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FINALLY a christmas post!

23 Jan

It finally happened – I went through and fixed up the good pictures from Christmas, and deleted the rest. I really should have done it before it was gramma time here at my apartment (my mom, my gramma marie and my gramma kathy all decided they were rich enough to come and spend a little over a week with me and Ben!) It was a really fun visit, but more on that later bc I finally am trying to post about mine and Ben’s first Christmas together in the North Pole!

Some of you have already heard this story, and if that’s the case then feel free to click on any of these pictures and it’ll link you directly to the slideshow I put up of all of our christmas pictures.

SO. First I have to point out one thing: I don’t have the best of luck when traveling. I mean, I always get wherever I’m going safely, so I can’t complain or anything. It’s just that I never get where I’m going when I plan on getting there. Something always happens that I end up having some weird delay (flashback to the time me and the boyfriend at the time decided to take a vacation to Maine, and I got so dehydrated that everyone thought I had OD’ed or the bird flu or something that they had to pull the plane off the runway after it had taxied off and call and ambulance and OH that was embarrassing.) This time the culprit was French-made trains.

You see, the long distance trains here in Sweden were getting a bit run down so they took a bunch of bids on companies that could build new trains, and this company in France were the lucky ones to build the new trains. The only problem is that while planning and building the trains the French didn’t take into account the extremely cold temperatures that the arctic experiences. As a result of this poor planning by some company whose bid clearly didn’t include fully functioning trains, trainloads of people get sort of abandoned by the SJ trains every year. This year it just so happened to us. On our first trip since moving here. In -30°C weather. OUCH. So here we are standing on a platform with 80 other people excitedly waiting for our transfer train in a little city in the middle of Sweden (Boden), 10 hours away from Stockholm on Christmas Eve, with no clear way of how we’re getting home. So instead of seeing HOORAY WINTER WONDERLAND and enjoying our Julbord (Swedish traditional Christmas buffet) we are looking at this:DSC02055Hey, what’s happening everyone that’s supposed to be transferring trains with us!?!) I don’t have a picture of it, but there were a bunch of kids (aka people younger than me) taking pictures of their frozen nose hair. Eventually some woman managed to find out on her cell phone that our train had been cancelled. We all thought she was joking until two guys that appeared to work for the train company told us that they didn’t know where the train was, “it should be here, you all better go inside while we figure out what’s going on.” We did that. And in the meantime those two men disappeared and no one else was working since it was Christmas Eve and that left about 80 of us standing around in this lobby area trying to figure out what’s happening. Within about 10 minutes or so some guy popped in the lobby and spouted a bunch of stuff in Swedish and half the people picked up their crap and started booking it outside, leaving the rest of us (Ben and I, a couple Germans, and a whole bunch of Asians that were heading up north for a skiing trip) standing around trying to figure out what’s happening. DSC02057Long story short, a bus came – it filled up and even though our crap was loaded on we got kicked off the bus – cabs were called and paid for by the train company and we made friends with the Germans. We shared some chocolate and they gave us some dense bread they made in case we didn’t get to leave the lobby in time to make it to our hotel 7 hours away for our Christmas dinner. Ben was convinced it was a big fat social experiment.
Eventually our cab came, the last one duhhhh, and we continued our trip with these two nice men (the cab driver, and this other guy from the train that was trying to go to Narvik – who was incidentally from Cali!) After almost 8 hours in the cab we made it to the hotel with a half hour left on the buffet, and the hotel made sure they left it all up until we were done.
Before we left the night before (since our train was an overnight train), Ben had a really great idea that we fast until Christmas dinner, because it was supposed to be a really fancy and delicious ordeal, and we were supposed to be there at like 5pm so it wasn’t going to be a big deal, but by the time we got there it was almost 10pm and BOY were we famished. Anyhow, I feel like we regretted deciding to fast at the time, but looking back on it dinner was so delicious that it was worth it.

