African Woman

Parallell cultures

It is a parallell culture ongoing in Stockholm. At Liljeholm square, the women in their long colourful skirts, curly or wavy black hair, sometimes scarfs sometimes not; the women are selling skirts & other details from an Ikea bag. The men, sitting beside are having a heated dialog with each other or on the phone. The women, who at first seemedbto belong to a separate group in their lively banter join in, happy high voices, and engaging. Engaged. Laughing aloud & long. 
And all of the rest of us are on the sidelines, watching silently. Some of us watch curiously, some of us shaking their heads with irritation. Some heads coming close to each other to discuss the spectacle. “Can you see that, we don’t do that in Sweden.”  

It is summer, a nice, warm sunny day. In Stockholm, sunny is not equivalent to warm. So a warm day is more notable than a sunny day. Itbis a nice warm sunny summer. I feel memories of a Berlin summer evening in my stomach. In my soul. There was music playing in Berlin. All sorts of different cultures at the same square at the same time. I remember a summer afternoon in Rome. With beer, wine, pizza & a mixture of languages. Warm people albround going about daily business of looking for fun.  I remember other people with other ways of spending a summer day. And I long to join this parallell culture at Liljeholm square; maybe I can bring the music! And a grill. 

But alas, I just plucked my eye brows & round the mouth with a thread. Trisha, the threading expert said “you can’t be in the sun today. Wait till tomorrow.” So I sit in the sidelines of life & watch.

African Woman, Life Lessons

You are so lucky…

Yesterday, a colleague informed me that I had recruited very competent requirement analysts. “Thanks!” I said happily. She continued to compliment me & said I had such luck to find these two guys. I “flinched”. I swallowed heavily. I straightened my back & stared at my colleague. I smiled at my colleague. My dearest colleague hopes to have the same luck in finding a similar requirement analyst. Luck. Luck she said. Luck.

Since you’all know how the recruitment process looks like, I will not insult you by explaining it. What irks me is the use of the word “luck” as if:

  • I didn’t do all the analysis & preparation before sending out the announcement.
  • I didn’t go through 70-100 CVs to eliminate and select a few that we would call
  • I didn’t prepare a number of specific questions to capture the right personality, competence & potential
  • I didn’t sit through 15 interviews
  • I didn’t sit through more hours of elimination & selection
  • I didn’t disappoint over 70 applicants with “no thanks. We found someone who fits better.”
  • I didn’t plan the onboarding process & make the whole team available for the new recruits for over 3 months to ensure a good understanding of our delivery
  • Etc etc etc

When an achievement is credited to “luck”, luck negates the work that went into the achievement. As if something just happened by the grace of…fate? 

In reality, there is little luck involved in recruitment. There is a little luck, a tiny whiny drop fleck of luck; but not much. There little luck involved in most things. And no one recruits alone. It is a team looking for the right person. It is a months long process. So if luck is all we pin it on, it is expensive luck!

While at it, I have even been told that I am lucky with guys. “Lucky” that the nice kind guys just kinda fall on my lap. As if:

  1. I didn’t go out all those years in youth & meet all those other guys that didn’t work out. There was the one that shouted at me when we went to dinner & I dropped the fork. I was nervous. There was the one who left me stranded 125km from home because I questioned his driving while drunk. There was the one that almost raped me during my periods because he thought I was lying to him. The lisbgoes on & on & on.
  2. I didn’t write that list of all the things I DON’T WANT in my next guy. I didn’t want a guy who thinks reading is boring. I didn’t want the guy who had been to theater, opera or other cultural activities & decided it was boring. O didn’t want a guy who thought Rome & London are samesame because they are both cities. A guy who thought travel was a waste of money he could buy a motorbike or alcohol with. I didn’t want a guy who had ever tested drugs & would try something new if he got the chance. The list goes on & on & on & on
  3. I didn’t write that list of places to go if I want to meet nice kind guys. 
  4. I didn’t ask advice from friends & family who already had met the right kind of guys.

I hope for luck when I buy lotto tickets & find I have no luck. I rely very little on luck but hope that the gods of luck stay close to me in case of an accident. Mostly though, the effort required to accomplish something is more fun than lucky breaks. Stories for the grandchildren.

Good luck all!

African Woman

The art of loneliness

I read the art of happiness many years ago. Happiness eludes all and becomes a destination instead of a journey. It is one of those books that stay, not the book itself, the ideas shared stay. Like Ann Frank & her diary of life in hiding. Or the story of Mandela’s life. You don’t have to read or hear it again. Once you’ve heard it or read it, it stays.

In Stockholm, we seem to chase loneliness with the same fervor we chase happiness. In the building I live in, we are 6 households. We say hello when we meet in the stairways outside. That’s it. Otherwise we avoid each other. Actively. If we are grilling at the balcony, and our neighbor is grilling at their balcony, we see each other, we smile, wave or say hello, speak shortly about what nice weather it is & then we spend the rest of the time avoiding contact.

Am as guilty as the neighbor.

And then people in apartments sharing a garden and balconies, grilling facing each other; you hear that a neighbor has killed themselves. Or died and remained home, dead for a few weeks & nobody suspected. Or the neighbor hurt the wife/husband, badly.

Why do people spend so much time avoiding each other? Afraid? While inside, we are dying of loneliness. We know we need other people, we need hugs, we need to laugh, we need to talk when we are happy & when we are unhappy. So why do we spend so much energy avoiding each other and searching for loneliness?

African Woman

Feeling like Leonardo Da Vinci

If you have read Leonardo Da Vinci’s fables, you know this one. Living in the city, or far far away from home can make one think like this. So can ending up in political campaigns designed to make people afraid to help others, afraid to empathize or sympathize with others, afraid to work together with others instead of working against their neighbors.

To know that a time of greatness, once gone, is gone. It is like youth once gone. Or a death once taken place. A new era of greatness has to be created from the current circumstances without looking back, without doubting, without crushing the weak.