Living the Dream

4 women 4 cities 4 goals

August 20, 2014
by Carina
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A city dressed in pink

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This is what it looks like when married couples, siblings, friends and brothers-in-law do things together.

On Saturday night my city got dressed up in pink. Or at least about 40 000 of us did, in order to take part in the yearly Stockholm Midnight Run. The T-shirt is the starting bib, and this year it was pink. Like it or not, without the T-shirt – no start.

With the injuries I’ve had over the last 10 months and considering the bad shape I’m in I wasn’t even sure that I would take part in the race. But when suddenly a couple of free spaces showed up in my start group (2a) a week ago, I decided to give it a try.

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My view minutes before the starting shot.

Was I prepared? Not at all. Did I enjoy it? Hell yes!

Or to be honest, the run itself was actually a battle. The first two kilometres I was just frustrated that there were too many pink backs in my way that I couldn’t pass, even if my legs had much more to give. Around 7 km in I was seriously questioning what the hell I was doing and started to think that maybe I had the slow speed and all those pink backs in the beginning to thank for the fact that I could still run. When the last horrible hill piled up infront of me I looked down and visualised my favourite bridge, Västerbron, instead of the long climb I was actually doing.  That helped me pass several runners even though I’m really rather bad at uphill running. On the finishing stretch I was tired, my legs were heavy, my foot was hurting and the illuminated finishing line seemed to move away from me even though I was fighting to get closer to it.

But hey! I did it. And I passed the line at 48 minutes and 37 seconds. Not fantastic, but better than last year’s 49.22. And I ended up in 82:nd place in my age group where 1870 runners started and in place 657 of all the 14009 women who finished the race. Not bad for a lazy, injured lady, who drank a bottle of wine the night before the run.

And if you drink a bottle the night before, you definetely have to do it again the night after. And since it was already night when we were done, we had no time to lose.

Gather the gang, jump on the shuttle buss for the runners and as quickly as possible get home for a swim in the sea and some Cava and cheese, until the sun came up and told us it was time to go to bed.

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Happy!

Next race coming up in almost exatly one month. In my old hometown Borås this time. To travel 450 km to run 10 and then travel 450 back, there must be something I like about this running thing…

 

C

 

August 19, 2014
by Viveka
2 Comments

Life as I know it, for now…

 

‘There are no grown-ups. We suspect this when we are younger, but can confirm it only once we are the ones writing books and attending parent-teacher conferences. Everyone is winging it, some just do it more confidently.’

I was already on to this when I read a great article recently, about understanding the different phases of your life. What had started as a sneaking suspicion, grew into serious doubt, when more and more frequently I would see people who I had defined as ‘real grown-ups’, being really silly. Reading this quote, the penny finally dropped and it all made sense…

‘There are no grown-ups’.

I found this both liberating and comforting.

And I found that this quote and the rest of the article stayed with me. Partly because it was well written and quite amusing, and partly because it makes a lot of sense to take stock, and try to understand what a certain phase of your life is about while you’re in it.

So I wanted to take a proactive approach to understanding what the 40-something years are to me.

After letting the circus that is my mind run riot for a while, I tried to make sense of the activity in there and harness some kind of conclusion, and what I have come up with is this:

I think, (today… but I am a Gemini and I reserve my right to totally change my mind tomorrow) that our 40’s are about Choosing and Taking Charge.

We can no longer just go along for the ride. We realize that actually, we may not be invincible, that life isn’t (just) a party, and that conscious decisions and plans have to be made in order to be happy.

Looking around at my peers, several people I know have chosen to leave fancy jobs in banking or advertising in favour of being a yoga teacher or following a more spiritual path.

Some people choose to leave their partner and embark on a search for something different.

Lots of people, I hope, will choose to remove the rose-tinted glasses and realize that your relationships (whether with your partner, family or friends) aren’t ever just going to be a dance on roses. Instead it’s something that we need to constantly work on. As we evolve, so do our relationships, and the key to maintaining them must surely be to accept them as perpetual works-in-progress and then to choose to keep working at it?

Many people are happy in the status quo, and as long as it’s your choice, and you are in charge of your life, I believe ‘a rest is as good as a change’.

If you are more happy than sad, then choose to continue down that road, but if the opposite is true, maybe it’s time to start looking at your options, and make some changes?

As long as the end result is that you choose your path, and then dedicate yourself to it.

 

As for me, I choose to be happy!
And to work at it every day.

 

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Quote and article mentioned from Pamela Druckerman for The New York Times.
Image courtesy of the beautiful and inspiring Art Of Doing Yoga Blog.

August 12, 2014
by Viveka
0 comments

Say Hello…

While I’ve been rambling on about Rio, (which by the way I am no way finished with, I still have some photos to share…) I have been on another whirlwind tour. This time, it was the turn of my motherland to be ‘graced’ with my presence.