On our way out of dinner the receptionist of the hotel told us that our cab driver and the man going to Narvik were on their way back because the border to Norway was closed. That’s right, America! Norway CLOSES for Christmas! So the DSC02089hotel saved two plates for the guys so they could have some Christmas dinner too, which was really nice of them. We saw them the next morning after breakfast and hung out with them for awhile before they took off for Norway, round 2!  I tried really hard to get the amazing mountains in the background, but it was too bright outside for the camera to pick it up. (That’s right, I said bright. I was under the impression that since we were so far up north we wouldn’t have ANY sunlight. That’s what the weather channel says. That’s what everything on the internet says. That’s what the sunrise/sunset charts that don’t chart any data bc they say there isn’t any to chart for that far up north during that time of year say.) It gets PRETTY BRIGHT though. The sun never ACTUALLY comes over the horizon. I’m not sure if it’s because there’s so many mountains or what, but we got really amazing sunrises and sunsets while we were there. At least, some really amazing colors in the sky during those times. And we got to see the moonrise every evening we were there while we were hiking.

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Anyhow, if you want to see all the pictures you can go to THIS LINK and it’ll take you to a slideshow of all our pictures. I can’t use flickr anymore because I ran out of free space and I don’t feel like paying for it, so I’m using shutterfly and I can’t figure out how to caption the pictures yet, and I’m also not sure if it’s linked correctly so if anyone’s having problems with the pictures just let me know and I’ll try and fix it!

xoxo-
Val & Ben ♥

oh also we didn’t see any northern lights maybe next time!

Curling and Christmas Markets!

31 Dec

As much as I always plan to write in this thing, we always find things that take up just enough time that I don’t have a bunch of time to devote to going through pictures and then the pictures all pile up and all of the sudden it’s a huge task to try and go through them all. One of my problems is that I always want to remember EVERY SINGLE SECOND of things that Ben and I do while we’re here, but in reality I don’t have pictures of every single second, so it’d be dumb to save every single picture that we took. So. Going through them always seems to be more difficult for me than it should for a normal person.

Anyhow, I really wanted to have a post up about our Christmas in Björkliden, but I didn’t get to it. Between needing to go through all the pictures and skyping all our families for Christmas there was just no time! (Anyhow, we keep this blog mainly to let family/friends know what we’re up to, so if we can spend the time skyping them then they can just read this whenever I get to it HAH.) So. I’ll post about Christmas and New Years tomorrow, but for now you just get to hear about our Christmas market experiences!

So every Thursday Ben’s coworkers go to the happy hour that’s on campus (the bar is right next to their building. We have only gone once, so it’s not really a ‘thing’ for us, but they really like it) but a few Thursdays ago there was no happy hour for whatever reason, so they reserved a lane at the local curling rink. With the lane we got a little curling lesson and also a couple hours to play some games against each other. So we got there and suited up! The curling shoes, which I didn’t get a picture of, were really strange. One shoe (the left for us, but the right for all the right handeders) was rubber on the bottom so you could have traction on the ice, and the other was just smooth plastic so you could slide all over the place. It was funny because I thought I was really good at sliding on one foot and using the other to push myself, but towards the end my feet just wanted to work normally so I ended up WIPING OUT. It was kind of funny. Before we took our little curling lessons I used to just think “Like, How hard could this actually be?” but it’s actually quite difficult! The ice is covered with tiny water drops so the stone slides a lot faster than you think. And as the person that’s doing the “sweeping,” if the person sliding the stone does it too hard, then it’s really hard to even keep up with the stone, and it just paaaaasses you up. It’s really strange. Anyhow, here’s some pictures that we took.

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We also went to a few Christmas markets. They’re a really big thing around here, they have all kinds of little stands that sell trinkets and handmade items and candy and cheese and sausages and

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glögg and a whole bunch of other things. We went to two right here in Stockholm and then we went to one further out (about 2 hours away by train and bus) in a little town called Märsta. My favorite one was in Kungsträdgården, only because there was a booth there that wasselling authentic Spanish seafood paella. It was the most delicious thing (besides the julbord at the hotel in Björkliden) that I’ve had here in Stockholm. We went back there twice to eat it because it was so good. At the market in Märsta Ben got a sausage and we also got some cashew/dark chocolate bark that was in the shape of Sweden. At least I thought it was shaped like Sweden. I’m not really sure if they did that on purpose.

