Category Archives: Eastern Shore

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.

Swedish in DC… and that one time the Queen saw my butt

So far, my DC life has been much more a Maryland and Sweden life. Even though we’re still living out at the Eastern Shore with my parents, we’ve been in DC every single week for the last month or so. Now we’re exactly one week away from moving in to our new apartment, and as sick as it sounds, I am really, really looking forward to being curled up in one unbroken ball of pain on our new sofa after having lifted several times my body weight up a million stairs.

And as for my Swedish life… I got the world’s best part-time job at the Swedish Embassy as a tour guide on the weekends. There are two exhibits: an interactive display on Education and Innovation and a photography exhibit on Images of Strindberg. It’s kind of amazing to me that all the hard work I put into learning Swedish and understanding Swedish culture is still paying dividends, and this time in the United States! I did my interview in Swedish, which was a first for me, and I’ve had a really fun time walking and taking with visitors.

My "first day of school" picture for starting work at the Swedish Embassy.

Here’s a great story i have so far from my first time at the Embassy since interviewing for my visa. I go in, have a pretty good interview except I was blushing terribly out of nervousness and panicking about my inability to stop blushing, and then I go outside to join Simon, who was waiting for me on a park bench.

At that point, I decided that I absolutely needed to take off my tights because it was a million degrees out. I do that with what I believe is minimal midday mooning and collect myself, turning to see Simon looking at the building.

Oh, there are people up there on the balcony! he said, pointing. Were any of them the ones interviewing you? 

Then, as I’m still trying to focus on the faces, he says, “Oh my God, it’s Silvia!” 

As in Queen Silvia, Queen of Sweden, who was in town for a charitable event and was probably the only one in any position to see my under-dressed butt as I took off my tights. She looked relatively unperturbed, though, so she must have missed it.

The early crowd assembling for a regatta outside the Embassy.

Both of my first days of work were totally beautiful, and on Sunday there was even a rowing regatta on the Potomac right outside the Embassy windows. The weather was perfect, and I got to take a lot of guests up to the rooftop deck to take in the view. Here are a few things I learned in my first days:

  • Running in heels to catch a bus on your way to work will render those formerly-comfortable shoes into instruments of torture.
  • Standing in heels for five hours kills your whole body, not just your feet.
  • If you are blonde and standing in the Swedish Embassy, people will assume that you are Swedish.

Some people have questions that are totally unrelated to the exhibits (read: taxes) so I really appreciate having the knowledge necessary to be able to respond to them in a thoughtful and comprehensive way. The Strindberg exhibit is more of a challenge for me, so I had to cram in a whole bunch of information in the two days leading up to my first tour. It reminded me of taking a foreign language class again… Now all I have to do is remember 7 of 10 irregular past tenses and I’m golden! Thankfully, there’s a sponsored lecture on him next Tuesday, so hopefully I’ll be able to shore up my knowledge pretty quickly.

Besides that, my business is still on and still trucking! After completing just four full months (including our trip to Italy and the transatlantic move), I’m in the black. SWEET! Hopefully the new website will be up soon because I think that will help me promote my services even more. It looks like a couple of new projects are in the works, and I have a freelance writing project keeping me more than busy until then.

All in all, life is treating is verrry well in Amurrica. We shall say what happens when we depart from our residence at the spa (aka my parents’ house) and enter into the real world… a world in which we pay for groceries and are actually responsible for cooking our own food. Let’s be serious: these past six weeks of total pampering have rendered me totally incapable of taking care of myself anymore. Catch you all on the flip side (I will be an unwashed miscreant).

Goodbye for now… | the Expat Blog

I just hit “Publish” on my last blog post at It’s a very bittersweet moment — sad to be leaving behind an amazing period in my life, happy and excited about the adventures that lie ahead.

You can read the post by following the link: “Goodbye for now.”

If you’re coming here from the Expat Blog at, welcome to transatlantic sketches, my own personal “expat blog” that predates the one I had at the Swedish Institute. I’ve always used this space to write about my experiences as an expat — in Italy, in Austria, and in Sweden — and now I’m going to try to continue this blog on this side of the pond to write about my experiences in my home country, the United States.

If you’re curious about some of the stuff that didn’t make it onto the Expat Blog at, you might want to check out some of the following posts:

IS YOUR SNUGGIE SAFE? OnePiece: The Scandinavian challenger to the Snuggie

Mushrooms for Nybörjare: Part One, Le Chanterelle

Into the Woods in Vittskövle

Frank the Sheep Speaks Swedish

The only Swedish Hasbeens I want to be associated with will go on my feet.

Visiting the Fish Church (Feskekörka) in Gothenburg

Photo Essay: Out in Gothenburg’s Harbor

Ben Schott’s Pluviocabulary: A list of words for rain

ICA Maxi: The Walmart solution to all of your European problems

From Påssjuka to Paris… a week of swelling and love

DECEIT! DESPAIR! And other totally normal emotions to feel during a bachelorette party!

24 Hours in Paris, and the conclusion to the world’s most excellent bachelorette party

In the meantime, rest assured that I am being taken care of here in the United States. I’ve already contracted two fatal diseases, which is normal (see the From Påssjuka to Paris blog post if that comment is unclear to you), and my husband and I are staying at my parents’ house until we move in to our new apartment in Washington, D.C.

Thanks for joining me here!

It's just us and the crabs now!


Fall on the Eastern Shore

After about a week of seeing our friends in Sweden post very sad status updates about the weather, we felt like we should also give everyone a little taste of our weather woes.

Simon was pretty chilly when he got out of the pool. It was horrendous.

rain and cold
are not conducive to fun.