Monday, April 30, 2012

Valborg Celebrations at 305.

Today was not allowed to be a K Monday, as Mondays so often can be, because today was Valborg back home in Sweden and we like to celebrate Swedish holidays even when we're here overseas. Last Valborg, I celebrated by dressing out in a glittery dress, dancing down the streets of Gothenburg. Tonight, I celebrated by dressing out random food in filo dough and making it into a more fancy dinner than just vegetable mush. Delicious was the final judgement!

Iron Ass had limited access to the kitchen, so we didn't get to see any bonfire, as the tradition back home calls for, but Grandma sang a line of the typical "Vintern rasat ut bland våra fjällar..."-song and we said cheers and had fun. That's what it's all about right?

Spring should be here now and tomorrow the Swedes celebrate some kind of equivalent to Labor Day. Obviously, that doesn't matter here, so off to bed I am. Good night, sweethearts out there.

Happy Valborg!

Peanut butter cup in disguise. Being creative in the kitchen.

"Certificate of Awesomeness" – Internship closure.

Here we go, running towards the finish line of this internship. I will only be working three days this week, because I came in Friday and had a last day with all my fellow interns. And what a day! We mostly enjoyed each other's company one last time before it was time for Happy Hour, where we received so much love and so many nice words from the whole team.

It was such a surprise and I was a bit touched when we all got a "Certificate of Awesomeness," an adorable trophy and other personal recognition. I guess my hard work has been appreciated. And I guess I still have somewhat of a way to go to stop constantly doubting myself.

Three more days of being the Best Swedish Intern on M Street. I will enjoy every second of it. Because this opportunity is one of the best that was ever given to me – or that I actually worked hard to get. It didn't at all turn out as I had imagined from the beginning, but in the end, it did indeed become absolutely awesome.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Damage control!

Know yourself. Know what makes you feel good. Know how to fix yourself, because feeling anything but happy is just stupid.

Today was yet another "I feel like an elephant" run, but in the end it all felt so good and my day got so much better. Damage control – check!

Good job, you!

Favorite outfit of them all – running tights and running shoes.

This is proof that I have been running quite a lot.

Love is not all you need, because you also need a job.

Today is not the day. Even though I woke up in an excellent mood, as the day has been proceeding, my head has been turning into a big mush of questions. Why is the world so big? Why don't I have a job? Why can't life be based on love when the song says "All you need is love?" Well, that's not true. You also need a job and the fact that I don't have one is kind of freaking me out.

It simply isn't fair. Three days left as an intern. Then awaits official unemployment.

Today is not the day. Thank God yesterday delivered; with scones, French market and an amazing movie  night.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Would it be easier if I started hating you?

Sometimes I believe that it would be easier if we could just pick up a fight. If I could find all the wrongs and be annoyed by them. But then again, why would I? We have nothing to fight about. In fact, we have been having an absolutely amazing relationship since day one. I don't hate you, DC – I love you!

Of course, even when you're in the capitol of the US for an awesome year of studying and working, life catches you. Hearts break here too. Headaches come when you are stressed over exams or when you just don't have time to sleep. Rain and icy winds are not more enjoyable just because you are in the 7th most fun city in the US. Mondays are mondays. Bills are boring to pay. Emptying the dishwasher is still my no.1 hate thing to do first thing in the morning.

Life is life wherever you go. But as my time here is soon coming to an end, I can sum it up by saying that I'm hopelessly and madly in love with DC. It is certainly odd that I will pack my bags and leave these streets behind me in a very near future, but I refuse to let that take me down.

Why would I walk around, thinking about how sad it is to leave, when I could run around and smile over the fact that I am actually still here?

No, hating you would not make it better in any way, shape or form. Because I love you. And when you think about it, how could it ever be a bad thing to love, even though you know it will soon come to an end?

The White House, we know that.

Pennsylvania Avenue and the Capitol, another familiar building.

But have you been to the fish market, South West?

Do you know that DC's best falafel is served in Adams Morgan?

Did you visit Eastern Market to soothe your flea market cravings?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Milon The Mad Men Secretary.

