c' ' ;)

Hello there!

Dont worry, I wasnt offended by the joke. It is not easy to offend me, sometimes people are freaked out that I have such endless patience with everything, like when my ex-girlfriend tried to tease me and and irritate me and it just didn't work.
So apparently I have a lot of patience with late replies as well, dont worry about that either! Just dont make a habit of it, and we'll be fine :)

Your friend sounds a little close-minded. If he is afraid of being influenced, that must mean his faith isn't very strong. But don't worry, Im not trying to convert anyone. It's just that even I have little patience for when religious people try to impose things over others and use religion as an argument, like laws in middle eastern countries that makes it ok to punish women to death and such. Luckily enough, most religious people here don't try to impose themselves too much on the rest of the Swedish people. Sometimes we have some angry ones, like one older priest who spoke a lot about how homosexuals are like cancer to society and such rubbish. There are a lot of muslims here though, especially from Iraq and Iran, and some of them have a lot of conservative attitudes to what role religion has in state politics, and that sometimes leads to conflicts. But for the most part Im happy. People are allowed to believe whatever they want here, as long as they follow secular and democratic laws.

Haha, so everyone has difficulty being on time? That sounds troublesome... does that mean that you cant trust buses and trains and stuff like that to come in time? In sweden it is the opposite, everything is right on time. If a queue moves too slow, you feel stressed. If you are just a few minutes late, you feel stressed. If the bus is late, you feel stressed. The clock rules our world, haha.
Another thing about the Filipino culture, I remember I saw a map once over all the different cultures and it seems your islands are pretty shattered. Is that true? I mean, Tagalog and english are the main languages but are there a lot of other langauages there as well? Many asian countries seem to have quite a lot of different cultures inside their borders, especially countries that were created by europeans during colonisation (like India and Indonesia, a LOT of languages and cultures mixed together). Japan seems to be one of few exceptions, they seem to really hate non-japanese immigrants and keep their country free from other cultures.

Oh, you hate noises? Me too! I have a hard time being in malls for example, with all the sounds of people walking and talking, babies crying, music from shops and so on. I always go in, buy what I want as quickly as I can and then get out of there immediately. In the streets its pretty ok, and I tend to stay away from big cities, I hate big cities (I dont like Stockholm, capital of Sweden). I also have a problem with crowds. I don't know if its some kind of misantropic thing inside of me, but I feel stressed when being in a crowd. Its like I always have one thought in my head: That humans are extremely smart and wise when alone, but extremely stupid when in a large group.
Im sorry to hear about the difficulty your friends have. But you said earlier that you had a lucky break finding your job, so that is great, right? Even if it isnt what you dream of doing, there is no shame in doing it as long as you continue trying to grasp your dream. If I had studied history a lot I too would probably have to work with something completely different afterwards, and that feels like a waste of money. If Im going to continue studying I would probably go into either sociology or criminology. I would like to become a police officer, and then criminology (and a little law) is good. But sociology is pretty close to my other interests about how society and its inhabitants work.
Actually, this summer I will probably go to Mexico to work a little in an development aid organisation. Me and a friend have been working hard to get there through school so that we will get academic points for it, not just experience and a good merit in the curriculum. Im looking forward to it like crazy. Working with development seems to me like one of few meaningful things I can think of, and maybe I'll like it?

Well, have a great time until next time!
Wow, my lines made you laugh. Well, hopefully that has helped to break the ice then, haha
I can imagine my letters are funny to read sometimes.. I havent bothered to read through them myself so I wouldnt know.

