Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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memory lane: welcome to spain dracula!

Spain part 3 of 3. The final installment. Join me today along memory lane back to my 25 before 25 list. Number 16: visit a friend at their new residence.

“Welcome to Spain Dracula!” Katie shouted to me across the bus station.

Not really. But maybe she should have.

Since we don’t live in a fake Tina Fey improv session, when I arrived in Don Benito Katie walked across the train station and introduced herself to María-José. As you remember, my new friend.

Spain pt. 3.1

After saying farewell to María-José, Katie and I made out way to Katie’s place of residence for the past year. The difference between Madrid and Don Benito was striking. Just taking the short stroll through the city center to Katie’s apartment made that clear. Don Benito is a charming little city, where Katie was working for the year as an English teacher. Her time in Spain was coming to a close, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to travel Spain with a new native. (You become a native in a year….right?)

Spain pt. 3.2

Katie’s front door

The view from the balcony

The view from the balcony

After getting to Katie’s apartment (and checking off number 16 on my list), I dropped off my bags and we went back into town to drink tinto with Katie’s friends. The next day we were heading down to Sevilla so it wasn’t a late night, but it was great to meet the people Katie had spent the past year with.

Yummmm....tinto

Yummmm….tinto

Little did she know, a sun burn was on its way

Little did she know, a sun burn was on its way

Sevilla was hot. This was May, and I had just recovered from a Swedish winter, so believe me when I say, Sevilla was hot! We meandered through the city taking in the sights. Ate often at this little chain restaurant they have in Spain, 100 cervezas, where you buy tiny little sandwiches and get a pint of beer at ridiculously low prices. We drank more beer on the beach, and I managed to get ridiculously sun burnt (as I failed to heed the advice from María-José who warned me of this on our ride). Over all it was an awesome time.

Spain pt. 3.6

Spain pt. 3.7

In the evenings we ate dinner in charming little spanish squares. Where the tall buildings surround us on all four sides, yet the squares are still big enough to harbor small trees. Small children run through, laughing loudly, aided with extra energy at the late hour because of their timely siesta earlier that day.

It was in one of these squares that Katie and I had one of our conversations that I will never forget. There was the sound of a guitar trickling out a nearby open window, and Katie asked me how I knew Evelina was the one. I grinned, sipping my Spanish red wine in the moonlight and explained: It’s like I’ve found this person. I am hers, and she is mine. And everything else in the world, all the noise, it will settle down. It will resolve. there’s no need to think or worry about that. Because, forever, there will be us.

I had never before put my love to words for another before, and that evening is a moment I will always remember. For this I will always love best friends, and Spain, and red wine, and moonlight.

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happy wedding max & amelia

This summer two amazing people tied the knot. Maxwell & Amelia celebrated their love surrounded by friends and family on a beautiful island off the coast of Maine. The rehearsal dinner was entertaining and celebratory, the wedding ceremony was beautiful and lead seamlessly into an amazing night to remember.

Rehersal Dinner

Wedding

The entire weekend was made all the better as many of my high school friends were in attendance and we had our own mini reunion. The weekend surrounded by great friends was made all the better with fun activities.

Lobster dinner

Lobster dinner

On a boat!

On a boat!

Brunch

Brunch

Relaxing after jumping off the HUGE rock!

Relaxing after jumping off the HUGE rock!

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Ice cream!

The weekend on Frye island is not one I’ll soon forget! Congratulations again Max & Amelia, what an amazing weekend!

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july travels

While on my blogging sabbatical Evelina and I travelled to the good old U S of A. We attended my cousin Maegan’s wedding, celebrated the Fourth of July, went kayaking, ate frozen yogurt, and lots of other summery fun things.

July 2015

It’s nice to reminisce on long summer days, especially now that the darkness has fallen upon Sweden as winter quickly approaches.

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one year, three months

A little over a year ago I married the best person I know.

Today we have been together for seven years.

I also promised my loved ones who weren’t able to celebrate with us that I’d post pictures. Though a full online album has yet to be created, here are at least a few more snapshots from the day.

“It only took a moment to decide to love you, wildly with my whole heart & the thing that amazes me again & again is that it really is as simple as that….”

wedding pic 1

wedding pic 2

wedding pic 3

wedding pic 4

wedding pic 5

So happy to have called you mine for the past seven years.

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five years in sweden


Five years and one month ago today I moved across the Atlantic to be with my beloved.

I sort of can’t believe it.

  • There are full humans that have existed for a shorter period of time than I have lived in Sweden.
  • I meet people today who I only ever speak Swedish with. Never English.
  • I sing along with all the annoying jingles on the radio – in my second language.
  • I fika regularly and don’t get hung up about it.
  • I can name (and have visited) more than five cities in Sweden.

It’s madness. What once seemed unusual and extraordinary has become just a day in the life.

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the vasa museum

On my list of things to do in Sweden I list visiting the Vasa Museum. This is because it is one of the coolest museums I have been to. It takes a turn from your normal museum scene (pictures/painting/art on display, or multiple exhibits spanning years of history). The Vasa Museum has chosen its focus, that focus being the 17th century ship the Vasa.

Vasa vertical

The Vasa was a war ship that could hold 64 cannons and 300 soldiers. The ship was ordered to be built by king Gustav II Adolf, who was very concerned with status symbols. The Vasa took almost two years to build by head engineer Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa then sank in  1628 on her maiden voyage, after only sailing 1300 meters. Not surprising as the engineers knew it could not sail because of instability. However if the ship were to be built today it is likely the captain would be held responsible for the accident as Söfring Hansson should have sailed with the cannon doors shut to protect against an already unstable boat from sinking. 30 men, women and children died aboard the Vasa, and 15 sets of remains were found upon the ships surfacing. At the museum there is a section called “Face to Face” where you can learn about these people aboard the great war ship.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The ship spent three centuries under water before the Swedish marine technician Anders Franzén found it and began a campaign to retrieve the ship from its watery grave. Once surfaced in 1961 took almost 30 years to prepare and restore the ship and build the museum that the Vasa is standing in today. All new wood & restorations are done in untreated wood, so that a clear difference is seen between new wood and the 400 year old shipwreck wood.

The Vasa horizontal

I have never been to such a singularly focused museum. The ship is impressive enough in and of itself that the history behind it and extra details presented makes the museum a must visit in Stockholm city. Extra points if you sing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme for your entire visit.

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get a swedish passport

Now, I may have let the cat out of the bag a little on this one. News of my citizenship was published most recently this summer, following that I put up a picture during Sweden’s latest elections.

passports

While not explicitly stated at the time, it could have been deduced, that both of those passports are mine. You betcha! They are. I’ve officially crossed off number seven on my 30 before 30 list. Per our recent trip to Iceland it seemed like a good idea to get the document.

Travel within the Scandinavian countries actually doesn’t require a passport, other certified types of ID are also accepted. Such as a EU driver’s licence or a government issued ID card. I do have an EU driver’s licence, so my initial plan was to use that for travel between Sweden and Iceland this summer. But then I was reading up on being a dual citizen. Both on the US governmental and Swedish governmental websites it states that dual citizens must ALWAYS use the passport issued by country of entrance and exit, when entering and exiting said country. I’m pretty sure it’s also all caps, bold and underlined on the websites.

Not wanting to take any risks it seemed worth the 50 bucks to get the Swedish passport before exiting and entering Sweden. I mean all caps, bold and underline is serious, right?

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