Archive | photos RSS feed for this section

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 ♥

DSC02000

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 ❤

Långholmen!

25 Oct

I know it’s going to sound crazy, but I’ve been hitting a slight wall with motivation to get out of the apartment. I’m not necessarily bored, between editing pictures, trying to find meetups and fun things for us to do around town, and now NaNoWriMo will be here in about a week – I’ve got plenty to do. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m trying to stick to seeing things that are free. (If i’m going to spend money to see an awesome museum or something, I’d like for Ben to be able to come with me, especially since attractions like that are always more fun with someone else there to talk to about the things you’re seeing.) So I’ve been getting up in the morning and trying to search the internet for all kinds of things to do or places to see while Ben is working, and I’ve seen a lot of the free things. There are a lot of gardens and greenspaces here, I’ve seen a lot of them, and frankly when it’s cold I don’t feel like trekking around a garden by myself. Again.

ANYHOW. I dove a bit deeper into a bit of Stockholm history and found this island here where the Swedes used to send all their prisoners – Långholmen! Well now the prison is a hotel. So I decided to go look at it. I thought it was pretty charming. The hotel didn’t really look like a jail to me, but who am I to say what a Swedish prison from the 1800s should be looking like now (especially since it was renovated in 2008!)

I’m hoping to go see Långholmen again when spring comes. Apparently when all the prisoners were there, it was a barren, rocky island. It didn’t really have any plants or anything, just a jail. One of the punishments the prisoners at the time faced was dredging up all the much from the waterways, and as a result the island is now covered with a plethora of flora. I was excited when I read that because we all know how I’ve been on a quest for more autumn colors than yellow (although now the yellows are turning into a deeper shade that’s starting to appear more orange than anything.) WELL there was a lot of yellow, but there was also a BEACH. It was really, very small. I’ve read the place gets crowded in the summer, and I’m not surprised. That tiny beach could fill up with just my mom’s side of the family. I’m thinking there are more smaller beaches around the island. I didn’t go looking for them though, even though it was beautiful outside it was COLD. Especially by the water, gusts of wind seem to collect themselves there. There’s also a school located right behind the hotel, it’s called the Långholmen Folkhögskola. From what I can gather of the terrible translations I’ve been getting online is that it offers college classes (I saw a Swedish as a second language course I’m going to go fantasize about taking), but when I was there I saw a class of small children as well.

On a more personal note, we’ve been doing well trying to be as Swedish as possible. I’ve been getting better at cooking more things besides quinoa and steamed veggies (my go-to in Pittsburgh), but I still fail miserably at making lentils in a pot without them becoming lentil mush. On Saturday there is a SHOCKHOLM 2012 parade happening, so we’re really looking forward to going to that, and on Sunday we’re going to a NaNoWriMo meeting with some Swedes! Ben may or may not come, he’s definitely not doing NaNo, but I’m trying my hardest to get myself out there while meeting like minded people.

Until later! xoxo –
Val & Ben♥

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Humlegården!

19 Oct

One thing that I was super relieved to find out was a similar experience in Stockholm as it is in Pittsburgh is a little time of year you might know as autumn. The time when all the bright green leaves change to much more intense oranges and deep reds and leave the green grass in some visual dust – it’s pretty much my favorite. And since fall is in the air (accompanied by this gray, gray sky we’ve been experiencing here in Stockholm), I wanted to take a day and get to a park full of trees. So naturally, I google mapped parks in Stockholm and looked for one that had a buttload of trees, and also wasn’t too difficult to get to from the tube. Win! Humlegården would be my fall photo destination for the day. I had this great image in my mind that’s I’d hop off the train and walk my fifteen minutes down the street and my eyes would be greeted with a full spectrum of fall colors, and I’d have a plethora of really great, colorful pictures that would put any Pittsburgh autumn to shame.

Well that didn’t happen, Humlegården has a lot of one kind of tree planted, so they all turned yellow! Not that I was amazingly disappointed, the park there is beautiful. And I still think I got some really great shots. You can just judge fr yourself.

And now for a little history lesson on Humlegården (you didn’t think you’d get away without one, did you?)

Humlegården used to be the royal fruit garden, and the public wasn’t really allowed in it until later in the 18oos. And (Harris Grill people, you’ll love this) humle means hops! So this used to be a garden full of hops! Don’t know what happened to them but they’re not there anymore. Now it’s just a public green space with a bunch of trees and some playgrounds and a skate park and a soccer (ahem, futball) field. Anyhow, that’s it!

 

xoxo
Val & Ben♥

walking, walking, walking…finding!!

15 Oct

So we’ve been here almost two whole weeks! Today we accomplished a lot (including me waking up before 8am for the first time since getting here, OH.) I’ll post more about that tomorrow.

In the meantime, I just wanted to give everyone a nice little picture update on what we’ve been doing. I think I can finally say we’ve officially mastered the grocer. And we should be official residents within the month! As well as more details about what we’ve been doing are going to come a buttload of things that we’ve already learned about being here. Hopefully it’ll be able to help future residents of Sweden figure shit out before they cross the ocean (or countries or ice sheet or whatever) to get here. There are a lot of things that I wish we would have known that might have made things a little easier. Those things deserve an afternoon of brain power devoted specifically to accurately blogging about.

      

 

AND as always, you can click on these pictures and it’ll lead you to the albums that contain a WHOLE BUNCH MORE fr yr eyeball pleasure!

xoxo
Val & Ben ♥

%d bloggers like this: