Five days to Christmas Eve – it is hard to believe when experiencing the temperature outside. As a jogger I am not terribly keen on having a white Christmas, but the present weather conditions are quite difficult to understand.
This is in principle my last day in office this year. I say in principle, because I have an important meeting around lunchtime 23 December, but apart from that I intend to be on leave now until 2 January.
We are staying in Warsaw this year as well as the previous ones since I arrived 2011. Warsaw is lovely at this time of the year. Calm. Beautifully decorated. The lights along Ujazdowskie near our Embassy are stunning. And I realised when jogging in the evening two days ago that even the Łazienki park is well-lit with Christmas decorations in a way I have never seen before.
Hence: Christmas and Sylwester will be celebrated in Warsaw for the fourth year in a row. Our eldest daughter has just arrived and the youngest one will follow tomorrow with her boyfriend. My brother will join later on. Family reunion at last.
The week that has passed since my last blog could be divided into two blocs. The first one with a packed calendar and continued Lucia-celebrations. The reception we organize each year together with the Swedish Business Club in hotel Radisson was very well attended with more guests than last year (my speech here) – and an excellent performance by the famous Swedish journalist and author Herman Lindqvist, who gave his perspective on joint Polish-Swedish history during the Wasa-dynasty. The next day I attended Lucia both at the SWPS-University and at the Polish-Swedish friendship association. And finally the children from the Swedish school last Sunday, just lovely.
After that the number of meetings and events finally started to decrease.
Earlier this week the whole world has been shocked by the horrendous mass murder at a school in Peshawar with more than 140 victims, most of them children. I visited the Pakistani Embassy this morning to sign the condolence book on behalf of our Embassy. I just wish there was something more that could be done. What we all can do however is to continue to stand up against terror and oppression. Defending human rights – like Malala. And defending human rights defenders – again like her.
But now I have sent the last weekly report for this year to Stockholm (as I do every Friday). I can see the shape of the Christmas tree in the Residence through my window reminding me of the relaxing days to come. I can honestly say that I feel inspired when I think of the semester that lies ahead of us. Donald Tusk has just finished his first European Council as President (on record time – one day less than planned). How will his Presidency evolve? How will the important efforts to reach a climate agreement, one of the crucial political issues of our time, in Paris next year develop? What does a Presidential election campaign in Poland look like?
Additionally, we Swedes are of course eager to see what will come out of our new elections 22 March?
But now I look forward to switching off my computer and joining my family. Wesołych Świąt. Merry Christmas. God jul!