Friday, 30 December 2011

Half full

I have had an absolutely lovely Christmas, I hope you have too. Unfortunately, I'm not at the computer where I stored my pictures so a full account will come later.

I have always known I am a positive person. Despite my sometimes cynic nature, I have a "glass half full" mentality and often repeat the mantra "PMA", or "positive mental attitude".

Nowhere was that more clear than yesterday, in the kitchen. After a marathon cleaning, I had just gotten the mop ready when Em's horrid cough lead to her throwing up, all over the kitchen floor. My thought? "I'm so lucky she did it before I mopped the floor".

Then, forty minutes later, when I had finished all my mopping, she came back, to the same spot and threw up two more times. Whilst I wiped up the worst of it, all I was thinking was: "Aren't I lucky that I still have the mop and bucket standing there all ready to go".

Now how's that for positive mental attitude! (And an insight into parenthood for those of you who are not there yet...)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very merry Christmas!
More words (and pictures) tomorrow.

Friday, 23 December 2011

Santa Baby

I am exhausted after the Santa Clausian task of wrapping Christmas gifts for my one child, five nephews and nieces, two brothers and a father, AND the same amount of gifts on behalf of my mum. What on earth was I thinking when I thought it would be a cosy thing to do on the night before Christmas??? Still, it seems Christmas this year will be great (fingers crossed).

Today's song, Santa Baby by Macy Gray, calmed me down during the busiest time in the central mall, Nordstan.

Now, an episode of The Good Wife, whilst I wash the last of the pre-Christmas dishes.


Den här bloggposten innehåller nötkräm

”Det pågår en tyst katastrof. En katastrof som varje dag dödar 21 000 barn under fem års ålder. De flesta barnen dör av näringsbrist, diarré eller andra sjukdomar. De dör av orsaker som med enkla medel skulle kunna förebyggas. Det som saknas är vaccin, medicin, rent vatten och näringsriktig mat. Saker som UNICEF kan leverera. Saker som vi tillsammans kan leverera.

Den här bloggposten är mitt sätt bidra. För i och med att jag publicerar den här bloggposten blir inte bara fler uppmärksammade på den tysta katastrofen utan dessutom innebär det att re:member skänker sex påsar av den nötkräm som UNICEF använder vid behandling av undernärda barn. Tre påsar nötkräm om dagen är allt som krävs för att ett barn som lider av undernäring ska kunna överleva.

Har du också en blogg och vill göra något viktigt i jul? Hämta bloggmaterial här! Tillsammans räddar vi barns liv.

Ps. Vill du köpa fältprodukterna som räddar barns liv, besök UNICEFs gåvoshop. Du kan välja ett snyggt gåvobevis designat av bland annat Tove Styrke eller Elsa Billgren att ge bort i julklapp.

And here's an explanation in English:

Every year, 21.000 children under the age of five die, mainly because of malnutrition, diarrhea or other diseases. The Swedish division of UNICEF has launched a blog campaign aiming at raising awareness about this silent disaster and providing help to those who really need it.

If you have a blog and would like to support this cause, UNICEF asks you to publish a post about it, including some text snippets, photos and videos that they provide here (this campaign is targeted at bloggers writing in Swedish).

It’s the most important blog post you could write this year. And in addition to that you help raising awareness about this misery, re:member has partnered up with UNICEF and agreed to donate 6 bags Nutriset per published blog post. Nutriset is an oil-based paste of peanuts which is used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition (you can read more about it here).

After you have published your blog posts and included the text and media provided on this site, it is important that you ping Twingly about your blog posts (here is an explanation how to do that). By doing so, your post will appear in the blog feed on UNICEF’s campaign blog and become part of the campaign.

Let’s make sure that as many people as possible join the campaign and help the children around the world!

Thursday, 22 December 2011


I know, I missed a day, but I am sure you'll forgive me once you hear what I have been up to. It seems technology and I will never be friends, despite all the effort I make. So in addition to my motherboard going into a coma, my work-email moved to a new server and all my emails were lost.

All my legal documents and communication that I was hoping to use as a backup, now I no longer have my laptop, gone! Luckily we got our IT guys to revert to the old server temporarily. After spending h o u r s researching whether I could forward a bunch of emails at once, it seemed there was an obstacle at every corner.

In the end I had to give up and go through, select and forward as much as I thought I needed of my thousand emails. Annoyingly, actually forwarding the emails manually took less time than I spent researching mass forwarding.

This morning, I dropped my phone and when I turned it on, message after message popped up in my inbox. Suddenly I got all those messages that friends and contacts had told me they had sent since last Saturday. Imagine the added wahala of having to deal with each issue that was in the text (still not done!).

Today's Christmas song is a twi Christmas song by Kaakyire Kwame Appiah. To be honest, I hadn't heard it until today, but I am hoping others will recognise it. Why this song? I recall that the last or second last Thursday Before Christmas is usually carols' night at the Ghana School of Law and the best songs are without a doubt the Twi songs. Come to think of it, for me, carols' night there, or at Ridge Church is when the Christmas spirit really sets in for me. I hope those of you in Ghana have had the chance to attend some this year!

