Well, almost. While I had certainly hoped for a white Christmas at the end of 2016 (as always), it was not to be…
In the following early months of 2017 we have faced many icy cold days – complete with a snow-covered landscape (on and off) and frozen lakes (complete with many ice-skaters of course!).
But having spoken to many locals who have been around a lot longer than I, it seems that the Swedish weather may be a little more confused than ever…
This isn’t the first time that weird weather has affected Sweden in recent years. Our first summer here (2014) was hot and humid interspersed with freak thunderstorms that flooded underground stations and caught everyone by surprise. The following winter was surprisingly mild with very little snow, and then in early November last year (2016) Stockholm experienced its snowiest day for 111 years which brought the city to a standstill and halted public transport (not an easy feat in a country whose infrastructure is designed with sub-zero temperatures in mind).
One of the things I most love about Sweden is being able to truly experience winter alongside the contrast of each season – the colours of autumn, the freeze of winter, the awakening of spring and the midnight sun of summer. And the seasons do come – but now with a very unpredictable rhythm it seems. We could be in for another scorcher of a summer, but right now it’s -2°C outside and I can’t see it! The buds and early flowers of spring are fighting to hold their ground against the frost and we are all wondering when spring will truly arrive.
Many might argue that it is not unusual to see snow in April here in Sweden – and no, it’s not. But it is the erratic nature of the weather that causes concern… Today, we woke up to a covering of snow on the ground – when two weeks ago we were enjoying the sun, thinking about picnics and Ben was wearing shorts!?
I see a change.
People who have known this place for much longer than me talk about this change.
The media reports on record heatwaves and snowfalls based on years of scientific data.
Still many people don’t want to talk about this change… this climate change.
But if it is affecting the seasons so visibly like this… it makes you wonder… what else is it doing to the things we can’t see?
A blog post has been brewing in my mind for a while now given the state of well… everything! And aside from the much discussed politics of Trump and Brexit, a significant, divisive (and perhaps equally alarming) ‘blame culture’ also seems to be on the rise.
Whether the state of the current political world is related or not, many articles seem to be popping up about ‘Millennials’ – that is the generation (of which I find myself a part) born from the early 1980s (specifically 1982-2004) who are often characterised as narcissistic, entitled, and tough to manage in the workplace – as outlined in this video by Simon Sinek.
Interestingly, in my experience, the majority of people sharing this video are firstly those who are (by luck of their own birth date) not of the ‘Millennial Generation’. Don’t worry though – if you, like me, are a Millennial, I like to think that there is still hope for us! But seriously, it is much less often that people seem so willing to share similar videos or writings on their own generation’s weaknesses. No, rather… we seem to live in a blame culture and we would rather blame the other.
So, for the sake of balance, here are a few things that we have to thank millennials for:
And of course, it is the Millennipreneurs who are taking entrepreneurship to the next level and yes… with the likes of Spotify and Facebook being great examples of successful startups created by Millennials
The problem with generalisation
While trends over time are fascinating by their very definition, generalising an entire generation puts people into boxes, allows for voices to go unheard and creates and ‘us and them’ culture.
It is, of course, easy to look for a scapegoat for society’s problems and we all know that statistics can be manipulated and used to prove whatever you want them to. It’s easy to for people to generalise specific generations – examples include the stereotypes of the parenting problems of Generation X and the Baby Boomer‘s economic drain on society. But I don’t feel it’s appropriate to infer that this is the case for every person who happens to be categorised by this specific terminology. The fact is that while general trends can be interesting, I would argue that when we do it to focus on the negative, it isn’t at all helpful and only serves to create more social barriers across society as a whole.
And as this world seems to be tearing us apart so rapidly from every angle, I think a more constructive response would in fact be to not be drawn into the blame culture of what divides us. Finding things that divide us is easy. The challenge is to come together.
‘Unity is strength, division is weakness’ – Swahili Proverb
Many changes have taken place for us over the last week. Not least, we sold our apartment and bought a new one (well, contracts have been exchanged and the process is underway). We’ll still be living in Stockholm – in a different area of the city called Helenelund. As we work from home 50% of the time, we felt that we needed more space to be able to have a home-studio setup to allow us to work more efficiently and effectively.
The whole thing happened rather quickly, (and might I say in a very un-Swedish fashion). I shall elaborate: The housing market (as I have come to know it) in Sweden nearly always operates on a bidding system – apartment viewings are at very fixed times and following these open-house shopping experiences, potential buyers begin a ‘bidding war’.
With a housing shortage in Stockholm and changes coming into effect regarding mortgages in the summer, it seems that there is more competition than ever when it comes to apartment listings and we have heard so many first hand accounts of people losing out during the bidding process.
So… last Thursday I received a phone call from our estate agent with an offer from a potential buyer who wanted to bypass this whole system (she wasn’t Swedish) and just make a fair offer. After a little negotiation, it seemed that everyone was happy and we accepted her offer – bearing in mind she hadn’t even seen the apartment at this point!
Inspired by our buyer’s forward thinking, now knowing our flat-hunting budget and not wanting to miss out ourselves, we took the same daring step and reached out to the estate agent of an apartment we were keen to make an offer on and asked what price the seller would accept.
Thankfully for us, it all worked out… By Friday afternoon we had viewed the new apartment, signed the contract to sell our home and buy our new one. And by Friday evening we were ready to crash on the sofa!
But it feels good. The new flat will need a little renovation but it will be great to put our own stamp on it.
So… if you need me, you’ll find me browsing colour schemes, upcycling projects and home decor ideas on Pinterest for the next few months.
Oh and our current flat is no longer the ‘tidy show-home apartment’ that we managed to create for the one-client viewing… that only lasted for about half a day!
Many of us like things to be unique. To tell a story. We want art. Creativity. Beauty.
If you have been following me, you will be aware of our current Kickstarter campaign. But this post is not about us. This post is about other independent creative friends who have interesting projects I am choosing to support. They have all chosen to pursue their passion (often in place of steady, stable jobs) which is truly admirable. So if you want to support independent artists…here is a good place to start!
Independent author Jess McGlynn has released her first independent book for download on Amazon. I am currently half way through and enjoying the plot twists and turns immensely. As it turns out…some secrets just can’t remain hidden…
You can also support the Kickstarter for one of his latest projects, The Receptionist.
The extremely talented Mara Simpson, who we knew from our university days, is going from strength to strength and celebrated the release of her debut EP this year! You can support her by buying her music from her online store here. We’re looking forward to the next chapter Mara!
Music – CEDM
If this is more your thing, you must must must check out the incredible giftings of CEDM producer Levi Whalen. We were fortunate to collaborate with him (from afar) when he remixed one of our tracks earlier this year. His latest release, Timelines is not to be missed!
Mercy Kagia is an artist and friend, who we met in London, during the five years that we lived there. unique style. Her artwork captures the most important details in its simplicity. Beauty in its fullest. You can find Mercy on Facebook. Oh…and we may have commissioned her to do a portrait for Salt of the Sound! Coming soon…
You guys are inspiring. Never stop chasing your dreams! x