The piano keys are black and white, but they sound like a million colours in your mind

19 03 2012

Recently I have been blogging/drawing in the other blog I share with Maik and is our common project: prajna vanguard but I feel that this one belongs here. This song brings me back to 2006 and Active seminar about prejudice and stereotypes. I have heard it just recently again and consider it still wonderful. Here we go:

“Spider’s Web” (Katie Melua)

If a black man is racist, is it okay?
If it’s the white man’s racism that made him that way,
Because the bully’s the victim they say,
By some sense they’re all the same.Because the line between,
Wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread,
From a spider’s web.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.

I could tell you to go to war,
Or I could march for peace and fighting no more,
How do I know which is right,
And I hope he does when he sends you to fight.

Because the line between wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread from a spider’s web,
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.

Should we act on a blame?
Or should we chase the moments away?
Should we live?
Should we give?
Remember forever the guns and the feathers in time.
Because the line between wrong and right,
Is the width of a thread from a spider’s web,
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind.
The piano keys are black and white,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind,
But they sound like a million colours in your mind

My summer 2011

19 08 2011


As I can not do much about the pictures that are waiting in my camera for being edited and some technical problems are really in my way, I have some time to summarize my summer. It was amazing and it was rolling. One experience just replaced another and I hardly had time to understand all the beauty, amazement, insights, reminders and love I encountered.

I guess it all started rolling by Human Rigths Generation going to Poland. Human encounters are unpredictable and this one was unpredictably strong for me. To work for a European non-profit organisation means to work with long term goals, often hardly measurable results and tasks that we do not know the exact impact of. That is why coming to Poland and seeing almost everything going according to the plans was incredibly rewarding.

From Poland directly to the IOGT-NTO Congress in Åre – to the place where sun never sets (at least not around the time when we were there). Surrounded by miraculous nature and very inspiring people – what else could one wish?


Åre by night

Coming back from Åre meant to catch up with the emails and work in the office, clean everything and check out for 12 days of holidays. My wonderful parents have come for one month to help me out with Dante so me and Maik could go out and see the world =) Yessss New York was the destination and a separate blog with pictures will come no matter what.

Coming home from the Big Apple, overcome jetlag and yet again catch up with all the work that was put on hold for the 12 days was easier by having my parents around and having possibility to show them a bit of Stockholm. The highlight (besides the warm and stunning swedish summer at the sea) would be watching DN – galan (athletics) live and seeing sport wonders such as Jelena Isinbajeva or Ussain Bolt. Isinbajeva’s warm up kept me staring at her most of the evening. Besides few warm up jumps in the beginning of the competition, all she has done was putting on several layers of clothes and laying on the ground having her face covered for like an hour. Then, when most of the competitors were out of the competitions, she entered with two jumps (one fail and one successful) and went back to her hibernation for yet another 20 minutes. Then she jumped once and won the whole thing =)

Another stop on this ride was our road trip to Örebro to meet two friends who, if it was possible to choose a family, would definitely be part of it =)

And yes..time for Active camp in Latvia and meeting friends from all over the Europe, combining work with volleyball and just chitchatting. This week also brought me a totally new experience as I joined PJ, Sofia, Andrea, Aron and Vidar flying. An amazing amazing amazing feeling. For my part, I was not that excited about flying high or low. I loved the moment when I understood what to do to keep myself in the air. I felt it was all about trust. Trust into the whole system (huge blowing machine) and my body that it knows the best how to hold the balance. Worked pretty well =)

Learning to fly


While I was in NY and in Latvia, my father managed to walk around Stockholm and discover places I did not have clue about. One of those was the possibility to rent a kayak and go paddling. So we did go. Magic. In the middle of the nature and yet in the centre of the capital. So calm and so much happening around – trains, cars passing, people jogging, motor boats meetings us while we were just paddling and swinging lightly on the waves of the water and of our thoughts. Almost a transcendental experience. That I got the chance to repeat two more times since then (within one week).


Paddling with my father


Paddling accompanied by ducks


..with Maik

And rolling like that I have come to this weekend when I am learning a bit more about photography, especially street photography. So I got to reflect a lot upon what I want to work on this time: motivation or taste or vision or method? And what is actually my motivation to take pictures? Is the the process itself? Or a specific object? Or maybe the final pictures themselves. Or it’s the confirmation I feel when someone likes the pictures I take. There will be a separate blog about that and my reflections too. Tomorrow I go out to the field and shoot…

Power of expectations

25 02 2011

There were 3 journalists on today’s morning TV program discussing Oscar gala that is going to happen in all its glamour in some hours. The discussion was about the awards themselves, about tips and hottest candidates, estimations and presumptions.
And then there was a very important moment to me when one of the journalists questioned the whole event. She said that it is interesting in what an extent we await the event every year despite the fact that the previous year was not that wonderful. Actually. And it is every single year like that. In the end, a huge part of the programme are speeches, most of them long and very predictable with few interesting or unexpected moments.
The journalist said, that we often remember that we had enjoyed watching the event more that we actually had done. Why is it like that? The journalist also answered her own question. She said that it is more our expectations than the real happening that make the event so great.
It is all the talks before the event and it is all our associations we have connected with the celebrities that attend. It is not just the event itself. I was very happy to hear the journalist’s words because as a person who is very sensitive on the topic of the power of social constructs, I believe that our minds and our collective mind are very powerful. Our mind setting shapes our experience of an event that can in general be considered neutral. The journalist’s statement made me think of a project ran by UNF Sweden called Fake Free. The project is inspired by prevention method from Sri Lanka that builds exactly on the power of social constructs. To understand the essence of it, it is just to see this picture:

eller (swe) = or (eng)