Your friend sounds a lot like many europeans actually. Many europeans (especially scandinavians) have grown up without much religion in their lives but they do believe in something but they dont like the church or organized religion, probably because it is so centralised. You could compare this to, say the US, where there are lots and lots and lots of different churches for every single variant of christianity. In the US the church does not at all represent oppression and prohibition like it does for many people in Europe. I believe that many people (not myself though) are born with the need to believe in some kind of higher power, but there are so many differences in how they would like that faith to be organized (if it should even have to be organized at all).
Interesting to hear about the faith in other countries. Religious symbols is one of the things I look around for the most when Im in another country. Like in Thailand where there were buddhist symbols here and there and restaurants had their buddhist altars with idols and incense, or in India where I saw statues of hindu gods, and a big wagon with hindu symbols (like juggernauth, the wagon that the british said that people threw themselves at and were crushed under) and there were a lot of swastikas painted on buildings. Back home on the other hands you very rarely see christian crosses or any other religious symbol. You only see them on churches or other temples of faith.
Hm, when you talk about catholicism in the Philippines and how it has got a lot of freedom is when I am reminded why Im so suspicious to religion. I bet many catholics you know would not have a problem working on a sunday, even though its one of the ten commandments not to work on sunday. And also on the day when Jesus died, arent a lot of catholics working that day too? Also when it comes to food, there are problems. One of my best friends is in fact a very faithful catholic. He refuses to eat pig. When I asked him about it he said the bible says you should not eat pig. I looked in it and its true, pig is forbidden for catholics just like its forbidden to muslims. There are sooo many other examples I could give but I think you should know why I feel the way I do about all of it. Its like you said, preacher versus scientist, the people who follow the bible and interpret it the way they want. I am suspicious about people saying they follow the bible, but they know the bible less than I do. What is the point of that? Well, if you are fed up with talk about religion now, I certainly understand. Just tell me if you have got enough, haha
Is the philippine society in general tolerant to HBT-people by the way? Im just curious on how tolerant other societies are. In sweden our society is very, very tolerant. Not a single politician, celebrity or influential person would dare to say hateful things about gays. Some years ago a priest made such a hate-speech, saying that homosexuals were a cancer to society. He immediately lost his priest status and was admonished by society. THis is both good and bad, of course.. you should not be punished so hard just for words. In a democracy you have to maintain the right to say things, even if it means that idiots and racists and homophobes gets the right to talk. But that is another discussion entirely.

Your tale about your buses and trains made me smile a little, even though it sounds absolutely dreadful to live like that. Is it only poor people with low status that uses those transport means?
Actually I have some prejudices about traffic in many asian countries. I have a prejudice that traffic there is wild and without laws. When I was in India in smaller cities I travelled with a local man and he drove me around on a scooter. THe streets were FILLED with people and wagons and cars and scooters, soo many scooters. It was all a huge mess without any rules whatsoever but it kinda worked anyway. So if you say that Philippine traffic is horrible, I certainly do not doubt you! I myself hate driving even in friendly and calm swedish small towns, so going to Manila would kill me! At least our mass transit is pretty punctual. If it was also not privately owned but tax-paid and free for all then I would probably not even touch a car ever again.

Thats a lot of islands youve got. Do you have a list of all of them and then put a mark for every one you have been on? Haha, just kidding. Well, your english is pretty good at least, I understand everything you are writing. I hope you understand all Im writing too. Haha, on your description it sounds like the Philippine people are just too relaxed with no worrisome neighbours and with all those beautiful beaches. I have seen some of them on pictures. It really looks like paradise. YOu must have a lot of tourists? I have never talked to anyone who has been there though. If you ever get to Thailand, prepare to meet A LOT of swedes. Thailand has become almost like the second home to swedes. So many you talk to says they have been there once or twice. WHen I was there (a long time ago now) I met thai people who actually could speak many sentences in swedish just because they have had so many swedes as customers in their restaurants and shops.
Am I a patriot? Im not sure really. I wasn't grown up in a patriotic home and I havent met many who are patriots. I know this is a great place to live in and I don't have any plans to stay for a long time anywhere else but it is very common that swedes want to live somewhere else... in the US because they like the opportunities or because they have watched too many movies or in France or Spain because they think people are a lot more open and friendly there. But as Ive said, I don't feel that way. I feel that those countries don't have all that much to offer in the long run. If there was a war I would probably try to defend sweden. I have my loved ones here, my friends and all other people in sweden, no matter their skin colour or what they believe in or if they originally came from somewhere else. So yeah, maybe I am a patriot. Not blind to some unpleasant facts about my country, but on the whole very proud for it. I havent really thought of this before. I guess you are not very hostile to your homeland either, even though some trains doesn't work and even though you have lots of shattered ethnicities, right? If at least you yourself try to be as punctual as you can be, you will be a stable and safe island, a beacon of light in an ocean of storms and chaos, haha

