winds of change

Most of the time we bumble our way through life, trying to get through the day or week or month, with a more or less vague idea of what lies ahead. But sometimes something happens and a switch is flipped in our minds, telling us, ah, something big is happening. Sometimes we are self-aware and reflective enough to notice these moments of change – turning points, points of no return – as they happen rather than long after. Sometimes we can foresee potential turning points: for example, before going to Sweden for an exchange semester I knew in advance that it could be something really special. I’d even counted on it to be a make or break opportunity to change course.

This time around, however, I was caught off guard. It all started when my colleague probed the idea of accompanying her to Denmark in order to assist with a workshop she was organising. Um, need she ask?! It was technically for work but I’m inexperienced enough to consider work trips adventures. Especially because I would shoulder little responsibility. And because it was in a beautiful location in Denmark. So, an adventure? Yep. An adventure that became a personal milestone.

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The weather is a favourite conversation topic of mine because it’s so important. It guides my moods and plans my movements and generally affects my life to a great degree. I’ve noticed people here don’t talk about the weather much and don’t seem engaged when I talk about it. At first I thought it was a German thing, so I asked a few German friends whether Germans talk about the weather. One suggested that weather-speak may be mistaken for small-talk, which is fair enough.

But my most recent theory is that people here don’t care to talk about the weather much because it’s boring. Hamburg weather is very fickle. Seasons aren’t so much seasons as glimpses of what the season should feel like, before reverting to some horribly unseasonal weather. There’s no continuity, no consistency, no patterns, and bears little consequence to us city folk in the grand scheme of things.

Sure, it affects whether we bring an umbrella or a scarf when we go out. But will a dry spell affect our (city folk’s) growing season? Gar nicht. In Canada, on the other hand, a dry winter with little snow means a dry spring with little snowmelt, which means more forest fires. Although climate change is messing up the normal weather patterns (‘climate weirding’, as the Guardian called it), there are still some semblances of weather patterns and cycles that guide Canadians through the year.

Canadians talk about weather a lot. I get the feeling – and this is unproven speculation – that we have a longer-term perspective and broader understanding of weather than the folks I’ve tried to talk to here. That could also be due to my crummy German language skills, of course.

believing in change

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

– Margaret Mead

It’s been a very inspiring 2/3 of a working weekend. The message to believe that change is possible and that, by working together, we can reverse the global trends of self-destructive behaviour to create and sustain a just and peaceful world for ourselves and for future generations is a powerful and much-needed one.

I’ve really enjoyed meeting and talking to the various people – both the fascinating Councillors and hardworking staff members from our international offices. Rob, the one-man team of the Peace and Disarmament Working group, has been particularly receptive. We waxed a little nostalgic over The Lion King at dinner today in between a joint deadpanning effort (or perhaps TLK was a joke to him?! Surely not). Everyone else has been A-for-awesome too!

3 days, 6 free meals, continual flow of coffee. I may actually gain weight.

can’t get this silly grin off my face

So here's where a bit of youtube-hopping led me:

I always like to watch comedy during dinner. On Tuesdays to Fridays it's The Daily Show from the night before, but on weekends I have to find something else. I recently discovered Louis CK and have since watched about 90% of what's available of him on youtube. Tonight I found (yet) another interview of him on Conan about how everything's amazing but no one's happy these days, and how today's generation are so thankless about the technology we have. Awesome clip, totally agreed with what he said.

That linked me to Ricky Gervais somehow. And Ricky Gervais on the Golden Globes 2011, which I hadn't yet seen but now I have and he is freakin brilliant! There was some controversy over his jokes – but I remember during that time, I hadn't seen his jokes but only the media reaction, and the media definitely overstated and misreported both the off-colourness and the reactions. Fucking media… anyway.

That led to other great awards show hosting moments and announcements, like Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, Jon Stewart hosting the Emmy's (I thought it was a bit weak, but he does like to please), and of course, the one and only, hilarious and talented

Ellen DeGeneres.

I love this woman so much. She's so full of kindness. What I love even more, though, is

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi.

They are so beautiful together. And so in love with each other. Portia is such a lovely woman (I realise I sound like a total tool right now, but they both just make me really happy). It is absolutely not possible for me to watch a clip of them together and not smile!

And now I want to watch more Better Off Ted because Veronica is fuckin awesome. I think I'd like her as a boss :D

awesome supervisor

Is there a ‘World’s Best Supervisor’ award? I’d like to nominate mine.

She’s always positive, even when things go wrong she manages to criticise and even swear in a resigned sort of way. Less ‘fuck this i hate them all’ and more ‘jesus christ, why can’t it be better?’ She regularly and frequently gives me very positive feedback; she never criticises; her suggestions are made in a constructive, positive way.

Awesome sense of humour.

Adorable dog that makes the occasional appearance at the office (FLUFFY!).

She’s considerate and conscientious, professional, a good communicator, a good team manager, a cool human being. Basically all-around awesome. And I could already tell during my interview – maybe the presence of Rolo (the dog) helped, lol.