Monthly Archives: December 2011

Work makes me happy

Because Christmas fell on a Sunday, we had just one day off of work. A day that I spent in my pyjamas, watching TV, surfing the internet, and occasionally stirring myself from the box of chocolates by my side just enough to make it to the kitchen to continue stuffing my face with cookies. (It’s all about balance, you know.)

It took until about 4 pm to hate myself, but no way was I going for a walk outside in the dark or *shudder* the gym, otherwise known as “the single biggest waste of money in 2011.” Around 6 pm, I decided to take a shower because I wanted a glass of wine and I couldn’t bring myself to drink wine while still sitting on the sofa, wearing pyjamas from the night before and surrounded by a ring of my own cookie crumbs.

In any case, it was a one-day thing because the next day I dutifully trudged off to work, happy to be saved from myself. And look at me now! It’s 5:30 and I’m totally still working instead of heading home to cuddle with Señor Reuterswärd, as he is known in more southern climes.

I have taken over my colleague’s computer over the last few days while I am here and she is on break. During this time, I have logged into every single thing it’s possible to log into and have doubtless forgotten to log back out of several of them. Oops.

Anyway, this is a long prelude to sharing what is awesome news for me! My part-time, “paid by the hour” teaching gig has been upgraded to full time work, 40 hours a week. Woot woot for money! And stability! And feeling a sense of fulfillment at a job well done. Happy chiquita over here.

So from now on, when I’m not teaching, I’ll be doing more proofreading than before, plus administrative tasks, and when I have to travel to a company to teach Business English, I won’t have to worry about tallying the hours and whatnot. Excellent.

EQUALLY AWESOME: My blog with the Swedish Institute has been renewed again, and this time for a whole two months at a time! LOVE IT. It’s like I’m a real girl with a real day job with a secret second life as a real wannabe writer! Add in the fact that I live with the best and coolest guy in the world, and life could not be better. Happy happy happy happy happy.

I will leave you with some thoughts on work. I looked them up for this blog post, thinking I was going to be very serious, but that impulse didn’t last long.

“Without work, all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies.” – Albert Camus

“Work spares us from three evils: boredom, vice, and need.” – Voltaire

Word.

You’re Celebrating on the Wrong Day!—and other things you didn’t know about Christmas in Sweden

It’s the night before Christmas, and all through the mouse, not a beach chair is stirring, not even a louse.

Wait, what!?!

Celebrating Christmas abroad can make you feel like things are, well, a little topsy-turvy.

You may have read about the way people celebrate in the country you’re living in, or you might be going into the day free of any knowledge or misconceptions. Regardless of which category you fall under, there will come a point in the day when you look around you and think to yourself:

Now what exactly is going on here?

Last week, I was invited to be on a radio show with two Swedish comedians to talk about the differences between American and Swedish Christmas traditions as I perceived them. I had some thoughts at that time, but now that I’ve actually experienced my first Christmas in Sweden, I’m ready to tell it like it is.

Click here to read the full post on the Expat Blog at Sweden.se:

“You’re Celebrating on the Wrong Day!—and other things you didn’t know about Christmas in Sweden.”

Below, I present to you, the ring dance. Very serious business.

Click here to read the full post on the Expat Blog at Sweden.se.

My Swedish Christmas!

First Christmas in Sweden! I survived… and even better, although I missed my family and the traditions I grew up with, I had a really amazing time with my husband, his (our) family, and friends.

It felt a little odd to celebrate in the afternoon, and if I could compare it to anything, I would say that the way Simon’s family celebrated was pretty similar to an American Thanksgiving. Lots of food, lots of family, and—of course—the scheduled TV events. Only this time, instead of NFL and It’s a Wonderful Life, it was Kalle Anka and Karl-Bertil Johansson, two time-honored Swedish cartoons.

I’m glad I finally got the chance to experience Christmas in Sweden firsthand since I’ve been hearing and reading about it for so long, and this morning I got to debrief with Simon later about the highlights of the day. The thing I like talking about the most, though, is how we’ll be blending our traditions together and making our own new ones in the Christmasses to come… no matter where we are.

There will be lots more to come soon, but for now, here are a few photos from Julafton (Christmas Eve) and the days leading up to the holiday.

