Going bananas at work

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Short week – more work! That seems to be a formula that applies to most jobs, at least to mine. Maybe it’s also the fact that it feels like we do fikafredag hela veckan now. It was my migrated-to-the-next-door-company-ex-co-worker’s goodbye fika on Monday and then another, regular, on Thursday. In between we had some health care breaks in which above named coworker and the intern, and eventually I, threw stress balls at each other. In a very friendly and cooperative manner, though.


I pretend to have provided the fika in this photo

We also had Rutiga Dagen, the checked day, where we all had to wear something checked to work. I don’t own anything like that (so I borrowed from Anthony) and it wasn’t my idea. My original crazy idea, “Let’s all wear something striped to work next Tuesday” has spiraled into becoming an office tradition (as seen on instagram). A different person gets to decide what we wear each (or every other) week. I then take a photo and put it up in the kitchen and our ambition is to fill the entire wall. There’s still Dotted Day ahead, Sensation White, Dress to the Nines…so many options!

We also put the intern’s contract into the shredder this week. Not because I fired him but because he asked me to extend his internship until June and got a new contract. That’s how well I treat my interns, they just want to keep working with me. Or maybe it’s because of all the fika…?!


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They wrote this sign at the grocery store, “Hey, I’m still tasty as well!”

Fika Neglector


Good thing with Dizzel: when you buy a new Danish saddle protection, you can use it

Yesterday, as on all Thursdays at lunch, someone said, “Who’s got fika tomorrow?” Then, the glances go to the fika list on the door. And someone said, “Helen”. And I’m like, no way, José, I would know when I have fika. I would prepare days in advance. I would feel the fika coming up. But no! They were right – I have become a fika neglector. But Emily came to my rescue, providing me with a rather delicious pumpkin bread. I can recommend baking it, it feels healthy and has lots of autumny spices. So by standing in the kitchen until 10.30 pm yesterday, I saved my own fika pride.

The rest of my free time I have mostly spent trying to rebuild my wallet. I know have a preliminary ID card that looks like some fake Chinese passport (my co-worker says) and I should soon have some other cards being sent home to me.I waited an hour at the police station to make a report and when I was told it would take two more hours, I left.

I also started watching Borgen for the third time and I am beginning to be concerned by my own obsession. But the most important news I have to share today is maybe that I, Helen the active pensioner, now own a drill. My very own drill. That I can use as much as I like in the privacy of my own home. I can also lend it to others. I can drill in the ceiling and the walls. I could probably even drill inte the floor. So many new possibilities in my life now!

Del 17 i citat-samlingen

Du ogillar henne men ändå ska du träffa henne? – Ja. Jag är svensk.

Du är en magnet för sexuella saker.

En av dem skulle jag vilja träffa… – På din sängkant?

Linkedin är som vuxengodis!



The first year

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Can you believe it? Because I can’t. It has been exactly one year today since I came to Dizzel and started my new job. A whole year! A year in which I got to know many interesting people, developed a compulsion for checking my work email at night and advanced my professional skills. I also had roughly 250 laughing fits with my colleague and appealed about 73 times to my superiors to please stop using the old CI. I’ve worked approximately 51 overtime hours (that I am still taking out) and enjoyed myself 88 % of the time at work. That’s a pretty good first year, I’d say.

You got to make hay while the sun shines – that’s what always I say when I find a reason to celebrate. Of course our one-year-jubilee was a reason (my co-worker started the same day). So I baked a dalahäst (Swedish Dalecarlian horse) and ordered an edible icing image of my coworker and me. I even wrote “1 year in the Chamber” on it but unfortunately it looked like seven years instead. Oh well, it was tasty nonetheless and it was quite a new thing to eat oneself!

not an untypical behind the scenes photo (I must admit) of when my coworker kindly helps me arrange settings for good instagram photos – she’s really good at it!

Faith: The Scandinavia Tour


As you know, the Swedish Church of Hamburg was temporarily closed for renovation. A big scaffold hides the pretty facade and you hear the stones falling through the tunnel kind of thing they built from the fifth story to the ground.

