By Linda Sladkey
CHICAGO, IL (April 15, 2016) — Covenanters routinely share links to social media articles and videos that Covenant News Service believes may be of interest to others. Each Friday we post five of them. Following is a sample of those submissions—their inclusion does not represent an endorsement by the Covenant of any views expressed.
Having just returned from Sweden, it came as no surprise to me that Arabic has become the second language of Sweden according to Mikael Parkvall, a linguist at Stockholm University. We witnessed a much more diverse population as we walked through Stockholm two weeks ago than we had seen on a visit just five years earlier. In more rural areas we saw youth hostels and summer vacation rentals filled to capacity with Syrian families, as Sweden has opened its doors to more than 160,000 refugees.
From the article: “This may be a historic shift for Sweden. ‘For as long as Sweden has existed, Finnish has been the second language,’ Parkvall said, adding that this dominance of the Finnish language in Sweden goes back at least 1,000 years. Now, Finnish is dwindling, with the majority of modern speakers—Finnish immigrants who moved to Sweden in the 1960s and ’70s—dying out and their children speaking the language rarely, if at all.”
Tho Nguyen was just 11 years old when he suffered a stroke that left him reliant on a wheelchair. In search of something to combat depression, Nguyen came across an ad for tango lessons at a nearby bar and signed up for a new challenge. It’s not just the courage and tenacity of the 31-year-old that makes this feel-good story worth sharing, it’s also the willingness of his instructor, Gabriela Condrea, to welcome him with open arms, both figuratively and literally.
From the article: “It took just over a year, but one day when Condrea pulled away, Nguyen looked at her and said, ‘Watch this,’ then took three steps without support. It was the first time he had done so in 20 years.”
Singer/songwriter Phil Collins has always brought a haunting air to his music, and now his album covers are causing fans to take a second look. Collins is reissuing his six iconic albums with an update of his image and the effect is mesmerizing.
From the article: “The young, not at all wrinkled Collins from the original covers has been replaced by the more grizzled version you’d run into on the street today. Pretty neat, we think, and a fun idea that must have posed some interesting challenges for his photographer.”
The rising popularity of Airbnb has changed the way travelers do vacation rentals—and now foodies everywhere can vacation in the French country cottage that was once the retreat of Julia Child. The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home comes complete with outdoor gardens, a terrace, and Julia’s kitchen, still intact.
From the article: “Last year after Sotheby’s put the house on the market, it was snapped up by a Colorado-based couple who decided to turn it into a culinary retreat for budding chefs (also, Julia super-fans). That plan is still in motion—the official “La Pitchoune” is scheduled to open in 2017—but in the meantime, you can Airbnb the adorable stone and stucco-tile roofed cottage for the bargain rate of $590 a night.”
Surrounding yourself in green space isn’t just good for the soul, researchers from the National Academy of Sciences have found that it’s good for the brain as well. Hiking in nature, as opposed to an urban environment, decreases obsessive, negative thoughts by a significant margin.
From the article: “The researchers noted that increased urbanization closely correlates with increased instances of depression and other mental illness. Taking the time to regularly remove ourselves from urban settings and spend more time in nature can greatly benefit our psychological (and physical) well-being.”