Thursday, April 29, 2010

More Walking Required

We took a nice long walk this evening after The Swede got home from work because it was breathtakingly beautiful outside. He has a bit of a blogger inside of him, that Swede, and he came up with a great idea for today’s photo: I would run through a group of geese while flapping my arms and make them all fly. They didn’t cooperate, however, and all of the pictures The Swede took of my backside plodding through this gaggle of grounded geese said loud and clear that all of these meatballs are catching up to me.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Little Something for My Schoolbag and Sweden's Children

We at Daily Damara hate poverty.  We hate tuberculosis as well, but it isn't such a huge problem here in Sweden these days.  And because we hate poverty so much, today we invested in a Majblomma.  It started a couple of weeks ago when I was bombarded by three school children outside of the subway with plastic display suitcases around their necks trying to sell me some sort of tiny flower pin.  I didn't know what they were and I was darned sure not going to subject those poor kiddos to my terrible Swedish by asking, so I just said nej, tack and continued on my way.  Then, the very next day, my teacher Tanja came to the rescue as usual with a presentation on Majblomman, an organization that has been benefitting Sweden's children since 1907.  At the time that it was founded, the funds earned from the sale of these little flowers went to the fight against tuberculosis, a disease that caused around 25% of deaths in Sweden back then.  Now that tuberculosis isn't such a menace here, the funds help children in less-than-ideal economic situations.  So when I came across a little boy on the street today shilling Majblommor, I had to drop the 10 kronor to get one of my own.  Anyway, he had an AIK hat on so he deserved my support.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher

My reading and writing teacher took us on a field trip to the ol' bibliotek today and I got a swanky new library card.  The library is practically next door to my school and both lie in a neighborhood that is heavily populated by immigrants so there are books, newspapers and magazines in many different languages within its walls.  Nevertheless, it is super tiny and actually has very few books, which is fine because it totally has the only ones I would care about anyway.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Just More Confusion

Here it is, the post you've all been waiting for:  the second installation of Simple Swedish!  My apologies, Grandma, for the foul language. 

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fine Day for a Picnic

It was a gorgeous day in greater Stockholm, a perfect day to celebrate Yasmin and Anna's 25th birthdays.  Some friends and some friends of friends got together in a park nearby, grilled chicken and hot dogs, ate birthday cake and played charades and it was lovely.

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Been Ages

My most beloved human character trait is enthusiasm, so it follows that one of my favorite things about children is that when they see another kid it's as though they are long lost friends meeting for the first time in years.  Today in Ikea's play area Dylan and two tots (who had such a fun dad pushing them around on a tray cart) saw each other from across the room and HAD to meet.  They all stared at each other and held hands for a few moments and I do declare my heart nearly exploded.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Made With Love and Overpriced Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Here I am cooking my first recipe in Swedish!  Well, a recipe that isn't on the side of the box of mashed potatoes, Swedish pancakes or gravy, anyhow.  We went grocery shopping this evening and tried a sample - my first in this country - and, of course it was delicious.  Then, in another first for me, we actually bought the ingredients, helped ourselves to the recipe booklet and made it.  And, of course, it was even better when my loving hands prepared it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Former President of the United States of America George W. Bush now works as a Swedish to English translator.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sweden's ChapStick

Yes, I think we can all agree that lip balm is a pretty silly thing to blog about (unless you're interested in makeup blogs, in which case I recommend this and this), but Lypsyl is the single leading cause of drama in our home and I can safely say that my experience in Sweden wouldn't be the same without it.  The Swede, you see, is addicted to this stuff and carries one on his person at all times.  And I mean just one.  There are no spares.  So, "Where's my Lypie?!" is a common phrase around here and it is always uttered with the utmost panic.  I daresay, it is one of my main priorities to know the whereabouts of the Lypie at all times.  Because no, my crappy Aloha flavor ain't gonna cut it when the hankering strikes.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ain't No Thing But a Chicken Wing

Excellent news today, folks!  We're coming to America!  The Swede has been asked to attend a conference in Cleveland the last week in May and I get to tag along this time.  We've known this was a possibility for awhile, but today it was confirmed.  I was so excited that I ran down to the grocery store and selected the most American item I could find for a celebratory dinner.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Birthday on the Baltic