This is why we, the Swedish church community, have sought refuge with our Scandinavians neighbours. All Scandinavians churches are located in the same street which is very convenient. I’ve learned that we are on good terms with the Finnish and we like the Norwegians. We do apparently not like the Danish because of a row some years ago. This is just rumours I heard but judging from the fact that we now are sheltered by the Finnish and Norwegian, it seems somewhat true.

Our first choir practice was in the Finnish church last week. I do wonder what kind of drugs their architect was on when he designed the building. There are no windows at all, no decoration, the walls look like white prison cells and the room keeps getting smaller and the ceiling is suspended in a way that sabotages the acoustic.


I also feel like I am in a foreign country because I do not understand a single word that is written in the Finnish hymn book. I looked at the page with the usual prayers, the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed and such, but I could not even discern which one was which. That is not the Finnish Church’s fault though and I am anxious to point out that I think it is very nice of them to let us be in their church, do not misunderstand me. Also, it is very charming when you are sitting there and suddenly a tango tune plays somewhere in the house. Because the Finnish, they’re tango dancers in case you didn’t know.

This morning I attended service in the Norwegian church. Every week a new church, I feel like I am on a tour through Scandinavia (see poster). The Swedes consider the Norwegians for historical and lingustic reasons their brother people. (Even though they keep teasing each other but when the going gets though, they stand side by side, very closely.) Today for the first time, I could really feel why. When I came in late, the door was held open for me and I came into a church that was not as wonderful as ours but still much nicer than the Finnish one and there was a likeable Norwegian priest talking. Norwegian sounds always-happy and more or less understandable to Swedish-speaking ears and compared to Finnish, you feel like you’ve finally found your way home. There were Swedish and Norwegian songs sung and our Swedish pastor held the sermon saying some very smart words on Je Suis Charlie. The only time that almost tripped me up was when we said the prayers in our respective languages. La viljen din skje på jorden slik som i himmelen is close but phonetically not the same as Låt din vilja ske på jorden så som i himlen.

My absolute favorite part of the Norwegian service must have been that they had dogs in church. To bring children is normal but bringing your dog is…awesome. I must say they were very hansome, obedient dogs.

Afterwards, we had fika in the community room that was adjacent the church room. Basically, it is all one big room. Having grown up with Catholic churches where the sacral space is demarcated clearly from the mundane, I felt like the first Christians must have felt when they had service in their living rooms. The Norwegians had served lovely fika for us and on the one side of the buffet, they had placed napkins in the Norwegian colors and on the other, napkins in the Swedish colors – the loveliest gesture! 


Apparently, the Norwegian church has the tradition to put those who had their birthdays the previous week, on a chair in the middle and then everyone sings for them, doing a funny dance. It was easy to tell apart the Swedes because they did not know how to do the dance. The pastor concluded the fika with announcing the things that were happening at the church this week, ending each announcement with, “Swedes are allowed to come, too!”

The two best things


What are one of the two best things in the world? Exactly, Swedish cardamom buns (kardemummabullar) and raspberries (hallon). So typical that I like the most expensive berries most. (Raspberries are very expensive in Germany.) Luckily for me, I am friends with the superb food blooger Delphine who runs Del’s Cooking Twist. On her blog, she does not only provide readers with new recipes all the time (I wish I was that creative. I have been cooking the same twelve meals for three years.), she even gives her tips on the best eateries in Stockholm. Or Paris, New York, Lisbon – you get the idea. (It is okay to travel somewhere else than Stockholm once in a while in case you wondered.)

Delphine has made it into several magazines and has an amazing number of followers so I am honored to be allowed to share one of her fabulous recipes with you. And of course, it includes the two best things: cardamom and raspberries.


Do you want to go for a real Swedish fika Friday? I suggest you bake these “fruity, deliciously cardamom-parfumed” buns then:

Ingredients (serves 20):
For the dough:
7 cups flour
50g fresh yeast
½ cup butter
¼ cup milk
½ tsp salt
½ cup sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
For the filling:
400g raspberries
½ cup butter, at room temperature
Zests of one lemon
1 cup sugar
½ tsp cardamom seeds
4 tbsp raspberry jam
To decorate:
1 egg
Pearl sugar

For a detailed tutorial to walk you through each of the steps of the preparation, click here.  Happy Baking!