Switching off is a privilege

Every once in a while I feel I’ve spent too much time on social media and I’m in need of a break. All good as it is recommended to limit your time spent online for the sake of your own mental health. However I often feel this way when the issues I’ve been following have been heavy; like the shooting of young children in American schools and the obvious lack of willpower to do something about it among their political leaders, the war in Ukraine, the suffering, the destruction of lives but also the blatant racism that non-white refugees faced, the systemic racism not only in the U.S, sexism, the reversal of women’s rights, and how (some) men get away with a certain behaviour that a woman is metaphorically hung for. It’s exhausting to keep up, keep angry and still keep believing that change can be achieved. Now how exhausting must it be to be a child in America, who needs training to know what to do if a shooter enters, but not even the police knows how to act when it actually happens? How exhausted must a refugee be, leaving everything behind to get to safety, and getting stopped at the boarder because you don’t look Ukrainian enough? How exhausting must it be for a black American to fear for his/her life at a routine police check, or just to simply apply for a job only to see that it was given to a less competent person who just happens to be white? How exhausted are women who are desperate for an abortion and/or who are victims of sexual assault, tired of not being believed, tired of the hate, the ridicule, tired of watching the men get away with it? I’m exhausted mentally and perhaps emotionally by just reading about it, by keeping up with what’s going on and by trying so hard to believe it will get better. I can take a break, I can go off Instagram for a while, I can change the channel, I can switch off – that is a privilege.

A simple task

This morning I went to RTSA (Road traffic safety agency) to renew my drivers licence. A simple and straightforward task. I signed in by the entrance and the guard told me to go to room 2, so I did. In room 2 a lady behind the counter asked if I had a photocopy of my expired licence, I did not. As there is nobody with a photocopy machine nearby I had to drive into town centre to make a photocopy. I drove back. Went to room 2 but was told I could now proceed to room 7. In room 7 a man put a stamp in my application form and told me to wait for the lady to come back to her desk in the same room. I waited for her to come back, then I waited for her to end her phone call with a friend whom I think had just had a baby. She took my application form, clicked a couple of buttons on her desk top keyboard, handed me back my form and told me to proceed to room 8 for authorization. I looked for room 8 in the same narrow corridor. By room 8 I waited for the officer to get back to his office desk. I was told to sit once he was by his desk, he then took a few minutes checking something ‘on the system’, finally he simply ticked my form with a pink marker. I was now told to go to room 1 for the payment. I could conveniently swipe my visa card but was told I would leave with only the receipt as the printing machine that otherwise prints the license straight away was down. Back to check next week. I entered a total of 4 rooms, but this is the closest to a one-stop-shop you get in Zambia. This place always reminds me of a cartoon with Asterix&Oberix** where they run from counter to counter until they go mad… however, today everything went smoothly, only 1 or 2 others waiting in each room. I never went mad this time.

** “The Place That Sends You Mad” is a location from The Twelve Tasks of Asterix. It is a maze-like, multistory office building founded on bureaucracy and staffed by clinically unhelpful people who direct all their clients to other similarly unhelpful people elsewhere in the building. Source https://asterix.fandom.com/wiki/The_Place_That_Sends_You_Mad

Post from the sofa

I’m writing this from the sofa as I’m taking another break from simply being awake. A combination of a really bad cold and an infected boil on my inner thigh had me feeling anything but energetic or excited for this long weekend. And that’s despite having my parents here for the first time since the start of the pandemic! At least I was well for the first few days when they arrived and we could go for a few walks together. Anyway, this post isn’t about me feeling miserable and sorry for myself, so let me move on. Kids are home for Easter holidays (except Albin who followed his friend to Tanzania), mum and dad are with us for over a month, the building project is moving in the right direction, the puppy finally has a name (!) and life moves on. Here are a few photos taken in the last couple of weeks:

A walk down to the river with mum and dad (can you tell I’m happy to finally have them here? 😊)

I did a bit of online shopping that landed at my parents so they could bring it (mostly for myself 🙊, socks and tshirts for everyone…), and one thing I really needed was new running shoes. I was so excited to have my new Merrells that I straight away went for a 4km run, well, that ended with me running back with one shoe in hand and major blisters…

Once they started with the block work it felt like we were finally, actually building! Maybe it’s because the foundation is all on (and under) ground level and as the walls come up you can start visualising the end result. We’ve still got a long way to go though…

This little girl finally got a name after what must be something of a record in over-thinking what to name your dog! She is now “Polly”, one of my favourite chocolates that my parents brought from Sweden. Polly has grown so much since she became part of the family about four weeks ago and is turning out to be quite a cheeky little lady, making sure she’s the centre of attention.

The last day of school had us cheering on the boys as they took part in the track events. The two of them really pushed themselves and did well in all their races, and it was equally entertaining to watch the parents and teachers give their all in the parents vs teachers relay. Finally it was Easter Holiday and we said bye to Albin who trevelled with his friend to their farm in Tanzania. On Easter saturday my mum and I arranged a little treasure hunt for the other three, which included a few challanges and a jigsaw telling them where to find the yummy treasure.

I think we have seen the last rains of the season and this week has even given us a few days with winter fog and cool mornings. The sky gave us one spectacular rainbow, like a season grand finale, the photo doesn’t do it justice and that despite taking out my Canon for these shots. Now it’s Netflix, tissue and lemon tea for me…