Monday, May 2, 2011

Interesting, partly true things about becoming 'Swedish'

I can agree with many of these things and find it amusing...

you know you have lived in sweden too long when:

1. a stranger on the street smiles at you, you assume:
a: he is drunk
b: he is insane
c: he's an american
d: he's all of the above
2. you make fun of tourists.
3. you can pick out the real blondes from the fake blondes.
4. you decide to honor the eco-friendly toilets and only use the full flush option when it's really needed.
5. your coffee consumption exceeds 6 cups a day and coffee is too weak if there is less than 10 scoops per pot.
6. you greet everyone in the room by simply saying your name while giving a quick handshake.
7. the first thing you do upon entering a bank/post office/drugstore etc. is to look for the queue number machine.
8. you accept that you have to queue to take a queue number.
9. the reason you take the ferry to finland is:
a: duty free vodka
b: duty free beer
c: to party need to get off the boat in helsinki, just turn around and do it again on the way back to sweden.
10. you hear loud-talking passengers on the train. you immediately assume:
a: they are drunk
b: they are not swedish
c: all of the above
11. you know how to fix herring in 105 different ways.
12. you can barely get in the front door because of all the shoes.
13. you own a volvo.
14. it no longer seems excessive to spend 1,000kr on alcohol in a single night.
15. you have only two facial expressions, smiling or blank.
16. you've don't think it's weird for a couple to be engaged for four years and have no plans to get married.
17. you assume that anyone who apologizes after bumping into you is a tourist.
18. you get into a mercedes taxi cab and think nothing of it.
19. you think it is normal EVERYTHING is regulated and you obey the rules voluntarily.
20. hearing the words f*ck on daytime tv or the radio seems perfectly normal.
21. pigs say ”nerf nerf”, frogs say ”kvack, kvack” and roosters say ”kuckeliku.”
22. you know that ”extrapris” goods are cheaper, even though your english mind translates the word as ”extra price."
23. you think horse meat is a totally acceptable sandwich topping.
24. you are no longer offended by the fact that you are a swedish size XL when at "home" you are a medium.
25. you say “i’m almost annoyed” when you’re as furious as humanly possible.
26. a 25 % sales tax on just about everything is no big deal.
27. VD is the boss, not something you need to get medical treatment for.
30. you can use bra, fart, and slut in the same sentence without giggling.
31. you refer to weeks by their number.
32. it is your birthday and you accept that YOU have to plan the entertainment, make the food and the cake.
33. you know that "fan" is a swearword, and not an admirer or an air conditioner.
34. you are no longer surprised when you see full-frontal male nudity in a commercial or on TV.
35. you think an hour and a half cycle on your washing machine is a "quick wash".
36. your shed becomes the first stage in the recycling process and you can't get in it for bags of paper/cardboard/bottles, refundable glass/plastic, recyclable glass/plastic/ containers/etc.
37. a sharp intake of breath has become part of your vocabulary, as has the sound 'ahh'.
38. you associate Friday afternoon with a trip to system bolaget. (liquor store)
39. your native language has seriously deteriorated; you begin to "eat medicine" and "hire videos".
40. you use mmmm as a conversation filler.
41. you eat your pancakes and waffles with jam instead of syrup.
42. you stay in watching swedish tv even though you cannot understand a word they are saying.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Halv Maraton Växjö Löparfest

I ran a half marathon today!  Here are some I am tired

about to finish...

post half marathon success

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ski Tracks in Växjö

I like the green of the moss

A really cool looking pool I found.  I like the designs

A close up of part of the design

Different places to go on the trails

A skier!  Probably much better than I am

More tracks.  You can see they are the best with the tree pieces in the way
Pretty sunshine

The trees look so green against the snow in some places, it's really beautiful
Last time I came to Sweden I tried cross country skiing and really loved it.  They don't have much snow left where I am living right now, but the tracks are still there and still somewhat usable.  Today I just took a walk through the trails to get some pictures.  It is really beautiful in the woods with the trees and the snow.  On Monday, I went skiing and it was snowing.  I wish I had my camera then because the snow was so beautiful!  I think snowfall is one of the most peaceful and beautiful things in nature.  I guess I haven't been here long enough to be sick of it.  I hope I get a chance to go farther north so I can ski some more because after a couple more weeks, the snow will probably be gone here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Copenhagen, Denmark

Now that my au pair visa is finally official, I wanted to write in this blog again.  I went to Copenhagen to pick up my visa with the mom of the family I am staying with.  Though the weather was dark and dreary, it was a nice city to explore and I would like to go back during nicer weather.  We walked around mostly just looking at different buildings, the castle, lots of different churches, and things like that.  We went to have coffee and sat on the second floor looking over the street.  I had a chai latte and I have never had as delicious a latte as that one.  I must go back for that, ha!  Copenhagen is a nice place, very international.  Apparently is a really great place for people of all ages to come, especially during summer.  This, however, is far from summer.

