Sunday, March 30, 2014

So, THIS happened!

Yes, at one point during the past two weeks my sister went and got hitched, and Johan and I flew home to Denmark to witness it all go down.

Thomas is the name of my new brother in law, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time (!) the evening before their wedding, which, by the way, pretty much turned into one giant love fest of family, friends, boozy dancing and a real. live. horse. parade. (Who says dramatic punctuation is outworn? Who?)

They've known each other for ages - 7 years if I'm not mistaken - fell in love right after new years (or perhaps 7 years ago, who knows?) and decided to tie the knot ASAP!

I know, right? I think I let out a real proper Oprah-scream, when she called me on Skype and asked us to prepone (is that even a word?) our flight home to Copenhagen for their March 22 wedding.

Apart from two blurry iPhone photos - one of Johan dancing (pretty much like this) and one of my beautiful cousins, I was a little too love-drunk on everything to pull out my camera during the event. So instead I went and snatched this off my sister's Facebook-page, courtesy of the wedding photographer Louise.

Oh my gaawwwd, such a good night it was. Kind of want to put that party on repeat, if that's possible :)

Friday, March 14, 2014

A quiet girl's response to Sheryl Sandberg's Ban Bossy initiative

Just in case you've been feeling antsy and impatient to know my opinion on Sheryl Sandberg's most recent initiative, I thought I'd do the world a favor by finally sharing my two cents on this whole idea of banning the word bossy and thereby encouraging more girls with "leadership skills" to become, well, leaders.

And here, in a nutshell, is what I think: Why worry about the bossy girls? 

When I think back at the girls I went to school and high school with, or have worked with professionally for that matter, there were definitely a few of them that fit the category bossy. Some of them were quite smart too, and these girls and women, I'm sure have gone on to do great things in life, where their leadership skills come in handy.

But believe me, there were also bossy girls who were not particularly smart. Or particularly nice. Whose bossy-ness should never be confused with desirable leadership skills. Mean girls, I'm tempted to label them, because I'm pretty sure they're an institution. And honestly, the mere idea of giving girls like this free reign to dominate their peers - and under the auspices of feminism, at that - is just triple-o stooopid. I mean, these girls are the ones that so dominate the strange micro-cosmos that constitutes a school or workplace that they don't leave much social space for a segment, which I believe has far more potential than we give them credit for: The smart, quieter girls. And while we're at it, let's add the smart, quieter boys to that group too.

I honestly don't believe that we'll be doing these girls (or boys) a favor by banning the word bossy. Because they're not at all at risk of being labelled bossy. Don't even come close. In fact, this whole ban-bossy-hoolaballoo is more likely to do them a dis-favor, insofar that it confirms a, let's face it, very gender-biased and largely tautological idea of what constitutes a good leader. I mean, doesn't it strike you ass odd, that there is such a near-perfect fit between stereotypically "strong" male qualities and the qualities we have "agreed" make a good leader? Personally, I cry foul, and I bet if we adopted a more nuanced and analytical perspective on male and female successful leaders in different sectors, we'd find that their qualities can be articulated and accentuated in a whole bunch of novel and non-gendered ways.

I believe there are a lot of smart women and men out there whose leadership skills go unnoticed, because we're so set on the idea of what makes a good leader. Because their humbleness is somehow misconstrued as submissiveness. Because quiet reflection is decoded as a lack of stance and determination. Because their sensitivity is interpreted as an unproductive weakness. Because their disinclination to tell other people what to do is dismissed as an inability to lead. And that's just plain moronic.

I'm not saying banning bossy doesn't matter, because of course discourse matters and it matters that girls who feel inclined to speak up and stand their ground etc. etc. are encouraged to do so through positive, verbal recognition. I'm just saying that if we wanna start a real revolution, we should start valuing the smart, un-bossy, quiet girls.

Then we'd run the world. Only in a super nice and friendly way :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

The Day We Went Hiking At the Gorge

So, Johan's mom came for a visit last week, which meant we did a lot of exciting non-everyday stuff, such as hiking through a dramatic gorge in a friendly place called Hell's Gate.

When we arrived, a guard from The Kenya Wildlife Services stepped up to our car and declared: "You have to bring a guard to assist mama". Which, truth be told, was a little offensive considering the fact that Johan's mom was sitting right there in the passenger seat.

Anyway, once we got hiking, it turned out he hadn't exactly exaggerated about the ordeal awaiting us. In fact, on several occasions both Johan and I found ourselves reaching out for our guard's hand and asking for help.

Johan's mom, on the other hand, was totally bad ass, jumping off cliffs and into water puddles like it was no big deal.

Johan pestered the guard with lots of dad-questions underway about sedimentary rocks and stuff like that, which made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, thinking how one day he will make our teenage kids feel very embarrassed. They'll be like: "Daaad, we don't care about minerals and bedrock. Can't we just go to McDonalds?"

See? Here he is with his little man purse and hands at his waist :O) Aweeee!

On our way, Johan's mom spotted this really beautiful cave painting of a penis.

You know you hit the jackpot, if you've got a MIL who can appreciate a nice rendition of a penis, is what I've always said :)

We had the best guide ever, a guy named George, whom I'd really like to use as a personal coach whenever anxiety hits me, because this dude was so chill his mere presence lowered my heart rate.

I mean, see that puddle in the picture below? That was a bottomless puddle for all I know, and somehow he just made us plank ourselves between the two boulders and waddle across it. La-di-da.
I have no story to go with this picture, but I love how I look like a tombyish dare-devil - a thought that somehow appeals to me greatly even though I know it couldn't be farther from my true persona.

Also, hiking is super fun! It's like, you're so preoccupied with putting your feet in the right places and not falling into a ditch and getting stuck under a boulder for 127 hours so you have to amputate your own arm with a plastic knife and write a book about it and have James Franco play you in a movie, that you completely forget about the fact that you're exercising.

And here we are at the end of our hike. It looks kind of anticlimactic or awkwardly silent, but in reality it was kind of nice to just sit there and enjoy a coke and ponder: "Should I also get a banana?".