It's The Swede's birthday!!!  It's the first one that we've spent together in the same place and we celebrated in a big way:  The Swede's folks sent us on a two-night cruise to Helsinki!  I've never been on a cruise before and I've never been to Finland, so while The Swede was super excited about the surprise, I was extra pumped for the new experience.  The weather was just right, the food was bountiful and delicious, the accomodations were perfect, the entertainment was lively and I got to spend 40 hours floating on the sea with my best friend.  Here we are navigating the stunning Stockholm archipelago at sunset on Friday night.  Later that evening we tried our hands at the slot machines, took in a schlager-themed drag show and danced it up at the club.
We docked in Helsinki at around 10:00 on Saturday morning and spent several hours walking around the city.  The Swede has been there many, many times (it's the motherland, after all) so he was a sweet guide.  Here he is posing with our boat.
And here I am posing with someone else's boat.
We were lucky enough to happen upon some Finnish national pride celebration being filmed in front of Helsinki Cathedral.  You may be wondering what Santa Claus is doing there.  Well, FYI, Santa lives and has his offices in Finland.  So stick that one in your pocket, North Pole.  It was right after this photo that my camera batteries died, but I can tell you that the rest of the trip was just as fabulous.  Thank you so much, Mama and Papa Swede, for the wonderful time!  Now The Swede is sleeping soundly in the other room, recouperating from our fun-filled weekend, and I'll wake him soon to find out what he wants for his birthday dinner.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Today was the first day in 2010 that I saw the lake without even a cube of ice floating on it.  Flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the fowl are out and about.  A little further down the road I saw my first bumblebee of the year.  Can you see the little guy in there?  And, you know, I'm giddy!  Lordy, I LOVE SPRING!  So sue me.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Big thanks to Yasmin for hosting Anna, Nastja and I for a delicious dinner this evening!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Just Long Enough to Snap This Photo

Second only to the laundry room in terms of things about Sweden that stress me out is the public transportation.  Beyond just getting myself where I want to go, which, I must say, I'm getting much better at, there are rules I must always be congnizant of as a relative outsider/social butterfly.  On the train, bus or subway, for example, one must never, ever make eye contact with another passenger.  It goes without saying, then, that speaking to someone you don't know is strictly forbidden.  Indeed, speaking at all is frowned upon.  Furthermore, once one has disembarked from the subway to make one's way back to the earth's surface, one must ride the escalator properly.  That means standing on the right, stepping on the left.  I'm pretty sure this is a rule everywhere, but since nobody is going to ask you to get out of the way if you're standing on the left, you really need to make sure you are where you're supposed to be.  Who knows what could happen otherwise.  I'm pretty sure I'm not trying to find out.

Monday, April 12, 2010

This One's for Carlos

You know you're becoming an International Blogging Superstar when famous DJ's from the Canary Islands start asking when they're going to be featured on your website.  Our class visited Nordiska museet today, a spot that I highly recommend to visitors and natives alike, and Carlos snapped this photo of me, our classmate Lamin, and himself out front.  And yes, Carlos, your outstretched-arm-picture-taking skills are noteworthy.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Hips Don't Lie

We were told that Brittis's party was going to go until 6:00 in the morning.  Truth be told, I was worried, as my eyelids start to droop at 9:30 no matter where I am or what I'm doing.  And then we started dancing.  We danced for seven hours and the time flew by and I may have dislocated my hip, but that wasn't going to stop me.  Heck no.  When we walked to the train to go home it was light out and birds were chirping and even though we had an amazing time, my hip and my droopy eyelids told me that I might be getting too old to pull all-nighters.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The Family Segersten is back in town this weekend for Brittis's birthday party tonight, a soiree that The Swede and I will attending as well and are very excited for.  They took the opportunity this afternoon to introduce little Julia to little Nelsi and Sabis for the first time.  I was impressed with our kid's behavior with their kid, as they only spent about half of the visit hiding under the bed.  No matter how many times Julia tried to coax them toward her by saying "leow" (that's Swedish baby for "meow"), however, they never actually made physical contact.  Maybe that's best, though.  At least for Sarianne and Magnus, who may now be spared from petitions for a kitty of her own.

Thinking of the Leftovers in the Fridge

Tonight Yasmin and I went to the Lebanese restaurant in my neighborhood where a classmate works, which was apropos because today was my very best Lebanese friend Kate's 25th birthday.  I said I would have duck and champagne for dinner tonight, a tradition between Kate and I when we're celebrating something important, but, per tradition, I had something else - something less expensive - instead.  And it was such an impressive spread that we both had to take a couple of pictures.  That, and there's the blog to think of. 

