Category Archives: United States

South River Falls in Shenandoah Park

A week after visiting Lara, I was back in Shenandoah, this time with Simon instead of on my own. We went for a hike along the South River Falls trail because the park ranger promised waterfalls. We weren’t disappointed.

Afterwards, we picnicked on leftover Afghani food from the day before and ate pie before heading north and back to real life.


Drive through Shenandoah

I went to Roanoke and Blacksburg last weekend via the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park, and despite the torrential rain and low visibility that persisted for the first half of my seven hour drive, I still saw beautiful nature. For example…

I also felt pretty lucky to be driving through Shenandoah in the clouds because almost no one else was on the Skyline. 35 mph?! I’ve got a better idea.

Blue skies in DC

I had a headache all morning yesterday, so I took a break from work around 1 pm to walk around a little and get some fresh air. I went through the canal areas and down to the Georgetown harbor.


Gazing at Rosslyn from the Georgetown harbor area.

It was all bright sun, blue skies, and business lunches, with the occasional yacht floating by. How amazing is it to have this green space (or blue, I guess) so central in DC? I love this city.

Lenten sugar cravings

I gave up sugar for Lent again, which is easier than it was last year but STILL NOT FUN in any way. (Just to impress upon you the hardcore nature of this promise, I’m not eating anything with honey or artificial sweeteners in it either, which means no flavored yogurt, no lattes, and no processed bread.) I’m still drinking wine, though, because a girl’s got to have her limits. Right? Right.

In the last two weeks, I had more or less gotten past the point of feeling intense cravings, which was great. Until this past Saturday, that is, when I made an exception to my Lenten promise so that I could taste wedding cake with Simon and my parents.

Four tiny, delicious sample wedding cakes… and so pristine in their as-yet unravaged state.

So much sugar… so much deliciousness. There is nothing like tiny cakes in the middle of Lent to make me feel like a crack addict on a mission. And once I got a bite, I was totally off the wall for the next hour.

Post-apocalyptic wedding cake.

And as you can see, devastation was swift and merciless. We all had tiny pieces so that we could taste each flavor combination, so there’s more left in the refrigerator, taunting and beguiling me with its sweet song: mmm, delicious sugars, must eat the cake!! 

I really need Simon to come home from work so that we can finish it off for good. Not because of my own selfish purposes, of course, but so that we can make final decisions about wedding cake. Obviously.


How do I say this in a way that doesn’t reveal my inner super geek…

A combination adult spelling bee and happy hour is undeniably — and shamefully — really tempting to me.

Look at the excitement… the tension… the drama! [screenshot from living social]

And it’s only $5… a small price for a night out in the city, a large cost to my effort to not be a total nerd all the time.

Nonstop excitement at the Embassy of Sweden

For the last two weeks, it has been nonstop excitement for me at the Embassy of Sweden. Right now, the Kennedy Center is hosting a gigantic festival called Nordic Cool focused on Scandinavian culture: theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, and film from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as the territories of Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands.

At the same time, the Embassy of Sweden has planned a jam-packed schedule of events in conjunction with Nordic Cool to support the Swedish cultural offerings and to tie into this year’s theme for public diplomacy, which is Globalization and Migration. So awesome. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to work with the Embassy’s cultural department on public outreach to connect with people who would be interested in our events.

Monday was the grand opening for the Embassy of Sweden’s public diplomacy theme, so the day was spent finalizing the installation of the exhibits and preparing for the gala party later that evening.

This is one section of the Dressing Swedish exhibit, which was being installed and finalized on Monday. So exciting!

Dressing Swedish is an amazing exhibit about folk costumes in Sweden: how they create and express different visions of Swedish identity, how the folk traditions are being incorporated into modern fashion, and how they are re-imagined by descendants of Swedish immigrants in the United States. I had seen sketches of the exhibition layout earlier, but seeing it set up was a totally different thing.

One of my favorite parts of the Dressing Swedish exhibit: an example of the Swedish national dress, and an image of an updated version with hijab on the display. So cool!

There are four exhibits in total: Dressing Swedish, The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank (a furniture and textiles showcase), Memories of Stone (a drop-dead gorgeous photography exhibit), and The Third Room: a Sound Walk (an interactive radio theater program for children).  Last fall, we had only two exhibits, so as a tour guide, it’s exciting to have so much more to present from Sweden, especially since the exhibits cover such different areas of culture.

Just a little taste of the items on display in The Enduring Designs of Josef Frank.

The Josef Frank exhibit was probably my favorite to research ahead of time since there are so many amazing images on the internet of different rooms decorated with Josef Frank’s furniture and textiles. I am sadly now filled with lust for very expensive interior design.

Finally it was time for the opening party. After one last job — escorting a journalist through the Josef Frank exhibit — I got to slow down, relax, and enjoy the party. Our welcome drinks were oh-so-Swedish (elderflower and Absolut vodka) and very Nordic Cool with the glowing ice cubes.

Glowing ice cubes made our welcome drinks so beautiful – and maybe even more delicious.

I didn’t think to take pictures of the food, but I should have. The Ambassador’s personal chef was responsible for the buffet, and it was delicious. I think my favorites were the wild game meatballs, the pâté with pear chutney toasts, and the lobster soup. There was also an ice cream bar outside, but I didn’t get to try it, thanks to my Lenten resolution to give up sugar.

