Category: Life

Evening by the window

Chewie
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

He does this sometimes. Sits by the window, watches the evening go by. He´s a very tall, long limbed Maine Coon, born in Northern Norway, 8 years old, almost 9 years old now, and weighs in ca. 8 kgs. He now lives along the Swedish west coast at Styrsö. He´s darling.

Zucchero Guantanamera (Guajira)

Some people think that the summer’s polar light, when there is sunshine the whole day – and night – is great. But me, I look forward to the winter’s polar light, where you can get a proper night’s sleep, when no sunlight is peeping in anywhere during the night – or day – and it is feeling just like Christmas all the time. It is not completely dark, the sky lit in a magic blue. If something, the colour of the night sky between November and January reminds me of the Grotta Azzurra in Capri, Italy. In Tromsø where I currently live and work the winter polar light is called Mörkertid. It begins this year on November 28 and the sun will not rise over the horizon before January 15 next year. Yay!

Postcards of late autumn, Styrsö, Sweden

On the grill in late summer, along the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Spring is often the more colourful season, with trees coming back to life and flowers blossoming. Bees are a delight to sit and watch as they make their rounds around the garden flowers. Come late summer and early autumn, the garden tends to take on a more varied hue of green. We’ve managed to change that some over the past few years by growing different types of garden friendly vegetables. Or at least, Swedish west coast garden friendly vegetables. The Swedish west coast has relatively shallow soil with rocky soil beds that need clearing out before planting. So we built a few sand boxes and experimented some to see which vegetables felt at home in them. Carrots were a hit a few years ago. This year’s harvest is also interesting with garden sweet peas, Västerås cucumbers (great for pickling) and different types of lettuce. A small harvest of tomatoes also seems on the way. Most delightful are the herring wood barrels filled with rainwater. We use them to water the plants, “indoors-outdoors, can-can”.

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Farmer’s autumn market, Haga, Gothenburg

Saturday morning marketing in Haga, Gothenburg. Picking up autumn harvests for sale from farms in the surrounding region of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

It was a dark and stormy night…

Well, no. Not quite. But yesterday morning was a little wet and windy to do some proper marketing. Still, the charming cobbled streets of Haga in Gothenburg is always inviting, rain or shine.

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Styrsö festival weekend. 5-6 July 2019.

Styrsö, Swedish west coast, July 2019.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

Tourism is certainly in full swing this summer at the southern archipelago of Gothenburg. 5-6 July 2019 marks the much awaited Styrsö Festival 2019 (styrsofestival.se) with 20 music artists performing over Friday and Saturday. By noon, the ferries were packed with visitors on their way to the islands, ready to party! With slight winds and clear skies, we’ll be expecting an electric evening with good music at Styrsö Bratten.

Continue reading “Styrsö festival weekend. 5-6 July 2019.”

Spanish orange almond cake to Easter, Styrsö, Sweden

Spanish orange almond cake, with orange crème anglaise, a variation of the Eurasian almond sugee cake. Topped with meringue.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

One of my favourite things to do when back in Sweden is to bake, and oddly enough, go back to cooking Straits Chinese / Peranakan dishes. Easter culinary traditions (as with Christmas, weddings etc.) however, are most often influenced from my Portuguese / Spanish heritage. This year, I thought to bake a variation of my father’s mother’s Eurasian sugee cake, a Spanish orange almond cake [1], layered with orange crème anglaise and topped with meringue. David Lebovitz has a brilliant recipe to orange crème anglaise to which anyone can refer/use [2].

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Morning skyline in Shanghai, China 2019

Morning skyline in March 2019, Shanghai, China.
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2019

I’ve often written that landing in Shanghai, China, feels as if I were coming back home. If there was a city in China that I have visited the most, it would be Shanghai. Between 2010 and 2014, I found myself almost annually in Shanghai for various work and study visits. It’s been about five years since I was in Shanghai and expectedly, the city has developed some, a morphing burgeon of its 1920s and 1930s personality from Paris of the East unto its own. I do not know how else to describe other than, it is, Shanghai, lacking nothing.

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Valentine’s at Graffi Grill Tromsø

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2019

The roses were brought out in most flower boutiques here in Tromsø on Sunday 10 February 2019. It was in celebration of Mother’s Day in Norway. The Feast of Saint Valentine which falls on 14 February in celebration of love and friendship, seems a fairly understated affair in Norway, and in particular as observed, in this city in the Arctic Circle. In a walkabout the city centre prior to dinner, I came across one of my favourite flower boutiques. There was a significant absence of bouquets of roses for the Feast of St Valentine’s. The shop had for ready-made bouquets, clusters of chrysanthemum and lily blooms. Roses were available but firmly potted. In Gothenburg, I loved to have tulips at this time of year sitting on the kitchen table in a vase. In Tromsø, four metre high snow walls built from clearing snow off the sidewalks and driveways is not encouraging weather for tulips, even in vases. I did however, bring home a new pet plant from that shop, a ficus elastica robusta.