Hope you all are with loved ones, whether you’re at home or not, and are enjoying a little rest in the last few days left in 2011!

Catch me on the radio!

If you were ever wondering what broken immigrant Swedish sounds like, here’s your big chance to find out!

I’m going to be on a radio show today at about 1:30 pm Swedish time (7:30 am EST), talking about American and Swedish Christmas traditions with two comedians, Anders Jansson and Johan Wester. And it’ll be in Swedish. I thought it was a great idea at the time, but now I’m terrified. I purposely avoided wearing my favorite sweater this morning because it’s dry clean only and I fully anticipate experiencing periodic full body cold sweats every time I think about it throughout the day.

So! If you want to stream it or at least check out what it is, you can do that here: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/default.aspx?programid=4245

You should see something like this on the top of the page, and then all you have to do is click on the part with a dot and the little sound waves coming out with a JUST NU next to it.

If you miss it, I think you can listen to it later by clicking on the little box that says “senaste sändingen,” although it might take a little time for it to be posted online.

Basically, though, if you’re at all interested in hearing the show, you should catch it on time, because if I make a fool out of myself, you can bet your last dollar that this little how-to guide here will disappear faster than you can say Sweden.

Anyway, wish me luck. Woop woop!

QUIZ MASTERS! Southern Kitchen = New Obsession

Did I ever tell you that I was a QUIZ MASTER? No?! Well, IT’S TRUE! It’s going right up there in the trophy case next to middle school spelling bee champion (TWO TIMES) and my gymnastics trophies (I WON FOR PARTICIPATING) and the medal I got for being in the band (SAXOPHONE).

Muwahahahaha.

We got a certificate and everything.

It all went down on what seemed like a normal Tuesday evening, but turned out to be a night of Epic Quiz Proportions.

The place: Southern Kitchen American Restaurant in Malmö

The team: Sarah, Sarah, Marie, Lloyd, Warren, and Yours Truly 

The theme: The Holidays 

The prize: Two free entrees or four free appetizers, redeemable any time in the next three months

BOOYAH.

What makes Southern Kitchen an American restaurant, you might ask?

Well, for one, their menu mainstay is the burgers page: six burgers to choose from and cornbread comes with your meal. There’s only one beer on tap, and it’s Sam Adams’ Boston Lager. They also have Budweiser, Miller Genuine Draft, Samuel Adams Boston Ale, Samuel Adams Black Lager, Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Brown Ale, Brooklyn East India Pale Ale, and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in bottles.

Much like banana bread, cornbread has the ability to spark spirited debates on the existential composition of cake and bread and the differences to be found betwixt the two.

For dessert, they have an apple pie, and that’s great and all, but let’s be serious. Every country has their own version of an apple pie. Southern Kitchen has a Brownie Sundae, which is actually a million desserts rolled into one and served with a cherry on top. I haven’t tried it yet, but I will. It is fate.

There’s also Southern Fried Chicken.

Anyway, our Swedish-Australian-English-American team crushed the opposition, and now I’m hungry for more. More food and more winning. Quiz nights on Tuesdays… I’ll hopefully be dragging a team there next week.

Join me? 

Southern Kitchen is at Östra Förstadsgatan 24, almost in Värnhem if you’re coming from the center and just before Big Bowl. Brunch… Quiz Night… Live Music sometimes…  Dessert specials on Wednesdays…

Be there or be square. 


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Christmas Spirit Mania

It’s been nutty around here for the last week, and I haven’t had a chance to write much even though the things to write about are piling up.

I have some exciting things coming up, including an interview with the incredible designers behind Herring + Haggis, so stay tuned over the next couple of days for more!

In the meantime, check out these blog posts I’ve written over at Sweden.se about holiday goings-on in Sweden.

Expat Holidays: How to Create Christmas Spirit on the Cheap

Happy Lucia Day!

Christmas time in Sweden: THERE WILL BE GLÖGG!

ALERT! Test yourself for these signs of Holiday Spirit Fever

Happy One Month Anniversary to Us!

When I came home from work tonight, there were two boxes of pizza, bouquet of roses, and a new episode from one of the TV shows we’re watching downloaded and ready to be watched. What a man!

So very, very happy and so very, very in love.

