The Ambassador

Once upon a time, she had been a wunderkind. An overachiever, a go-getter. She had graduated from high school a year ahead of time, and then joined the foreign office as a 20-year-old, and in another time, she would have been on track to become the youngest foreign minister in her country’s history, and probably, the youngest prime minister, and possibly, the first female prime minister.

But not in the Seventies, maybe not even in the Eighties, although after Thatcher in the UK, there were some rumblings – in the circles that were in the know – about her becoming a cabinet member, but by then, she was too far into her diplomatic life overseas, and loved it too much to put in the effort to make it happen. She had her supporters, of course, but not enough of them at the very top.

Also, she had always been one of those people who saw the whole world, not just one country, as her domain, and when she at the age of 24 got her first foreign posting – an undersecretary in Asia – she saw it as a stepping stone to … something.

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Clean house

He knew it right away, the second he got out of the taxi and saw the footprints in the snow. He had expected to see footprints in the snow, yes, because his wife was walking in front of him – while he carried their luggage.

He didn’t like seeing his wife’s footprints in the snow, either, but he had stopped raising the issue a long time ago. She just didn’t think it was important, not like he did. On the other hand, he didn’t think vacuuming was important. She did. For example.

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End to Sweden’s CHL hegemony?

As the Champions Hockey League is coming to the end of its fourth season since its relaunch, one thing is clear: Swedish teams have dominated the tournament. All three champions have come from the Swedish Hockey League (SHL), with Lulea beating Frolunda in the first final, on home ice, and the Frolunda team then taking the trophy back to Gothenburg twice in a row.

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Stop retiring numbers

“To you from failing hands we throw. The torch; be yours to hold it high.”
From “In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae.

The highlight of my brother-in-law’s hockey career was when he got a pair of second-hand pants from the club. They had once belonged to Mats Sundin and then been handed down to kids in the same club. They weren’t a torch but they did make my brother-in-law feel a connection to a local hero.

Most hockey fans, and all Canadiens fans, know that line from Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s First World War poem because it is and has been on the Montreal Canadiens’ dressing room wall since 1952 when coach Dick Irvin had it painted there for the first time.

The same reminder of the club’s traditions has been printed on the inside collar of the players’ jerseys in 2018.

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Open Sesame

Last week, I found a secret portal that took me to other worlds. No, it wasn’t books, silly, although that was a good guess (and I do encourage everybody to read).

No, this portal was a garage in downtown Stockholm, a block from Stureplan, which is the center of Stockholm’s nightlife – or so I have been told, it’s been a while I’ve been in the city centre after sunset.

The funny thing about my finding the portal is that I wasn’t on my way anywhere in particular. I was just walking around, waiting for a movie theatre to open so that I could go watch Chaplin’s Gold Rush when I was suddenly, unexpectedly taken to another world.

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Oh Happy Day

“We don’t laugh because we’re happy, we’re happy because we laugh.”
― William James, 19th century American philosopher, doctor, and psychologist

Patient Zero was riding the subway. Well, her name was Jessica Serow and she was neither sick nor very patient. If anything, she was impulsive which is why it was surprising that the whole chain of events started with her reading a book. A book! That alone would make anyone who knew her laugh, but it wasn’t what made her laugh. No, what made her chuckle was something she read. She was alone that day which is why she was reading in the first place. She knew better than to read in company.

(What it was that she read has been speculated wildly. Some say it was P.G. Wodehouse, others talk about an IKEA catalogue.)

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Door 24: Lots of chocolate

I’ve always thought that in a good advent calendar, Door 24 should be the best one. It’s often a double door and in the case of a chocolate calendar, the last piece of chocolate is twice as big as the other ones.

This may not be a good advent calendar because it doesn’t have that.

There’s been traditions, rusty cans, buddies, campfire stories, debates, Finland, dreams, love (because it’s all you need), memory lane, music, legends, hockey, flashbacks, more movies, poses, planes, trains, and automobiles, shopping, empathy, homemade decorations, wrapping presents, unexpected turns of events, breaks, and even re-gifting, but no chocolate, not even a little bit.

I think I made a huge mistake.

Oh well, I’ll just call this one “lots of chocolate”.

Merry Christmas.


Door 22: Breaks

The biggest thing about Christmas has always been the Christmas break. First, there were the school days and the break that was weeks long, that sometimes felt almost too long.

Then, in the university, it was suddenly even longer, with the lectures ending in early December so, with careful planning, I could take off to my parents’ by mid-December the latest, after my last exam, and then return in mid-January.

My salad days.

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