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Thanksgiving, Christmas cookie party, etc!

5 Dec

It happened, I finally forgot to post in the blog for an extended period of time. I can promise I’ll try to not let it happen again, but sometimes I just don’t have much to say. And like I said before, I don’t like to post without pictures. It’s not an excuse, I know I know.

So many things have been happening lately! (Well, it feels like a lot of things but I don’t really remember what I wrote about last time so there might be some repeating. Sue me.)

Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was good. I was a bit worried and kind of not TOO excited about it because I’m so used DSC01936to having big family Thanksgiving with a million people, and Ben is used to having the same thing down in Kentucky. We were trying to get a few people together that we met through the film festival but nobody seemed that interested in getting together, plus we didn’t want to have the get-together here because of all the white furniture. And I wasn’t trying to put rules on how people drink their red holiday wine. As a result, no get-together happened. DSC01934Ben still took off work, though, and we got bunch of ingredients together and made ourselves our own little Thanksgiving feast – 100% from scratch! We had green bean casserole, mashed potatoes with carrots, stuffing, mushroom gravy, purple cauliflower and broccoli casserole, and we got a Swedish farm raised 1.3 kilo chicken for Ben. (They did sell turkeys here, but they were all 15+ pounds and we didn’t think that’d be one of our best investments.) So we cooked all day, watched a bunch of Christmas movies, and then after we ate we spent the night skyping with our families! It was a really great holiday. Ben also decided to work from home the day after so we had a nice long weekend together.

Christmas Cookie Party. One of Ben’s coworkers has a Christmas cookie party every year, DSC01964where him and his girlfriend (wife? I’m not sure) invite a bunch of people over and everyone makes 2 or so batches of cookies each and have tea and feuerzangenbowle. (I set a link up for wikipedia if you want to read all about it.) Basically feuerzanenbowle is when you make hot spiced red wine and then burn a solid cone of sugar doused in 160 proof booze over it and the caramelized sugar drips DSC01987into the wine. It was pretty tasty, but between the cookies and that it was SUGAROVERLOAD time in my belly. After cookie baking but before the fire wine, Mattius went outside and cooked up a bunch of German sausages on the grill (even though it was freeeeeezing out.) It was nice to meet some more people that Ben works with, and I think sometime soon we’re going to be going out with one of them, an Irishman, for his birthday. (Irish coffee, plzthnx.)

Last volunteer party for SFF. The film festival is officially over (and has been for a while, OH.) We went to the last party and had a couple drinks and danced with some Swedes. It was at the KGB bar again. And it was pretty rad.

In other news, Ben got word that he got the grant that he was wrote the proposal for back in August! And I officially have a job babysitting two cute mini-Swedes a couple days a week! This plus living in a cheaper apartment come March is all together going to make our lives exponentially easier, with an added bonus of hopefully having our student loans paid off by the time we leave Sweden!!

Other than that nothing much is happening besides a small blizzard outside (it’s really just snowing a lot, but it’s accumulating a lot faster than it does it Pittsburgh because the temperatures don’t fluctuate here the way they do there, so once it’s freezing outside and it snows, the snow doesn’t ever really melt. Upsides to this: snowmen that don’t melt, no gross mud puddles, good picture taking all the time, and Ben and I don’t have to drive anywhere bc we just ride the train.)

I’ll try to keep up with everyone a lot more!!
xoxo –
Val & Ben ♥

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Skyping, Shockholm and KGB

11 Nov

So it’s been quite a while since I’ve made a blog for everyone. I have been busy, but not too busy. Truth is, I just didn’t feel like editing the photos and I didn’t want to post a blog with no pictures because I think blogs with no pictures are not as interesting as blogs with pictures. (At least mine. There’s not so much in the way of writing integrity extraordinaire, so I’d like to give yr eyeballs some pleasure at least.) It’s been like what, two weeks since I wrote about what we’re doing. So here’s a big fat update, and I also linked the pictures up to some slideshows of more pictures, so if you click on them you can catch up with all the pictures that we’ve taken the past few weeks.

1.) We got the first snow of the season. At the beginning of October. And aside from the rain that I watched turn to snow literally right before my eyes, it’s the only snow that we’ve had so far. (And the snow I saw the other day doesn’t count. It only lasted for like, a few minutes and it didn’t accumulate at all on the ground. Doesn’t count.)

2.) Shockholm 2012 – Stockholm doesn’t really have Halloween, but they have been trying! There’s not monumentally large bags of candy everywhere, and the only places that really have costumes are the toy stores, but do we really need all those calories, America? This year was year number two of Stockholm’s Halloween parade: Shockholm. It wasn’t as extensive as we’re used to in the States, but it was still really fun! And let’s be honest. All anyone does anymore is bitch and moan about how holidays aren’t what they used to be blah blah blah commercialization blah blah. So it’s kind of nice, even now in November. Some Christmas stuff is out in the stores, but there is also no Thanksgiving here, so it’s not like all the holiday decorations from Halloween to New Years are just all being displayed at once. I’ve heard people here say that decorations are going up earlier than usual over the last few years, but it’s nice to us that there’s not that huuuuuge layover of holidays that we’re trying to celebrate one at a time.

