The cherry and apple-trees outside my house is in full blossom, it’s so pretty!

Hello friends! I’m still totally obsessed by Spring down here in the south of Sweden, and enjoying every daily walk as I explore the town and discover new beautiful places. In Stockholm we had cherry-blossom trees and it was a real event in the central area of Kungsträdgården every year. Down here we have cherry but also apple-blossoms and the magnificent magnolias that has a problem surviving further north. Spring is probably the most beautiful season down here in Skåne!

We have city-gardeners and this years theme is Sakura – the Japanese word for cherry-blossom tree. And there is definitely a beautiful Japanese vibe around the city parks and plantations.

Slowly things are getting back to “normal” if normal is the life before the pandemic. The virus is still around, it just decided to become less dangerous, but in a Universitytown like Lund where so many people are connected to the huge Medical and Natural Science-departments and the specialist hospital we can still see masks and people are still keeping a little bit of social distancing. As I wrote in the beginning of this pandemic, it may just be that us Swedes prefer it that way:) we are not a hugging and kissing kind of culture…

When son was down here we enjoyed a pint at a local pub. I look a bit tired and probably was. I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor for a few nights…Sometimes (quite often) I think I need a two-bed apartment, but then I can’t help wondering if it is worth the extra money? After all I have guests maybe 3-4 weeks a year, so would it be worth it? I’m still pondering.

The war in Ukraine is still heavily on my mind. The pictures of the kids in the bombed out cities is so hard to look at, and the stories of the atrocities that takes place in Ukraine is making you wonder if there is any humanity left in the world.

On the spur of the moment I signed up for volunteering for Ukraine refugees. I just needed to do something and so I went to my first meeting with a volunteer-group two weeks ago. I am not absolutely certain I will continue, as I feel the work I can do in the group is very limited. Not many refugees come to Lund, and those that do actually have pretty good support-systems. But as a former legal councellor I hope I can at least shed a light on the laws and systems in place for the refugees. The city has arranged for a Meeting Centre which serves a free lunch every day, and coffee, cookies and information every day between 10-14, and the group I’m in is responsible for organizing the information-programmed. Right now, at the start, it is pretty chaotic but I’ll stay around and see how it develops…

The discussion on everyones mind these days in Sweden seems to be “Should we or should we not…” join NATO. Sweden has been free from any alliances for ever and ever. We have been “neutral” in conflicts, and not taking part in WW I or WW 2. We have also had peace for more than 200 years. So it is a HUGE change to discuss. Myself, I’m not sure and I’m not even sure it is my decision to make. In 20 years time I will be gone, and the next generation will have to live with whatever decision we take now. Do we want to be part of nuclear-defense? Will we give up the position that Sweden has held so long as a neutral peace-negotiator in different conflicts? Or has the world changed so much that we need to take a stand? Should we kneel to the bully (Putin)? And honestly – how much neutrality have we left in us these days? It’s not easy – so I guess I’m in the 28 % of Swedes who are not sure, as opposed to the 31 % who says NO and the 41 % who says YES. Our closest neighbor and ally Finland will probably apply for membership in NATO soon, and then Sweden will be the only Nordic country who is not in NATO. But for a lot of Swedes this is a truly hard decision, as we have “neutrality” in our genes. And we are almost as sceptical to the US as we are to Russia (maybe not right now, but certainly during Trump!).

One thing is for sure – I don’t think it is a question that should be solved in a referendum – it is too complex and the politicians have information about national security and Russias position towards us that they can’t inform us about, so I trust that our parliament makes the right choice.

Rugby-season has started outside my kitchen window, and it hit me that maybe we can solve the Nato-issue with a match? Team Pro and Team No? But easy mathematics (looking at the Parliament today) tells me the Team Pro would be much stronger, so it would be an easy win for Nato, unless Team No can get some Ukrainian morale and fight them off…could be interesting?