Also, I'm in the Ghana mood as I made some omotuo and nkatiekwan (rice balls and groundnut soup) for dinner this evening and it was lush! It may also have helped upgrade my Christmas present from the hubby...

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Midnight melancholy

I promised Raine I'd post a mulled wine recipe. Right now I am getting a slight déjà vu feeling as I know I have posted one either last year or the year before. Unfortunately I am to lazy to search my own blogg, so here's a recipe I've tried before:

1 litre red wine
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of cardemom
3 tablespoons of sugar

Pour everything into a pot and heat. If you want to retain the alcohol content, heat to 75 degrees (Celsius), then leave to stand for 15 minutes before straining the spices. The amount of spices and sugar can be varied to suit taste.

I usually use this recipe for non-alcoholic mulled wine. For that I use a dark red juice, e.g. red grape juice or cranberry & rasperry juice. Whether I use juice or wine, I actually allow the mixture to boil for a few minutes, as I am not interested in retaining the alcohol.

Serve warm, in small cups with a sprinkling of raisins and almonds in each cup.

Today's Christmas song is one of my favourite remakes of a classic. I first heard it on an episode of Grey's Anatomy, and since I'm seriously missing my show (how long a Christmas break do those actors need??), I've had it on my mind. The eerie melancholy of the song really depicts the TV-show and is just...beautiful. So enjoy, It came upon a Midnight Clear by Sixpence None the Richer.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Libraries in Ghana

Em and I head to the library at least once a week, either to the local library or the main city library. Sometimes we read a book, other times there are scheduled children's events, like Mama Africa sharing songs and tales from Africa. For me, the library has been a place to visit on and off since I was a child.

These recent, regular library visits make me think of Ghana. I have never heard of anyone going to the library in Ghana. Actually, I hardly hear of people reading at all! There is a saying that: "if you want to hide something from Ghanaians, put it in a book"

Awful saying, but somewhat true. It seems although our people love learning, reading for the enjoyment of reading is not as popular.

Earlier this year, I took part in a church-organised cleanup of the Tema Library grounds. I didn't even know I had been driving past a library almost everyday, at the end of Hospital road. The grounds were overgrown and the library building looked as though nobody had entered for years. So imagine my surprise when I googled it and found that it is actively running and there was even a relatively new wanted ad, for internet librarians!

Have you been to a library in Ghana?

Today's song: Gläns över sjö och strand by the Real Group.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Mulled wine and Saffron cupcakes

The day has been as perfect as a December day could be in Sweden. We woke up to snow-covered streets and buildings. I started off my day with a gym-class, then I spent the next 2-3 hours baking for Christmas. Lussekatter, gingerbread, saffron cupcakes, you name it, but photographic evidence will have to come later, when I sort out my many technological issues.

After baking and a bit of cleaning, we all headed to meet my friend MJ at Liseberg, Northern Europe's largest amusement park, which has gone all out, turning itself into Sweden's largest Christmas market.

We warmed our cold handds and faces over the charcoal grills that were found at every corner. A necessary stop was made at one of Liseberg's cafés for hot chocolate and mulled wine, before we headed home.

Now, within ten minutes of getting home, Em is fast asleep and I am just about to collapse into bed myself.

Can't think of any better way to sum up this day than with Nat King Cole's idyllic Christmas tune.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Computers, Comas and the Caribbean

My laptop is dead. Well, actually, it's in a coma. Or how else would you describe a situation where the light switch comes on when the laptop is turned on, but nothing else happens? Brain dead?

Well, yes, according to the little bit of googling I did, it seems my motherboard is dead. I don't know much about computers, all I remember is the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie had a problem with her motherboard and lost all the information on her computer. Needless to say, I am little scared, especially as I have been a bad, bad, girl who's omitted to backup.

After a call from my brothers who are chilling in the Caribbean (sense the jealousy!), I am happy to know that the programmer brother will soon be home again, and yes, he knows how to sort out a motherboard. Phew, the future may just be bright, after all.

Today's song is Mariah Carey's wailorama, All I want for Christmas. Not because I like it, but because it's been running through my head all day. (And I will retroactively post two Christmas songs, since the non-posting was caused by technical difficulties).

Friday, 16 December 2011

Happy day.

Today I got some good news. I mean really good news. I mean jump-up-and-down-squealing-with-joy kind of news.

Then, not long after, I had the nice surprise of randomly bumping into my kind of sister-in-law and on our way to the centre of town we caught an old fashioned tram where a Santa Clause was serving complimentary mulled wine and gingerbread to all passengers!