No, I havent always wanted to be a police. I guess it just seemed like one of very few things I thought was meaningful to do. You see, Im very much towards left in politics. Im almost a socialist. I think that humans need to take their responsibility towards others than themselves. I feel like this market economy wants society to consist of people who just work to please themselves and don't care about others. I also have a strong dislike for money. Its like salt water to a person without drinkable water, the more you drink the more you want. Why else would you have a world where 10% of the people owns 90% of everything? So I dont want to be a part of that capitalist machine. I want to do something where I can actually try to do my best to make the world a little better, like police or working with poor countries. I think thats the only thing I can do to be able to sleep at night..
Oh, don't worry too much about long term goals. You know, life is kinda like a train ride (not a Philippine but a real train where you actually get somewhere ;) ). If you sit on the train and all the time try to look forward for something that you think is exciting but you can't even see, then you will miss all the things that are actually passing you by while you are trying to look ahead for nothing. My catholic friend lives completely according to this philosophy. He only plans one year ahead, at the very most, and he has no huge ambition, he just works hard and does his best in whatever he is doing at the moment. I think his faith is actually helping him do this.. he hasn't had a good relationship with his father so maybe god is like an alternative and perfect father figure which he has to prove himself to. He was also very impressed by the latest batman movie and admired the jokers capacity to not care about anything and just do stuff without any plans. But that theory of mine is a little less certain I think, haha

Well, we are still working on our travel plans, but I think I should not be too enthusiastic until I have actually got a good contact. But we'll see..
Yes, I imagine we will be in rural places most of the time. We shall try to fund all of it with grants. We have talked to some people who have promised to give us a whole list of grants and we shall try to take as many as we can. Living in Mexico isn't really expensive either, so we will not require very much.
Haha, I really have little PR skills myself to be honest. I see myself more as a work horse. But who knows, maybe during our stay there I will learn new things about myself. But thank you for your well wishes!

Hope to hear from you soon, now I will go to bed. I will probably fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
Hello again!

Haha, well, it IS a late reply, but I really dont care :) Better late than never. Thats something you philippinos would understand ;)
Its not like I'm a very fast writer either, even though I try to keep a month as the very highest cap.

Since we last spoke I have:
Been role-playing with my friends
Played xbox with my friends
Celebrated christmas
Written on a science fiction story, a short story about a drug user, a detective story and a historical story. None of them are anywhere near finished. Somehow I have truly, truly come to respect authors because of all the work they have put in their novels. Unless, of course, the novel is crap..
I also one day got a creative flip and wrote lots of poems in less than half an hour.

If I
Could cherish the scent of you lingering in the air,
Could sink into the warmth of your presence,

Should I
Gaze at the silvery lush of moonlight conquering the night,
Peer ahead for the promises of unknown times yet I may still behold,

Could I
Recess into the blackness and ignore my searing pain,
Clasp at the forgotten memories thrown away as nothing,
Reach for the flickers of light still fighting the darkness,
Hold and and embrace my own cold shell,

If I
Could cherish the scent of you lingering in the air,
Could still sink into the warmth of your presence,

Would you
Look and smile at me when you reach for my hand?

Speaking of religion, at first I thought it funny that you saw me as anti-christ. But after having talked to my catholic friend I realize that anti-christ is supposed to be an extremely charming and charismatic type, almost like a second jesus. So then that must mean that you think I am charming as hell. Thank you ;) Of course, my friend is also hesitant wether or not anti-christ is really a person of some kind. He is starting to believe anti-christ is the system. The system of free market economy, the system where people cheat and kill each other and the world and its nature for profit. That everyone has been fooled by this extremely charming and sinful system where a few huge companies rules the field. Its interesting to talk about it, for sure. He is kinda conservative, but I think I have a good talent of being tolerant towards different points of view. Based on what you tell me about your point of view I cant say there is anything about it to not like.
Right, its indeed possible to do good things because they are good, not because of some kind of reward. I agree with you. For that, no higher power is needed. Even if a higher power did exist and decided to show itself in front of me, I would not need it to do good and I would feel no obligation to obey that power in any way. And I certainly DONT need the ancient and obsolete religious rules and traditions created by no one else than humans living in a time when the world was bleak and horrible. The reason why religion still lives on is because it changes along with the rest of society. Christianity for example has moved further and further away from the bible. If priest followed the bible they would stone people to death, discriminate women, outlaw homosexuality and make war and rape. In one way its of course good that no one really follows the bible. But in another way, its a little hard to respect a faith that doesn't even follow its own scripture. I don't know, but I find it strange that I almost always know the bible better than faithful people I speak with.
My brother is probably even more knowledgeable than me. He even knows the Qur'an pretty well. Do you have many muslims? Im asking because many islands south of Philippines like Indonesia are heavily muslim, so maybe some of that came to the philippines as well? We have a lot in sweden. People are afraid of them because they look too much on the media. People are afraid of silly things like terrorism and there is a fear that islam is a religion of violence. Of course, it doesnt help that muslims are waaaaay too much defensive in debates. They take insult very easily and likes to run people over because its (sadly) not allowed to criticize religion the same way that you can criticise a political ideology.