Wishing everyone in the whole world all the best from Lund. :)

 

Ogling macarons in Lund

I had a few minutes to kill before my train to Landskrona, so I wandered oh-so-innocently down Klostergatan to window shop all the bakeries, restaurants, and gourmet grocery stores that are conveniently lined up next to each other. And then I walked by the macaron shop once again.

OH HO HO! LOOK WHO WE HAVE HERE! said I, in my head, so that passersby would not realize that they were in the presence of a crazy person.

AHH, YES. said the macaron shop, equally quietly, also in my head. IT’S THE GIRL WHO ALWAYS WALKS BY AND OGLES MY GOODIES AND YET NEVER BUYS ANYTHING, ISN’T IT. (the question was posed in a non-questioning tone of voice.)

You know, I can’t help myself. I have to stop and ogle. They’re so beautiful! And so artfully arranged in the store window! I walk by this shop all the time, and I always end up transfixed in front of the windows. Nevertheless, I’ve only ever been inside once, and I have yet to buy—or taste—one of the macarons.

The one time I went inside, I was with my friend Anna, who’s kind of a macaron connoisseur. She bought a box with six flavors to take home with her. About twenty minutes later, I got a text message. “These taste like they were made by angels in heaven and were sent down to earth out of love for mankind.” (Or something like that.) Not to overstate it or anything.

Here’s their normal assortment.

I think the reason why I’ve been avoiding actually buying anything here so far is that I’m afraid I’ll end up with a new addiction that I’ll end up feeding once or twice a week. The macarons here are actually not that expensive, compared to other places, and if they’re made by angels up in heaven, pretty much any price seems appropriate, actually. But as long as I haven’t tried them, I can’t crave them, and if I don’t crave them, I won’t buy them. (I’ll just keep buying ridiculous amounts of other kinds of cookies instead, because somehow that’s better…)

Here’s the Christmas selection.

 

From left to right: Santa’s Marshmallow, Winter Apple, Romerska Bågar (Milk Chocolate/Orange), Glögg, Gingerbread, Saffron, Malta Rice, and Christmas Caramel. Pretty ridiculously amazing looking.

Since I’ve written about the store now, I’ll probably have to buy some macarons, because what kind of blogger would I be if I wrote about food or a shop and didn’t even try to experience it first hand? Not a very good one, says I. And then it wouldn’t really be my fault if I happened to get a little bit addicted. I have to check it out and let you all know how they are, right? It’s probably my duty to each and every one of my blog readers, right? Because otherwise my ginormous reading public would be very upset and think I was a fraud and so DON’T WORRY, I’LL GET MYSELF OVER TO THE SHOP AND SAMPLE SOME POSTHASTE.

Plus! I almost forgot the kicker. According to the always-reliable free newspapers, there are plans to open a champagne bar in the macaron shop during the evenings starting in January. HOLY MACAROLI. Who lives in a fancy town now? (It’s me.) I have to go buy the macarons to support the store so that it survives until January and they have enough financial liquidity aka my money to invest in LE CHAMPAGNE, you agree, don’t you?

Good.

If you’re interested in checking out Abrick’s Macaronn yourself, you can find it in central Lund at Klostergatan 11… just don’t get sidetracked by all the other foodie destinations on the street!


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Open all week long (amazing): Monday to Friday, 9-6; Saturday and Sunday, 9-3.

 

Malmö is all dressed up for Christmas

Malmö is all dressed up for Christmas, and I love it. I took a few photos today as I walked from one office to another. All the beautiful lights are enough to make you kind of glad that it’s so dark outside all the time.

On another note, I posted a blog post today on the Expat Blog at Sweden.se called, “THERE WILL BE GLÖGG!” Get it? Get it?! Well. Ok, then.

COME TO MAMA.

Here goes nothing:

In a country filled with seasonal food holiday traditions, I have discovered the tradition to rule them all. The celebration centers on a certain group of foods and drink, but the focus is much more on the Christmas feeling tied to the smells and tastes than the food itself. You will know it by its name and the sound it makes as it goes down your throat:

Glug, glug, glögg!

To read the whole thing, follow this link to “Christmas time in Sweden: THERE WILL BE GLÖGG!” at the Expat Blog at Sweden.se.

There’s Nothing Like Holiday Cheer

Take it from someone who knows.

Image from someecards, my favorite ecard provider on the internet.