I couldn't think of a better way to get us all in the Christmas spirit. I think Boney M best represents the bouncy, up beat mood I've been in.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

No fufu on this table

I know at the moment this blog may be Christmas overkill, but when you've spent the last seven years celebrating in Ghana, being offered fufu and light soup for Christmas Day dinner (I don't usually swear, but WTF?) and wiping sweat away from your face when opening presents, every second of a wintery Christmas needs to be celebrated.

Sometimes with a classic:

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Give, give, give!

What is the most fun part of celebrating Christmas? Well, I guess for a Christian, it is the birth of Jesus, but more generally in this modern world, it is the spirit of giving that signifies the coming holidays.

Today has been all about giving. I had a fruitful meeting with some inspirational people and discussions on how we could collaborate for a good cause. Then I took the family through town, passing Musikhjälpens Christmas tent which is raising money for girls' right to education all over the world.

I love giving at Christmas, or any time of year for that matter. In Sweden, one can offer money to Musikhjälpen, or donate to the Swedish Church in its mission to combat World Hunger. ActionAid has various options of giving to those less fortunate, or why not help Medicins sans Frontières work against malaria and other diseases.

In Ghana one could choose to support a charitable organisation, like Give Ghana, or even better, head to your local orphanage with some food, clothes or toys. You cannot imagine how overjoyed the children are over clothes that you may consider out of date and old.

In the spirit of giving, what better song than this fundraising giant:

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Water, water everywhere... 3

Seems this is an endless topic of discussion. It was with interest I've followed the water situation in Ghana, at times very happy to be here, away from any issues of water shortage. That was until I saw this: a notice informing us that today, between 13 and 15 they will turn off our water for maintenance works.

Two hours may seem like a little, but the scary part is the sentence that says, "these times are estimates only, the period may be prolonged without further notice". Like Virgo remarked, "This is Tema, isn't it?".

Needless to say, I've made plans for us to be out at the time, we'll be doing such exciting things as... the weekly food shopping!

Of course, today is Lucia, so before shopping, we'll make a quick stop in Nordstan for Virgo and Em to experience a bit of Lucia celebrations. So for you, today's Christmas song is a glimpse of how Lucia is celebrated.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Stress and surgeries

What a day. My friend MJ and I have both spent our Monday at separate hospitals, one anxiously following her parent's heart surgery, the other nervously waiting for her child to wake from surgery under general anesthesia.

It was with a sigh of relief that we could both text the other of the succesful surgery. Still, 12th Dec, 2011 will probably be fresh in our minds for a while.

I can't think of a more stressful way to start the week than to have a loved one being cut open by a team in green scrubs. So I'm ending the Monday with a powerful Christmas carol that will hopefully give me some necessary oomph to manage the rest of the week. Here it is, Go tell it on the Mountain.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

December Sunday

This Sunday has been as mellow as Sundays should always be. Apart from a quick trip to Nordstan, the main Gothenburg mall, it has been spent home, preparing anxiously for the important week ahead.

Em and I welcomed Virgo who just arrived in Gothenburg. I am excited for both Em and Virgo to experience their first Christmas in Sweden.

Speaking of Christmas, here's today's song: Dido's Christmas Day.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Water water everywhere... 2

Not too long ago, I wrote about the floods in Ghana. Little did I know soon they’d hit us in Sweden too. While I was looking out my window, late Thursday night, enjoying the snowflakes that were falling and watching the grounds, trees and houses turn white, I was oblivious to the fact that when I’d wake up the next morning it would all have melted away and rain storms would be heading in.

The storm continued all of Friday, I’m just grateful I had already planned to spend the day indoors (laundry day), so that I watched the winds cry and trees dance vigorously from the comfort of my sitting room.
(Picture borrowed from Göteborgsposten, "the Gothenburg Post")

In shock, I read that a woman nearly drowned in her car after taking a wrong turn onto a flooded road. This happened not too far from where I myself had to wade through waist (!) high water, in 2005 as we experienced Hurricane Gudrun. As I write, many roads and areas of the city have been sectioned off while work is done to drain the excess water.

Despite the ongoing winds and downpour, I am still dreaming of a white Christmas. So here’s today’s Christmas song, with one of my favourite artists of all time – the great Otis Redding.

Friday, 9 December 2011


What are the chances I'll be able to write something everyday for the next 15 days? Shouldn't be too hard, right? Well, I'm challenging myself by making my own advent calendar.

To me, Christmas in Sweden is all about the advent calendar. Not the nasty chocolate ones, but rather a home made one with simple surprises in it every day, or Swedish Television's calendar that we al used to watch as children, each day.

My blog calendar will be to post a Christmas song each day until Christmas Day. I'm sure by then, we'll all be fed up of it, but on a positive side, perhaps I'll be back in blogging mode by then and can continue writing about normal things.

I'll start with my favourite of all time: O Holy Night. Is there any Christmas song that is more beautiful? I challenge you to find one!

In Swedish:

And English:


Monday, 5 December 2011

A change... gonna come.

Stay tuned.


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