A white Easter
What is highest on the agenda right now? Judging from most conversations I overhear or take part in the answer is obvious: the weather. Winter is keeping its grip on Warsaw. Looking out through my window I can register one more day with quite heavy snowfall. As on Good Friday – and the Easter holidays that followed. I have never been so eagerly waiting for spring as I do right now.
Our relatives who left Warsaw this morning seemed to be very happy with their visit – as all Swedes coming to Warsaw tend to be. Still, I would have loved a slow walk in the Łazienki park with blossoming flowers around us.
Luckily we have had some quieter days now. Not much rushing around the city for conferences, meetings or lunches. There is still a rather peaceful Easter atmosphere both in Warsaw in general and in my e-mail in-box.
Last week was clearly more busy.
We had the pleasure of hosting our new Deputy Head of Mission Ulrik Tideström who visited us on a preparatory journey (from Helsinki where he is posted right now). Ulrik will replace Mikael Benthe this autumn and has a background i.a. in our Consulate General in S:t Petersburg where he has been a colleague to several of our staff members – including Mikael. We are very happy to have Ulrik joining our Embassy and are truly look forward to welcoming him and his family to Warsaw late July.
It is a pity that this in parallell means seeing Mikael leaving us. He will be deeply missed for sure, not least by myself having benefitted so much from his deep insights and experiences. More messages of gratitude will follow.
Still – as a former colleague of mine stated when saying farewell to Dar es Salaam: This is a life of hello’s and goodbye’s. Very true indeed.
Luckily Ulrik visited us when we had several activities ongoing, not least with a focus on security policy.
We were visited by experts – Dr Mike Winnerstig and Mr Johannes Malminen – from the Swedish National Defence Institute, FOI, for presentations and discussions around a report on the theme “Polish security today and tomorrow”, recently published by FOI. One meeting was held with the Polish National Security Bureau (BBN). The second day we co-organised a seminar around the same themes together with the German Marshall Fund (GMF) touching not least on issues related to Poland’s role within EU and NATO as well as its role as an actor in the region. Extremely interesting issues these days when i.a. NATO is preparing for the time post-Afghanistan - and the Polish defence is undergoing a very ambitious programme of reform and modernisation.
Looking forward in my calendar to next week I can see that my schedule is getting tighter again. For instance next Thursday I will visit the Sweden days in Dolny Śląsk where I have been invited to give a speech on gender equality at the University in Wrocław and a similar presentation in Oleśnica (my first visit to this town). My mobile weather forecasts are presenting me optimistic messages about the weather that day. Now I am prepared to believe anything indicating that such a thing like spring is existing. I would be an easy prey for any April’s fool message along those lines.
So I am impatiently waiting for next week when our white Easter hopefully will be transformed into sunny Spring.