Sunday, March 29, 2009

someone suggested I'd go platinum

After the chemo my hair grew back gray. The chemo didn't make it gray, it was gray before. But it had been covered by color for the past 20 years so no one really knew that it was that gray.

Looking around me I realize no women my age have hair their natural color. I am the only one with the salt and pepper.

Every day I think about coloring. It would add some spark to my face. It would make me feel younger. But I hesitate.

Someone told me I shouldn't color my hair until I have 'embraced the gray'. I can see the point of that. It can never be healthy to want to hide something about yourself.

On the other hand, who's to decide what is natural, anyway? Should we also not have our hair cut? What about wax, spray, gel?

People tell me they like my hair. 'You are totally rocking the gray', one of my students told me.

Women my age say they like it too. I tell them it's funny they like gray hair as long as it's not on their own head.


I have friends visiting and we spend the day on the Stanford University campus. It’s mid March, and it’s sunny and warm. The lawns are green, and the palm trees too.

It’s really, really, pretty.

“Just imagine how it would affect you to be spending your time in a place like this”, one of my friends says.

I know exactly what he means. He means that it can’t be good for people to be that privileged. He means that it can’t be good for people to get used to a world that pleasant, because for the most part it’s not. For most people it’s not.

That’s what I think too, but I rarely say it. I don’t say it out loud because I know it’s an alien thought and I know many Americans wouldn’t understand, or wouldn’t agree.

I grew up in Sweden, and as of today I have lived in California for 14 years, 8 months, and 12 days. Before I moved here I lived in Göteborg, the second largest city in Sweden. There my friends and I went to a university with no real campus. The departments rented buildings here and there downtown, seemingly at random. We had class on the second floor above a cafe, or next door to a nightclub.

I had forgotten about the nightclub until I type this, but it’s true. That was the Department of Philosophy, and that’s where one of my friends who is visiting now got his degree.

I love California. The first year I lived here I realized that California on any given day feels exactly like a June day in Sweden. Yeah, June in Sweden is a little unpredictable. But it’s a lot better than December or February.

My friend’s comment, about privilege not being altogether a good thing for people, made me feel good. It made me feel at home. I was with people who think like me, talk like me, see the world the way I do. It was comforting.

As an immigrant you forget sometimes what it feels like to belong. You forget the comfort, and the warmth.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

with correction: 20/20

I saw an optometrist today, and I just remembered that he called my prescription 'pretty massive'. I am no more nearsighted than I was before. What kind of word choice is that?

Friday, March 20, 2009

from erik (in swedish, sorry)

This is an interview with a lady who had worked as a maid in the house where August Strindberg rented rooms around the year 1900. The lamp you can see Strindberg gave her when he was about to get married to Harriet Bosse in 1901. He gave away everything, and bought all new things for his new life. "But the marriage didn't last long", said the old lady.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

so yeah, whatever you give up, you don't have to give up on sundays

I've learned from my friend the Catholic priest that Sundays don't count during Lent. Six weeks, plus the few days of Easter Week, makes 46 days. So for Lent to come in at the required 40 days, Sundays have to go. (My Protestant brain may have gotten the math wrong there, but you get the general idea.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

the swedish royal family, the prime minister, and a pink floyd cover

six months after I finished twenty weeks of chemo: a five hour hike

This is me taking pictures by the creek at the bottom of the valley. It was a long hike to get down there.
And then there was an equally long hike back up the mountainside again. (In this photo you can still see the creek.)
A mile and a half later this is what it looked like. From there we had a couple of more hours of hiking to get back to where we started.

Dan made me have chocolate cake to celebrate.

henry coe state park in the spring

Tuesday, March 10, 2009