This is a very popular place for a lot of people to come hang out (usually meaning have a beer...ew) but as you can see, it looks a little dead...probably because it's freezing...

We went to look at the top of a tower, out over the city.  It was very foggy and you could not really see much, but it was nice.  They had this exhibit called Hungry Planet about the food in the world and how we use it.  They had these great photos of different families from all over the world (Chad, Mali, Japan, China, Australia, Poland, Denmark, Mexico, Cuba, USA...etc) and the amount of food they ate per week and along with the photos were lists of exactly what they ate and how much it cost per week.  It was amazing.  They had a book with all of it as well, and I think I would like to get that some day.  It is incredible the difference in cost and amount between Chad and USA, for example.  However, some of the lower cost, less food families had fresher, definitely more appetizing food than many of the Western countries with all the canned and boxed and processed food.  I think this was one of the highlights of the day.  It was really impressive and the photos were wonderful and of course it was very scary...


I think this was an Australian family

I can't remember what this one was, but I am guessing somewhere in Latin America

Altogether, this was a wonderful day.  We stopped by the tourist office to check out if we had missed anything and I saw a museum for musical instruments and it looked really cool was closed for renovations.  I definitely want to go back and I will definitely see that museum! 

We had a lovely dinner with my au pair mom's parents before driving home.  So, it is official.  I have a visa to stay in Sweden for one year.  I will be taking Swedish classes and hopefully get enrolled into a class at the university as well.  I think this will be a good experience, though I miss my friends so much, I wish I had money to fly them here.  Don't hesitate to visit! 

Road Trip to Canada

I know this is very late, but I did want to add some pictures and a little bit about my road trip to Canada.  This was around the beginning of October.  My friend Ellen was moving there and wanted a little company on the trip, and a car to hold all her stuff.  So, on a whim, I decided to go.  It was a long long long drive, but it was fun and I am glad I got to see a little bit of Canada.  Mostly just Toronto.  First, we stopped in Ohio and then went to Niagara Falls.  It was beautiful.

We spent the next couple days exploring Toronto and helping Ellen find her way around.  The weather was beautiful and the city was really nice.  I am not much of a big city person, but it was nice to see for a couple days.

One of the most essential things we found was a contra dance!  It is a necessary way to have fun and meet people in the new city.  So, we danced, we made friends, and we explored with them afterward!  It was a great trip, though I was glad to be out of the car at the end.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Swedish Adventures and Homecoming

These pictures are from the last day in April, when many people in Sweden have community bonfires. The tradition is that the fire is supposed to ward of the cold and snow of winter and bring in springtime. It is some kind of Pagan tradition. It was fun and the fire was so huge. We also visited a viking graveyard. They make large mounds for the vikings instead of burying them underground. The bigger the mound, the more important the person. Apparently with vikings, the only way to go to heaven is to die in battle, otherwise you will be reborn again until you do. I don't have any pictures, unfortunately, but it was a beautiful place, with many mounds of stone and dirt as well as some old walls to a church. I have been learning quite a lot of things about Sweden, though I am not fully aware of it, because these traditions are just a part of life here and not so spectacular to the people around me. It is pretty cool. Sometime I will come back, visit more places, and learn Swedish. I know a few words and phrases, but I have a lot more to learn. I am coming back to the US with Oskar in tow on June 8th. That is so soon, I am having a lot of anxiety. Maybe a relaxing summer at home, lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons, will be nice. I hope to make a few trips to see friends in various places (mostly NC) who I have missed dearly. And of course, I will be glad to see my family again. Over the summer, I will also spend some time planning my next adventure. I have many ideas, but I need to focus on one so I can plan it out in time. Unfortunately, travel is not so easy with all the issues of money and visa requirements. It is such pain, even if you have the best of intentions, for some reason, immigration people I think just want to make things such a problem. Well, we will see how it goes.