Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
You know the weekend is here when the town center is packed with folks queuing at the liquor store. Such was the case last Friday evening as the limited, government-controlled opening hours at Systembolaget in Kungsängen drew to a close. These folks needed to get in line to place their order over a counter, old school-style, before seven o'clock otherwise miss their opportunity to imbibe since there's nowhere else to buy alcohol. This kind of government-calling-the-shots may just be one of the reasons socialism is frowned upon in some parts of the world.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Okay, this is a little embarassing but I'm going to tell you anyway because I think it illustrates something about the way we think about other cultures. Something deep and important. Like everything else on this blog, obvs. So anyway, I was at Ikea on Saturday afternoon and was waiting in the loading zone for The Swede and Jamie to roll up in the Volvo and pick up me and my new favorite plastic and glass things when a dude parked his car next to me. In the front seat sat a toddler and in the back was a sleeping baby. I heard the toddler ask his father where he was going, to which the dad replied that he would be back in just a few minutes. And then he left the kids alone in the car. And I was like, "What!? This would NEVER fly in America!" and proceeded to take a photo so that I could tell you all how safe parents feel leaving their kids alone in the car to go into Ikea in Sweden and how if you did this in the States you'd surely be arrested. But then the dad came back to the car a few minutes later, as promised, with a sack of strawberries from the fruit stand RIGHT BEHIND me and a total of five steps from his car. He had the car, and his kids, in full view the entire time he was gone. The only weirdo around was me, the creep taking pictures of little kids in the Ikea parking lot.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
The folks we bought our house from had a little boy too and were kind enough to leave us their Fisher Price baby carrier when they turned the place over to us. It took us almost a month to even open the box, a month during which I could have gotten a lot more done around the house, let me tell you. This thing is a tot tamer, a bambino breaker, a dividend dominator even. The minute I snap his carrier to my harness and start moving the kid is out. It seems wildly uncomfortable to me, but hey, so does a womb and he seemed pretty satisfied in there for, like, ten months, so what do I know about babies. And I love it, of course, because I can do my constant head-sniffing more discretely so as not to creep out The Swede.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Earlier this summer The Swede borrowed his dad's power washer to clean the roof of our terrace. It was a job that took quite a while but which The Swede attacked with verve I haven't seen since he shovelled the snow off of the Segersten roof back in the winter of 2010. And I got to watch my husband working with his shirt off, water splashing down on him from the roof as he annihilated the grime that had accumulated there over who knows how many years. A good time was had by all. Then, this morning, I saw this sight: some worker hired by the community, no doubt, spray washing the unnecessary lighthouse. If only they'd known about they guy who lives right here who would have done it for free.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
I can't believe I haven't written about saft yet because it is SO Swedish. Saft is a liquid juice concentrate that is added to water to make a beverage that can most closely be described as Kool-Aid. It's totally not Kool-Aid, though, and it's definitely not like the frozen juice concentrate you get in the States and it's not even a syrup per se. It really is like nothing I've ever seen before coming to Sweden. Saft is also outstanding as it has been stuck with the worst translation I've ever heard: lemonade. That's right. There is an entire country of people walking around thinking that lemonade is saft. Which means, of course, that they have no idea what lemonade is. Can you imagine? So I'm taking it upon myself to at least rock my Swede's world. Just as soon as Jamie gives me a few minutes to hand-squeeze these beauts that I picked up from the fruit stand today. I'll let you know how it goes.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
I used to relish any excuse to put on my galoshes, but between the stroller requiring its own raingear and having to stress about the angle the rain is coming down so that it doesn't fall through the air flap and onto the baby and generally looking like a three-ring circus walking through the 'hood, I think I'll let the galoshes gather dust the next time it's raining.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Yesterday our friends Emil and Sophie hosted a group of some of The Swede's oldest friends and their families for a kräftfest at Emil's mom's house by a beautiful lake out in the country. We had been hoping to eat outside, but it had been raining since Friday, which was unfortunate for Emil and our friend Patrik, who had spent the entire night on a boat catching the kräftor.
Friday, August 19, 2011
This morning we had an appointment with the immigration board and The Swede and I had to go separately into an office and answer questions about our relationship, our internation travels and our future plans in terms of our living arrangement. Yep, like in The Proposal. And I blew it! I totally forgot about having travelled to London and Norway twice in the past year. The Swede covered for me, though, making a joke with the suit that he won the prize for best memory of our travels in the relationship since he could see on the computer screen that my answer was incomplete, so I don't think it's going to be a problem. Anyway, I went in first and when I came back out to wait for The Swede to take his turn I noticed that he had been reading a magazine while he waited. I flipped it closed and it was American Horse. Um, excuse me? First off, why the heck is there a copy of American Horse in the waiting room at the Swedish immigration board offices? Second, and this one is directed at my husband specifically, is that really more interesting than the August 2007 Vogue that affirms that Wynona Ryder doesn't mind turning thirty-five?
