Monday, June 29, 2015

Daily Jamie

Business Cas: Accessories Edition

A few weeks back our company had a meeting during which I was to give an explanation of something  that was projected on a screen across the conference room from where I was sitting. I couldn't read a thing and said, "Just ignore the screen; it's not like anyone can see it anyway." People were like "Ehhh… yeah we can." I tested a colleague's glasses and could totally read the screen so during a break in the meeting, I booked an eye test. Turns out I have astigmatism and these new specs are going to help me see things better from far away when I'm driving or sitting in a meeting or what have you. Plus: NEW ACCESSORY!!! Minus: there doesn't seem to be any such thing as vision insurance in this country. These are by far my life's most expensive fashion statement. Not my newest though! Check out the five-year-Swagiversary pin that was delivered to my office this afternoon! I will wear it with pride.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 27th 
June 28th

When The Weather App Goes Rogue

That weather app I have on my phone was dead wrong, dudes. The rest of the weekend was gorgeous! It was a little overcast on Saturday morning, but that just made our walk along the shore and into town more comfortable.
We did some exploring in a different area within the wall and, again, the pictures cannot do it justice. So much of the beauty was in scenes too big to fit into a picture, but here are a couple of shots that kind of give you a feel for the place.

One of my favorite things about the properties within the wall was how, everywhere you looked, nature was taking over to some degree. The cluster of succulents on the fencepost below, for example, and vines crawling through stone walls and between cobblestones in the streets. Magic.
The vines weren't the only things climbing. 
We made our way to the harbor because we had to check out an ice cream shop that my boss, whose girlfriend lives in Visby, recommended. They currently have two-hundred-ninety flavors, making its name, literally "The Ice Cream Warehouse" much more fitting than "ice cream shop". There was much deliberation. Jamie got a scoop of Coca-Cola and one of Kinder Egg and I got a scoop of Hubba Bubba (oh, how I've missed bubble gum ice cream since childhood!) and blood orange sorbet. Here's The Swede saying "not bad" to chili licorice. He also got a scoop of beer flavor, 'cause sometimes you gotta do things in the name of science.

After our ice cream stop, Jamie played on a gigantic anchor statue by the harbor for a bit while The Swede went and bought a lottery ticket so that we could buy one of those boats (no luck, I'm afraid), then we went to a seaside lounge that served the best sushi I've had in Sweden. The sun was hot by the time we finished our lunch so we went back to the hotel and enjoyed the pool for the rest of the afternoon.
On the way back, though, Jambo and I decided to climb up one of the towers along the wall and enjoy an amazing view of the sea and city below. And we took a groupie.
You wouldn't have thought it could get any better, but there was a wedding at our hotel on Saturday night and as soon as the sun had disappeared into the sea, they set off celebratory fireworks from the dock right outside. Who really needs a sailboat anyway?

Friday, June 26, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 25th
June 26th

Visby Long Weekend

One of the advantages of living abroad is the frequent flyer miles one accrues. When I got my statement from Scandinavian Airlines a few months ago I noticed that I could book a long weekend in Visby, a medieval city on the island of Gotland off the east coast and only a forty-minute plane ride from Stockholm, practically free. So obviously I did.
Booking any kind of event during the Swedish summer is risky since the weather can disappoint, but I had high hopes that the end of June would deliver some sunshine.  I'm sad to say that this weekend has been and will likely continue to be chilly and mostly cloudy. That didn't stop Jamie, though, from insisting he and The Swede hop into the pool late last night when we arrived at the hotel.
This morning, the wind was blowing so hard from the Baltic that it was downright cold. Again, we weren't deterred and took a walk and did some training on the beach.

Don't worry, we held on tight and the water was only a foot deep.
We made our way toward the city and into another world. It's not possible to describe the beauty of Visby inside the wall except to say that everything that my eyes settled on made my heart feel too big inside of my chest. I had to stop and catch my breath a couple of times.
Almost immediately when you enter the wall from the north side, there is a gorgeous botanical garden with flowers and trees that I've never seen in my life.
We marveled at all the beautiful plants and talked about the job that the bees were doing there while we moved through the garden.
And the ruins! I'm going to try to get some more pictures tomorrow, but I'm really not doing them justice. I want to invite everyone I love here to see this place live.

