Happy Friday, everyone! I am so happy to announce that a poem I wrote, titled “Addiction,” won third place in a “reverse poetry contest” for The New Social Worker Magazine. You can read it here.
Media consumption this week …
- I re-watched My Name is Doris, a cute rom-com starring Sally Field.
- I read The Perfect Nanny. It has gotten a lot of critical acclaim, but I hated it. It is about a nanny who murders her two charges. It left me feeling icky afterward.
- I loved Sweden when I visited in November (which you can read about here and here). My friend Caleb suggested I read “The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia”.
The book’s author, Michael Booth, is an Englishman married to a Danish woman. After living in Denmark for several years, he decided to write a book about Scandinavia. As he noted: “A journalist writing in the British Sunday Times recently described this part of the world as ‘a collection of countries we can’t tell apart.'”
This book is laugh-out-loud funny in parts. “In Sweden, the concept of being ‘fashionably late’ is akin to being ‘fashionably flatulent.'” (I think Booth is a funnier writer than Bill Bryson.)
Haha. Here are some fun facts I learned while reading this book:
- People in Denmark like hygge (pronounced “hooga”) which, according to this book, basically means you sit around with your friends and family and make endless hours of small talk while avoiding more interesting and potentially controversial topics of conversation.
- Iceland underwent a major financial crisis in 2008 when all three major privately owned banks defaulted.
- Norway used to be a land of fishermen and farmers until they struck oil in 1969, which means it now has: “the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. And I don’t mean per capita — we are talking in absolutes.”
- According to PISA, Finland has the best education system in the world. Why? It isn’t due to classroom sizes (average) or the length of the school day (only four hours). It is because all of their teachers have master’s degrees. “In Finland, teaching attracts the brightest students … teacher-training courses can be harder to get into than those of law or medicine.” I also learned that Finns are extremely taciturn but blunt when they do speak. I think these might be my people.
- “Swedish women have subsequently seen their position in society advance even more comprehensively thanks to a raft of policies concerning gender equality, childcare, and positive discrimination.” Can I move there?
This book contained many more interesting facts about Scandinavia. I wish I could include them all here. Maybe you should just read the book. 🙂
Edit 3.19.18: I saw a book about Hygge written in Albanian at a bookstore in Pristina!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow! I’m not sure if I have any plans to celebrate but I’ll be in Ireland in two weeks anyway. 😉