Tag Archives: northern lights

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


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!! ❤

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! ❤

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!

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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