Sunday, August 30, 2009

being a tourist

We started the day at Järntorget, this is the stop I will be going to to get to my school where I will be taking Swedish classes for 4 weeks!We then made our way to the "fish church". This, apparently, is where the fishermen went/go? to pray. I'm not 100% about this place. It's a pretty building though!
We then walked to this Protestant church called Oscar Fredrik Kyrka. It's really beautiful and I was so surprised, because this is the first catherdral style church I have seen in Sweden.

Then we went back to the square and ate some Kebab. This is a Turkish meat, that is...roasted, then shaved and put over french fries and covered in garlic sauce and a small salad! It's incredibly delicious.
We then boarded a boat, which took a few stops, but we took this opportunity to take a lot of pictures. This was one of the high lights. This is a ship that sank back in the good ol' days. So the Swedes thought they should rebuilt this ship, out of the same materials they used back a million years ago. After they built it, they also decided to take it on the same route it went on, so they sailed it all the way to China! Way to go ship builders!The last stop on the boat was a place called Klippan. When we got off, we were pleasantly surprised to see a festival going on. We aren't sure what kind it was, but people were dressed up in "old time" clothes and were waltzing and we also saw a "battle" between the Swedes and the Danish. The guns were really big and loud and not a lot happened, but none the less, it was kind of cool.
The last thing we saw at Klippan was the Röda Sten (red rock) because well...the rock is red. I don't know the story behind it, and neither does Fredrik or his parents. I guess it just, got painted red, one day. And the gallery that shares the same "area" as this rock is also called Röda Sten, and they make sure the rock stays painted bright right. It's kind of cool and it definitely stands out!This was a big hill on the walk up to the church, and this picture has no significance, other than it has the man of my dreams in it! :) I love him, and should thank him way more often than I do for taking such good care of me and making sure I am having fun, am safe, and am happy. He is the best tour guide, fiance, and friend I could ever ever ask for! I'm so lucky I get to experience this with him!

SORRY my historical facts are kind of...well, stupid. It wasn't really a history lesson today, but you get the point!

PS. Sorry I'm not updating as often! BUT my weekdays are kind of boring, I take kids to and from school and cook dinner, so there isn't a lot to talk about! But once my Swedish classes start you will get the lovely privledge of learning a new Swedish word a day! So that's something to look forward to, right?! :)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The ONE problem

My life here in Sweden is pretty good, amazing actually. My amazing, gorgeous, spectular, etc. etc. etc. fiance lives here, and I get to see him very very often. I get to spend time with his friends and family. I get to hang out with a nice family and learn a lot about being Dutch and Swedish. I get to cook and bake everyday (which I love). I learn ALOT of new things every single day. I just love it here. The biggest problem (aside from missing my friends, family and home) is driving a stick shift! I HATE it!

The problems I encounter driving a stick shift are as follows:
1. I forget to use the clutch when I have to slam on my breaks.
2. Sweden is full of round abouts, and as most of us know, round abouts are a great spot for surprises (the not so good kind).
3. It's hard for me to start from a completely stopped position.
4. It's hard for me to find 1st gear.
5. My car doesn't have power steering (which has nothing to do with stick shift driving, but it sucks none the less).
6. When I have to stop on a hill, it's SO scary to push the gas hard enough to not roll backwards, but I have to so I don't roll backwards!
7. Not freaking out and letting go of the clutch too fast! We all know what happens then, an embarrassing restarting of the engine, possible honking, and possibly another episode of letting the clutch go to fast.
8. It's a big deal to go just a little ways, even if it's just 5-6 inches!

So as you can see, 8 is a lot of problems to have whilst driving. There are probably more, but all of these problems relate to one another. It's just kind of scary. Everytime I drive, I think, I hope, I pray, I'm getting better. I feel a tiny bit less nervous everytime I drive. But when a problem comes about, I get so flustered!

But, as everybody says, it's all about practice, and soon I won't even have to think about when to shift, why to shift, and where to shift. But right now, driving is not pleasant for me. I hate having to think about what I'm doing at ALL times, even if it means slowing down for a pedistrian, or not slamming into a car pulling out in front of me! Trivial things, right?! NOT!

ALTHOUGH today, I did drive, twice! From the train station and back to the train station and it went well! I spent a really nice day walking around Göteborg, and met Fredrik for lunch at a Japanese restaurant. It was really lovely, other than the freaking guys trying to fix their car alarm the whole time! It just kept going and going and going! The whole time we ate! But I really love living in Lerum, the country is beautiful, but I absolutely love spending time in the bigger city, riding the train, trams, and buses. It's exciting! And I really love seeing where Fredrik comes from, and not just from a tourist point of view, but as an actual person living here!

FYI-I got my first Swedish paycheck today! How fun is that? :) And proves, I really am working, not just having a great time learning new stuff, eating fun food, and drinking coffee!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

It can't be Sunday night already

I HATE Sunday nights, especially now, after having the most amazing weekend after weekend with Fredrik.

Our date Friday night was perfect. Fredrik even wore a tie! He looked amazing, he's the most handsome guy ever! I'm so lucky! I wore a regular old dress, I didn't look as smashing as him! We ate and Jensens Böfhus, and it was good! We had a gift card from his family, and we spent it all! 600kr! But we had an appetizer, he had 2 glasses of beer and I had 3 glasses of wine! YEA THREE! :) And our meals of course. It was delicious! And we spent like...2 and a half hours at the restraunt, so that was nice. I love being around him!

Then Saturday we went and bought 2 kilos of crayfish! Thaaaat was fun, and smelly. Haha, they have "fish houses" at almost every grocery store, and that's where we went. And then we went to System Bolaget to buy the booze! We bought a big bottle of Schnapps, 12 bottles of Pripps Blå and a box of Black Tower white wine. I thought, this is a lot of alcohol. BUT we drank it all! We got to Anton's with Sofia around 5:15 and the boys got the food ready, the crayfish were already boiled, so they warmed up some bread and got drinks ready and then it was time to eat! I had the pleasure of snapping a crayfish in half, breaking away the shell covering it's tail, cleaning out the mud vein, and dipping it in Aioli sauce (garlic sauce) and eating it. It actually was SO good! It was just a lot of work for a little amount of food. Our "trash plate" had SO much on it, it seemed kind of wasteful, but regardless, it was a blast! We (Fredrik, Sofia and Anton, NOT me) sang drinking songs and took shots of schnapps! That was fun! Hearing those 3 sing and then I joined in and shouted "Skål!" and we took our shot! We did that a couple of times!

After me and Sofia cleaned up, we sat and "chilled" and Anton brought out his delicious dessert he made! It took him aaaaaaall day to make it! It was a really yummy cup with a cracker crust, chocolate pudding, lemon custard, raspberries, and chocolate chips! It was great! THEN we played Lips! Oh yea, that was fun! It's an XBOX game you sing to, kind of Karoke Revolution. That was so fun! Finally Fredrik and I left around 1:30 and we MISSED our tram, so we called a taxi, haha. Well, Fredrik called the taxi, he takes such good care of me!

How delicious does that look!? :)

Then today, I didn't get out of bed untill 2pm! I woke up earlier, but didn't want to move! I drank a huge glass of Soda Stream and fell back asleep! We were SO lazy! We watched 5 episodes of From G's to Gents on MTV! How sad is that?!

Thanks to Sofia and Anton for hosting us, it was so much fun and I can't wait to hang out with them more over the next year!

Revelation-Swedish houses have these weird wall mount things that are their heaters, and I noticed today (which is stupid and should just be obvious) they don't have vents for central heating OR air conditioning! They don't even have air conditioning. I know to some people this seems completely obvious, but for me and a Kansan, I can't imagine gettin through the 3-4 hot, relentless months of summer without an AC!

System Bolaget-This is the Swedish government owned chain of liquor stores. You go in, walk around and find whatever it is you want, get a basket or a bag, and take what you want. It's kind of funny, beacuse the bottles of beer, wine, liquor, etc. are on display, in a sense. And you don't grab a six pack or a twelve pack, you can get as many bottles as you would like. You can go in and just get 1 bottle of beer, if you'd like. Then you take it all up and the person at the register rings each bottle up separately, and you buy your bag and bag it up yourself and leave happy with your bottles of beer clanking around in your plastic bag!And I'll leave you with this beautiful imagine of Fredrik and I. How wonderful.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kräftskiva... what I'll be eating tomorrow night. Tomorrow is a holiday of sorts, here in Sweden. August is the crayfish season, so, we will be eating crayfish and drinking beer, wine and schnapps. I don't know how much I will love this crayfish business, but we will see! I promise I'll post some pictures of me taking them out of the shell and eating them up! Yum!

Tonight I get to go on a DATE with my new fiance! How exciting! We haven't gotten to celebrate it yet, and his mom, dad, sister and her boyfriend gave us a gift card to a restaurant in Göteborg, so we decided to use it tonight and spend some time together! I haven't even gone on a date with him since I've been here! We are always doing something with his family, friends or my "family". So this will be so great!

So...good bye for the weekend!

Fact-I go around 5 busy roundabouts in a little over a mile to get to the train station. Ridiculous!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Art of Fika

The Swedish Fika, is what makes me so full, all the time. It's like dessert, only much more serious. You eat your big delicious meal, clean up, do the dishes, etc. Then you make a pot of coffee, get out new classes or coffee mugs, bread, cinnamon roll (which tastes just like King Cake that you eat at Mardi Gras) you get out cookies of different sorts, and sometimes Godis (a bowl or bag of assorted Swedish candy you get at a candy store).

After it's all set up, you sit down again, like you are eating another meal! And you EAT and drink coffee (or Soda Stream, if you dont prefer coffee) and that's Fika. Fika can be an assortment of different food as well. This picture (not taken by me, Fredrik's handywork) is a more traditional one, sometimes, as I experienced this weekend, you can have an assortment of crackers and cheeses (not my favorite, stinky cheese).

Another thing I noticed about Fika and breakfast, you often don't use a plate. That is a different thing for me. Depending on what you are eating, you just don't need a plate.

Last night we had a birthday Fika for Fredrik's mom. Wow, the best one yet. We had Kladdkaka, which is basically a brownie that is gooey in the middle and you eat it with a cream that's not quite as sweet as whip cream, but it's delicious. We also had muffins with Marabou in them (the best chocolate I have ever ever tasted) and of course, cinnamon roll, and Goodis. The funny thing about the Goodis is that even adults eat it. In the U.S. it's uncommon to see an adult e.i. mom, dad or grandma and grandpa munching away on a bowl of gummi candy, but here, everybody loves it (except Fredrik!)

Doesn't that look delicious. It's often confusing though beause you chose a yummy piece of chocolate, but it might taste a little bit like salt, because of the salt licorice! YUCK!

FYI-Swedish television is genius, yet bothers me. Of course they have American shows, but instead of showing the commercials at the same time as they do in the US, they just skip the commercial. So this causes a conflict, the show doesn't start and stop at a 30 minute or hour time slot. Shows often starts at the 45 minute or 35 or any other awkward time to start a show. And all the chanels are not on the same time. So a show ends and you go to find another show on another chanel and that show could be half over! It's very hard have productive TV watching. But it is nice, because you dont have to suffer through commercials every 8 to 10 minutes!

AND-Jon and Kate Plus Eight in Sweden is titled Jon, Kate och åtta barn, which is directly translated to Jon, Kate and Eight Children. Haha, not so catchy in Swedish, is it?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Forgot to mention!

How could I!? I met Fredriks mormor and morfar (mom's mom and mom's dad) this weekend. Barbro and Roy! They were amazing! Barbro is a little crazy, in a really awesome, makes her the best kind of grandma, way! I loved them. Their house is SO cute, and is FULL of old stuff, and the house is really small! Well it has a normal amount of rooms and stuff, but the roof was really low! It was like stepping back in time or something! Neither of them speak English either. Well, Roy kind of can, but Barbro, no way! It was so funny! She was speaking really slowly to me in Swedish, like I was deaf or something! Haha, and Fredrik's mom was trying to get me to say cuss words to Barbro in Swedish! They told me that she would think it was funny! So yea, it was a really great time having Fika with them!

Also, Roy makes things out of wood. Really cool things. And I've noticed that everybody has a wooden Swedish flag in their house, and I asked Fredrik about it and apparently Roy makes them! So I told Fredrik to tell Roy I want one! He didn't have one on hand so he gave me a homemade butter knife instead. Here in Sweden, you eat butter with EVERY meal. Everybody has the specific "Swedish" butter knife. And this one looks like the typical knife, only its beautiful and made of wood. I don't think I'll be using it, but I will always have it as another amazing memory I have from my time here.


These are adorable, cute little, play dough like, orange/yellow mushrooms that grow on the floor of the Swedish forest. We put on our jeans and tennis shoes and started hiking up...way up. I didn't know Sweden had hiking, but it does. We went through streams, puddles, rock formations, grass, twigs, and anything else that is on the forest floor. It was actually really fun. We just kept going and finally we found little patches of mushrooms. I was pointed out the good mushrooms and of course, the bad ones. There really are only one kind of good mushrooms, and that's the kantarells.

We spent about an hour and a half mushroom hunting! We as in Ann and Håkan, Fredrik's mom and dad, Fredrik and me, each found a bag of mushrooms!

We went home, cleaned up, and cleaned the mushrooms. Then we boiled them, saved 3 pots for the freezer and ate the 4th one. We ate them fried, which is so delicious!

Although I have heard of people in the US mushroom hunting, it isn't as big a deal as it is here in Sweden! True Swedes go and find their own mushrooms, so I'm getting enough practice being a Swede!