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Don't Worry, I'm Fine

They're doing some building in our neighborhood and apparently it requires explosives to break up the stone ground on the construction site.  Several weeks ago an inspector visited every apartment in our building to make sure that the place wouldn't crumble when they started blowing up the earth around us and, thankfully, he informed me that we should be in good shape.  Then the blasts began.  A couple of times a day they sound an alarm followed by a boom so loud that it shakes the whole building and makes my insides rumble.  It's scary, dude!  When I told The Swede about it (since he's at work when it happens) he was naturally very concerned.  About the cats.  They're fragile flowers, those two.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Picking Petra's Pair

Petra's getting her boobs done.  She's the first person I've ever known to do it so I was interested in following along to her consultation, though not the least interested in doing it myself.  Much to humanity's despair, no doubt.  Anyway, at her appointment today Petra got to try on different shapes and sizes while her doctor looked on and helped her make an appropriate selection.  I think we can all agree (and by "we" I mean straight men and not me at all) that this guy has a sweet job, but I see why he went into surgery and not sales because I was there the whole time and he didn't even try to get me to purchase my own set.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Asking For It

Father and son Swede took the winter tires off their cars this weekend and replaced them with summer ones.  And it snowed the next day, of course, forcing us to take the train.  Further proving its unpredictability, the weather was gorgeous again today and all the snow has melted.  Hurrah!  Spring again!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Trick-or-Treat, Smell My Feet, Give Me Something Good to Eat

We spent Sunday with The Family Swede, enjoyed lunch at a delicious American restaurant and got our Easter eggs!  We had to hunt for them, but unlike searching for many hard-boiled eggs, American style, we were looking for our own gigantic paper-mâché eggs filled - FILLED, I say - with candy.  My tummy hurts, but when in Rome, right?  I barely had room for today's holiday lunch at Mama and Papa Swede's and had to take a nap this afternoon to recuperate after all of the intense eating this weekend has required.
So, about those witches.  Long ago in Sweden, Easter was thought to be the witches' time to get together and meet the devil.  Hmm.  Nowadays small children dress up as witches (cute ones, though, with colorful kerchiefs on their heads and freckles painted on their cheeks) on Skärtorsdagen and go from door to door collecting candy and money.  So they really do celebrate Halloween in Sweden, they just jammed it together with Easter.  Swedes are known for efficiency and innovation, after all.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Falun Holiday

Sorry about yesterday, folks.  The Swede and I drove a few hours up north for a little overnight change of scenery and failed to bring the proper blogging equipment.  What we did not fail to do, however, is have a wonderful time relaxing, seeing some new things and enjoying the good company.  We went to Falun, in Dalarna County, and stayed in a hotel right next to Lugnet skiing arena, which hosts the annual Swedish Ski Games and has two incredibly scary jumps whose magnitude this picture does not do justice to.  We climbed to the top, congratulating ourselves on our strength and endurance and trying to imagine what kind of fool would try to ski down the nearly-vertical slopes.
We did some exploring around the town, had a swanky dinner at the hotel and chilled in the lounge for a few hours in the evening.  Today, on our way home, The Swede selected a route on which he could share a couple of special spots with me.  First was Laxön, or Salmon Island, where we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful scenery and warm, sunny weather.  And air fished.
The last spectacle of the trip was just that.  Intended to be a meeting place between Chinese and Swedish businessmen but, based on appearances, actually a little Chinese ghost town, Dragon Gate is the most ridiculous thing I've seen in this country so far.  I daresay, it is practically American in it's monstrosity.  But what is it, really?  No, seriously, somebody tell me.
We're home now and even though it was only 24 hours, it was a grand trip.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Glad Påsk!

Well, I've put a tremendous amount of thought in recent weeks into trying to come up with a killer April Fools post for y'all, but there were hindrances.  Any life-changing announcement pranks, for example, would have been too obvious because I would have mentioned them to family and friends before posting them here.  Not that you're not important to me, you thousands of anonymous fans, but really.  I thought about saying that I was closing down the blog, but The Swede thought that was a bad idea because of the rioting that would presumably result 'round the world.  So I'm gonna play it straight and just get going on the Easter weekend conversation because I know you're dying to know what it's all about over here.  So, first off, it's called Påsk here and, as everywhere, it's a several-days-long holiday.  Today, Skärtorsdagen, is the beginning of it all.  The word "skära" is an old Swedish word that means clean and refers to Christ's washing the Apostles feet at the Last Supper and, more contemporarily, the practice of cleaning one's home to get ready for the holiday.  It makes more sense than the English "Maundy Thursday", which no one really knows the origin or meaning of with 100% certainty.  Obviously I didn't get Vanderbilt Divinity School out of my system entirely, eh?  Anyway, one of the ways that Swedes celebrate Påsk is to decorate their homes with bouquets of branches with Peep-colored feathers on the ends called Påskris.  I think they're super cute, but they're also a cat-owner's worst nightmare, so we skipped that tradition in this house.  Stay tuned; I still have to tell you about the witches!