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Fractal organizing on the eve of 2019, Styrsö Gothenburg, SE

In the moment of a Walden read. Although this article post is mostly about Taleb’s 2004 incerto meta-framework of writing.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

I received this year as part of the Christmas presents exchange, one of my favourite books written by Henry David Thoreau, Walden1. What’s special about this Pan Macmillan Collector’s Library 2016 edition is that it is petite, and bound most decoratively in floral print, in the colours of the planets Saturn (pale gold) and Uranus (pale blue)2. Another book received was written by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Fooled by Randomness3 (2004).

Continue reading “Fractal organizing on the eve of 2019, Styrsö Gothenburg, SE”

Good morning Sunshine! Styrsö, Gothenburg, SE

A winter’s sunrise along the Swedish west coast, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Out at the Gothenburg southern archipelago, it seemed a perfectly mundane winter’s morning, albeit a little warm hovering between 5 to 6 degrees celcius. The big family gatherings on 24 and 25 Dec. is done, the quayside this morning was parked full of shopper bags and luggages of varying sizes, with varying goods belonging to individuals moving between points of interest. Christmas was warm and cozy, now it’s time to prepare for a sparkly new year’s!

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Christmas at Styrsö Gothenburg, Sweden 2018

Christmas market tranquil at Saluhallen in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson & CM Cordeiro 2018

Even if the markets are not as populous in Scandinavia as they are in Southeast-Asia where I grew up, there’s always a certain sense of panic with last minute shopping, especially during festive seasons, like Christmas. I was however, pleasantly surprised to find the main market hall Saluhallen in Gothenburg, in complete calm during the late afternoon on the eve of the eve of Christmas, Christmas eve being the big family meal for most families in Sweden.

So it was thoroughly enjoyable doing this year’s Christmas marketing, picking up a bit of liver pâté, an assortment of cheese and some more preserved herring to add to our existing collection of flavoured herrings for the home Christmas table. Since Gothenburg is a coastal city, our own Christmas table very much reflects the culinary traditions of the region with an emphasis on piscatorial dishes. A favourite this year seemed to be smoked rainbow trout. That, and there’s always room for dessert. This year’s favourite was caramelized baked apples with vanilla cream. The vanilla cream was made the old-fashioned way with lots of egg yolks, and vanilla beans.

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Arctic Circle light on an October morning, Tromsø, Norway

Arctic Circle (latitude of 66°33′47.3″ N) morning light in October 2018, an intense gemstone colour of orange spinel, Tromsø (69°40′58″N), Norway
Text & Photo © CM Cordeiro 2018

If weather was a significant fika topic in Sweden, the changing light reflected in the Arctic Circle through the seasons captures greater conversation interest over fredagskaffe sessions. These pictures were taken this morning at about 0725 hrs. I sit at Tromsø, staring at a morning sky that streaked an intense gemstone colour of orange spinel to the left over the mountains at Tomasjord. Moving the eyeline from left to right over Tromsdalen, the morning light turned an ametrine bi-colour, cleaving both mountain and ocean at an almost surreal perpendicular. Moving the eyeline further right towards Solligården, the morning light turned gradually into shades of pale amethyst.

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A walk through Tromsø sentrum, Sept 2018

Strandgata, a main shopping street in Tromsø city centre, Norway
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

With houses built from the 1700s that remain standing along narrow cobbled streets close to the waterfront, the city centre of Tromsø makes for romantic evening strolls and compact access. One could spend just about 20 minutes navigating the main shopping street from end to end. And where I have bypassed souvenir gift shops in most other places I have visited, I would certainly recommend visitors to stop by a souvenir shop in Tromsø. Souvenir shops here offer some well crafted, artisan Scandinavian products that range from sustainable fashion made from salmon leather, kitchen wear made from reindeer antlers and natural pure wool throws that is perfect for cooler nights in.

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Äggboden, a boutique farm shop in Halland, west coast Sweden

Standing outside of a gårdsbutik/farm shop called Äggboden, where a variety of woven goods for sale are displayed. This shop is located along Sandövägen in Vallda, Halland country, along the west coast of Sweden. At fifty percent summer sale discount this basket, I thought, would be nice for a bushel of apples that are just coming becoming ripe for the season.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

One thing I love doing during summers in Sweden is to drive along the west coast of Sweden and visit small farms and flea markets along the way. Halland county is about a 2 hour drive south of the city of Gothenburg. We counted about four flea markets situated around the area of Lerkil and Smarholmen that we found by driving around some.

