Climbing Mt Fuji – What I Wish I Had Known

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malta – things to do

I spent my birthday in Malta and had an awesome time with awesome people. Here are some of the things you should not miss in between the balconies, water and narrow alleyways.

Some facts:

  • population: 431.333 (Malta is small, yet very densely)
  • currency: €
  • language: English and Maltese
  • fun fact: Britney Spears’ great-grandfather was born in Malta

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1. Ferry Ride to the Blue Lagoon

Even though this is quite the tourist trap, I’d still recommend a boat ride to the Blue Lagoon. Sure enough, your view might be blocked by drunk tourists but it is still calming to sit in the sun and dip your feet in the crystal clear water. Maybe you’ve also guessed it, I’m quite the pineapple addict and they do cocktails served in hollowed-out ones here – called “Blue Lagoon” and quite instagrammable. 😉

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2. Stroll around Valletta

This will be on your list anyways, but just to mention it again. If you miss the green in the sandstone area, the capital of Malta boasts some amazing parks. It’s easy to explore the entirety of it within a few hours and you should definitely check out Soul Food for fresh and tasty Buddha Bowls!

 

IMG_4794-Recovered3. See Mdina

One of the highlights definitely was this little gem of a fortified city. A definite must see is the movie about its history which will give you some background info. It’s well-made, despite being 3D. If you choose to eat here definitely pay the extra money to sit on a rooftop and enjoy the view over the island.

 

I hope you’ll enjoy your stay in the smallest country of the EU as much as I did! Let me know what your favourite spots were.

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Thoughts from Denmark

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My visit to Denmark last weekend lasted a mere 30 hours, but tiny Aalborg (spelled Aalborg rather than  Århus because the Danes didn’t have the right typewriters at some moment, but also quite a controversial issue to do with anti-German sentiments etc…) was easily explored thanks to some lovely guides.

On the way I was reading preparational material: “The Almost Nearly Perfect People” by Brit Michael Booth. As I had no former experience with Denmark I was mostly struck by several things he wrote about: the incredibly high tax levels (up to 70% of a monthly pay check); the Danish word kaerste is used for both ‘taxes’ as well as ‘darling’.

Also, there were some remarks and anecdotes on Danish safety, society and equality and that people from different classes weren’t as socially seperated – both looked at from a positive as well as negative way. I got to know the notion of Jante Law, according to Wikipedia “the idea that there is a pattern of group behaviour towards individuals within Scandinavian communities that negatively portrays and criticises individual success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate” .

The following ten rules were first published in 1933 by Aksel Sandemoose to describe this Scandinavian mindset.

1. You’re not to think you are anything special.

2. You’re not to think you are as good as we are.

3. You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.

4. You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than we are.

5. You’re not to think you know more than we do.

6. You’re not to think you are more important than we are.

7. You’re not to think you are good at anything.

8. You’re not to laugh at us.

9. You’re not to think anyone cares about you.

10. You’re not to think you can teach us anything.

Discouraging thinking a lot, yet still intriguing.

It seems rare to have a set of social norms spelled out that radically and to get baptized (categorical imperatives and golden rules just do not have the same dimension to me). I doubt that Danish people make their every decision based on it, yet the term Jante Law seemed to ring a bell to everyone.

Reminding me of a very different video of 70 years later, maybe Jante Law could be the next export hit to a very individualistic society after LEGO and Skype. Whether that is better or not – we are not to think. Or are we?

poem about the sun

On nights after hot days it becomes more eveident

that the sun is gone.

The moon may well provide some light,

yet the UV-rays and the warmth fade away.

Artificial sunshine cannot fulfill the purposes

and in their essence they feel wrong.

A cold feeling stays with you

the sun cannot be controlled.

The sun makes our plants grow

yet also burns down landstrips and forests.

The sun can paint the most beautiful colours in the sky

but will blind those who dare risking a direct look.

Its energy creates molecules and fuses them anew.

It is seen as a god and

we are dictated by its innate rules

innate and made for no-one.

By day the sun gives colour and detail

but also casts shadows.

And by night the sun is gone

and we are only left to sleep.

Unfinished

Because people tell us to run or relax we never quite find our own speed.

But I think, we should stop being the dogs chasing cars or being on a leash.

Because people tell us to finish things and hang in there we often feel frustrated.

But I think, we should leave some things unfinished. What happened to god old “The journey is its own reward?”

Because people tell us how amazing they are we often feel inferior.

But I think, we can stop that.

You already started a silent loud revolution

You’re getting tired of it

Today, we had yet another class on intercultural communication.

Our lecturer assumed that we will be tired of talking about globalization. But the only people who can get tired of it are the ones who don’t understand what it means. Globalization is what changes everything, what makes our generation the most travelling and open one. And whether you are for or against that, it is a fact.

So, this globalization makes us encounter people from other countries. Be it on the street, in professional life or in lectures. And that is what we need to be prepared for. So far, so good.

Of course, there are a lot of hot buttons and culture clashes when we talk to foreign people. But my problem is: is it really because of another culture or are we only reinforcing stereotypes by attributing these problems to different nationalities?

Because clashes do not only happen between cultures. In my eyes, clashes happen between people. Of course, since we are taught to use logic, it makes sense to find out rules for interpersonal relationships. But one thing is important to keep in mind here: no two people are the same. Therefore we have to find our own recipe in every single societal encounter.

I personally I am not happy to be treated differently or with more caution when I am in another country – that automatically excludes me. Of course, I would like others to accept my quirks and be careful. But still, I would rather try and treat people with as much respect as I treat people from my own country and nothing should go wrong.

And I will never get tired of talking about that.

(The only group of people I don’t like are Physics teachers. I would have needed a course on how to understand them)