Speaking of weird skills, the other day my supervisor came to me with a seemingly weird question and the conversation went a little something like this:

Supervisor: Hey, Malin, do you know how to type?
Me: Type? Yeah. Or, what do you mean exactly, "type?"
Supervisor: I mean, on a typewriter.
Me: Ehh, I guess so. I used to play with my dad's old typewriter all the time.
Supervisor: Oh, really? Good!
Me: Yeah. But, do you even have a typewriter?
Supervisor: Yes, I think so. I'm pretty sure I've seen one.
Me: I'm sure you have, some time back in the 80s or 90s!?

But my supervisor was completely correct and, in a corner, we found the big, grey device that has been hanging in there until this very day. "I always say, you never know when you need a typewriter," to quote the company's CEO and yes indeed, that very day I actually needed it.

I felt like I was in an episode of Mad Men as I sat there with the clickety clack sound. Although, there was no bourbon and my dress attire was not nearly as neat as Joan Harris's (but the again, when would it ever be?). I really wish I would type more often. On a real typewriter. It was kinda' fun, I tell ya'!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Things I like when a Tuesday feels too ordinary.

Some days, I just can't stand the thought of "this is exactly what I do every single day; the streets I walk; the chair I sit in; the train I always take" and so on and so forth.

That's when I take a detour and just enjoy life with my eyes elsewhere.

Flowers in the city. Nothing makes me smile as flowers.

Cleverness. Always enjoyable.

After Work with myself and ice tea.

A free sample of chocolate cake, one of the entries in the 2012 makes-me-wanna-shout challenge.

Good metro timing.

DC for the student budget.

I really wish I could have come to live in DC with more than a student budget. Really, there is so much to do in this city. There is always something going on somewhere and my list of places I would like to eat is longer than long. I would have been completely ruined, had I checked everything off my wish-to-list.

However, the student must not cry for too long, because there are actually lots of free events taking place in the area. The Millenium Stage at the Kennedy Center is one example. Every day at 6pm, you can enjoy 60 minutes of some kind of performance to the low price of nothing.

I was there this Sunday, and left the real world behind for a bit, while listening to the Bowie State University Jazz Band. Providing people with free entertainment and a moment of escapism is a great initiative. Seize the opportunity!

The easiest way to get there is from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station, where a red shuttle bus is waiting for you, taking you straight to the center – and that one's also free!

Monday, April 23, 2012

What are you reading, dear reader?

Today, April 23, was World Book and Copyright Day. Did you celebrate? Did you read a book? Do you read books, dear reader? And if so, what and when?

I mostly read on the metro, on my way home from work; on my way to work, I'm usually busy catching up with the news. I find it hard being by myself on public transportation without something to read. It's just such a waste of time just sitting and being transported from point A to point B. I prefer escaping into someone else's story while being rocked back and forth by the train.

I just finished an amazing story that I highly recommend – Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. It took me from laughing out loud on the train to pain to insight to nausea to complete heartbreak and a melancholic yet warm ache deep into my very soul. Read it!

It's never a fair game, being "The Book After" such a pleasant reading experience, therefore I moved on to something in a completely different genre and I'm now going through a story of a teetotal, former alcoholic sharing her experience giving up booze. I haven't really experienced the gripping, inspiring, entertaining and enlightening as the cover suggests, but it's okay. Every now and then it shines and it makes me smile.

That's what reading is about – pushing buttons, provoking emotions and sparking thoughts. Grab a book, folks!

All your weird skills matter.

"Malin, how is your Russian?"

Quite honestly, my Russian is not that good. It never was – because I never studied Russian, obviously. But I am interested in languages and somewhat of a linguistic nerd, so when I was asked to help out with some Russian pronunciation at work the other week, I was happy to jump in and make an honest effort.

Luckily, I have a friend who do study Russian, so that was my first source. Then, I listened over and over and over to a sound bite while transcribing the word in question into phonetic symbols. (For a language nerd, that's a party!)

See, my point here is that all your weird skills matter, so don't hide them. I haven't been asked to show off any acrobatic skills yet, but if the moment would come, I could. I actually once did a cartwheel in front of a group of future co-workers, simply because our instructor asked if anybody could.

Don't be shy, fellow interns. You are you because of all the odd things that you know, so let it show. Unless it's something obviously inappropriate – I mean, that beer chugging record you hold might be better suited elsewhere.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why medical insurance is not needed, part 2.

Starbucks educate both employees and customers on good hand hygiene, the basic tool to stay well.