The region is full of small farms and private markets of whatever those who live there can think up to entertain tourists and temporary guests. One that has stuck in my memory was a place where they had combined an outdoor café, a barnyard flea market with a small farm animal zoo. On our comments about a particularly cute shaggy little pony, the managing lady said, “We love to have visitors over to give our animals something to look at.”

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A Côte d’Azur morning

Along the Promenade des Anglais, Nice, France.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

During the 19th century, the season for visiting Nice was during the winter months in northern Europe. Later in more modern times, the season extended to include also spring and summer. The most popular place is still the beachfront, where the old villas are located between Promenade des Anglais and Rue de France. With increased urbanization, the private villas have now been turned into hotels and museums. The beachfront today seems a favourite place for morning strolls, bicycle rides and workouts by the beach. The Mediterranean waters are pleasantly warm, even at hours just after sunrise.

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Bohr’s compIementarity and a celebration of an anniversary

In celebration of an anniversary, with a Brut Vintage 2009 Champagne Pol Roger. Aged for 8 years before being released onto the market, this vintage champagne consists of a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay gathered from 20 Grands and Premiers crus vineyards in the Montagne de Reims and the Côte des Blancs.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

I don’t think I could ever tire of contemplating Niels Bohr’s (1885-1962) complementarity applied to subjects beyond theories of quantum physics. My latest read on the subject is an article by Filip Grygar [1], on Bohr’s complementarity related to the field of biosemiotics. Grygar discusses the application of complementarity to three existing models of living systems that include mechanistic (molecular) biology, biosemiotics and phenomenological hermeneutic biosemiotics. Overall, I think the article gives a good summary of Bohr’s complementarity applied to living phenomena.

Complementarity was the foundation perspective upon which Bohr viewed the many seeming contradictions of life as unity of knowledge. Just as the phenomenon of light cannot be adequately accounted for by mechanical measurements, but rather captured in the complementarity of it being both wave and particle, so the phenomenon of living needs be viewed in complementarity:

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Under the Swedish sun

Under the Swedish westcoast sun, with Cat.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

The winters in Sweden can be long and cold, so for those who are visiting Sweden, what might come as unexpected are the very warm Swedish summers. With low cloud cover and low humidity levels, I think a quintessential equatorial method of keeping cool might help – a broad hat, broad UVA/UVB 50 SPF coverage, and a furry Cat?

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Baileys Mille Crêpe

Baileys mille-crepe, topped with chocolate ganache and whipped cream.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2018

It looks pretty, the gâteau mille crêpe. So I thought I’d have a go at making one myself. I think I was at a corner near the Cathédrale Notre-Dame in Paris when I came across a bakery-café that was serving the most aromatic and gorgeous looking filled crêpes, the type that you can always find room in your stomach for no matter the time of day. In Paris, if the bakery-café had the ingredient, you could most likely have it on the crêpe as filling, from fresh strawberries to strawberry jam, whipped cream to nutella and banana. Looking for recipes online, I could see that most recipes would recommend to have the crêpe made with as little fat as possible on the pan itself in order to give a pale golden hue to the stack. But the ones I made were done in Swedish pannkaka style, with plenty butter in the pan so you get caramelized frilled edges to each crêpe. The difference? The mille crêpe I made is more, …Swedish?

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Tjolöholm Christmas 2017

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Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

Our first julbord sitting at Tjolöholm Slott was in 2014. Tjolöholm Slott usually has two julbord sittings per day during julbord season. Although most pictures from 2014 indicate a clear silver-grey horizon from the garden out back of the castle grounds facing the sea, I think this year’s dining was distinctly selected for the lunch hour. This lunch hour sitting offered us a view of the castle grounds by daylight. Different to previous Christmas sittings, most notable this year was the opening of the basement as closet for guests, and glögg served at the respective tables of the guests. This shift of welcome glögg from common area to individual tables opened up the possibility for guests to move around the hall and dining areas in their own space and time, unstressed by crowd following procedures that usually accompanies julbord sittings as a means to facilitate crowd control experienced at other dining places. Variations in the annual Christmas decorations include the decorated tree in what was formerly designated as closet space. Activities to the event ran more smoothly this year, with the usual impeccable hospitality from the services team, and a more streamlined visualisation of the presentation of the julbord that gave plenty of room for guests to take their time exploring the julbord’s offerings.

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Strawberry and shrimp

At Brogyllen konditori, Västra Hamngatan, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It might have been as early as 2003 or 2004 during my first years living in Sweden, that I visited Brogyllen. Brogyllen konditori is a bakery-café located at the southwest corner of Hamngatan in the city of Gothenburg. The café opened early, at half past seven in the morning, and my doctoral studies courses usually began at nine. This gave me ample time to sit, have coffee with a Swedish kladdkaka, a sweet, sticky chocolate fudgecake served with whipped cream on top, and watch the trams go by. In a routine sitting, I could almost tell the time by the tram number that went past. From the time I sat down, by three tram no. 2s gone by, it would be about time to leave for university campus grounds.

