A breath of fresh (Swedish!) Country air
So I got my essay in on Friday, and then took the rest of the day to work on Project Michael, which I am glad to report is almost done. It just needs to be sent off tomorrow… perhaps the day after when I have a bit more time.
This weekend we took at train out of Stockholm to go to a suburb (well really more a suburb of a suburb) where some of Anita’s family friends live. They had invited us to come to their house to celebrate Anita’s friends’ birthday and to help bring in the last of the harvest- carrots and some white tuber that is strangely sweet and I have no clue what the name of it is.
The house is very beautiful. Raymond, the father, is a politician for the Green Party, and a fascinating man to talk to. His wife (whose name escapes me now) is very nice to talk to also.
I’ve been having a lot of fun. Raymond being part of the green party, the house is very environment-friendly, and being Swedes, they manage to mix efficiency with a sparse beauty. The house is all clean lines and soothing colors and wood, and the countryside around it is very beautiful. Yesterday we went for a walk, guided by Nangini, and she introduced us to all her neighbor’s horses and showed us around the area. The forests here are different from the ones back home. The ones back home has lots of leafy trees, but here most of the trees are different types of pine. Lichen, moss and little shrubs abound on the rocky surface. There’s a very different feel to the forest, and it’s much more open. It was so peaceful walking in the chilly air- 6 degrees Celsius, with our breath puffing into clouds and Nangini trying to teach me Swedish words- the names of trees, colors, clothing, and body parts.
So after our walk and dinner (12 around a small table- Raymond’s children, Charlene’s children, a neighbor and then the five of us) we went and had a Sauna. I’m finding that the more I do the Sauna (this is now my fourth) the easier and easier it gets to wander around naked with people of all ages. It’s one of those cultural things which I’m coming to love about Swedes- how comfortable people are with their bodies. It’s not a thing to be ashamed about, it just IS. And it really isn’t sexual either. If there’s one thing I’m happy I’m bringing home with me, it’s that acceptance.
After the Sauna I was just… boneless. Relaxed for the first time in the last week. We deiced to play some party games, Gabe's 'Tarzan,' and some swedish variations on some camp games I've played before. It was a time just filled with laughter, and during that time I got to know Raymond's two older children better- one of them my age and one just a bit younger. The boy, who's my age, makes his living playing online poker, and makes about as much as his father does right now. (Kind of intimidated me a little, here I am spending on this money on an education, while this guy gets good at probability and makes heaps of money). Both of them were really nice, and Anton (the poker player) was really good about speaking in English so I could understand. A boon, because by that time of the day I had been surrounded by people speaking Swedish and me not understanding a word because they talk so fast, and I was feeling just a little left out. Not sad or angry, but I was getting a little bored, not being able to follow the conversation. But the games were pretty universal, and so I had fun with that. Still, I found myself struggling to keep my eyes open, and when Anton and the neighbor decided to leave (because they both live nearby) I took that as an excuse to go to bed.
So, I went to bed shortly afterward, and slept from around nine pm to three am. I woke to go to the bathroom, and when I came back to my bed I found I had a visitor- one of the VERY affectionate cats that lives at their house. Well how could I kick the cat out? He was purring and well, the white noise was actually quite welcome. So I had a “stuffed animal” with me the rest of the night.
Today we spent in the garden. Charlene and Raymond have quite a sizable garden, and they invited to have our help in bringing in the harvest. I got assigned to the carrots (amazing fun!)- pulling them out, sorting them into big and small, and pulling off the green tops. And eating all the really small ones, or the funny looking ones. Then, it was time to go in for lunch and pumpkin soup (made entirely from the garden) and apple crisp for desert.
But the best thing about the weekend? No computer or cell phone on. I did some reading for my classes (and I’m going to be working my butt off the rest of tonight), but I’m really glad I went and had fun.
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 4-7 sentences on your LJ along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest (unless it's too troublesome to reach and is really heavy. Then go back to step 1).
So here it is...
A smile curved her lips. Of course. She stopped.
"I want you here," she said.
Now I'm going to add to this. Can you guess what genre of book I was reading?
- Current Location:Stockholm, baby!
