Saturday, June 30, 2007
The bags are packed.
Time has really flown by during our stay in Sweden this summer. It's hard to leave Stockholm in early July, but it's going to be great to come back home. To the Husband. To the easy weather (I wont' be looking at the weather reports until October)...
Now I only have to survive a 26-hour trip door to door tomorrow, alone with two kids, three suitcases, one strollerbag, one stroller and two hand luggage...
Friday, June 29, 2007
And I had to come all the way to Stockholm and the Globen arena to see him live.
It was a magic night, what a show and what a feeling! The effects was a show in it self. I've been dancing, and singing and having so much fun!
(.... and I'm glad I saw him here since this show will never go on tour in the US for all kinds of reasons...).
Picture from George Michael's official website.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I don't miss saunas in California. You just have to go outside in the summer, you don't need a sauna to get really hot. And there is no cold lake around our house to cool down in.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
A California-girl and a Virginia-girl meet in Stockholm, their "home" town.
It was so much fun - we had never met irl before, this was a first meeting. We talked about flying with and without kids, Swedish as a second language, blogging, other people's view of living in the US, all important topics for aliens.
And of course we talked about the weather. The rain poured down all day, non stop, never ending. Well, that's part of a Swedish summer too...
Thanks for a great break from my tax free shopping spree, Annika!
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Skansen - an open-air museum and zoological park - located on the top of the island with a splendid view of all of Stockholm. My daughter loved it, but kept asking where the giraffs and the tigers were. She was happy to see a baby elk and the back of a cow in the end.
Rosendals trädgårdar - a fantastic garden and café, where you can eat great food in the most beautiful garden. My daughter thought the slide in the park was great since it was so fast...
... and finally...
Gröna Lund - the fun fair by the water, over 100 years old (but with new attractions...), filled with fun and laughter. My daughter didn't want to leave...
Happy and exhausted we returned to the island almost 12 hours later. It's hard work to introduce your kids to your childhood memories in such a short time.
Five more days...
Monday, June 25, 2007
Since a couple of days a huge fire is raging through the forest. And when we're talking huge, it's HUGE. So far about 220 homes are lost and they still don't know when the fire will be contained.
Californian wildfires are really scary. Since it hasn't rained in a long time, all the northern Californian forests are like a huge pile of logs waiting to be ignited and it takes close to nothing to start something that will take a lot of work to hose down...
There are over 400 000 Swedish aliens all over the world, most of them in the US. But no one is sure, there is no record of us.... we can be anywhere... Research also shows that 70% of all Swedish emigrants return home (to Sweden that is) sooner or later.
I plan to return "home" in six days. If and when I will call Sweden "home", the future will tell.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Långsamt började dagen. Vattnet glittrade i solskenet och vi satt och roade oss med att titta på båtar som passerade förbi västerut från skärgården och in mot stan efter midsommar firandet och flugsnapparen som matade sina ungar i fågelholken i tallen oberörd av vårt frukostätande.
När klockan var 13.05 satte vi på radion och jag fick nästan rysningar när "Sommar sommar"-signaturen fyllde utedäcket. Mark Levengood var sommarvärd och vi lyssnade, skrattade och drack saft.
En perfekt svensk sommarsöndag.
(just felt like writing in Swedish)
This is a bit of a logistic problem when transporting the kids and myself around for family visits.
If you look at a map, its close. But when on the road, it might take forever to go around the islands and the connecting bridges. A bit quicker if you had a fast boat. But flying helicopter would be the absolute quickest...
I wonder if Hertz or Avis rents fast boats or helicopters?
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Today we saw some real action from the summer house. The sea police stopped a boat going way too fast right in front of the house (and learned that the Stockholm sea police has jet skis to keep up).
We don't mind at all. We're the ones crossing the water where these boats speeds through...
Friday, June 22, 2007
These are the seven flowers I will put under my pillow this bright Swedish summer evening according to tradition (yes, I'm happily married, but this is a habit that is hard to break).
My Swedish Midsummer has been just as I wanted it. This is the crescendo of my visit here, the center point. I'm thinking of all of you Swedish aliens all over the world today, how you might miss this Friday in June (or is it just me...?), which in other parts of the world is just an ordinary Friday and here, in Sweden, is such a magic day!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Tomorrow we will celebrate the summer and the sun. I'm so happy that I'm here, in Sweden, this year!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
So now the major topics in the news, on the bus (well, that is if you would talk to other people on the bus, which hardly ever happens here, but IF), at work, at home - everywhere is:
a) where will you celebrate Midsummer and
b) what is the weather going to be like?
I will celebrate Midsummer here, on one of the 24 ooo islands in the archipelago. And unlike most other Swedes I don't really care about the weather. Oh sure, it would be GREAT it it was sun and clear skies and really warm. But the most important thing is that I'm going to be here on Friday, Midsummer Eve, - in Sweden - and not in California like the past couple of years.