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Styrsö Uttervik



At Styrsö Uttervik, a seaside bathing spot well-liked by both locals and visitors to the Swedish west coast during the summer months.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

There are a number of seaside bathing spots to go to when visiting the harbour city of Gothenburg. Some of the most scenic of swim areas can be found at the southern archipelago islands of Gothenburg, along the Swedish west coast. Styrsö Uttervik, located at the island of Styrsö is one of them.

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Kristiansand, Norway, summer 2017

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Postcards from Kristiansand, Norway, summer 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

The initial expectations of a long and tiring drive north along E18 from Gothenburg, Sweden, to Kristiansand in southernmost part of Norway, via the Bastø Fosen ferry between Horten and Moss turned out to be one that was scenic and comfortable. The comforts of a long drive being provided for in terms of a more than adequate number of rest stops, and eateries dotted along the way.

Kristiansand is Norway’s fifth largest city with the sixth largest municipality. The city has about 90,000 inhabitants. A number that can swell to more than a hundred times its local population during the summer months when tourism is at its peak.

Most houses in the city and in its archipelago are beautifully kept, pristine in detail of wood oak panels, generously coated with linseed oil paint in colours of mostly white or earth yellow for houses, and red for boat houses and barnyards. Some barnyards are so large in comparison to the main house that they looked more like mansions in themselves from a distance. Driving along the coast in southern Norway, the small clusters of houses and villages are breathtakingly beautiful. This drive reminded me of the drive along the coastline of the French Riviera some years ago, the houses here being distinctly Nordic in architecture.

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Styrsö Valborg 2017

Valborgsmässoafton with perfect weather along the Swedish west coast for a funfair and playing outdoors.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

It is the weekend of the Swedish Valborg in celebration of Saint Walburga. Despite its naming heritage, this festivity has little to do with religion but rather everything to do with the ushering in of spring. Across the land, large bonfires are lit in symbol of cleansing of the past (plus, a fantastic way to getting rid of unwanted wooden furniture) and welcoming the season that sees trees visibly come back to life and flowers blossom. There are few, if hardly any, Swedish festivities that do not in essence celebrate fertility in one form or another. It is only that some festivities have a touch more explicit use of fertility symbols than others.

As indication that globalisation and cultural confluence was already in place thousands of years before scholastic theorising, in Viking folklore the lighting of a bonfire is believed to scare off witches and evil spirits, this night being the night when witches gather on the Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains in central Germany. Sweden and the Nordic region would be just a swish of a broomstick’s flight away from the woods of central Germany, so one could never be too cautious. The larger the fire, the better. On the practical side, the bonfires also work well in keeping predatory animals such as foxes away from newborn farm animals who are often let out to graze freely from the beginning of May.

On Styrsö, an island located in the southern archipelago of Gothenburg, Valborg is celebrated with a funfair held on the island’s school grounds filled with games, bingo lottery playing and traditional Swedish fika fare such as cinnamon rolls, marzipan filled sugar cakes topped with various fruits and creams. Come evening, a bonfire is lit and neighbours and friends gather around the bonfire in song and dance. Apart from keeping witches away, the presence of a bonfire fills all with anticipation of the long summer nights to come. Nights presumably similarly filled with more drink, song and dance.

Donated Flee market bargains for the benefit of the 5th Year annual School outings.

Face painting.

Flee market bargain hunting. Both sad and a blessing that you can now have printed books for next to nothing.
I haven’t decided yet if I should be sad about this or just dig in and carry home the loot…

– That’s a monstrosity of a barbecue grill! Who would want such a thing in their garden? – Who wouldn’t?
At this time the highest bid was about $50 USD. I certainly hope they got much more for it at the end of the day. Imagine how quick you could become the happy owner of something you didn’t knew existed just a few minutes earlier. Flee markets are plain dangerous.

In that sense, books are much safer.

Not too far from the funfair grounds is this sheep farm, the quiet of which is punctuated with the occasional bleats of the tiniest of bouncing balls of black, tight ringlet wool.

The sweetest. This one took the time to come say hello to us.

Pretending not to be curious this soon to be mother of a lamb, nibbled its way towards us on the sparse fresh grass strands.

We had an instant connect with her. So amazingly alive and so closely related to us humans.

Located center of the funfair grounds, a café tent pitched and ready for guests with traditional Swedish fika items such as these cinnamon knots.

Carrot cake cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting, and chocolate swiss rolls in the background topped with fresh strawberries.