This weekend was yet, another, amazing weekend. The time I spend with Fredrik and his family is so wonderful. They make me feel like a part of a family and more at home than I thought I could feel here. And his mom feeds us every hour! It's so delicious, but I'm always full! And I'm definitely trying new foods! The mushrooms of course, and some stinky moldy cheese, lots of new vegetables, and lots more! Plus, I'm using a knife while I eat! They are so kind and get me things that make me feel more at home, such as Ranch dressing and Heinz ketchup! And of course, I'm bringing things that remind me of home to them, I made some delicious brownies with peanut butter chips and peanut butter blossoms with Hersheys kisses! Thanks to Leslie. And soon I'll make some enchiladas because my amazing mom sent me some enchilada sauce and refried beans! :)

Svamp is the word for mushroom! These are my beautiful little baby svamps! :) I wonder if anybody has been in the forest searching for svamps in a Kansas Jayhawks shirt!?
Haha, I love him, and I feel like I'm almost ALWAYS smiling when I'm with him. Maybe it's because he is such a dork! :)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Everyday I listen to Abba. Not by choice, but the girls LOVE love love ABBA Gold. So, I'm learning pretty much every word to every Abba song. It's not so bad, because I kind of like them, but they are reallly catchy and easily get stuck in your head. I asked Fredrik if it is a national law that you must listen to Abba from the time you wake up to 11am. Cause it seems we only listen to them in the morning. Maybe I can lobby that you must listen to Ace of Base from 12 to 3 in the afternoon, sadly, they don't have as many "hits" as Abba.

Yesterday was just fine. Pretty uneventful because it was crummy weather. I didn't end up driving anywhere because Mireille and Ernest came home early! Whew! I was so happy about that! So instead I got done early and Fredrik came over. We celebrated his new job! Yes, new job! :) Yay! So him and I have had a really good past couple days, I'd say so! I felt like treating him well last night, so I made him grilled cheese, baked beans and chips! Haha, lucky boy, huh?! He doesn't like baked beans, I found out. But I did do the dishes! :)

Kids in Sweden actually really love vegetables! I watched 3 girls under the age of 15 and a little boy at the age of 4 down a huge serving of spinach yesterday! I was astounded!

All Swedes sound like the Swedish chef. I have yet to find one that actually sounds like that. What was Jim Hensen thinking when he made that character anyway?! Maybe he should have came to Sweden and did some research, sheesh!

It isn't very customary to eat more than 1 "hot meal" a day. As an American, I'm used to THREE hot meals a day. Here, you eat a cold breakfast, such as bread, different cheese, butter, and maybe some kind of meat. For lunch, you might do the same or prepare you hot meal. Then for dinner, depending on lunch, you will eat a hot meal or go back to eating bread, butter, cheese and meat! Mayyyybe, that's why Americans are the most obese country in the world?!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

walking sticks and soda streams

Here in Sweden, to go along with their nature loving ways, Swedes love to be outside. As seen on the sunny days, you will find beaches full of people. Well, on nice days, you will also see elderly people, young people, children, anybody walking, with sticks! Not really sticks, but these things that look like ski poles, sort of. Fredrik tells me they are good for blood flow when you walk, which makes some sense, but they look funny to me. And of course, not a picture I took myself, seems creepy to take pictures of people walking on the road! :)

Also, Swedes make their own pop! Nifty! And of course don't call it "pop", so when I say that, I get a few funny looks. BUT you fill a special "Soda Stream" bottle with water, keep it in the fridge, when you are ready, you take the bottle out and put the Soda Stream nozzle thing in the bottle and give a button a push and it carbonates your water. THEEEN you choose your flavor, you can have coke, pear, strawberry, etc. It's amazing to me, and almost every house I have been to thus far, has one. I think they are a really good idea. They also have concentrate you keep in the fridge, and you pour a bit in a cup and fill the cup with water, and there you have a nice drink. Of course, piggelin/pear, is the flavor of choice. I'm sorry I didn't take a picture of one myself, but I feel more than stupid taking pictures of simple things like this, very touristy!

So tomorrow is the first day of real "work". Mireille and Ernest go back to work and I have the girls for 2 weeks before they start school. Tomorrow we will take it easy, play outside, although I think it's supposed to rain (big surprise). Then Tuesday or Wednesday Fredrik will lead us all to Liseberg, the Worlds of Fun of Göteborg. I'm really excited to go! AND tomorrow is my first day driving the stick shift all on my own! I'm so nervous! Caitlin and I will go together to her training, so hopefully she can lead me there and I won't wreck the car or stall the engine in the middle of the road! Wish me luck!

