Monday, June 09, 2008

Norwegian Summer

Attending a Bureau Meeting isn't always easy... Remaining focused for so many hours in a row, discussing things when most of the times we already know the outcomes, based on papers that we already read, and taking decisions that will be implemented by others, isn't always funny... if on the top of all this, the meeting is taking place in a city where we are for the first time ever, the sun is shining over a deep blue sky, the temperature is more appropriate for spending the day by the seaside, and internet connection is not working, the motivation drops down to dangerously low levels... No further comments.

On the other hand, Oslo has been a really nice surprise and my stay here a really pleasant one. Oslo isn't a big city, and that's nice. Moreover, its geographical situation, bordering a fjord and built up from the seaside to the mountains, its several and quite big parks, its donwtown area with calm streets and cosy squares, its well-functioning network of public transports, its posh shops and restaurants, its interesting mix of cultures and races, and its attractive and beautiful people, make Oslo an almost perfect place to live in. For someone coming to visit from abroad, the outrageously high cost of life is certainly a downside, but with the sunny and warm weather that it offers these days, Oslo won a well-deserved place in the Top 5 of my favourite cities in Europe.

Yesterday evening, after an almost burned steak eaten at high speed in a nice terrasse, some of us ran to the other side of the city to watch the second half of the inaugural match of Portugal in the UEFA Euro 2008, against Turkey. It wasn't easy to find a place to watch the match, but the place we found was full and, based on the reaction of the crowd to the goals scored by the Portuguese team, it was full of Portugal's supporters. It's kind of flattering to feel this kind of support so far away from home and, of course, it was nice to see Portugal winning! I hope the trend will be kept over the next few weeks!

In a couple of hours the meeting will be finally closed. Then, I will be able to enjoy the nice weather, the sun and, hopefully, the sea. I hope to be able to enjoy the company of my colleagues in a slightly more relaxed environment too. I feel kind of sad when I see that the inter-personal relations are harmed by our work-related discussions. For a group who was offered such a wonderful starting point, it is quite disappointing to see how much we eroded this capital of respect and trust among us. I take my part of the responsibility for this, of course, and I am not proud of it, for sure. On the contrary, I feel very frustrated about it. I have given a lot to the Youth Forum these years, and my conscience is light in this sense; on the other hand, I think that I could still give a lot more over the year to come, but, unfortunately, I have the feeling that the needed motivation is lacking. Motivation is a two-ways-track though: if this lack of motivation can be explained by personal and internal circunstances, some of its sources are obviously external too... and part of the frustration is due to the fact that I feel a bit alone in this reflection. As a good friend would put it, soon will be time for a new challenge for me too... God knows how much I am looking forward for it!


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