How to start a Sunday.

Oh yes, this is how you start a Sunday: breakfast; an extra cup of coffee (if only I had a brioche or a croissant to go with it); news; newspaper; and no stress. I felt a sudden rush of complete happiness in the simplicity of knowing how to enjoy a Sunday morning. See, the sun always comes back after a period of heavy rains.

It is raining today though, for real. A perfect day for cleaning and reading and an indoor workout! There is no bad weather, you just have to plan your activities accordingly. Museum and music performance are two other good rainy day activities, so that's how I'm planning on ending my day.

Good Sunday, to you. I hope you are enjoying it. I hope you are enjoying life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Must do, should do, need to, want to!

Today has been a good day and still is. I just love the feeling of waking up early a Saturday morning and watch the news while maybe pinning and catching up with friends on Facebook and via e-mail. I walked over to the Bros to get some bagels for breakfast and then I was all set for some must-do-should-do-need-to – i.e. send out job applications.

I did a good job doing so and rewarded myself with a shorter run. The heat was pressing and my legs were tired, but as usual, I felt great afterwards. And now, speaking of art earlier today, I'm going to head out to the Smithsonian American Art Museum to enjoy what I believe will be a great exhibition.

Happy Saturday and love from DC!

Street Art from Adams Morgan.

Reminder: Life and Art.

You know Oscar Wilde said that "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life."

Was he right? Well, who am I to tell. I would only like to remind you all that sometimes, art is right in front of you. Right there. In your life.

Stop. Take a minute and look at the beautiful piece of art that is your life. Or however it is.

"Graduation day" was yesterday.

Congratulations to me and my fellow Swedish students! Yesterday, we were invited to a lunch on campus to receive certificates stating that we have completed one academic year of studies here in the US. The fact that we are actually there, looking toward the very end of this adventure, is so extremely bizarre I cannot even care to comment.

The event on campus served us food à la New Orleans and some live music. A bit of an odd venue, since we were the only ones under the age of 45, but it was a nice gesture. And now we have "graduated" from our special, for Americans non-comprehensive, program. Except, we still have two weeks of work left. Doh!

Friday, April 20, 2012

My America Bag of Memories.

"Collect moments, not things" – a poster I noticed on Pinterest the other day.

And I agree. My take on that brilliant piece of advice is that it's about remembering in your heart and knowing with your soul. Pack your bags full of memories, but travel light when you go out and get them.

America and I now have a relationship I never had imagined we would develop. Not that I came here with nothing, I came with lots, but I will be leaving with even more. My bag is so full of those special moments, I don't know how I will be able to take it all with me back to Sweden.

It is the beauty of Life. Somehow.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Miss Organizer was there again.

Today was kind of a slow internship day when all we did was waiting for it to be meeting time. Almost like kids waiting for Christmas. We just wanted to present our ideas and share many week's work for some feedback and directions on further actions.

As we all know, it's not the whole month of December that moves slowly, it's the very last day before Christmas – Eve, in the case of a Swede – that seems to be like the longest day in the history of the world (every year!). This was the case for today's afternoon.

I simply couldn't deal with the all the waiting – patience is not always my strongest weapon – so I started cleaning again! And let me tell you, the supply closet has never been more neat after my obsessive organizing.

"Oh, wow, looks good. I bet you like it, huh?!"

Yes, yes I do. I do like things clean and organized. Ah, the great satisfaction of the simplest things in life – to organize the mess that we sometimes create and then enjoy the beauty of a spotless surrounding. And for your information, the meeting went well and next week we will have lots of fun things to do. For now, I say good night and wish for you the sweetest of dreams. I'm pretty sure you deserve them, because don't we all?

Look. Listen. Feel. Believe.

Do you believe in the power of thoughts? Do you believe we can communicate with our souls?

I do. So much I would actually say that I know that we can. There has got to be something more than what we see with our eyes. I see proof of it all the time. Things happen, that cannot be explained. And it makes me dream and always believe.

I believe in the good in life. I believe in the good in you. You should too.

Look at what you've got. Listen to what your heart is trying to say. Feel it. And believe it. Stay positive, and everything will fall into place. Let your thoughts lead the way and let your soul be swept away.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It was a war. And I won.

It was a war.
My two legs – at least 500 pounds each.
That extreme fatigue.