Swedes can eat incredibly fast with a knife and fork. Watching Fredrik eat it almost like an art! Haha!

Also, I have yet to find a regular looking loaf of bread or cheddar cheese, how am I supposed to make grilled cheese sandwiches!? :)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A day for the books

Today Fredrik and I woke up, not in time to make pancakes, but in enough time to shower and make it to his parents cabin on time! :) We drove there and headed to Smögen, which is a fishing town/harbor with the North Sea by it. Oh my god, seriously, this place was absolutely beautiful. We walked around, we, as in Fredrik, myself, his mom Ann, Hanna his sisters, Maria his oldest sister and her boyfriend Pontus. I got to smell some disgusting fish and eat another piggelin popsicle (pear, the Swedes favorite flavor).

Then we went back and sat around and drank some beer and waited for lunch/dinner, we ate around 4:30. Wow, best meal I've had since I've been here. We had potatoes they grew themselves, grilled chicken and grilled corn on the cob. Then some vegetables and sauces, wow, I ate SO much! :)

Then we drove back to Göteborg and mowed the lawn and raked the grass up. Haha, that was a fun experience. Then we got engaged. :) Haha, very low key, but here in Sweden, the boy wears a ring, I've been wearing a ring, so we talked about it and I gave Fredrik his NO I did NOT propose to him! :)

So to wrap it up, today was the best day I've had since I've been here, which has only been a week, so hopefully that means I have PLENTY more wonderful days left!
Fredrik and I with the Smögen houses behind us! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Public nudity

Today we went to the was a beautiful day, and although I didn't swim, the girls and everybody else did. So I sat and people watched. Swedish people are not afraid of all. Not that it was a nude beach, but women and men alike would put their underwear on over their swim suit, then slip their swim suit off and basically be standing there in their underwear! It wasn't awkward or inapropriate, it just took me by surprise! Now the children, that is another story. Hardly any of the children wore a swim suit. And if they did, they would either take it off, or in the process of changing, would get side tracked and end up walking around naked anyway! Naked kids everywhere! Regardless, it was still an awsome day.

Caitlin, Julia (the 13 year old from Holland who is visiting) Mireille, and I went into Göteborg today. Me and the 2 girls figured out the buses by ourselves, which was a lot of fun and went very well! Caitlin's school is a 2 minute walk from where I will take my Swedish class! Convinient! Then we went to the big avenue where Fredrik took me yesterday and did some shopping. I bought a pair of shoes for 129 kr. which is about 18 dollars! We walk SO much, I had to buy a more comfortable pair of shoes!

Another fact, Swedish toilets allow you to flush full, or half. And the buttons are on the top of the toilet, and yes, they are buttons, not handles. That's kind of interesting...I guess. :)

And today, my bum is suffereing dearly from the bike ride yesterday! Haha, guess I'll just have to get used to that!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

more FYI's

Sweden has HUGE disgusting looking slugs. They come out when it rains or is wet, which is often. The black ones are ok, not dangerous, but the browns ones are "murder slugs" or something like that, and they have no natural predators, so if too many come, you are overtaken with brown slugs. They are awful.

Swedes say "excuse me" hardly ever!

Everything here opens late and closes early!

I can't find a bike that fits me!

Everybody really IS blonde!

Göteborg is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been in! Or maybe it's because I'm usually walking next to the most gorgeous Swede I've ever met! :) Probably both!

I am SO shocked at how quickly Swedes, mostly Fredrik, can switch from Swedish to English and back so quickly, without a single problem. I met Fredrik's sister and her boyfriend last night and they were SO nice, and basically the whole conversation was in English for 2 hours! It's amazing! I'm so thankful they are all so nice to speak English for me!

I promise pictures are coming soon! I want to do it all in one fatal swoop! I took pictures of my house and the families house, next is some of the girls and probably Fredriks cabin, because that place is beauuuutifullll! We are going to visit Saturday and spend the day with his other sister and her boyfriend and his mom and dad! :) I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

did you know... Sweden you have to pay to use a public restroom

...there are hardly any public trashcans walk REALLY fast EVERYWHERE!

...everybody dresses really nice, and the girls look like they are going to a fashion show or something!

I LOVE LOVE LOVE it here. I'm getting used to everything really quickly and I think I'll have the buses and trains figured out really quickly too! The family is amazing, my house is amazing, the country is amazing, the people are amazing and most of all my boyfriend is amazing. He has helped so so so much! It's awesome to see him here as well, I get to see my sexy Swedish boyfriend in action! :)

I'll update more later! I promise!