So, remember how they were blowing up our backyard in the spring? Well, they've come a long way, baby! Look! It's not a hole anymore, but rather a whole building. Once they destroyed that huge stone, the thing went up really fast and now they just have to complete the inside to make it cozy for my new neighbors.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Over the weekend, our three families took a drive out to the country to check out a property with a trio of summer cabins that were for sale. We were all very intrigued by the idea of our own little vacation compound (we stole the idea from my Uncle Larry) and pictures of the 17th- and 18th century cottages on the realty website were adorable. When we got there, though, it quickly became clear that the compound would be more work than fun and, as you can see, there was another significant issue. Apparently Swedes were shorter hundreds of years ago. That Viking stuff is baloney.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Yesterday was Sundbyberg's kräft- and surströmming festival so we decided to go with the seafood theme and invite Mama and Papa Swede over for sushi. We ordered 30 pieces to go, which may have seemed like too much to everyone else, but was just enough in my opinion as I was able to have sushi again for lunch today. Jealous? After dinner we headed down to the center of town where there were bands playing, vendors selling and fish stinking. And we skipped the rancid herring this year. I think it was a wise choice.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, The Swede entered this photo I took during our roadtrip to Norway in a photo contest that one of Swagelok Sweden's vendors was holding. I totally forgot about it and hadn't expected anything to come of it anyhow, but guess what? It placed in the top five! Check it out here. We got a paperback novel as a prize but more importantly, HELLO, STREET CRED! And don't for a minute think that didn't just make you, as a reader, cooler too.
Monday, August 23, 2010
It's an election year here in Sweden and every day seems to bring more posters, mailings and publicity cottages in the town squares. We've been discussing the general election, which will take place on September 19th, in school, but with more than 10 parties to keep straight I find myself longing for the US presidental election where the one good guy and the one bad guy are so defined and the choice is so clear. Plus, it's so much harder for me to recognize false promises and outright lies in a foreign language. One thing is obvious, anyway: the Swedish language is a key to integration.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
People ask me all the time what the biggest difference is between Sweden and America. A lot of the time I comment on how quiet it is living in the city here compared to the cities I lived in in the US. But something that stands out even more and surprises me again and again is how alike Swedes are. Perhaps it's because their culture has been around for so long or because things around here are very uniform (everyone getting their salary on the same day and standardized exterior paint, for example) and cyclical (opening the cans of surströmming in the fall, celebrating Midsommar and going on vacation in July) based on the seasons. It's always funny to me to see how many people are carrying bags from the liquor store on Saturday morning because they know they won't be able to get it for the rest of the weekend or when The Swede explains that the reason there is so much north-bound traffic is that all the Stockholm school children are on their winter sport break and are heading to the ski resorts. So it came as no surprise to me that today, a Sunday in mid-to-late August, my Facebook news feed was filled with my Swedish friends' pictures from their kräftfests last night.
Ours began yesterday afternoon in Kungsängen with Pimm's Fruit Cups, a British refreshment that Mama Swede brought back from her recent trip to London.
It became mighty cold after awhile, so we moved inside for the main attraction. Swedes eat their crawfish cold, in a boil of salt, beer and plenty of fresh dill. They are a lot of work for a little bit of food and if you're eating with The Swede or Sarianne it feels like a race because they have to make sure that they get their share, on top of which, if you have even the tiniest cut on any part of your hands it will feel like you're rubbing it with... well... salt, beer and dill. I guess I'm not making it sound that appealing, but trust me, it is well worth it. Like with Midsommar, there are songs to sing, schnapps to drink and, as you saw in the picture from last year, attire. It is no less than a major summer event.
And since I was racing The Swede, this...
