Something I’ve definitely learned in my new job is that you can have your office anywhere. Right now mine is at the Intercontinental where I am waiting for the manager to show me their banquet rooms. (I looked at another hotel yesterday but their ball room has no windows and the entire hotel which was recently renovated goes in the colors beige, grey and brown. Seriously, who comes up with that color scheme?!) This hotel already made a very good impression on me now because five minutes after I sat down, a lady walked by, looked at my tulips and said, “Miss, can I get you a vase for those?”
Last night, we organized our panel debate on refugee integration into work life together with the embassy. I have several cooperation partners at the embassy but one is the one I have most contact with, she has lots of experience and is such a klippa as the Swedes would say, she’s firm as a rock, so I am always glad when I get to work with her.
The debate was interesting and we had one speaker from a foundation that helps refugees to find internships and apprenticeships. It sounds lofty but I got goosebumps when he talked about how they ask their second-year-trainees to be mentors to the refugees. “This way, these young people can communicate with each other, as equals”, he explained and told the story of a mentor who pragmatically took his mentee along to the local football club where the mentor and mentee are now playing in the same team. Talk about integration!
The chancellor of the free world apparently said, “Work is the best integration”, I learned yesterday and after some thinking, I tend to agree. It was when I first started to work (even as an intern) in Sweden that I felt I really become part of the society, I really know the language and I really live a local life. Not to mention the immense source of self-worth you get from having an occupation instead of sitting in your room all day (been there, done that, gives you depression).
But boy am I exhausted. It’s funny, I assumed that these two events would be less tiring because, “det är inte Företagspriset” (it’s not the gala event), a phrase that has become a standard response to “Will this work?” “Am I underdressed?” and “Do we have to be there five hours earlier?” But still, it’s an extreme energy drain simply because of the running and standing, smiling and greeting, helping out and seeing to it that everything goes right. But despite it all, it’s also fun.
The day after, today, we had our annual conclave where ideas were discussed and we were responsible for the event organisation and the minutes. Dates and places are set for 2017 which seems to far away now. I’ll be in Hamburg (January), Stuttgart (May), Frankfurt (September) and Leipzig (November) that year. Mark your calendars if you live there…;-)