- Current Mood:playful
That is a lie. I'll probably still use my blog more because I find it more user friendly.
Well, I'm going to get some dinner now, since it's nearly that time.
2.Desktop Publisher Ok.
3.Fashion Designer *snickers* Me and matching colors... and drawing... *snicker
4.Cartoonist / Comic Illustrator *points to three*
5.Computer Trainer- it would feel like I was cheating on Daram. I'd worry his feelings would be hurt.
6.Mediator - ok. I can see that.
8.Animator see #3
9.Pet Groomer- ok, I've done stuff like that before. Didn't say I enjoyed it
10.Anthropologist- maybe. ummm, but I'd have to get an education for this, and I'd much rather spend my education on something else.
11.Costume Designer- no.
12.Activist - ummm, actually, that is becoming more likely than it used to be.
13.Artist- actually, I've considered making my crocheting into a sculpture hobby during some of my more loopy moments
14.Graphic Designer- I'd enjoy it, but I'm not good enough nor passionate enough
15.Psychologist- please no. I have enough problems of my own.
16.Print Journalist- possible, very possible
17.Sport Psychology Consultant- sports? what?!?
20.Rehabilitation Counselor- like, for druggies?
21.Medical Illustrator- only if it was impressionist
22.Translator- perhaps, if I knew another language, which is one of the goals of being in sweden
23.Picture Framer- YEY!
24.Furniture Finisher- funfun
25.Political Aide- OH GOD, this could be fun. *cackles*
26.Computer Animator- no
27.Makeup Artist- depends.
28.Market Research Analyst- please please no. I said I didn't like desk jobs, darn it!
29.Magician- clowning here I come!
30.Painter- what type? House painter or art painter?
31.Bicycle Mechanic- I wish.
32.Personal Trainer- no!!!!!
33.Flooring Installer- *giggles*
34.Historian- for a long time, I thought I would be.
35.Special Effects Technician- they'd trust me with the expensive equipment?
36.Actor- I'm not good enough at telling lies
37.Animal Trainer - who would train who?
38.Security Guard- *shows muscles* perhaps in a few years, when I'm done with Weight Watchers and BUFF.
40.Sports Official- *ROFL*
one honest answer.
that's all you get.
you get to ask me one question.
any one question.
anything, no matter how crazy it is.
But I dare you to repost this and see what people ask you."
Never did get to working on the proposal. Instead, I worked on my Swedish some more and then crashed into bed.
Yesterday and the day before I was in the Archipelago. I took lots of pictures, which I might upload later on when I send out my first “Jen in
I learned a game called cubb, which I think might end up being the highlight of my week. What happens is there’s six short blocks on each side of the playing field, and in the middle there’s a King. Two teams line up on either side and take turns trying to knock the blocks down by underhand throwing six batons at the blocks to try and get them to fall over. When you’ve gotten all of your other sides blocks over, you go for the king in the middle. Much like pool, if you knock over the king before the end, you loose. There’s various other rules that make the game more amusing and complicated, but still, that’s the gist of it.
We had a lot of fun playing the game, quite possibly because there was nothing else to do on the island except light a fire when it got dark, go swimming in the freezing cold water, go walking around the island (which was rather small), or play cards. There’s only so much walking around the island you can do, and the water was only for the brave or brazen souls, so the rest of us contented ourselves during the daylight hours with cubb and cards.
I got to know a lot of people, the names of which mostly escape me now, but I figure I have a week to cement the names. I’ve found some girls that are a bit more outgoing, and aren’t smokers, who seem nice and are willing to include me in on things. I find that between getting to know all the people on the trip, and not being able to speak Swedish, I’ve gotten quite a bit quieter in the past days. I’m hoping as my mastery of the language gets better and as I meet and know the people in the group better, I can feel comfortable to be myself. But I’m still in the stage where I’m quiet hesitant and am more content to listen and ask questions than to tell my own stories.