Oh, what you say about homosexuals in the Philippines is very interesting. I really didn't know that. Does this mean that people are very open towards homosexuals there? Forgive me if I seem prejudiced, but I thought that an asian country that is faithful catholic would suppress homosexuals a lot. I do, however, remember that the Philippines has been the object of many jokes about homosexuality in tv-series, comedies and movies. Maybe there is a real reason for that then ;)
Actually, what you describe (gays everywhere, different types of gays, gays discriminating each other) is happening here too. Sweden is probably one of the most tolerant and free places in the world from homosexuals, but I think it is getting out of hand. Sure, I think they should have all the rights and freedoms of every other person, but that doesn't mean I have to like the kind of weird culture they have built for themselves or their strange political ideas of gender differences and “hetero-normativity”.

I can understand that hot weather is nothing special to you. Trust me, to swedes it is. Imagine typical winter temperatures of -20 in the middle of the country and -30 or -40 in the north. The coldest I have been in was -38, during a field trip when I was in the army. Since you have talked a lot about philippine mentality I can talk about swedish mentality. When people describe swedes, they often say “cold”. Swedes are cold and rather unfriendly towards strangers, and also very very afraid of embarrasing themselves. Is it true? I dont know. I know that Im cold to strangers, but thats because I don't really like people, at least those I dont know. They have to prove themselves before Im going to like them. Anyway, many swedes dream of countries like france or spain where people are open and you drink wine and its warm. Of course, then there is a problem when it turns out that these countries have a lot less safety, more corruption, more traditionalism, more religiousity and a lot of homophobes. This is the top reason why swedes LOVE Thailand, because stuff is cheap as hell, strangers are friendly, the weather is hot and the culture and religion is so strange and exotic that people are only intrigued by it. I have been to Thailand myself and it was nice, sure, but I don't know.. stuff is cheap because west took advantage of many asian countries and their riches. Strangers are friendly, but I could not escape the feeling that they are friendly just because you have money. Maybe its swedish coldness, but I did not trust the people down there. And for the culture and religion.. for the most part, I think the Thai people are very smart. They really use the fact that they are exotic. They make tourists feel like explorers in a new world, and bored swedes love that. Maybe I also told you about how a LOT of older (and sometimes younger) swedish men take thai girls and women home to sweden? I saw a documentary about it.. Apparently its high prestige for them to get a european man, especially a swede, because they get good money for themselves and their family. I looked up the numbers of thai immigrants to sweden and the number of females was MUCH higher than the number of males. Its weird.. but its good too, sweden needs more people to stay economically competitive with others.

A planner? Do you mean like a calendar? I never use those. I make it a habit to only do so many things as I can keep track of in my head. But I wont judge you in any way. If planning things work out for you, then its good. I am not very good at making plans myself though, I think. Have you felt like your plans really make things better, that you have been well prepared for an unexpected event or crisis? I do know that routines and habits really can make things better for some people, especially depressed people. Maybe the feeling of being in control of the world around you gives a good feeling. I myself am a refugee, I try to escape the world. Especially work. I often look back at childhood and miss it. Of course, this has got less and less severe over time, but I still dont like the idea of becoming like my parents or other adults I see around me. Of course, I am yet to see if this really means that I should not plan things, haha

By all means, tell me more about your work! I have talked to my friend, the one who got a job with production of tv-programmes and series if you remember. Well, he had a lot of interesting and cool things to tell about how they make programmes and how they work. He has already met some local swedish celebrities. Not that I care all too much about celebrities. The only swedish celebrity I ever met was the princess and future queen, I think thats enough for me ;)

Well, see ya
That european train ride you speak of sounds damn nice. Maybe I will go to bed now and also dream about it, that would be a nice dream haha
Beat that!