Easter 2017 reads after moons of Jupiter and Saturn discoveries by Cassini

Planning for the long weekend, in reads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2017

One of the most interesting news releases that would have certainly captured the imaginations of many out there was the announcement of the discovery of hydrogen molecules in the plumes around Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon by Cassini, a joint space exploration endeavour of NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Italian space agency, Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) [1]. Part of a twenty year long spacecraft exploration project, this Cassini discovery points towards increased prospects of the existence of microbial organisms other than those found on Earth [2,4]:

“In 2005, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft spied jets of water ice and vapor erupting into space from fissures on Enceladus, evidence of a salty ocean beneath the saturnian moon’s placid icy surface. Now, it turns out that the jets contain hydrogen gas, a sign of ongoing reactions on the floor of that alien sea. Because such chemistry provides energy for microbial life on Earth, the discovery makes Enceladus the top candidate for hosting life elsewhere in the solar system—besting even Jupiter’s Europa, another icy moon with an ocean. “We didn’t see microbes,” says Hunter Waite, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, and the lead author of a study published this week in Science. “But we saw their food.”” [2]

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Modeling a Heideggerian Valentine’s

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Anemone, roses, and two pinkfluffers on a carrot cake. St. Valentine’s Day 2017.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2017

For philosopher Martin Heidegger (1889-1976), human capacity to think cannot be the most central quality of being, since the very act of thinking is in itself but a reflection of what in essence is. For Heidegger, the human being is intrinsically structured by Time and our relationship with Time [1]. Human beings are in essence existing at the edge of possibilities-for-being. If considered in that light, humans tend to exist in a mode of constant intersubjectivity [2], between tending to the pressures of the external world and of other minds, and of themselves experiencing tending to the external world and other minds. In my view, the essence of Heideggerian philosophy resonates much with J.A. Wheeler’s one particle theory, and Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. And it is this constant play of intersubjectivity in Heideggerian perspective, that forms the spacetime fabric of the possibilities-of-being.

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The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016

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Inside the little shop Göteborgs Choklad & Karamellfabrik, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

Part of the fun of the winter’s festive season in Sweden, is to make time to visit the various Christmas markets. Located in a corner of Kronhusgården at Kronhuset, the city of Gothenburg’s oldest secular building designed by royal architect Simon de la Vallée and built from 1643 to 1654, sits Gothenburg’s Chocolate and Caramel Factory. It’s the kind of a small chocolate shop that reminds me of some scenes described in Enid Blyton’s stories that I read from when I was a little girl. With old fashioned wallpapers and the numerous clocks that adorn the wall, this shop is a little magic come winter evenings. Place chocolate concoctions of different sorts in the middle of it all and you have a place that even I might find difficult to walk out of even after acquiring what I want packaged and bowed in a brown paper bag. Continue reading “The little chocolate shop, Kronhusgården, Göteborg 2016”

Tjolöholm Christmas 2016

At Tjolöholm Castle for a Swedish yuletide table sitting, 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

“Upon first reading A Christmas Carol there appears little evidence of anxiety. The protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge would seem to be the least anxious person imaginable. A belligerent, spiteful man, he seems strikingly sure of himself. However, a closer reading of the text from an existential standpoint shows that this is hardly the case. Scrooge, from the outset, is a cold, nasty and mean-spirited character. As the story opens, he turns down his nephew’s invitation to Christmas dinner; begrudges his clerk’s only holiday in the year; refuses to contribute to charity; frightens a carol singer; and violently claims that “every idiot who goes about with ‘Merry Christmas’ on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart” (48). Where is anxiety to be found in such a stance? Everywhere, I suggest.” [1:744]

A Christmas Carol is a story I grew up with, having first watched Walt Disney’s version Mickey’s Christmas Carol in 1983. The Charles Dickens read came later. A characteristic of narratives by Dickens is how I’ve found to be able to revisit protagonists and characters presented in his novels from various perspectives. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Christmas 2016”

Stream of consciousness: An evolution

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, T-back crochet dress by Rita Yong Cordeiro

In a crochet halterneck T-back dress made by my mother, Rita Yong Cordeiro.
The dress was made in mid-1990s.

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

For as long as I can remember, my mother crocheted. Well, yes. She had made her own wedding dress a whole two years before I was born. Thing is, having handcrafted frills of dresses since baby in arm, I never really thought about the rarity of the skill of the producer or rarity of product/s as such. That I had access to these time-consuming handcrafted clothing made by my working mother from the time of my Christening till when I graduated with a doctoral degree was something I had quite taken for granted.

I read in Richard Feynman’s 1985 self-biography [1] that whilst at MIT, he had to take mandatory humanities courses, of which one of them was philosophy. He got deathly bored during philosophy classes that having happened to be in possession of a small drill, about one-sixteenth-inch, he made holes in the soles of his shoes by twisting this tool into the sole of his shoes, week after week. Continue reading “Stream of consciousness: An evolution”

Latticework for little gherkins

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

Latticing cucumbers in the garden patch, summer 2016.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

One of the fun things to discover in Sweden is that small cucumbers, originally an Asian fruit, are easy to grow here once you have some land available in a warm corner of the garden. They do like warm weather and are actually very picky with that. Below 15 degrees centigrade in the soil and you can as well save yourself the trouble of even planting them.