Moral of the story is that if you want to plan a trip to see us here, even if you don’t like cold and snow that much, maybe next year right before Christmas is the best time to do it. There’s a ton to do since all the Christmas markets and happening, and if you’re feeling ambitious you can come for New Years! I’ll post more about this tomorrow, but buying and lighting fireworks are totally legal here. Not only legal, but it’s the norm. We’ve been seeing and hearing people’s fireworks going off since about 3pm today. We’re about to head out for our New Years celebration to see the main fireworks on Skeppsholmen. I read that the main fireworks are shot off of the east side of Gamla Stan, so we’re going to try to get to this little island with our bottle of champagne to see the REAL THING.

Love you all! To those we didn’t get to talk to over the holidays we hope you had a really amazing Christmas and we hope to talk to you in the New Year!! ❤

xoxo-
Val & Ben

Pre-vacation blurb!

23 Dec

So I was planning on blogging before we left for our little Arctic Christmas vacation. However, as life has it I didn’t do it. We’re pretty sure we’ll be equipped with wireless on our train ride (18 hours, 1400 km…the equivalent of driving from Pittsburgh to Kansas City, MO) Whether or not the wireless pulls through, I’ll have plenty of time to go through the pictures I’m still waiting to post. (curling, homemade gnocchi for the first try, snowmen, etc etc)

ANYHOW. As part of Christmas presents to our families we’ll be posting AT LEAST one blog while we’re gone to catch every one up with what’s been happening.

God Jul från Sverige!
Val & Ben

p.s. we’ll be closer to the North Pole than any other person we know on this whole earth this Christmas, so keep your fingers crossed we get to see some Northern Lights! We’ll be experiencing 24 hours of darkness every day (Santa gets no sun in the winter) so we’re not sure what kind of pictures we’ll be able to get, but we’re really hoping for these auroras! ❤

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 ❤

It’s official – I’m feeling the 4pm blackness of Stockholm.

29 Oct

Today I was going to grace everyone in the virtual world with an entry on Pennsylvania Wine & Spirits vs. System Bolaget. I started looking up facts about legal drinking age and taxes and it just started getting on my nerves. (I figured out why we can’t afford liquor here: there is a 200 SEK tax alone on spirits above 40% alcohol, which is about $30 if you function in American dollars.) SO after I started reading all this nonsense, I decided that everything would just be better for me if I could buy whatever kind of booze I wanted whenever I felt like at my local grocer, and that’s the end of that. Now in lieu of what I was going to provide, you guys get to read about things that Ben and I have been missing (besides family and friends duuuuuuuuuh.)♥

1.) PUMPKIN BEER. This is no secret. Anyone that has had any kind of contact with me throughout the last month has heard over and over and over about how much I miss pumpkin beer. I love pumpkin beer. I LOVE IT. October is my favorite beer month of all the months. Spicy, delicious, sweet, hoppy, PUMPKINY BEER delicousness dancing along my taste buds one by one. If anyone out there really loves me, you’ll harvest a six pack of pumpkin beer from yr fancy, magical American pumpkin beer patches and allow me to drink the whole thing in sunny silence outside upon my return to the states.

2.) CHEAP BEER. This is also not another secret. Beer here is expensive. And most of it is gross. (I’ve compared it to diluted foot water, though I seem to be the only person that thinks that’s a comparison worth giggling about.) We have found one happy hour that takes place at a vegan restaurant close to Ben’s building that sells Hoegaarden or Sierra Nevada for 25 SEK (about $3.75). NOT BAD except that I can count the number of both of those that I’ve ever had in the states on one hand. Because they’re not good. Other than this magical happy hour, we have yet to find a bar where you can get a pint for under 55-60 SEK ($8.25 – $9). And that’s of any kind of beer. We’ve been told to get used to Guinness bc it’s pretty much the only tolerable beer here that almost every bar has. (Thank you I will, I love me some Guinness. And I’ve found it’s secretly a really fun thing to order a pint of it in an Irish pub.)

