Saturday, 25 June 2016

How I Feel About Brexit

I studied European Studies for the last three years and I would describe myself as pro-EU. So the news hit me hard when I woke up on Friday morning and read that the UK voted leave.
Now, I will not go into detail of why I wanted the UK to stay. There are many more qualified authors out there who have written very good articles before and since the referendum. Personally, I just cannot understand how people can blame the EU for everything that goes wrong in their country. Aren't they aware of the fact that EU members keep their sovereignty? But that doesn't really matter anymore, does it? The referendum is over, there is nothing that can be done about it anymore.

What makes me the most angry about the results are the numbers. The fact that the decision was basically made by people that are over 60 years old while the younger generations clearly wanted to stay, is something that doesn't sit well with me. I don't want to imply that those people know less than their grandchildren and I understand that different generations often feel different about certain issues that affect the whole society. But it is horrible that those people that have decided on the UK's uncertain future are those people that are most likely not around for very much longer.

I am not British, my nationality is German. However, my father is Italian. An Italian that came to Germany to work many years ago. An Italian that contributed to Germany's strong industrial power. For someone like me, it is hard to understand how a whole country does not welcome people like my father. Of course, I know that this does not apply for everyone in the UK, but after all, the majority obviously feels that way. I am proud to be a mix of two different countries, of two different nationalities, of two different cultures. I am proud to be German, and I am proud to be Italian. I am proud to be European.

The results of the UK referendum were a shock on Friday. Since then, I kind of got used to it a bit more. I've read articles about the outcome and I am glad to see that most younger people did not want to leave. These people are our future. Not the old ones that voted leave. Of course, there are leave supporters amongst the younger generations as well, but it is nice to see that they are a minority there. However, I also read from Brexit supporters who now regret their decision because they have belived the lies of Nigel Farage. How should I feel about this? Weren't they able to inform themselves properly before ticking the box at "leave"? It is scary how such an important decision was also made by people who apparently have no clue at all about politics.

I don't know what will happen now. I only know that I want the EU to be strict and don't give the UK an easy way out. From what I heard Juncker and other EU officials say, it does sound like they will be like that. I don't want the EU to fall apart. I know that it is not perfect, by no means. But if something is not perfect and the way you want it to be, do you just leave? When I was speaking to a friend on Friday, I compared the EU to a family. What if my family would, for example, cook a certain family meal in a way that I wouldn't like. Why wouldn't I try to change it? Why wouldn't I try to find a better solution, a solution with which everyone is happy? Leaving is the easy way out. Leaving is for cowards.

Not only the future of the UK has become uncertain. Their decision does affect all of us. I am afraid that the populist right will gain even more power in the EU member states now. I am afraid that these separatist and populist ideas will spread like a disease. And I'm afraid of Donald Trump possibly becoming the next President of the United States. Where does all this lead to? How can anyone think that this would be a better future for us? I still believe that we are stronger together. A divided Europe does not benefit anyone.

If you are British, European or none of them at all, how do you feel about Brexit?


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Leaving Malmö

Next Tuesday, I will leave Malmö for good. Well, not really for good, as I'm sure I'll come back here at some point, but it will be as a visitor, not as a resident anymore. It is a strange feeling which I've experienced a few times before, but it never affected me as much as it does now. So I thought, I'd talk about it today and say goodbye to Malmö on my blog too.

I arrived here in August 2013, about one month before university started. It was warm and sunny and Malmö was at its best. I instantly liked this city and was looking forward to live here for three years. At that time, I lived right in the city centre, in Davidshall, which is a really cool area and close to everything actually. Where I live now, it's very different as it's a bit more outside and very calm and different to the centre. However, I do like both places, although the centre a bit more I guess.

It was the biggest city I've ever lived in, even though it's not that big compared to others, like Copenhagen for example. But I grew up in a smaller town and also the town I lived in France a few years ago was quite small too. So everything was exciting to me and I loved that I could just find everything I needed and wanted nearby.

During the first year of studying, I then decided to go abroad for my second year and I ended up spending nine months in Grenoble, France. I didn't really miss Malmö a lot, more some of my friends that I left behind, but not the city as such. And when I came back here last September, I was longing for Grenoble and the life I've had there. It took me a while to readjust and I wasn't very happy the first month. But thankfully, this didn't last long and I think the last year was one of the best I've ever had. I came back to my old friends and found new ones. I moved into the nicest flatshare I ever had and Malmö felt like home.

I am generally someone that feels home somewhere very quickly. Even when I'm on holiday, I call my airbnb or hotel room "home" after I checked in there. So Malmö has always felt like home in some way. But it does even more now. I think I can nearly compare it to how I feel about my home town in Germany, where I was born and where I grew up, where my family lives. Although, there is a big difference. In my home town, it is mostly my family house and the neighbourhood that represents "home" for me. In Malmö, on the other hand, "home" is represented in the whole city. When I sit in Västra Hamnen and look out to the bridge, I feel home. When I'm in a bar in Möllan, I feel home. When I walk up the shopping street in the city centre, I feel home. When I'm in Limhamn, in my flat, I feel home. Malmö is home.