The tour started in Gothenburg, or as we like to call it, Göteborg, with a quick pit stop in Borås, before moving on to Växjö (it was basically a tour of Sweden’s awkward letters) and Laxvik to catch up with family.

Of course no visit to Sweden is complete without paying homage to the capital, thus my final destination was Stockholm, where several of my bestest and oldest (referring to the length of our friendships clearly!) girlfriends reside.

Wherever I’ve been during this trip, I have been with loved ones, re-charging the batteries by spending time with the people that mean the most to me.

Prompted by our Gypset style post last week, but also the way I’ve spent the last few weeks, or indeed this year so far, I got to thinking about my Gypsy lifestyle. I’m not always, although I do as often as circumstances allow, wear kaftans, which for me signify Gypset boho style, but I do seem to move around as much as Les Gens du Voyage. (A French expression referring to people who move around without a fixed address).

This is mostly a fabulous way to live, and I feel fortunate and grateful to be able to do so, but the downside is, that I am always leaving someone behind. If I can be melancholy for a moment, it’s like I’m always at home, but I’m always away. I’m almost always with someone I’ve missed, but I’m always missing someone.

I’m always saying Hello while waving Goodbye… And sometimes that’s hard, and tears are often close.

But, as I said, it’s also rather fabulous.

Goodbye Sweden, Hello Amsterdam!

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August 5, 2014
by Viveka
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Rio Obsession…

While I still have some major cities to tick off on my travel to-do-list, most notably New York… (I know, I know! Let’s say I’m saving the best till last…), I have also been fortunate enough to see a few of the world’s more spectacular cities; LA, Miami, Sao Paulo, Cape Town and Sydney leading the chart. But whoever was No1 until last month, and it was a tough call between Cape Town and Sydney, they’ve all slipped down in favour of this little gem:

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You may be surprised about the term ‘little’ above. Rio is not a small city, but it’s all about perspective. To quote the driver, who picked me up from the airport and showed me my first few glimpses of this amazing place; Rio es pequeño. It may not be a small city in most people’s minds, but next to Sao Paulo, the BIG city, it’s like a village.

I caught my first glimpse of the illuminated, dressed for the night, Christ the Redeemer on that first drive through the city, and throughout my stay there, he was always around, wherever I went he was there, and by the end of my stay, he had become a full-blown obsession.

This made it an easy decision to spend the unexpected premium required for a helicopter ride to see him up close, and it was worth every penny. Once again, Rio brought tears of joy to my eyes, and I can only describe those moments as magical. But really, no words are enough to describe the feeling of hovering in front of such an iconic, and beautiful, 30m towering sculpture, against the back-drop of the most beautiful city in the world…

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August 4, 2014
by Carina
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Pride & Gay Wars Troopers

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After three weeks of packing, unpacking, repacking and travelling by boat, plane, car and train I got back to Stockholm just in time for the Pride Parade. A day when the sun was shining on the 60 000 people taking part in the parade and the 600 000 showing their support on the streets of the city. 

Stockholm Pride means a lot to me. Why? Because I have many friends who are gay? Sure. But for me freedom and the possibility to be who you are and to love who you want is the most central thing of all. Obviously the most natural thing in the world. The base of everything.
But still it isn’t. Not at all.

I know two brilliant people, the fashion designer and artist Bea Szenfeld, whose creations (just to mention something about her) have been worn by both Lady Gaga and Björk, and the PR Man and super-extravaganza-fashionista Fredrik Robertsson. There is so much to say about these magnificent people, but to keep to the subject, Pride, I just want to give them some attention, and applause, for their collaboration that resulted in this:

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The logo, Gay Wars Troopers, is printed on T-shirts and if you buy one, you don’t just get the opportunity to brag about the fact that you are wearing the same designer as Lady Gaga, you also do a damn good thing. For each item bought you donate 100 sek (approx 10.85€) to Regnbågsfonden, The Rainbow Fund. An organisation created to help people who haven’t been lucky enough to be born in a country where 600 000 people show their support in the streets. Who haven’t been lucky enough to have the right to live and love as they would like to. But who have been unlucky enough to be forced to live a lie or face the risk of going to jail or even being killed. Just because they live and want to love. Just like I do. Just like you do.

Stockholm Pride is over for this year, but the possibilty to put your paws on one of the these T-shirts is still an open opportunity. As well as the chance to support love. And if you can resist that, supporting love, well… then you ain’t no friend of mine.

Do your bit, and do it here!

 

C

 

http://www.tshirtstoreonline.com/sv/product/gay-wars-troopers-black

 

July 31, 2014
by Viveka
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Rio rejoicing

So after bumping into the World Cup Pensioners club, exercising their volleyball skills on the beach, I had to regroup with a Caipiroska and my favourite Brazilian dish; Moqueca.