3.) Lots of Skype has been happening! And Ben also figured out how to take screen shots of it! We like to skype our family. We like our parents, and siblings, and I like my niece. And we miss our cats. And we get to see all of these things when we Skype. KTHNX Skype!

4.) Stockholm International Film Festival! About a month ago I saw a post online that the SIFF needed some volunteers. I initially tried to be a photographer, but I don’t own the fancy equipment necessary for that, and now that I’ve seen them in action, I don’t know if I’d have been the best at it anyhow. (In addition to the lack of fancy equipment, I’m a LOT shorter than a lot of the people being photographed, and short photographer + pictures of tall people = nostril shots!) BUT we’ve been volunteering with the decorating department (which just means we go and set up/tear down the state, red carpet, face2face set ups, etc.) and I’ve been doing interviews with directors (look out for those, once they’re posted I’ll try to link them up here!) So! We got to go to a party a couple Sundays ago for all the volunteers at KGB bar (decorated exactly how you think it is) and there will be another party in another couple of weeks at the end of the festival after all the volunteers know each other. I’m excited for that one since everyone will be comfortable around each other.

Other than this, just the usual has been happening. Ben’s working, I’ve been cooking a lot more. We picked up the suitcases that we left here in August and unpacking them was like an early Christmas for us. Ben had lots of warm clothes (I had a few, my clothes are smaller than his so his clothes took up a lot of space), but we also had all the canvases that everyone painted for my birthday in there. I’ve since tried to hang them up, but they keep falling off the wall so I’m still trying to come up with a plan B. There were also two grocery bags of toiletries that I had packed up (thanks, past Val!) so we probably won’t have to buy any of those things for a good six months or more.

I promise to try and keep up with this, in a couple weeks I probably won’t have much to do anymore so you can expect more posts after this festival is over. (I would appreciate some crossed fingers and good thoughts being thrown my way on landing some kind of job though. That would be great.)

xoxo-
Val & Ben ❤

Torchlight procession for opening night of the Stockholm International Film Festival

Bibimbap!

Smurf holding an assault rifle at KGB bar!

Auden likes to draw for us on Skype! ❤

we loved how this guy had an Atilla face on his shirt ❤

NaNoWriMo go!

1 Nov

It’s that time of year again, where buttloads of people all over the world try to write novels of fifty thousand words or more in just a month’s time. When you break it down, it’s 1667 words per day, which doesn’t seem very difficult. But try making sure you are writing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Miss and a day or two and the words really start to stack up, making it hard to catch up, and even harder to keep so many ideas streaming consistently.

I was going to get up and start writing writing writing, but instead I’ve decided to take it slow. I’ve got some things I need to do today so I’ll probably work on those first, and then a little later I’ll sit down and start with the writing. It’s only the first day, so I (like everyone else) have allll the creative ideas, and I’ll probably write way more words than necessary.

fun Val and Ben update time!:
Aside from me doing NaNo and looking for freelance writing jobs (and fixing my resume for teaching and writing out cover letters to hopefully get some kind of job before January or May – whenever there are teaching jobs available), Ben and I have gotten ourselves involved with the Stockholm International Film Festival. Both of us have signed up for helping with the opening night torchlight procession as well as doing all the sets and decor and such, and the volunteer coordinator decided that I’d be good for doing filmed interviews with the directors on the interview bus! As a result of volunteering our time to make this huge festival happen, we get free memberships to see screening of independent movies throughout the year as well as volunteer passes (and parties!!) So suddenly I went from not really having much to do, to having a whole bunch to do! November is going to fly.

I would like to apologize for the lack of photos that have not been happening. I’ll make sure to bring my camera along on my journeys (especially Christmas in the Arctic Circle, hopefully featuring some northern lights action!) We have a couple other things happening this month: I’m trying to convince Ben we should do a Thanksgiving potluck and invite some people over (we probably won’t – Thanksgiving is not a day that the Swedes have off work. Ben’s the best though bc he’s calling off so we can cook a Thanksgiving-like meal and also so I won’t be home alone reading everyone’s facebook updates about how they’re having SOMUCHFUN with their friends and families.) We have our first volunteer party this Sunday at a bar called KGB (it’s decorated how you think it is), we’re going to dinner at one of Ben’s coworkers’ apartment tomorrow, and we have a Christmas cookie making party to go to at the end of the month. So many things!

xoxo-
Val & Ben

p.s. so glad halloween is over with so I don’t have to hear about everyone enjoying their pumpkin spiced this and that.

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