a tradition to have it for Midsommar, for birthday parties, for any celebration you can think of. If its summer, you have Jordgrubbskaka, lots of it. Yummmm!