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Hanging out at Azul Marinho at the end of Ipanema beach, all by my Swedish self, while waiting for my ticket to arrive, I couldn’t help but feel intense bursts of happiness. Sure it’s nice to share these moments with loved ones, but I do pretty well by myself too…

And anyway, there were these guys to keep me company.

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And they reminded me of how great this country is. There are lots of well-publicised problems in Brazil, but enjoying the simple things in life is not one of them. Nobody loves life more the Brazilian people!

Enough philosophising, it’s on to match day and the real reason for being here!

In order to prep in the best possible way, I went to the tasty Talho Capixaba in Leblon for a breakfast of Champions.

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And then it was time. Time to enjoy the real reason the city was all dressed up.

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And it was every bit as great as I had imagined!

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Some events that you really look forward to and pin your hopes to, perhaps don’t deliver according to your high expectations, but this one did in every way. It was simply magical, and yet again, tears of joy were making themselves known. I don’t think there will be another World Cup final in Rio in my lifetime, so I am pretty darn pleased I got to be at this one.

 

July 30, 2014
by Carina
0 comments

About friendship, easy days and some time for reflection.

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Beautiful Port de Sóller on Mallorca has been my home for the last week. And oh, how I needed those days.

I have always been a bit worried about travelling with other people and especially living together with other people. I need my space and I have my habits, good and bad.
Now I know that good friends also let each other have their space and allow for habits, the good ones, and the bad.
You really do learn as long as you live.

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I don’t know how many hours I spent sitting and standing on our terrace just watching the sea, the colours, the boats, feeling that I was collecting strength and power every second.

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I have been loving and feeling loved.

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I have been laughing together with my beautiful friend Milla. She just also happens to be a great chef who can’t live without cooking for the crowd around her. Lucky me, being a member of that crowd!

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These guys, mine on the right and Milla’s Peter on the left, have been making the days even better.

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And these two! W and N have been playing, laughing and having the time of their lives.

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And I have had the time to run, every day, in the hot afternoons. And then to come back to my favourite thing, standing on the terrace. Again. Those moments on my own gave me some time to think, reflect and reassess parts of my life. I have come to the conclusion that there needs to be some changes. My life will, in some parts, change. And I made myself a promise to make those changes. Right now.

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The gang! Thank you for a week of friendship and pure enjoyment!

 

C

 

July 29, 2014
by Viveka
0 comments

Rio recap

So as you’d know if you follow me on Instagram, I had the good fortune of attending the World Cup final in Rio a couple of weeks ago.

Going to Brazil for the biggest sporting event in the world, was something I had been thinking about for quite a while, but as is usually the case for me, it was all done in a whirlwind last-minute frenzy, 7 days before the event itself. It felt like a dream, finding out I had a ticket for what must have been the most sought after game in the world, picking up my new passport, 4 days before departure, and booking the flight and accommodation after that. But it all worked out perfectly, and the dream continued as soon as I landed.

On arrival in Rio on the Friday night, I crashed out, but woke up full of beans the next day, and after my first Brazilian coffee to kick-start the day, I headed for the beach, and the magic started from there.

Walking to the southern end of Leblon Beach where I was staying, I suddenly felt compelled to turn around, as I realised I may be able to see Christ behind me, and when I did, and saw him towering over the city, it was every bit as impressive as I had imagined. I couldn’t help but have a little SATC moment, squealing at the mere sight of it, and I realized this was one of those moments you just had to savour so I remained on the side of the road, with my tears of joy and feelings of happiness and gratitude for a good few minutes.

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This was my first sight of the statue, which was to become my obsession…

Brazilians are the champions of fresh juice-making so I used the only Portuguese words I know apart from Thank You (Obrigado) and ordered a fresh pineapple juice (suco de Abacaxi!) which I enjoyed while overlooking the full length of Leblon and Ipanema Beaches.

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Next up I decided to walk along these famous beaches, and they didn’t disappoint. While strolling along and enjoying the sight of locals and tourists playing sports and having fun in the sun, I came across a volleyball court that seemed a bit busier than the rest. On closer inspection I found that none other than my old ‘friend’ Fabio Cannavaro was here playing with his illustrious buddies.

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You may recognise him from such iconic images as this one…

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Filming an interview at Real Madrid training ground in Barajas, Madrid. 

or this one…

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Lifting the World Cup with the Italian team in Berlin in 2006.
Image courtesy of www.italianfootballdaily.com

The bench was every bit as glamorous and a veritable who’s who of ex-World Cup players lined up to watch the casual game; from left to right Vieri (Italy) (hiding under a towel), Thuram (France), Veron (Argentina) and Davids (Holland) (totally checking me out from behind his signature shades… or so we’ll pretend for the sake of the story…!).

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Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Rio Adventures.