The thought of leaving Malmö makes me incredibly sad. I know I will miss it a lot. I will miss the sea and I will even miss the bloody wind. I will miss the people that I shared those past three years with. I will miss all the food options I have as a vegan here. I will miss the cafés and the parks. I will miss hearing Swedish and trying to understand something. I will miss taking the train to Copenhagen and going over the bridge, which is as exciting now as it has been the first time.

Saying goodbye to Malmö is also saying goodbye to a period of my life. The last three years have been wonderful and I loved every second of it. I changed and evolved a lot and I'm definitely a different person now. I don't know yet what will come next, but I know that it will be different. And I am looking forward to it.

Where do you feel home?


Saturday, 18 June 2016

A Sunny Day In Ystad

Last week, my parents came to visit me in Malmö and we were really blessed with the weather. It was sunny and warm, what surprised my Italian father a lot. Warm weather in Sweden? How odd. ;) Last Saturday, we then decided to go to Ystad, which is a small town not too far away from Malmö.

We started our trip off at the tourist office to get a map as well as a brochure which shows you all the settings of Henning Mankell's Wallander books. Those crime novels are really successful in Germany and I've read a few of them myself and enjoyed them a lot. We had to pay 50 SEK for the brochure, but the money goes to Swedish SOS Children's Villages, so I didn't mind at all paying the small price. Mankell was very much into charity work and according to the woman working at the tourist office, he wanted to raise money for it with the brochure. Considering how many tourits come to Ystad because of Kurt Wallander, this is actually a very good idea.

The first thing we visited was the Church of Virgin Mary, which is in the middle of Stortorget and a beautiful medieval church. It's not that big but the inside is very nice. Although Wikipedia says that it is a Lutheran church, the inside reminded me a lot of catholic churches, which is probably because it has been built in the 13th century. But then, I don't know much about churches at all, so I could be completely wrong.

We then had lunch at a café in the square which was really nice. I couldn't find anything vegan on the menu, so I asked the staff and it turned out that one of them was vegan too, and she made me a massive salad which was delicious and super cheap. That's definitely one of the things that I'll miss the most when I move away from Sweden. Everyone is so understanding with vegans and it is nothing odd or alien at all. You will never end up hungry here.

After lunch, we walked to the Greyfriars Abbey which is one of the most well-preserved monasteries in Sweden. Today, it houses a museum. It's very beautiful and peaceful there, with a pond and lots of greenery around. They also have a herb garden and an apple orchard outside.

Afterwards, we just wandered through the town and visited some Wallander related sights, like the home address of the inspector. Like I said, it was super sunny and so nice to just walk around. The harbour area is also very nice and perfect to just sit there and watch the boats in the sunshine. There is also a sand beach next to the harbour and some families were sitting there, enjoying the weather.

We didn't stay too long in Ystad and took the train back at around 4 pm, but the town isn't too big so I didn't feel like I was missing out on something. It is definitely a very picturesque town with beautiful old timber-framed houses. Ystad was one of the first towns to have a volunteer fire brigade, which is the reason why the old houses are still there. However, it is a very quiet place and it felt a bit weird even. Living in Malmö, it is much louder, especially now with the sunshine. Everyone is outside and you hear so much noise all the time. Not in Ystad though. It is very quiet and clean and to me, it felt like the most perfect little Swedish town.

If you are ever in the area, I definitely recommend having a visit to Ystad.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Louisiana Museum Of Modern Art

On Sunday, I went to Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk in Denmark. It's about one hour away from Copenhagen by train and is beautifully located at the seaside. I went there with my friend and flatmate until now, who then left for the summer the next day.

The museum was opened in 1958 and is showing a large number of modern art by many different artists. You can find here over 3000 pieces of art from the time since 1945. It does not necessarily group those pieces together by genre, but it treats every piece individually and lets it speak for itself. I really liked this concept as it made me look at the pieces more clearly and without any preconceptions.

Alongside the regular art works that you can find here, it currently shows two exhibitions, Poul Gernes and Illumination. I especially enjoyed the Illumination exhibition as there are so many wonderful things to find here. Not only can you find paintings and sculptures here, but also videos and even audio. Danish artist Jacob Kirkegaard recorded the cracking of the ice for example and I think this has been one of my favourites from the whole museum.

Also part of the Illumination exhibition was the Kusama installation. "Gleaming Lights of the Souls" by Yayoi Kusama is a wonderful little mirrored room with colour changing light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Due to the mirrors it feels like there are more than one hundred and it made me feel a little bit like I was in space.

Of course, there were quite a lot of pieces where I wondered how this could be perceived as art by someone but I think that's just the usual case with modern art and it didn't bother me too much. Often, when I read the description I then understood what the artist wanted to say. But it would also be nice to see that with your own eyes, I guess.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art and I warmly recommend it to anyone who comes to Copenhagen for a visit or lives in Denmark or Malmö. They have student prices and the shop is actually quite nice too.

Have you ever been to Louisiana or any other modern art museum?