I have a rain set and rain boots and I'll take my daughter dancing around the Midsummer Pole and pick flowers to put under our pillows come rain come shine!
Monday, June 18, 2007
The city council is trying to establish Stockholm, as "the capital of Scandinavia"
Ok with me! Now I only need a beam machine to be able to move a bit more easily between my two favorite places in the world - California and Stockholm.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Swedish summer rain is different from Californian rain - we hardly ever have rain in my parts of Northern California between May and October - and when it rains, in the "winter" months, it usually come in forms of "winter storms" and is big and heavy, but only last for hours and we usually see the sun in between the rain clouds.
Swedish summer rain is more a.... drizzle.... and it can go on for days (and in worst case weeks). Sometimes you hardly see the rain drops, they barley there, but you'll get wet anyway.
We decided that it was a day for a fire, something that has been completely unnecessary the last couple of weeks. We made scones and had breakfast in the living room watching the flames. And then open all the doors to cool down the summer house that quickly started to feel like a huge sauna.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
It was 10.42 pm. The sky still bright from the sun.
People was still playing golf.
That's a real summer night in June in Stockholm. Oh, how I'll miss these summer nights when I return to California in two weeks.
This was the sky from the porch of the summer house where I'm staying at 10.42 pm tonight.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
I read it with great interest, it's always good to know what you're like, what habits I'm bringing to the new country... According to the researcher the newspaper have interviewed, Cecilia Henning, friends and neighbors are two different concepts, not to be mixed. Swedish neighbors are keen on their autonomy, we don't want to have any social debts.
And a Swedish neighbor...
... is careful and won't easily let the neighbor through the door ("över tröskeln")
... seeks harmony and rather avoids the neighbor than confronts them
... nurture his integrity but wants some, however shallow, contact
... wants to return services, and it's important to invite back
... will call and say thanks after a nice "encounter" ("tackar för senast")
... is dependent on his independence.
(freely translated from the article).
There you know, alla non-Swedish readers!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Lot's of interesting summer hosts ("sommarpratare") this year! I'm going to try to catch Filip Hammar and Fredrik Wikingsson's program July 4, they're claiming they're going to do a complete tribute to the United States... And Lena Olin, a Swedish actress living in the US on July 29, and Peter Rost on July 30, a Swedish doctor currently living in the US. Maybe they'll give us an interesting "alien" perspective...
My summer holiday in Sweden is ending July 1, so I'll be able to catch one of my favorites, Jessica Gedin, June 29, live on the real radio!
(Picture from the Swedish Radio website)
In Sweden they're called "tobaksaffärer"... and they're everywhere (even though stores like 7Eleven have started to take over more and more).
This "tobaksaffär" has one of the greatest locations in Stockholm. It's located in the Old Town, at Slussplan, right where Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea meets. The other day I bought a bunch of magazines here and a TopHat ice cream and sat down reading and watching the boats go by through the locks.
It's summer in Stockholm!
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
I grew up with Radio Stockholm. They started broadcasting 30 years ago and but in the mid 80s things started happening, shows like "Sommarpuls" and "Storstadspuls" became new, unique concepts and hosts like Staffan Dopping, Ulo Maasing, and John Chrispinsson became big radio names.
I was in my early teens and thought this music/talk radio was so cool!
Even though things have changed since then, I still like this combination of music, local reporting, news, traffic and weather information. Even though there are tons or radio stations where I live in California, no one beats Radio Stockholm!
Monday, June 11, 2007
Later that evening we ended up in Hammarby Sjöstad. That's when the sky turned black and the rain started pouring down. Within seconds everything around us was soaked and suddenly three air balloons came almost crashing down, soaked heavy by the rain and wanting to get out of the developing thunderstorm.
About 10 balloons had to make emergency landings in Stockholm last night. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt.
But then we sure were happy we were standing safely on the ground, just getting soaked and not up there not knowing where they would up landing...
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
This is their fourth meeting. But the first that "counts".
For three days now they have played together, getting to know each other. And I have gotten to know my nephew. This is the bad part of "alienhood". Being far away from friends and family.
No new technique in the world can replace two cousins blowing bubbles together.
Friday, June 08, 2007
Lot's of singing, AND at the end - the best summer song in the world - "Den blomstertid nu kommer" (unfortunately in a faster tempo since the school band was playing along, but still...).
It was a fantastic morning and it sure is a great way to end the school year with this type of ceremony. Afterwards I took a slow walk around my old neighborhood, ending the morning with Swedish strawberry cake at my friend's house (whose kids attend my old school), just a few houses down from my childhood house.
A morning full of memories....
Thursday, June 07, 2007
I'm already ahead!
If you want to get hold of me, you can use one of seven phone numbers. I have a US cell phone. A Swedish cell phone. Our regular home phone. Our Swedish VoiP* number. Our American VoiP number. My home office number (another Swedish VoIP number). And our Swedish Skype-In number.