Swedish summers are not always tropical warm. You can likewise experience 10 degrees centigrade at Midsummer’s as on New Year’s Eve. So usually, it is from middle (to late) in the summer season here that the gherkins suddenly decide life is worth living after all and start growing leaves. They stretch upwards and throw out small lassos to use for climbing. You know that they’re doing fine when small star-shaped flowers that are a vibrant yellow begin to light up the spaces among all the large green leaves.

Looking at the tiny tendrils, you’ll also know when it is time to give them a little direction in life – upwards – or they will end up in a big entangled mass. We have noticed that they have no qualms using each other for climb support, so given enough space they might probably be fine growing directly on the ground. But we prefer that each has its own climb support and giving them a string each skywards enables you to see them in their full sunny disposition once they start bearing fruit. Continue reading “Latticework for little gherkins”

A little bit of Midsummer

Garden

Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2016

We thought a wonderful way to use the strawberry harvest is to have it on the family’s absolute Swedish summer cake. This verily all-occasion cake is made of three layers of sponge cakes with a filling of fresh fruits and strawberry jam.

This cake is sheer joy. So much so that it tends to wash away any misgiving in conversation that might arise in these sittings of cake eating, such as when addressing the heavier life philosophical questions of – if you needed to choose, would you rather have room temperature beer, or room temperature beer with ice?

The answer to that took quite a bit of cake eating to solve.

Continue reading “A little bit of Midsummer”

November cats

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

An evening with homebaked Lussekatter or saffron buns that are usually made in Sweden in celebration of St. Lucia’s Day that falls on 13 December.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I love when Christmas comes a little early. In this case, I thought to settle and bake a batch of saffron infused buns called Lussekatt that in the tradition of Sweden, are baked in celebration of St. Lucia’s day that falls on 13 December. This, and a cup of glogg sounds pretty much a good start to the jultide season. Continue reading “November cats”

Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Baden, Switzerland

View from the top of the Stein Castle ruin, whose foundations were laid some time before the 1100s.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It was about a decade ago that I sat in the Singapore regional headquarters office of a Swedish owned multinational enterprise, speaking with its Managing Director. The topic was about the general managing of conflicts within the organisation, when we touched upon the concept of Time, and whether that was viewed in linearity:

$1: what happens if you disagree
$2: well you tell / you tell and eventually you do agree / because all disagreements end with an agreement if you’re lucky / or you become / enemies /
$1: do swedes generally see time as a straight line
$2: well no / i would see it as a circle / my time is a circle / i have no idea what others do / and strangely enough that the year and the day / goes in different directions /
$1: is that [understanding of time] a result of [an understanding of a certain philosophy] or
$2: i have no idea / if christmas is six oclock then april is three oclock / and summer is noon / october is nine oclock / but if you’re asking if we are on time or not / yes we are

Baden is a town with a long history. A history that you are made aware of as you walk its small, winding cobbled streets from the banks of the the river Limmat Continue reading “Time in circles, Baden, Switzerland”

Life speeds up when you slow down

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, lingonsylt

At market today, fresh lingonberries to make a batch of traditional Swedish lingonberry jam or lingonsylt.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I have now watched with interest, several documentaries on individuals who have chosen to live alternative lifestyles. These documentaries feature individuals with a different type of life philosophy, where some for example choose not to own any property but rather live in a vehicle that gives them the freedom of adventure and of getting in touch with themselves whilst on the road. Others featured spoke thoughtfully on how individuals in society often did what others wanted and expected of them and not what they wanted themselves. They chose a different way of living in order to do something for themselves. These documentaries then reminded me of a paragraph in the book Walden, written by Henry David Thoreau in 1854:

“Most men even in this comparatively free country through mere ignorance and mistake are so occupied with the factitious cares and superfluously coarse labors of life that its finer fruits cannot be plucked by them. Their fingers from excessive toil are too clumsy and tremble too much for that. Actually the laboring man has not leisure for a true integrity day by day he cannot afford to sustain the manliest relations to men his labor would be depreciated in the market. He has no time to be anything but a machine. How can he remember well his ignorance which his growth requires who has so often to use Continue reading “Life speeds up when you slow down”

Philosophies of summer drives

Laxå

View from sitting at the edge of one of Sweden’s many waterways.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It seems like summer decided to begin just as the tail-end of its official months with many regions of Sweden feeling warm as toast. If not too warm, a favourite thing to do is to get in the car and do small road trips, anywhere from between two hour to three hour drives from Gothenburg that leaves quite a radius of interesting exploration.

