Wednesday, April 19, 2017

a christian, a muslim, a jew and a Swede walk into...

...a lab. What's the point with science?
The christian says "all is forgiven, even a botched western blot". The muslim says "being oldest doesn't automatically make it right, there's always improvement to be made". The jew says "the oldest ideas have a tendency to rear their head even how much changes have happened". The Swede says "it's because we all have different viewpoints that we examine together".

(I'm paraphrasing a famous Swedish joke "A Norweigan, A Danish and Bellman..". I know, I'm not that funny.)

This Swede thinks the best with science have been the environment where I have met so many diverse people whom I never would've had the opportunity to meet, talk and get to know otherwise. I work every day in a place where there are diverse religions (or non-religion), nationalities, skin colour, gender preferences, ages and what have you. The stories they can tell about their lives and their families. The view points they have that makes me think once more about why I think the way I think. All that. I am grateful for it. It makes me a better scientist but most of all, it makes me a better person.

It reminds me on a regular daily basis that I can't presume that everyone agrees with my views and that sometimes allies come in the strangest shapes. The devout male muslim with a stay-at-home wife who can't shake hands with men have a daughter whom he is clear about will be a doctor and go out work in the world. The devout jew who brings homemade baklava for everyone to feast one and who bonds with said muslim over customs they did as children, albeit being from different countries and religion. The catholic who is vegetarian and gets recipes from the hindu with all these different flavours. The born-here-in-the-south-never-leaving baptist who put up solar panels on their house and recycles while working on getting their church to do the same. And of course, the Swede who still gets surprised that Christian holidays aren't "off from work"days*, even though it's so obvious at the lab work depend on all these diverse people being able to go to service, or not, at different times and nothing ever shuts down. (I'm kinda slow with some of these 'new' customs and traditions that are different from my home country even though I left more than a decade ago.)

I hope that we can provide a good foundation for the future and keep up the good work to become even more inclusive and bring the frontier in science forward. After all, I'm a firm believer we only have one Earth and we need to take care of it and the people on it.

Now, time to go do some of that science I keep waffling about.

*Sweden, with their old state church and pretty non-going-to-church-apart-from-5-times-in-your-life and school graduations, still keeps Christmas eve, Christmas Day, day after Christmas Day, Good Friday, Monday after Easter Day, Ascension Day as Bank Holidays. And Monday after Pentecost was a holiday up until less than a decade ago when it was traded for the National Flag Day as a day off work. (it's a complicated history that one, TLDR; national day was never off when I was a child. Not too many people cared about it, no big parades or anything like that.)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday or "Long Friday" rather

It's one of those things of translation and living in a new country. Today is "Friday before Easter", a day off work back in home country and called "Long Friday" [Långfredag]. Side note, it's called Good Friday here, which in itself has been confusing to me since "long" and "good" aren't directly translated....

Anyhow, when I moved to southern US, a much more religious place than my Swedish birth place, I hadn't really given all the holidays much of a thought "since I was moving to a more Christian place". I kinda thought the holidays were going to be similar, well at last the Christian derived ones that we have in Sweden - I didn't expect Midsummers you know. To this day my friends and family can't understand that I'm not having Good Friday off here. Here, where people seem to know the Bible a lot, when it is a state mandated holiday back home where people barely (or not at all) know what Easter is all about (apart from the Easter candy eggs*).

When I grew up this day was a boring one. Not only because the telly (all two channels of them) didn't show anything really fun. There were a church service and then possibly some animal shows or, I really don't know since I didn't watch TV during the day. My grand mother used to tell me that when she grew up there was no "running around, having fun, laughing or reading frivolous stuff". Well, at the time I grew up at least she'd eased up on the reading part. But no singing loudly outside.... (or hanging laundry for that matter).

My point today? That I would love to have had one of those boring days for today. A day when I couldn't do anything but sit still reading, sleeping in, taking it slow and just resting. Alas, since it is 2017 and I'm not in my birth country - I'm heading in to work to be an efficient worker bee before taking a good weekend. Happy working this long day before a weekend.

Glad Påsk y'all!

*next time I might write up that background since I still love Ostara and the old Greek mythology