But I won.
50 minutes later.
Oh, the lovely feeling of running.

Never more than a workout away from a good mood – couldn't be more true. Tonight I'll fall asleep with a smile.

A letter to the tiredness.

Dear body,

Why are you so tired you can barely sit up straight? It is not an enjoyable feeling and I wish you could be a bit more collaborative. However, since you show no sign of respect of my wants and needs, I am going to ignore you too.

Therefore, I will jump in those running shoes and hit the road. I know it's both dark and cold outside, but I believe  you need a bit of fresh air.

Let's just get this over and done with. Thank you.

Your Sincerely,
Person in need of energy

Explore and enjoy!

No news flash: I like to explore things. So Monday evening, I said to my roommate that I would be up for a long, long walk. She agreed and we jumped into our running shoes. Good choice of footwear, it turned out.

We started by visiting the Pentagon Memorial and continued by walking up to the Air Force Memorial. After absorbing the wow factor view, we just kept on walking. And walking. Until we both agreed on the fact that we were completely lost.

The sun had gone down, but it was still warm, we were thirsty and had neither money nor phones or metro cards. What do you do in a moment like that? When you have lost all sense of orientation and there's nobody around to ask for directions, because you're apparently on a route that's not heavily trafficked by pedestrians.

Well, you simply keep on walking. And we did. While laughing so much we were in tears. Two and a half hours later, we threw ourselves over a bottle of soda and laughed even more.

And what I wish to say with this story is: Go out and explore your neighborhood, it might be a lot of fun!

However, it all started out with a serious and respectful moment.

Pentagon Memorial – the only place around the Pentagon area where cameras are allowed.

Worth the visit for the wonderful view.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

It's up to you to do it.

When the world seems to be upside down, you might just have to change perspective in order to set it straight. And remember, it's only you, yourself who can do that so don't go around and wait for it to just happen. Just do it!

The least you can do is try.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

There is also a Zoo with animals in the nation's capital.

When you think about Washington DC, you might think about the important politicians running around on Capitol Hill or the lobbyists driving their race on K Street. While those scenes do exist, there is also another Zoo not very far from Downtown DC. For the sporty one, probably walking distance, but otherwise along the red line toward Shady Grove, you will find a Zoo with a variety of wild animals. It's a part of the Smithsonian Institution, hence it's free.

Definitely an enjoyable Sunday activity and we've already established that Sundays should be spent doing fun things. Even if you're not that into the bizarre phenomenon of looking at animals in cages, it's nice to stroll in the park. Especially when it's 86°F (30°C).

My Zoo Sunday was neat and made me feel care free. Although, I kind of let wishing I could have taken one of the lions with me home. Or, if not, that I could transform into a cheetah and run faster than anybody else.

Can I be your friend even though we're so very different? I won't eat you. Don't be scared.

Lunch time. 

Why medical insurance is not needed, part 1.

The Newseum ensures every visitor keeps all the germs to him- or herself. Stay safe.

Reflections on the sun deck.

I'm schizophrenic! Over the last couple of months, there has been an ongoing conflict, mostly in my heart. One voice is telling me "You're doing the right thing" while the other can't stop shouting "You're stupid, you're stupid, you're stupid!"

I never seem to know who wins, really. Because they never stop screaming.

However, Friday afternoon, after a day that just disappeared into the organizing of the future, I joined my roommate up on our sun deck and we started reflecting over the past nine months. The outcome of our contemplations were a little bit like the battle inside my heart.

What have we done? Has time been moving fast or slowly? Are we the same people we were a year ago or have we dramatically changed? On the one hand, I feel like a totally different person, with so much new luggage in my backpack, but on the other – how much can a person change? And how much is ten months for someone who has been doing the same race for 25 years?

None of the questions above have a complete answer. But what I do know, is that whatever battles are being fought, I can still always seen the sun shining somewhere. For instance, up on that sun deck, an ordinary Friday afternoon. With the Pentagon on one side and the US Capitol on the other. And a new found friend, whom I never would have met, had I not taken that crazy decision to move here a year ago.

Situations do not come to and end. Situations simply change every now and then. I doesn't necessarily mean bad. And it doesn't necessarily mean a definite end. So maybe I am a bit stupid, but what I do will still never be the wrong thing.

The Pentagon.

The Capitol.