While there’s been a culture of second-hand findings where Swedes readily barter or trade at low cost things tired of or unwanted to what they want, it has only been in the past couple of years that antique shop hopping and second-hand goods browsing has really taken off, much due to the hipster culture and greater awareness of the sourcing of ecological produce. It is just about these past years that see the those born from the 1990s and forwards step out of school and into the labour force, bringing with them their own awareness and motivations into their living interests and entrepreneurial ambitions.

It was on one of these summer drives where we decided to absolutely ignore the voice of the GPS nicely suckered onto the windshield insisting that we go where we should go that we found an interesting farmhouse set up with several barnyards for different needs. There was the family house of medium size, then there were two barns that housed a vintage shop and a café. Continue reading “Philosophies of summer drives”

Project Atman

Cheryl Marie Cordeir, Trinidad Tobago 1999

Carnival! was the first thing introduced to me the minute I touched base at the airport in Trinidad back in 1999, as Singapore’s delegate to the international Miss Universe Pageant 1999.
Text & Photo © R Yong Cordeiro, JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

2015

The seminar ended and a colleague, Stefan, and I walked out of the room. The topic of the seminar was about Southeast-Asia (SE-Asia) and its developing context in the latest wave of globalisation.

“What did you think about the ideas from the seminar?” I asked.

“Well it was interesting. All very interesting.” Stefan said.

I knew Stefan to be of a brilliant mind, and knowledgeable on the region of SE-Asia, “But you said not much at all in feedback.” I queried.

“Yes, well there is not much to say. The entire perspective is different from how I see it. So the departure point for argumentation is different. I would not have approached the topic of SE-Asia from that point of view.” he said. Continue reading “Project Atman”

Finally, a strawberry harvest!

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, strawberry harvest, strawberries and cream, 2015

Enjoying strawberries, the Swedish old fashioned way.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

This year, Sweden saw one of its coldest and rainiest Junes in twenty years. Between 1920 and 1991, it has happened only once that temperatures in the month of June had not gone upwards of 25 centigrade, until now. The Västerås cucumbers know this, so they’ve refused to grow, insisting on a bedding temperature of at least 14 centigrade before showing themselves. It was a pleasant surprise however, to have found that the strawberries thought it was alright to unfold their leaves, flower and produce fruits that are now ripening heavy on the soil beds.

In traditional Swedish farmlands, strawberries as with most other fruits, were summer luxuries. Their presence at all on the outdoor tables depended much upon the proper amounts of rain and sun. As soon as the strawberries were ripened and picked, it would also be customary to go into the barnyard and get some fresh cream straight from the cows.

If there was a favourite way of enjoying freshly picked strawberries, it would be that time honoured manner in having them with cream, generously dusted over with sugar.

That, and curling under the bed covers with a good book and a hot chocolate. Best summer evening doing. Continue reading “Finally, a strawberry harvest!”

Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Styrsö v2015h

As part of broadening student perspectives in business and organization management education, Tom Estad, Associate Dean Undergraduate Student Matters from the Singapore Management University (SMU) had his students visit Swedish SMEs and learn about the history of trade between Scandinavia and Asia for the Business Study Mission (BSM) 2015 out at the southern archipelago of the Swedish west coast.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Some pictures to share of a study visit from a university in Singapore to the Swedish west coast.

Part of the narrative and evening’s conversation revolved around the historic trade relations between Sweden and China, and how Singapore en route continues till today, to be an important trade partner for Sweden.

The historical voyages of the Swedish East India Company (1731-1813) more often than not started from this very spot where we now stood in the garden. Known as Vargö Håla, water was taken on board the ships from the surrounding fresh water wells, and good sailing winds were awaited in the waters between the islands right here, that through a peculiarity of the Gulf Stream was kept ice free even in the winters. Continue reading “Singapore Management University BSM Scandinavia 2015 visiting the Swedish west coast”

Separating the perennials from non-perennials

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, home garden 2015a

Working with Lovage (known in Swedish as libbsticka). Lovage is a perennial herb with anti-inflammation properties, used in Sweden since the Medieval times by monks in apothecary concoctions. It also makes an excellent flavour enhancer to soups and stews, if not just tossed fresh into salads.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

It’s finally starting to get warmer outdoors. Spring will officially turn into summer in two weeks, so there is a lot to be done by nature in order to make that materialize in a convincing manner.

