Monday, May 31, 2010

On Exceeding Expectations

We woke up in eastern Wisconsin and we're going to bed in western South Dakota.  Bravo, eh?  I'm quite pleased with the progress we've made today, especially considering that I was dreading South Dakota.  I knew the landscape was going to be rather boring (though The Swede noted that it looked just like the Windows default desktop background), but I guess SD got the memo that it's considered lame to drive through because they really kicked it up a notch on the roadside attractions.  The Corn Palace, for example.  It doesn't get much better than that.  Or does it?  Cue House of Scandanivia, where the owner didn't speak Swedish, but totally wished he did when we snackade lite svenska in his shop.  Even the Badlands were quite good.  Heh.  South Dakota totally wins the prize for least disappointing state on our roadtrip.  It's a highly sought-after distinction.   

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Uncle Sam's Boys

The Swede and I are luxuriating in a Super 8 hotel across the highway from this majestic American symbol after having just completed our first of three days driving from Ohio to Montana.  Eleven hours of driving is a lot, yes, but we are having a grand time seeing the country, listening to our new Roscoe album and keeping a list of all the different state license plates we see.  And we've seen, like, twelve of these American eagles along the road.  The opportunity to get a photo with one was totally worth the $32 in tolls it took to get us here. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Original International Superstar

Oh, Zeynep, my delightfully eccentric and fabulous Turkish friend, how I missed thee!  We met up for sushi at our favorite spot this evening and she gave me the whole 411, the good gossip, if you will, and all of her other hilarious expressions for catching up.  As foreign as Zeynep is sometimes ("It's been long time that I didn't have rice," for example), she is obviously evolving into a genuine American, as evidenced by her vanity plate.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pitching In

The temperature has been in the 80's (that's the high 20's for my international peeps) since we arrived in Cleveland so Ray has been out in the yard working on one thing or another pretty much nonstop to get the garden up and running.  This morning I finally lifted a finger around here by helping to secure the fence so that the abounding wildlife don't eat Ray's tomatoes before he gets a chance to turn them into marinara.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Kohl's, too, knows where it's at.

I Think They Call This Brunch

The Swede began his Valve and Fitting Lovers Convention this morning so I had to bring in a specially-trained team to amuse me today.  Mom and Grandma Joyce took me out to breakfast at our favorite spot, The Original Pancake House, and even graciously delayed the event to what I consider a reasonable breakfast hour of 9:30.  Of course, when we emerged stuffed chock full of crepes and homefries a couple of hours later and the clock said it was nearly lunchtime, I realized my error.  Or did I?  Two birds, one stone, anyone?


The Swede and I spent yesterday evening with my two best Cleveland girlfriends and their guys.  First, we had Mexican, naturally.  Then we headed over to The Boneyard, a grown-up playland, and killed a few hours on skeeball, pool and Guitar Hero.  In my opinion, one of the most satisfying things to witness is your boyfriend having a grand time with your girlfriends.  And also creaming their boyfriends at pool. 


Dick's Sporting Goods knows where it's at.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Target Acquired

We're here!  Mission number one, after a good nights sleep and some quality time with Mom, Ray, Grandma and Grandpa, was Target.  Duh, right?  The Swede had never been before and, naturally, was blown away by its awesomeness.  Indeed, we've already made plans to go back.  I would only be exaggerating slightly if I said that I am as pleased by how much The Swede loves Target as I am by how much my family loves The Swede. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Here We Come

If I did this right, this post will appear on the blog while The Swede and I are somewhere over the Atlantic on our way to Cleveland.  Woohoo!  Guys, I am so excited, I can't even tell you.  It may take a couple of days to get situated, but I hope to post on a somewhat regular basis during the time that we're in the States.  Special thanks to Mama and Papa Swede for loaning us their suitcases and basically making us the coolest kids at the airport.  And significantly cutting down our projected time at the baggage claim.  Ses snart i USA!