Alcohol is a substance that has certain impacts on body’s physiology. It is a central nervous system depressant (!!!). In spite of that, when you look at pictures (mostly commercials) connected to alcohol – you see action, party, joy. If you ask people what they associate with alcohol you will hear partying and fun. Not fatigue for example (which is a natural consequence of drinking). Hangovers, headaches and all the problems come later in the association chain. There are many experiments showing the placebo effect of various substances which is very strong when it comes to alcohol. The thing is that thanks to our alcohol culture, people know exactly what to expect from drinking and that’s why they even do not need to have alcohol in their drinks but they behave according to their expectations as long as they are convinced they have drunk alcohol. When they are sad – they will drink. When they need to boost their self-confidence – they will drink. When they want to tear down some mental barriers or social walls – they will drink. The most interesting is, that they will drink both – to calm down AND to cheer up. Miracle? Not at all. The good part about it is, that it is not alcohol that is the magic drink that solves all the problems! It is actually people themselves and their expectations that change their mind settings and turn them into social, funny, stronger or whatever they wish to be. It would be even better if they just knew it.

Sober woman

19 11 2010

I was just going through my computer and found the lyrics I wrote for Acitve’s 20th anniversary this summer.  As I wrote in the previous blog entry, this performance was special to me cause I had to pursue it eventhough there were many chances to back off. I was looking forward to “performing” this song for several month but when I it was time to do that, I just saw many reasons why it was better no to go up on the stage.  But my colleagues would not let that happen =)

Great thanks to Alicia Keys for the music =)

Everywhere I am turning
Some deadline follows me
I stand up and I am searching
For my iPhone to check and see

What I’ve got for tomorrow
Promoting sobriety
Friendship and peace guide me
And I have found  the strength in me

Cause I am sober woman
Yes I am , yes she is
Youth drinks less and less
Harm is not that vast
Everyone knows the consequence
Oh yes I am a sober woman

This is for all the people fighting
For the total ban on alco add
And all the people
All the people sitting and trying
To get higher purchase age

And the guys coming together
Say yes I will yes we can

Cause I am a sober woman
Yes I am , yes she is
Youth drinks less and less
Harm is not that vast
Industry pays high tax
Oh yes I am a sober woman

When I am breaking down,
there’s the thought I’ve found
Of 9 millions of kids
Who have it tough at home cause of alcohol
And I go on, we go on

Cause I am sober woman
Yes I am, yes she is
Youth drinks less and less,
Harm is not that vast
Solidarity’s on quest
Oh yes, I am sober woman.

Active office 2009/2010 on the stage

Picture taken by Sara Lundell ( but cropped)

Experience2010 – Week of my own challenges

10 08 2010

Am back from Norway and from several congresses of that week. I like thinking of that week as a week of challenges.

– Active Congress was for me the first Active Congress I was responsible for from the office’s side. The same goes for NORDGU congress as well.

– IOGT International Congress was the first Congress for me where I was as a board member “presenting” the 4 years that have passed and our plans for future

– The birthday party was a challenge too, which was actually called “Challenge”. We had no clue how the board programme would turn out, how many former board members would show up, how the scene arrangement would look like. Sometimes it felt like none of the planned things would happen but in the end we managed. My office collegues did great: Sanja moderating, Janika and Alari fixing the scene and equipment. They made me really happy! And of course the former board members who came in unxpectedly high number. It was amazing for me to see so many people who used to steer EGTYF/Active and helped us to bring the organization to the point where it is right now. I could feel huge appreciation and acknowledgement towards their work and I felt honoured to continue in their foot prints.

– The “Sober woman” performance was THE challenge for me. It was almost called off (by me). If it was not for Sanja who could not accept the fact that it would not happen and Janika who prepared the costumes and really enjoyed the process connected to sewing, I would not come up with the final version of it: pre-reading the lyrics and letting Alicia Keys sing the altered version.

– And the panel discussion. Not really knowing the audience and not having previous experience of moderating a debate – overcoming of the feeling of unfamiliarity with the situation was a real kick =)

The week was for sure fullfilling!

I blogged about EVS in another blog

18 06 2010

I have blogged in Active’s blog about EVS yesterday. So here comes the link.

I think it is really cool that Active volunteers/office write their blog and I really hope we will manage to keep it a usual part of the office’s daily tasks.