It hasn’t quite hit me yet that I’m in
I found out that Gabriel, or Gabe (Gah-beh, emphasis on the second syllable) as he likes to be called, sings in a choir. I’m hoping I can join up with a choir here, and sit in the back happily singing and being mostly anonymous. I feel like that would be something consistent I could get involved in, though there are other opportunities that I want to take advantage of also. Apparently there’s a planning committee for the Nobel Prize after party that the college take turns helping plan.
On another note, I did something stupid. I had my rain jacket and sweatshirt with me when I went to the islands, but I forgot to switch them to the other bags when I briefly stopped back at the apartment before going to here. I didn’t notice it last night, but it’s chilly today and I’m regretting not having any coat with me. I don’t even really have a long sleeve shirt.
I’ll finish later. Anita and I are taking a short walk now outside.
So today was my first day in
Talk- thank you.
God morgon- good morning
God dag- good day
God middag- good afternoon
God afton- good evening
God natt- good night
My host family seems nice. Chill. The apartment is decorated in a very modern, simplistic manner. It feels spacious even though it is rather cramped, still, there are four bedrooms, a bath tub, a shower, two toilets and three sinks. There’s a small kitchen and a dining/sitting room.
I haven’t figured out the money system yet. I exchanged my money, but I still don’t know what to do with it… I figure that will come with time. Right now I’m looking out over the city of
Right now I’m struck by similarities and differences. The plants Anita and Magnus (my home stay mother and father, though I’m not sure if they are married and I’m not brave enough to ask… yet) have in the apartment are similar to the ones in our house, they have a Christmas cactus, a peace lilly, a tree that I often see in people’s houses back home and other cactuses. They drive on the same side of the road, Samuel listens to English-speaking music which is similar to the music we listen to.
However, the roads are paved in a red type of tar- the edges outside of the lines are the normal type of tar. I wonder if it is a type of paint. The subway is much cleaner. Tonight for dinner we had Tai-esque food, similar to the food I’ve seen some of my really liberal families eat. They use tofu. I don’t know if it is because any of them are vegetarian, or just because.
I feel exhausted. I slept for most of my journey, still, I’m several hours short of my normal amount that I sleep. I’m trying to stay up at least until nine, which is 45 minutes from now. I have to get up around seven.
Tomorrow and the next day I’m going to the archipelago to one of the islands and staying there overnight with the program. Then when I come back I turn right around and go visit some family of Magnus. It’ll be interesting… I’ll be surprised if I’m not falling over after that. I’ll have to make up some flashcards to practice while I’m gone. I really really really want to make an effort to learn as much Swedish as possible, especially before classes start. At least then I’ll have some type of grounding to base everything on. Pratice, pratice, do it again… over and over until you get it!
I mean, what else do I have to do with my time?
Oh yeah, work on my proposal. *rolls eyes* Well, I’ll get to that. Right now I need to talk to Magnus about where I’m going to meet him on Friday to go visit his family.
- Current Location:Stockholm, baby!
So my mother and I drove my brother and my father up to JFK airport to send them off on their European tour. They'll go for two weeks, and then they'll meet up with me to check everything out in
Well the ride out was largely uneventful... I slept for most of the way, but the ride back I was helping navigate my mother around and through NYC during rush hour. Well for about a half hour we were on a highway and things were slowed to a crawl. Well, our car ended up pulling alongside a truck, and just by chance I looked at the truck and the trucker looked down at us, and he smiled and waved.
Surprised (not because he smiled and waved because I do the same thing) but because he looked like Santa, I smiled and waved back.
For the next thirty minutes we played "tag" on the highway... him pulling ahead and us catching up, and each time I saw him I would smile and wave. Now, this might have been an indication of how bored I was, but I would get pretty excited to see this man when we went by him, and I would be smiling and beaming, and I might have even squealed a little bit once or twice.
My mother commented that it was a real indication of my boredom that I was flirting with a man in traffic that looked like Santa Claus. Luckily, shortly after the traffic picked up again and we were off.
The point of this is, somehow I am really unnerved by the fact that what I was doing was one: possibly considered flirting and two: flirting with Santa. Somehow it seems wrong to be flirting with Santa.
I’m off to bed now, it’s late and I have to get my wisdom teeth out tomorrow.
- Current Location:home
- Current Mood: nervous