Umeå Open 2014 & wood workshop.

Spring is well and truly here. The ice on the river is a distant memory, a few of the hardier plants can be seen sprouting, the sun has even – just occasionally – come out and made it possible to lunch outside and enjoy oneself, not freeze. However, let us catch up on the last few weeks, in which:

- our cohort built timber staircases without the aid of nails, screws, or glues

- festival madness visited in the form of Umeå Open

- both of the previous points occurred in the same week, followed by

- preliminary presentations (I still wake in a cold sweat)

 

And so – belatedly – Umeå Open!

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Bill Gates Was Here!

This is a super quick post just to say that Bill Gates gave a presentation this morning in the Aula Medica in the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and I was lucky enough to get a ticket! It is quite telling of the university I study in that I have the opportunity to go to a presentation of this calibre and listen to the debates which followed, it was so interesting.

It’s Bill Gates!

The presentation itself was centered on Global Health: The world is getting better’. He spoke of his organization and how they are currently tackling global health problems in the world such as malaria and the lack of contraceptives in the third world. Other notable contributors and heads of the health industry formed a panel and asked Bill specific and quite difficult to answer but highly interested questions relating to what the future may hold for the fight against health issues and how Bills organization can tackle this using more than just financial strength, toward the middle of the presentation and then questions were asked from the audience. In my experience as a Bioentrepreneur, it was great to listen to a global health issue from the perspective of those in the midst of the fight against poverty and the illness it brings. The lecture really opened my eyes to the enormity of the health issues worldwide which so many in developed countries take for granted. He demonstrated how much more has to be done but that also trends are changing and in some areas real progress is being made such as sexual health awareness in the fight against HIV in countries like Africa with condoms and HIV medication being supplied as much as possible as well as programs to educate those affected to make better choices. Overall a great experience and one I am most likely not to have again.

For those interested here is the link to the entire presentation in full

http://ki.se/en/bill-gates-meets-hans-rosling-at-ki

Hej då!
Andrew

Get to know Sweden through film and television media

As a film fan I have started to search for good Swedish films before I came to Sweden. I like films which can make me think. Sweden produces many unique movies which really gratify my taste, and they are famous for the critical thoughts about human condition. Today I will introduce you three of my favorite Swedish films. They have given me a deeper understanding about Swedish society and culture. Apart from the films, I will also introducing you two TV series, which may improve your Swedish or give you some knowledge about Swedish history. Read more »

Gothenburg City Museum

Last week I went to the Gothenburg City Museum in downtown.. uh.. Gothenburg close to the central Brunnsparken transportation hub. I had been to the museum a couple of other times in the past, but I wanted to make a special visit to check out the new exhibition ‘Gothenburg from Above’, which is a series of aerial photos taken over the past 10 or so years by Swedish photographer Lars Bygdemark. Entrance is free if you’re 25 or younger and still a very affordable 40 kronor if you’re older.

The museum is actually housed in the 18th century Swedish East India Company’s former office and warehouse building. It is also just across the street from the impressive and historic Chalmers house (the past residence of the guy who founded the university in 1829).

Once inside, the museum actually starts with a primer on the origins of human life in this part of Sweden from thousands of years ago. It quickly moves on to the age of the Vikings which is obviously a focal points for a lot of visitors. When the average person thinks about the Vikings, there is a tendency to gravitate towards their legendary ships and weaponry, but the museum does a nice job of also providing some context to everyday life and artifacts in addition to a summary of their history and an outline of the main points of the Norse belief system. One of my friends who visited the museum with me is a blacksmith who marveled at many of the pieces in the museum. According to his informed opinion, the quality of the work exceeded his expectations based on the available technology of a thousand years ago.

A Viking relic. Photo: B. Seward

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St Patricks Day

Ok so I know I am maybe 2 days late but as an Irishman I am allowed there was a lot of festivities this weekend so please forgive the delay. I have got to post about St Patricks day in Stockholm- my very first! First of all I was very pleasantly surprised to discover there was a parade going on organized by the Swedish-Irish society (which I never even knew existed). This took place on Saturday and was so much fun. I met up with 6 German friends, a swede and an Italian and we all marched through the streets of Stockholm with traditional Irish music playing. It was the first year where I had no Irish friends or family with me but it was great that my international friends joined in this year. The march started at Humlegården and ended in beautiful Gamla Stan with traditional Irish music, including bagpipes, drums and use of a very traditional Irish instrument a bodhrán being played. Irish dancing took place on a stage and it was great there was a lot of talent involved. It was also fun to see all of the irish costumes and I met a lot of Swedes who were dressed a leprechauns or encompassed an irish flag or shamrocks somewhere on their face or person. It was a great experience and I especially loved the Irish wolfhounds, native to Ireland of course, which marched with us, the kennels which breed them came along and so there was about 10 giant dogs marching along, I had a great time.

Irish parade- look at the Irish wolfhound… someday I will own my own..

It is always interesting to me, now that I have spent 3 St Patricks days away from my native Cork to see how other countries celebrate this day. I definitely see that us irish have spread our influence everywhere and it is wonderful to see other nationalities enjoying some Irish culture if even for a day. I attempted to demonstrate some Irish dancing both on Saturday and Monday.. however I am not a good Irish dancer and this it seems shows in my students :D

On actual St Patricks day (Monday) I spent the entire morning speaking with my family and friends back home via viber and Skype then I went to The Liffey, also in Gamla Stan an Irish pub and as us Irish say, twas great craic, I met 2 other Irish people there and we had a graaaand oul time, along of course with my international friends from the Karolinska. I have noticed however.. that through my entire time in Stockholm and St Patricks day itself that I have actually met only 4 Irish people. It is so bizarre usually we are everywhere!

Anyway just a quick post on my St Patricks day! Next post will involve my room in Pax.

Slan tamaill!
Andrew