The days when a phone call to the US was half a fortune is long gone. When I want to talk to the Husband who remains in the US this summer, I just place a call to a local 08-phone number (the area code for Stockholm) for almost nothing and the phone is ringing in our house in the US. The quality of the sound the last couple of years have increased a lot - these days we hardly ever have any problems.
The only thing left is to teach our Swedish friends and family about the 9 hour time difference...
(*VoIP = voice over IP, voice phone calls using the Internet protocols)
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
We did our best out here in the archipelago. It's been a fantastic day! Blue skies, warm sun, and just glorious! We raised the flag on our flag pole, but we hardly saw it since there was no wind today. But now and then a little wind came by and I got one quick picture.
And at 9 pm sharp, we took it down. That's the rule. No flags on the flagpoles over night in Sweden. Even flags have to go to sleep.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
This year's trend must have been "trucks". When I spent some time in Gamla Stan today dozens of these graduate-filled trucked passed by, load music playing, happy students waving. My own graduation (ages ago) felt both distant and near...
In the afternoon I took of for a student reception myself, and even in the suburbs, several trucks with students passed by on otherwise quiet streets.
The weather was absolutely glorious! The perfect day to graduate!
Monday, June 04, 2007
Maybe someone has finally invented the beam machine for real? I wonder if they could abduct you and then beam you to Sweden back and forth a little faster than an Airbus or a Boeing?
After all it's 2007. 6 years passed 2001 and it sure is time for a little Space Odyssey. At least between Sweden and the US.
Många intryck idag. Tidig svensk sommar morgon. Solen har varit uppe i flera timmar. Jag tar båten över till fastlandet. Fåglarna sjunger så där sommarvackert så det nästan gör ont. Vattnet speglar sig. Trots att jag är van vid mycket varmare sommar temperaturer är det svalt och behagligt. När jag är över på andra sidan drar jag av mig Helly Hansen stället och pular ner det i ryggsäcken och börjar promenera mot bussen. Det luktar sommar och .... grönt. Intensivt grönt. Fuktigt grönt. Underbart grönt.
Några timmar senare. Jag har tillbringat några timmar i Gamla Stan och har anledning att förflytta mig till Kungsholmen. Det är varmt i stan. Gatstenarna är varma. Det är fullt av sommarljud. Stadslukter. Lukten av Stockholm, salt vatten som möter sötvatten, dammiga trottoarer, mat från uteserveringar där lyckliga Stockholmare vänder bleka näsor mot solen. Jag tar fram system kameran för att fotografera. Jag är inte ensam - hela Gamla Stan är full med turister. Jag känner mig nästan som en själv. Fast vi är intresserade av olika saker, jag och de tyska turisterna. De tittar på statyer. Jag står och tittar en lång stund på GB-gubben. Men jag får ingen bild för det sitter en mamma med en barnvagn framför och äter glass och hon vägrar ovetandes och envist att lämna sin plats.
Jag tar 3:ans buss mot Kungsholmen. Samma sträcka jag åkt så många gånger till och från min lilla lya på Kungsholmen. Men nu är jag inte på väg från jobbet. Jag har inte näsan i en bok eller halvslumrar efter en lång dag på jobbet. Jag har blicken ut genom fönstret och stirrar inte trött ut genom fönstret utan har lyft blicken och tittar. Upptäcker nya hus som jag inser alltid har funnits där. Glömmer nästan att kliva av för jag är så upptagen av iaktta.
När solen börjar sjunka ner är jag tillbaka ute i skärgården. Vattnet är återigen spegelblankt och temperaturen har sjunkit trots att solen skiner. Jag drar på mig vindjackan innan jag kliver i båten. Det är ingen varm sommar kväll. Men det är en svensk sommarkväll, full av ljus och dofter. Och det är långt till Calfornien.
(I just felt like writing in Swedish today)
Sunday, June 03, 2007
And since old habits are hard to break, and the news paper is delivered to the post box on the mainland and someone needs to take the boat to get it, I've done my quick "news-check" online, long before I read the paper newspaper.
And even though I really enjoy reading a Swedish newspaper, holding the actual paper, reading ads and news stories that never made the online editions, it sort of feels like I'm reading old news... News that has been printed hours before. All the things that could have happened since it ended up in the post box...
But then, who cares. I can sit in the sun and read Swedish news (not having to try to read them on the screen), old or new, for four more weeks.
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Now is this Swedish summer or what!?
Almost, almost worth seven days of jetlag...
I wonder if you can get a "plätt-lagg" in the US... not really something I would want to carry in a suitcase... but it sure is yummy with plättar!
Friday, June 01, 2007
But why is it that people get up, ready to get off long before the bus or subway has stopped. Are people that nervous that they won't get off in time? That the doors won't open and they have to ride to the next station?
All day today people have pushed me around, preparing to get off the bus, long before we're close to a bus stop... I'm always in the way, feeling like... an alien...