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Unfortunately, Mama Swede had a meeting, but Papa Swede hosted us for a hot dog dinner tonight to test out their new grill.  It was perfect because I'm caught up on the dishes and would have hated to dirty anything tonight right before our big trip.  Especially since we haven't packed yet.  Still.  And it's going to be bedtime pretty quick here, so... anyone wanna earn a buck?  Anyhow, it's been a hot, sunny day here in Stockholm, one which I took full advantage of with an involuntary three-hour walk courtesy of the migration board, and one which was perfectly suited to grilling out.  I hope to be doing a lot more of this in the coming weeks, albeit on the other side of the pond.  Warm up the grill, Ray! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Human Immigrants Only

So, remember how The Swede thinks the word "alien" as a synonym for "immigrant" is hilarious?  Well, it's still funny.  Today we had a meeting with the immigration board to renew my visa (which was a roaring success, by the way, as I secured another year-long residence and work permit) and The Swede stumbled upon a form in the lobby that said something along the lines of "Alien Visa Application" and had to take a picture.  Pretty funny, right?  'Cause we don't want no creepy aliens up in here.   

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Dramaten

Last week my teacher invited our class to see a play at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, an institution that trained the likes of Ingrid Bergman and Greta Garbo and where Ingmar Bergman was the managing director for three years in the 60's.  The play, Hantverkarna, was in Swedish, of course, so while I understood what was happening, I was a little lost on the precise dialogue.  Regardless, it was a very cool experience, aside from the fact that the interior of the theatre was obviously hideous and hurt my eyes.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Seventh Heaven

The Swede and I went to the last AIK match before football's summer vacation, a finale that was perfectly timed since we're leaving for the US in a few days and wouldn't have had access to the games there. Planned? No. Lucky? Indeed.  Anyway, it was an important match, as they all are, I'm told, and there were over 21,000 people in the stadium. The atmosphere was rapturous, the fans never stopped cheering and some higher power shone down on us, as AIK won 4-1.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Home of My Eventual Lottery Winnings

The Swede and I took a three-hour walk around the city today and one of our stops was this Urban Outfitters, a shop we've been trying to locate for months.  The store is housed in an old theater and is truly a work of art.  Look at that dressing room!  The contents were beautiful and unique as well and, as usual, I drooled all over everything but refrained from letting my pocketbook see any action.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

All Part of a Well-Balanced Breakfast

The warmest day so far this year began, appropriately, I think, with a decadent breakfast at Smultronstället ice cream restaurant.  Check out the menu on their website, then be advised that the hard copy is much, much longer and then you will understand why Sarianne and Magnus had to coach Elin through her acute choice fatigue.  It's the ice cream equivalent of the shampoo aisle in Target.  Totally worth the stress, though, because it was delicious.  I've been hearing about this place for well over a year and it was every bit as magical as I expected.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Söderköping Never Fails

I can't get over how quaint Söderköping is.  I went out on some errands with Mama and Papa Swede and Sarianne this afternoon and, even though it was a rather grey day and few people were out and about, the stocked patios and foamy, latte-looking river running by made me crave a cozy outdoor fika.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Killing Me Softly With Cuteness

Happy Ascension Day, everyone!  Sweden recognizes the holiday by taking the day off of work and school and The Family Swede is celebrating by converging in Söderköping to work on Sarianne's garage.  It's been months since we slapped some new planks on that bad boy, so now that the weather is decent again we figured it was about time.  So work was done, but I'm not going to lie, it was not done by me.  I spent the day skipping rope with Elin and, apparently, I spent some meaningful time with Julia as well because, by dinnertime, she was saying my name for the first time.  And before she ever said The Swede's name.  I feel it may be almost as significant as my picture on the family wall.  So:  SCORE!  Again.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

So Now I Know

Tonight I went to a cabaret show in the city with a classmate.  We descended to the basement of a swank restaurant where we found a cozy, cave-like room with a stage.  And over the next two hours I watched some of most eccentric entertainment of my life.  The drag queens and nudity were plentiful.  When I got home a bit ago I had to do a little Google action to try to understand just what, exactly, I had experienced.  Aha, okay.  So that's cabaret.

