Happy new made up year!

We are reaching the end of one year and the start of a new one. Or, at least, that is what we have decided to do.

Because we have of course just made this up. We have decided that after twelve months we start over rather than continuing with a thirteenth month. I find it interesting that our model for measuring time is not really in line with the planetary moments since we need to introduce an extra day every four years to not get out of sync. 2016 will be one of these years with a leap day that we have decided to call Feb 29.

Another thing that shows how our way of measuring time is only something we have made up, is that we do it differently depending on where we are. As mentioned in What's politically incorrect about Merry X-mas, we have different traditions all around the world. In China there will be a new year celebration on my birthday (Feb 8) and in Iran "Nouruz" will be celebrated at spring equinox.

Not that it matters, I think that all kinds of new year celebrations are great opportunities to look back, look forward and to celebrate.

I hope you look back at 2015 with gratitude and happiness. Of course a year also includes things that do not turn out the way we expect them, and sometimes we encounter really difficult times. I still hope you can look back at the year with a smile on your face  and that you can find light and learning also in the parts that may add a tear to your smiling face.

When it comes to the new year I hope you are inspired and look forward to it.
If you want to shape it in a certain direction I recommend this exercise from Anders Haglund.

Happy New year to all of you!


What´s politically incorrect about "Merry X-mas?"

I work at an international company, and at some of the final meetings before the holidays I heard statements like:
Merry X-m... No, I will be politically correct and wish you all happy holidays!
From another meeting:
Can we wish people a merry X-mas?
No, let's be politically correct and send season greetings.

I am aware that my Indian and Chinese colleagues do not traditionally celebrate X-mas. I also agree that it is important to acknowledge the fact that we all have different traditions across the world.

But when my Chinese colleagues wish me a Happy New Year in February I do not get offended. Intead I get happy they wish me a happy new year and I enjoy learning about what year it will be, Dragon, monkey, goat...

Picture from: http://www.chinahighlights.com/

When my Indian colleagues are off in Autumn to celebrate Diwali, the Festival of Lights, I enjoy hearing about it and learning what it means.

"The Rangoli of Lights" by Subharnab Majumdar

So, when I wish all my readers a Merry X-mas, I hope this does not offend those who do not celebrate it. Instead I hope you will appreciate the wishes for a peaceful time with family and friends, which is how I see X-mas.

Picture from the Chapel.co.uk
God jul!
Vrolijk kerstfeest! 

Feliz Navidad!

Merry X-mas!

Earlier X-mas related blogspots:
Our plastic X-mas tree
Känner du Julfrid ännu?
Julstress och Midsommarfrid


#SwedeInMadrid: Exact time of no importance

Eleven fourtytwo.
 That was the time for the doctor's appointment for our son. Not 11:30, 11:45 or even 11:40. We could meet the doctor at 11:42.

We looked at the note and wondered why on earth a Spanish doctor would make an appointment at 11:42, when Spaniards in general seem to look at time as something very approximate. 

Alex, my English hair dresser, says that Spanish people are the worst clients. They can show up an hour or two late to an appointment. Or they do not show up at all. Or they cancel the whole appointment because it rains. (See "Do they understand it's just water?")

It is not only time that is stated accurately. When my husband chose a Spanish course, the fee was: 111,76 euros. Not 110, 115 or even 112. The cost was 111 euros and 76 cents.

 How anyone can care about 1 euro cent is beyond me. In our house we have a jar filled with all the "red coins" as we call them. Coins that are more or less worthless; 1, 2 and 5 euro cents. 

Once we have gathered a whole lot of these coins I plan to give all of them to one of the many street artists in Madrid. To give them just one or two of these silly coins would be an insult so I will wait until they amount to a few euros. That will take a while...

This useless exactness makes me think of something I heard in a course many, many years ago. It was a course in project management, and that day we learned about the project planning tool Microsoft project. The teacher told us that unless we had projects that were only one day long, we should not use the feature that allowed us to plan with hours and even minutes.We should not fool ourselves into thinking it is possible to predict a project that will take weeks, months or even years, to an accuracy of hours or minutes. 

Just because we can measure something accurately, like cents and minutes, does not mean we can live according to such accuracy.

Regarding the doctor's appointment at 11:42; we were there around 11:30 but we did not get to meet the doctor until some half an hour or so later. 

We were not surprised.