Thursday, August 18, 2011
The Swede went back to work on Monday so little Jamie and I are working on getting into a weekday routine together and I have to say, so far so good. Jamie, like his mommy, loves to sleep in. That is, he continues his two hours sleeping, break to eat, two more hours sleeping, etc. schedule until I feel like getting out of bed. Which is shamefully late these days, I admit. Once I do feel like getting on with the day I feed and diaper him so that he's satiated while I take a shower, tidy up the house and check Facie and emails. He sits in his vibrating chair or works out in the baby gym just outside the bathroom door while I get ready and usually doesn't start screaming until I have a really nice, thick shampoo lather going on. Timing is everything to those babies, isn't it? Sometimes I get to eat lunch, sometimes I don't, because Jamie's exorbitant nutritional needs trump mine. I never scream when I'm hungry, he always does. In the afternoon we've been taking a nap together during Toddlers & Tiaras, which is challenging because I don't really want to take my eyes off of it, but you know what they say: sleep while the baby sleeps. I usually manage to take some pictures and blog and do some laundry in the afternoon and today we even took a walk around the neighborhood. And before we know it The Swede is home to take over the cuddling.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Jamie's passport was ready yesterday and, aside from marveling at how quick the process was (and not just because he's a baby - apparently it only takes a week here for everyone), I couldn't help but stop and take a moment to comprehend the fact that I gave birth to a foreigner. Well, technically I'm the foreigner, but still. If you had told high-school me that my future son would be a full-on Swede I would have thought future me was just way too cool. Good thing she's not here to find out I'm actually still a huge dork. Oh, also, lots of people asked me when I was pregnant what nationality Jamie would be. Well, because he was born in Sweden to a Swedish father he automatically has Swedish citizenship and since his mother is American, he also has the right to American citizenship, which we can, and will, apply for before his 18th birthday.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
I've been to a lot of hotels and into a lot of homes here in Sweden and every one has a tube of Kalles Kaviar available as part of a balanced breakfast. I had never, however, seen an apparatus designed especially for squeezing out this treat until yesterday morning at the Scandic Crown in Göteborg. Obviously I'm dying to know where I can get one to put in our bathroom for the tootpaste.
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Liseberg), Matt and Anne from London and our little family went out to dinner last night. Anne grew up in Göteborg so she led the pack through the city to a quaint little Italian restaurant. It had been a beatiful day, but by dinnertime it was too cool to eat out on the patio, so we all packed into a corner to enjoy what, for me, was the first real Italian food I've had since I've been here. And no, that's not my gigantic pizza sitting there at the end of the table, but if it was it would have been so good that I nearly cried.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
As we took off on our roadtrip to Göteborg this morning, me sitting in the back seat to watch over the baby, no view of the scenery due to the Spiderman sun shades, I realized that the giant heap of street cred I've accrued over all these years has gone out the window, never to return.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
No, nobody here broke the law. Unless hunkiness and extreme cuddleability (yeah, feel free to use that one) is illegal now. Actually, we headed over to the police station first thing this morning to set Jamie up with a passport. You know, since he's going to be the next generation International Superstar and all. It was a good thing we went early, too, because his criminal background check took forever. Heh.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Sunday, August 7, 2011
We took our first semi-successful leisure walk with Jamie yesterday after dinner. Our neighborhood is split up into two areas: to the west, where we live, are modest rowhouses while the eastern half is multi-million kronor mansions. That is to say, an average-sized American family home or what would probably cost about $100,000 in present-day Cleveland. At any rate, we walked through the swanky half of the neighborhood and daydreamed about which house we would buy if we could while I secretly counted my blessings that we only have to vacuum ninety square meters of cat hair dust bunnies. Another item we noted on our walk, one that made us both just a little depressed, was that flying V of geese heading south already at the beginning of August.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Gurra and Gunilla took over the summer cabin right next to Mama and Papa Swede's and have spent several weeks of their vacation building it up from a skeleton. It's finally finished and last night was the housewarming party so we gathered on the deck overlooking the lake and were treated to dinner.