...quickly became this.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I just wanted to warn you in advance that I probably won't be posting anything tomorrow because I will be busy sucking dill juice out of kräftor through their bellies all night. Sick? Perhaps. Swedish? Def. The picture above of last summer's kräftfest was taken more than a year ago so I've been waiting a long time to tell you about this tradition. We have a date at Mama and Papa Swedes' tomorrow, just in time because I was this close to making them myself and I'm pretty sure the crustaceans wouldn't have been the only losers in that case.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Maybe I've been sheltered, but I've always wondered why No. 2 pecils were ever mentioned as being the standard since I'd never, ever seen any pencil that wasn't a No. 2. You can imagine how shocked I was, then, when I borrowed this No. 2½ from a classmate. It got the job done, for sure, but you best believe I was mighty relieved that I didn't have a test today.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
It was the first day of school today! All of the students, old and new, immigrants and Swedes alike, gathered for an assembly to kick off the new school year, followed by an all-school fika. It was just like the old days, before college or even high school, when everyone came back excited, tan, full of stories from their summer vacations, and curious which grade each other was in now. And there was mucho hugging going on. It was great to see everyone again, especially Nastja, whose summer travels fell opposite mine in such a way that I haven't seen her since April. I thought I was going to be the only nerd who was super pumped for classes to begin again but I must say the student body in general seemed lively and eager. Which is exactly the way it should be on the first day of school.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
With Papa Swede on his annual dudes-only fishing trip up north, we decided to tear up the town with Mama Swede and her BFF Gunilla last night. Before The Swede got off work, I met up with the ladies in central Sundbyberg for a bit of shopping. It was an especially warm day so we sat down for a drink on the patio at Gusto while we waited for The Swede to arrive. When he did, the four of us had an amazing Asian dinner at Winner House, then over to The Blues Pub for a bit before ending the night on the candlelit balcony of a family friend. It was, as Mama Swede stated with her new favorite English word, fab.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Even though it's my favorite thing, I haven't purchased much in the way of makeup here. Everything is three or four times as expensive as it would be in America so, as I am still, ahem, between jobs, I just can't justify it. Where I will make an exception, however, is Depend nail polish. They cost about the equivalent of $3 for the teeniest tiniest bottle you've ever seen, but who ever uses a whole regular-sized bottle of nail polish anyway? So I'm getting my make-up fix. The only problem is the name.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
What I wanted to say was, "looks like Sweden finally got the memo" because I've never seen Swedish Fish here until I found these silly-looking ones just the other day at Ikea. But then I did a little research and learned that they're the same thing, made by the same company, just branded differently. Swedes prefer joke fish, apparently.
Monday, August 9, 2010
And The Swede's vacation continued this week with a trip to Kolmården Djurpark with Elin! I like to consider myself something of a connoisseur of zoos and I can say, as such, that Kolmården is first-class. The best part had to be the petting zoo, chock full of goats, lambies, piggies and chickens just begging for my grabby hands to pet the heck out of them. Or maybe it was the dolphin show, which literally brought tears to my eyes. And The Swede's. Or perhaps it was the drive through the safari park where lions, bears, giraffes and zebras, among many other exotic animals, walked right up to our car. Absolutely the only complaint I have about the place is that you weren't allowed to kiss anything.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
I've been wrestling with whether or not I should even mention this. See, the thing is, I don't want you heading to Norrtälje and swooping up all the good stuff. Yesterday The Swede and I browsed around an enormous flea market - our first couples antiquing trip together (how Marshall and Lily are we?)- and we were blown away by all the sweet, inexpensive stuff that we found outside of Ikea's walls. We didn't make any purchases but what we did make was a bold note-to-self to head there first the next time we need a new piece of furniture.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Thursday, August 5, 2010
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
We're off on a little roadtrip EARLY in the morning, so I'm going to bed now, at 8:45. It's my ideal bedtime anyway, so that's not the point. The point is that I don't have a real post for you today and might not for the next couple of days. Just thought I'd warn you. Go ahead and visit Sarianne or Dooce (one of my favorites) if you get lonely. Peace out!
Monday, August 2, 2010
Boy, is it ever yucky out today. The rain has been coming down non-stop, which would be fine if I could just stay inside and watch Mad Men, but I had to go out to get some groceries for dinner tonight. Or did I just use that as an excuse to wear my galoshes, which I am deeply in love with? I'll never tell.
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Ohmygoodness, how funny are girls? I love them! I AM them. I'm pretty sure if you met me any day between 1987 and 1997 I was doing exactly what these girls are, choreographing a routine with my sister or my girlfriends. And now I'm inspired to convince The Swede that we need to come up with an eight-count to our new favorite song from our new favorite show.