Outside of research in academia, I spend my time reading literature of various interests, these days interspersed with planting out some vegetables and flowers, that now seem grown up enough to have their feet plunked down in proper soil, from the plant nursery in which we have kept them the past few months. Continue reading “Separating the perennials from non-perennials”

Enneadecaeteris

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro April 2015

Easter vogue.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

On my mind, the Metonic cycle or Enneadecaeteris, from the Greek astronomer Meton of Athens (5C BC), who observed that a period of 19 years is almost exactly equal to 235 synodic months and, rounded to full days, counts 6,940 days. His calculations are used in most arithmetical lunisolar calendars to calculate the year, and to track the movable feast of Easter of the Julian calendar. Continue reading “Enneadecaeteris”

Heartbeat

The universe exists within the frequency of a heartbeat. Before the ‘big bang’, crossing point zero, after the ‘big bang’. That in that billion years heartbeat, we exist, because of what time allows, is the anomaly. Another heartbeat, another time, another existence, all different from each other, never to be repeated. The power of creativity, of creation itself, lies in this one heartbeat. That too many of humankind do not realise that they too move within this one heartbeat during this one span of time with all other things that currently are, is to miss out on this anomaly. The anomaly that is, life.

In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, ValentinesDay2015

In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

I was seated in a tutorial session of a module in Philosophy 101. I had not a clue what the tutor was trying to explain about the Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism, where it came to that one should practice not thinking anything as part of the ten grounds towards Enlightenment. I remember asking, how it is that one could think nothing? At age 9, I asked my parents what Time was. At age 10, they branded me “little Margaret Thatcher”. Would the very act of thinking not nullify nothingness? And according to what was discussed in tutorial, it is through thinking nothing that one comes into the essence of knowing. Every evening for the entire module on Buddhism, I went home and tried to practice not thinking anything. Every evening, I failed. Continue reading “In celebration of 40 on Valentine’s Day”

Empiricism

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro

In Pronovias.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Most forms of meaning-making grounded in empirical endeavors have yet to place postmodernism in their perspective. Truths based on empiricism in whatever of its hundred guises remain not only context-dependent, but intersubjective, constructive and aperspectival [1]. With this comes the grounding realisation that what is seen remains, what was seen. Continue reading “Empiricism”

The trajectory of no madeleines

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A batch of tarts made in the semblance of Spanish pieces of eight, using just three Sarawak pineapples.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

Life is a weird fleeting moment of a very long now. You’re in a trajectory and there’s much less room for you to move than you have been led to believe. Still you’re able to influence things and some people manage to change the world in their trajectory, to get everyone onboard with them, because reality is a conjoint decision. This perspective of reality bars the perspective that Everett’s multiverse is a theoretical infinite alternative of parallel realities where everything is possible in the same instant. In this perspective (of conjoint decision reality), Everett’s multiverse is manifest as a web of infinite possibilities mapped simultaneously unto what is perceived as current reality, resulting in a highly restricted movement of any one individual in the system. Such is the quantum multiverse at work in a material world. Continue reading “The trajectory of no madeleines”

In belle époque, the eve of 2015.

1 Cheryl Marie Cordeiro IMG_0445a 598

In belle époque Dorsia, Gothenburg.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2015

“The conception of nature as fundamentally semiotic is certainly not new; what is new, rather, is the nearly unanimous repression of this conception by learned society.” [1]

Language fills in when semethic interaction fails. But here, I would say that language tries to fill in what human cognition fails to connect and decode in nature. Because language is more often metaphor for living than living in itself, what is described is at best, approximate. Continue reading “In belle époque, the eve of 2015.”

Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014

Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, Maria Förssell Six

For the seventh year in a row, Tjolöholm Castle, a country house built towards the end of the 1800s in Halland, Sweden, hosts its skördefest (harvest festival). Cheryl Marie Cordeiro, with Maria Förssell Six, the person behind Tjolöholm Castle Harvest Festival 2014.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson and CM Cordeiro, Sweden 2014

This year marked the seventh consecutive open harvest festival held at Tjolöholm Castle, along the coast just south of Gothenburg.

Tjolöholm was the last private mansion to be built in Sweden large enough to be denominated a castle. The area around the main house that has been tilled and farmed from medieval times, continues to remain prosperous as farmland today. Continue reading “Tjolöholm Harvest Festival, October 2014”

Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014

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Apple cake served with vanilla cream sauce.
Text & Photo © JE Nilsson, CM Cordeiro 2014

Thanks to generous neighbours, we once again had an abundance of apples to enjoy. Of the many recipes to choose from, cinnamon flavoured apple sauce to last throughout the winter, is a given.

Then thinking about the meal just enjoyed during my recent visit to Singapore, in the hands of the Valtulina family of Ristorante Da Valentino, where Perla Valtulina of Perla’s Pastry Boutique served up a most delicious apple tart as dolci, I decided to try my own hands at making an apple cake. Not that I can ever dream of matching hers, but lacking the possibility of having her gorgeous desserts in Singapore, this will have to do when back in Sweden. Continue reading “Apple cake, Swedish west coast autumn harvest 2014”