Jamie's favorite part inside the wall was probably the water pump that he tested more times than his more environmentally-concious parents were comfortable with.  
After a quick tour through the city, we hopped on a bus to Kneippbyn, a little theme park where we rode kiddie rides, hopped, climbed, and played around for the rest of the day.   
Now it's almost bedtime and we're all pooped and plopped out in front of our screens eating Subway, grateful for a day of fun. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 23rd
June 24th

The Day The Customer Didn't Come First

Last Thursday our office was only open in the morning and since we were going to head to the cabin straight after work, it made more logistical sense to bring Jamie to work with us. That, and our coworkers just love wild children running around. We weren't the only ones to bestow the honor upon our colleagues, though, as Sukai and one of our salesman's four-year-old daughter also showed up. There was a fair deal of shrieking, my friends.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 18th
June 19th
June 20th
June 21st
June 22nd

Molsta Midsummer 2015

People talk about how crappy the weather usually is on midsummer's eve, but the five that I've experienced have been glorious. Until this year, that is, when more rain came down than I've ever seen here. It was constant, as well, and didn't stop the entire day. Annemor and Matt had come from London, the Segerstens arrived straight from a sunny vacation in Greece, plus our family and Mama and Papa Swede made eleven souls under one, five-hundred square foot roof. It wasn't my favorite midsummer. Somehow, though - maybe it's place as the highlight of the day or just my having acquired certain tastes - the food tasted especially amazing this year. Also, it's always a treat to have Annemor and Matt around. We were all together; maybe it wasn't a bust after all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 15th
June 16th


After summer vacation, Jamie will be moving on to the big kids' group at preschool, which means that he'll no longer have the same amazing teachers he's had for the past three years. Of course we'll still see them on the playground during drop-offs and pick-ups but they won't be the constant presence in our lives that they have been for so long. The entire time Jamie has been in preschool we've felt that these three women have been part of our team in raising him and literally every single day he shows us in some way or another all that they have contributed to who he is becoming. We typically give them each a small gift at Christmas and at the end of the school year to show our appreciation, but because it's the end of Jamie's time in their group I wanted to get them something a little more special. I've been racking my brain and Pinteresting feverishly trying to come up with the perfect gift, something that would remind them of that one kid and his family who loved them so much. Yesterday I walked into a bookstore looking for inspiration and walked out with three cookbooks: Jamie at Home, Jamie's Italy, and Jamie's 15-Minute Meals. Kinda perfect, right? 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Daily Jamie

June 12th
June 13th
June 14th

Summer, And Friends

It's summer, guys! It's been super warm the past few days, with just enough rain mixed in to keep the grass green. We've been outside almost the entire weekend, working and playing in the yard, The Swede leading a work day at the fishing club, and Jamie and I spending time with friends. First, we celebrated Sukai's fourth birthday! The party was at a preschool next to Linda's place so the kids were in heaven running around, climbing, exploring, and playing ball, which meant we adults (well, maybe not Linda so much) really got to relax and enjoy the day. Linda made the cutest rainbow-shaped cake with mini-meringue "clouds" and chocolate "treasure" and served a delicious Gambian stew that her husband made. Can you believe it's been four whole years? I'm getting teary now just thinking about the day Sukai was born, how I had looked forward to her getting here for so long, and how it felt like the whole world had changed that day because now this new person was in it. And then, to think that this tiny angel would become the vivid, lively firecracker she is today. It's magic. She's magic.  
In other awesome kid news, Axel and his mom had been on vacation in Cyprus for the past week so these two were dying to get together now that they were back on Swedish soil. They were like long-lost brothers reunited. Axel and Jamie disappeared into a play world and his mom and I hung on their terrace enjoying a glass or two of rosé until way past our bedtime.