Monday, May 10, 2010

America Was Just a Baby

I know it's difficult to see in the dim lighting, but the year 1777 is painted at the top of this cabinet in one of The Swede's family friends' home.  Just a little something from 200-plus years ago.  No big deal. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

At Least You Only Have to Wear It Once

First of all, Happy (American) Mother's Day to my wonderful mommy and all of the other mothers I know whose love and work I can only hope to understand myself one day.  Five years ago on Mother's Day I graduated from Marietta College and entered the REAL WORLD.  It's been sweet.  And with that in mind I was super pumped for all of these kids we found collecting their graduation caps outside of The Swede's alma mater on Valborg.  Aside from my vicarious enthusiasm, I couldn't help but feel that the Swedish graduation cap is ridiculous.  But then I remembered.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Just Call Me Flavio

It's been a rainy day outside which means a lazy day inside which means we had to bust out the PS3 midway through the afternoon.  There is some sort of miraculous feature on this machine that allows you to play FIFA with someone else anywhere in the world so The Swede played against Magnus and I played against Sarianne.  It was my PS3 debut and this is the only one of about ten photos that turned out halfway decent because there was a lot of teeth-grinding, hollering and hunch-backed concentration of the not-so-attractive variety.  Needless to say, USA lost 4-0.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Blowing My Mind With Mobile Technology

Swedes love to text.  But that doesn't make them special, as EVERYONE loves to text.  Except my mom, who I think would really love it if she gave it a shot, but whatever.  What is special, however, in my mind, are the many innovative ways that Swedes use texting.  Or SMS, as they call it in their crazy language.  For example, one can purchase train and subway tickets via text message.  One can even file one's taxes via text message.  Get out of town, right?  Right?!  But check this scenario:  say you're standing around waiting for your train to come, the one whose ticket you purchased with your mobile (the Swedes' absurd word for cell phone) and you get a hankering for, say, a Marabou Polka chocolate bar or some Haribo Nappar.  But say you don't happen to have any cash kronor on you.  What are you to do?  Well don't panic, first off, and then send a text message in order to pay for a snack right out of the vending machine on the train platform.  RIGHT?!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

D.C. has Nothing on Stockholm

When I arrived at school this morning, my classmates and I were notified that our teacher was sick for the second day in a row and class was cancelled.  With an extra couple of hours on our hands and subway tickets in our pockets, Yasmin, Sepideh and I rode to Kungsträdgården, a beautiful park in the city, to see the cherry blossoms.  I didn't even know they existed until yesterday and I'm so glad Sepideh mentioned them because they'll surely disappear soon and as far as I'm concerned they are a Spring in Stockholm Must See.  I'm evidently not alone, as the park was packed with Swedes enjoying the trees' beauty and lifting their faces to the shining sun.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Mama and Papa Swede have something extra special growing in their garden:  a Kungsängslilja.  Every region in Sweden has its own landskapsblomma, an idea that blossomed (heh) from America's state flowers, and the Kungsängslilja is Uppland's flower.  Looks pretty cool, right?  Go ahead and feel free to use this information to impress people, as Sarianne has done with great success recently.  

Thank You Kindly

It has come to my attention that some of my readers are noticing a greater frequency of errors in my posts.  Please accept my most sincere apologies, along with a commitment to proofread more thoroughly in the future.  And, as always, if you notice something erroneous (like 'through' instead of 'threw' or 31 days in April, for example) please let me know.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Passed Out

Petra and Dylan came to Sundbyberg this afternoon and we all went swimming at the local pool.  Dylan was a natural, splashing around with his cute waterwings on in his little ducky swim trunks.  And he swam hard, as evidenced by the fact that the dude conked out within seconds of drying off. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

All I've Wanted

The splash of green growing outside our balcony makes me smile every time I see it.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Bad Apples

Football, you rascal, what is it about you that makes people act so foolishly?  The Swede went to the derby match this afternoon and headed to the bar next to the stadium afterwards only to become embroiled in some big time drama.  Or so it would seem.  But remember:  this is Sweden so the cops probably just didn't have anything better to do.  The fact is, some loser simply threw a chair sometime between when The Swede called me to join him and the time that I arrived at this scene.  Thanks to mobile communication he was able to keep me in the loop as the cops questioned everyone, regardless of their involvement, while the neighborhood looked on.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sparks Flew

Yesterday was Valborg, everyone!  What is Valborg?  Excellent question.  Based on the poll I took at dinner last night and extensive online research, I believe I can describe it simply as a pagan holiday that occurs every April 30th and marks the beginning of spring.  And there's a big, big bonfire. 
And it's a great excuse to go out for a fancy dinner with family and friends.  Good food makes me amorous.
And I can't find any information indicating that this is typical of the Valborg festivities, but I also saw one of the best fireworks displays of my life.  So forget the bumble bee and the flowers and the ice-free lake I mentioned before.  NOW it's spring.