If you’re in DC, you should come on by!

You can find details and sign up for all of our events on Eventbrite at We also have open hours on Thursday evenings, 5:30-9 pm, and on weekends, 11-4 on Saturdays and 12-5 on Sundays. I’ll be your lovely tour guide and do my best to answer all your questions!


The month of January: gone!

And bang! In the blink of an eye, January was gone.

The highlight of my month was definitely my trip to Colorado to see Maura, a long-lost soul sister, who I hadn’t seen in approximately one million years (otherwise known as since New Year’s Day 2011). Maura lives in Denver now, a city that is much farther away from DC than Simon had ever imagined. So much so that he spent about 15 minutes measuring the length between the two cities with his thumb and forefinger and comparing it to the distances between different cities in Europe to put it in perspective.

“It’s like going from Stockholm to Crete! It’s like going from Lisbon to Krakow!” 

You get the idea.

I left early in the morning on Saturday with the blinding sun at my back and returned early in the morning on Tuesday with the blinding sun in my eyes. With a new appreciation for just how much distance I was covering (thanks, Simon), it was really wonderful to watch the scenery change beneath me from city to mountains to farmland to serious mountains once again.

The best part about my trip to Denver was having so much quality time with Maura so that we could really catch up on the last two years. Two years! In that time, she met a special guy and gotten engaged and I never even got to meet him until now. Crazy.

We spent one day in the mountains, one day in Denver, and one day going to Maura’s favorite places in the areas around Denver. I went snowshoeing for the first time. The sun was shining, and Maura brought German chocolate cake in her backpack to eat at the top of the trail.

I also love that Maura, who is not super interested in food in general, took me to one million delicious places to eat and drink. We had Vietnamese pho, Nepalese dumplings, Cuban coffee and toast, and classic Colorado microbrews at the Wynkoop Brewing Company. Who knew that Denver is so multicultural? (Not me.)

Hanging out with Maura also got me started on the activity that has consumed the second half of January: WEDDING PLANNING. All this time, I’ve been like, ”Yeah, the wedding’s going to be awesome, but the last time we planned everything within six weeks, so… you know… it’s going to be fine.”

Now I am totally psyched for wedding planning. Like: what are we going to eat?! What color dress do I choose for my bridesmaids?! Who will take the photos?? You know, really life-altering stuff.

We even went to a wedding expo – my mom, Simon, and me – to get inspiration. Simon was one of two men in attendance. (More on that later…) Suffice to say that while stuff like the photos below are totally cute, we will be putting our money on the food and the booze rather than the decorations. Because that’s the way we are.

And then the last thing that I have been totally obsessed with (related to wedding planning, not that we can ever get off of that subject again, sorry!) is the wedding dress. I have two amazing options: wear the one I had for my wedding in Sweden, or update my mom’s and wear that? I took them both to the tailor this morning to see what she thought (I’d need some minor alterations on the one I wore in Sweden, too) and just got so excited by them both. Decisions, decisions!!

February’s going to be huge for me: lots of work coming up on the horizon for the Swedish Embassy, more wedding planning, and hopefully a lot more writing than what I’ve been doing in the past weeks.

Here we go, February. Ready, set, action.

Deer at dusk

After 22 years of living in the suburbs, I was pretty darn convinced that I was a city girl for life. My parents’ new house, way out in rural Maryland, has at least opened me up to the beauty of living in the country. I think I’d still take the people-watching over the bird-watching, but I love turning the corner at the very end of the drive to their house and occasionally encountering the herd of deer that stand still and stare at us rather than run away. They’re not domesticated, but they’re not that scared of us anymore, giving me enough time to take a quick snapshot before they hear something undetectable by my ears and bolt away.

January 1, 2013


The last month or two have flown by, and as I ate breakfast with Simon yesterday morning, I felt almost panicked that 2013 was less than 24 hours away. Simon laughed at me, of course, and tried to convince me not to be so silly.

I don’t think that a year can get more jam-packed than the one that just concluded. (I’m probably tempting the fates by saying that, but oh well.) We moved four times in 2012, from our little nest in Kobjer to the rental in Nöbbelöv to Simon’s parents’ apartment in Klostergården for our last two weeks in Sweden. Then we took the leap across the pond, first to my parents on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and finally to D.C.

We packed and unpacked. Made new friends and said our goodbyes. Left our home in Sweden to be welcomed home again in the United States. Reconnected with long lost friends and places. Went from working full time to starting a company to taking our first big vacation of the last few years to trying to transition my company from its new home in DC.

As I look forward to 2013, it’s pretty unlikely that this period of major transitions will continue. Instead, the story of 2013 may just be the story of trying out new habits and patterns of life here in D.C. and gradually settling into those that suit us best.

What I’ve found over the past year is that moving entails more than just transferring your furniture from one place to another – it erases the momentum you’ve built up in your daily habits and presents you with a clean slate to reinvent the way you spend your hours, even if the move is within the same city. Where will we spend our free time? What routes will find ourselves walking and re-walking? What little niches will we carve for ourselves in this city?

Happy, happy, happy new year to you wherever you are and in whatever state of motion you find yourself. Much love from me in D.C. Bring it on, 2013!

DC Love

I was on my way home from a very lukewarm “hot yoga” when I spotted this car parked in a driveway on 13th St. Feeling the DC love.


rain and cold
are not conducive to fun.