3.) BIG, FAT, FRESH BERRIES. Don’t get me wrong. Sweden has berries, okay. I understand now, that growing up in America has spoiled me rotten when it comes to having fresh berries on hand for a pretty reasonable price pretty much any time I wanted. HOWEVER. I also see now the effect of not growing yr shit organically. (Get it?) We bought berries here twice, once we got raspberries and the second time we got strawberries. The raspberries we didn’t get to eat because they got moldy the day after we bought them. The strawberries were SO GOOD. They were teeeeny tiny (I have a picture on my flickr, you can go see if you want) but you got about 5 times as many per carton, so you weren’t missing out since the berries were smaller. I’ll probably reconsider buying organic vs. inorganic berries once I get back to the states, but I am going to stay it was good while it lasted. (Also, Stockholm has in almost every once of it’s grocers a container that has fresh frozen berries, which I haven’t bought any yet, but they look super appropriate and delish if I were going to bake or cook with them.)

 
4.) FOREVER 21. I’m not saying I don’t like the fashion sense of the Swedes. I love it. I love all the neon colors and textures and jackets and hats and combat boots. It’s just that the prices make my credit card frown. I miss cheap clothes that I didn’t have to worry about getting dirty or holey or ruined in the wash (keep in mind I still can’t read the options on our washer or dryer.) I miss the cheap racks and racks of jewelry that all inevitably gets lost after a couple months. I miss the cheap shoes that I’m going to have to throw away when it’s time to move back to the states ANYHOW. However! I have popped myself into one of the hundreds of H&Ms that are in Stockholm, and they have pretty inexpensive clothing compared to everything else I’ve seen here. (I kid you not, I don’t know how many are here, but there are literally H&Ms across the street from H&Ms, which are a block away from more H&Ms.)

5.) BRUNCH. I miss the endless amount of brunches I could choose from. Zenith. Doublewide. Harris Grill. Coca. Square Cafe. Quiet Storm. I miss that I could get half off bloody mary’s basically all day Saturday and Sunday, just because that’s how Harris rolls. I miss the option of having a cheap and delicious craft beer (or five) with my Sunday morning salad at Doublewide. I miss the wonderful $10 all vegetarian brunch spread of Zenith. (I’ve read about one brunch spot here, that just happens to be vegetarian. It’s called Herman’s and you can get brunch for the equivalent of $25. Includes coffee, not bloody mary.) We have just figured so far for the $50 we can make everything at home and enjoy with movies.

6.) TACO TUESDAYS. We sure can get tacos here on Tuesdays, but they sure aren’t a dollar (er, 6.5 SEK?) They’re a mouth-watering 25 SEK each (about $4, not so bad), and only are they this cheap at a place called La Neta. And they’re super good, we’ve only been there once but we’ll be back to get a good authentic Mexican kick in the throat again. Aside from the cheap tacos, I really liked the environment, knowing people there, and making the trek from our house on foot. While I miss it, I’m sure I’ll just be looking back at it as just a fond Pittsburgh memory, soon to be replaced by a new favorite thing we like to do here.

7.) MY JOB. I said it! I miss working. So far I’ve been sending out emails for volunteering, and so far every single last one of them has been a bust. I miss being around people that I can understand, people that like me. WORK FRIENDS. JOKES. MONEY. FREE FOOD AND BOOZE. SOMETHING TO DO. That’s right, I’m feeling the hurt on all of the above.

 

 

 

I know it just really seems like Ben and I miss drunkenness and consumerism, but that’s not true. I don’t think either of us have ever really been into having ALL THE THINGS, but we do both like to have a good time with good people, and it’s hard to have that here when we’re getting used to switching our lives from USD to SEK. It’s especially hard since everything has been going on a card where we get invoiced in American dollars. Give us another month or so here, and I’ll be able to make a post of our favorite things about Stockholm and all the friends were making (hopefully, I’m going batshit insane here without a social life.)

xoxo-
Val & Ben

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♥

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