What I’ve been up to

15 06 2010

IOGT International AC meeting, Active EC meeting, applications, reports, NOM congress, reunion from Secondary school in Slovakia, Alcohol policy update meeting, sunny and long days, Germany and Handball Champions league, some days without any internet connection, load of work at the office, finalizing the documents for the Congress, strawberries in the park, Blacksheep campaign kick off seminar, days off…

That’s approximately it since the latest blog =)

Reunion after 10 years

Reunion after 10 years

To see my school and my classmates after 10 years again was very special. I met people who belonged my main social network for 4 years. Some of them even longer – 10 years. None has changed. Even appearance of the people is almost the same. Except of some haricuts. But no major changes. We all spent 4 years – very important years of our lives together in the same environment, getting the same information and we all “grew up” our ways. There is pretty rich variety of destinies among my classmates and that gave the meeting a special spark. I enjoyed. I understood myself and I was thankful for having those people in my life when I was 14 – 18 years old.

Swedish night

Swedish night

This is how Sweden looks like in late evening/night at some places. And I simply love the atmosphere and the feeling I have when I get to experience the calmness of a fairy tale in reality. This picture was taken when I went home from Oslo after Alcohol policy update meeting. The meeting was at least as giving as seeing this beauty.

The Dome in Köln

I took holidays after really busy days. Going to Germany where I can turn off my mind completely and blame the language for not participating in what is happening around me was a good choice. This Dome stands next to the Central Station in Köln and it is the first thing that welcomes you when you leave the station building. Imagine warm summer night, being a bit tired and the view of an impressively huge building consisting of millions of details is a good sign predicting great holidays.

Opening of Handball Champions League Final 4

And this was the birthday present from Maik. Final 4 in Handball Champions league. The first one in history.  They made really good show out of it and my enthusiasm about handball is back. The game the teams played was inspiring and creative. I learnt a lot from watching them and I understood new ways of playing handball. So gimme a ball =)

Alcohol culture

There were 20 000 people in the sport hall watching handball and wherever I looked, I could see beer. Lots of drinking! I can’t see logics in connection between alcohol and sports neither when it comes to performance nor to watching the game but I know it is there. I felt like at October fest. And it was the only part of the event I did not enjoy. I did not enjoy the smell of sweat mixed with alcohol and I did not enjoy the behaviour triggered by that liquid.

Ice cream

OK after 1 day it got cold and rainy in Germany but there is such a great ice-cream place in Cottbus that I did not mind the weather at all. Chocolate icecream, lots of whipped cream and warm raspberries. Mumsi.

Strawberries for lunch

Back to Sweden. Strawberries belong to summer and they are taking more and more space in my lunch menu. These long long days with sun and strawberries are so beautiful that it hurts a little when I imagine that soon the days will start getting shorter and shorter. But still. There are many long days in front of me and I am sure the summer will be perfect.

Yes – this summer will be perfect. I am looking forward to Norway and to all the people I will meet there. This weekend I got a little pre-taste of it when we had Black sheep campaign kick-off seminar. Three days of very intensive work with representatives from 8 countries. The imput from the participants was impressive. The last night we worked till 1 a.m. That has not happened to me many times in Active yet. Knowing that the campaign is in these people’s hands I am sure it will turn out just great!!!

And..I passed the Swedish exam so now I have the paper showing that I speak the language on an OK level and am able to study in swedish =) So I hope I will =)

Cooperation for the same sake

28 04 2010

Yesterday, me and my collegues Sanja and Alari had a trip to Stockholm to meet Simon from Fake Free project. We had already met and discussed possible cooperation of Fake Free and Active’s new campaign that starts in June, so it was not completely new yesterday, but yesterday was THE day when we went deep into both projects and understood that they match perfectly and we can learn and help each other incredibly much. Great click =) I am very happy. It’s amazing to see how many great ideas come out when there are various people focused on one goal. I say: YES!

Pretty good combination

7 03 2010

I am in Slovakia doing Active stuff – planning the congress 2010 and preparing the documents. I am really enjoying.  Discussions, thinking, visions, strategies and funny moments in between.

Life is good =)

The work is rolling just fine!

18 01 2010

The more quiet I am  here in my blog, the more I talk beyond the borders of the virtual world. Or talk is not the best word. Express myself would be a better one. In my free time of the latest days was my attention directed towards the Gender booklet that I managed to finalize and even design (will be published in June), then I dealt with correcting the draft paper on rehabilitiation and then I was at the IOGT International meeting in Göteborg. Inspite of very little sleep and lots of work, I came to the office today ready to get hold of all the reports, applications, bills and planning.

It’s easy to work and enjoy work when I am surrounded by people who also work or help to “prolong the arms” of my work. Like Janika doing her tasks on time and with precision, Saska fixing everything regarding the postage of Content matters material from Slovakia and keeping eye on the practical arrangements of the coming Active seminar in Slovakia, Emina getting new enthusiastic people who help with or participate in our activities, Madlena and Gaffe preparing the job interview with me and last but not least the volunteers on Faroe Islands – Sten, Martin and Fanny starting new activities, running already established activities and helping with coodination of our new Nordic project. Those speaking swedish, you can follow them here:

Knowing that, it’s totally OK to sit here and search among old bills, do several tasks at once, thinking about future activities and evaluating the activities from the past! Moreover a new volunteer is coming to the Active office so from wednesday, we are 3!  

Me like!!!