Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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spreadsheets and triple contractions – with a side of running

Don't be fooled by the rosy filter, it is cold in there.

Don’t be fooled by the rosy filter, it is cold in there.

After starting my marathon training I did what any sensible person would do. I made a spreadsheet. Okay, to be honest the absolute first thing I did was take an ice bath, because man my legs were not pleased with my decisions. Then I made a spread sheet.

I love spreadsheets. I almost considered being an accountant once, because I heard they get to make a lot of spreadsheets, and I want that to be my job. Nothing came out of that, so that’s neither here nor there, but it does emphasize my point that I love spreadsheets.

My spreadsheet is beautiful and catalogues the training I have completed and the training I plan to complete. For now, our ice times and schedule only come out one week in advance, so I haven’t planned very far into the future as of yet. Once the hockey season ends, and I am better able to gauge what I am capable of, I’ll be able to plan farther in advance.

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This is what I’m talking about:

Training Schedule Pic

You may notice a gap there in the training. I got sick at the end of January, and wasn’t up to training. I feel I should take something away from my getting sick so soon after starting my training. However, it’s still unclear if I jumped into too much training at once, or if I should focus on abstaining from allowing three year olds to cough directly into my air passages. Definitely one of the two.

I’m excited to see what will come of the spreadsheet in the future as I complete more training. Y’all’ll just have to wait and see! (Why isn’t a triple contraction acceptable in the English language? Triple contractions are another thing I love.)

Cheers!

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bike fix it day

blue bikeIn Sweden you do a lot of biking. Especially when you don’t have a Swedish driver’s license. Initially I thought having a bike would be a lot simpler than having a car. But it turns out you have to also maintain a bike. Especially one that lives outside. The outside life is a hard one. For this reason I occasionally schedule a bike fix it day, in order to keep my bike running smoothly.

Since I moved to Sweden I have had two different bikes. Both of them have been bought used, and both of them were bought in Linköping. Older bikes hold up. The bikes made back in the day were good quality bikes.

My first bike had like a million gears. Or, more accurately, 10. The poor baby broke when the gears broke off of the frame and got wrapped around the pedal. Bad day. I took it to a bike shop and ended up trading it in for another used bike. This bike has been with me for almost three years now. Ol’ reliable.

green bikeBut, like I said, bikes require some maintenance. I’ve replaced the saddle, replaced the break wire, re-strung the gears (multiple times, and I will need to do this again….maybe I should ask someone to do it for me next time…) I’ve also added a basket and front & back lights. In Sweden you will be fined $100 per missing light if you are stopped by a police officer without a front or back light. Front lights have to be white and back lights have to be red.

Admittedly, I am not an expert biker. Biking in the winter is not for me, and I’ve fallen off three times since moving to Sweden. If you think I was cushioned by a nice fluffy snow bank, you would be wrong. It was more accurately a skidding-across-ice-break-my-laptop fall, later followed by a bike-falling-out-from-under-me-in-public event, and even later followed by a face-plant-into-ice incident. I was less than impressed, but thankfully (mostly) uninjured.

Ryan helpingThis winter I needed to replace the inner tube and tire on my front wheel, after it exploded with small pieces ricocheting onto Evelina – my bad. I accomplished this task with lots of help from Evelina and Ryan. Yes, the project was completed during Ryan’s visit! Now my bike looks even spiffier with a front grey tire. It was the only tire in the correct dimensions available at the bike shop, plus it looks ballin’.

I will inevitably need to do more maintenance on ol’ reliable in the future. But I’m okay with it. It’s worth it. Despite the occasional mishap, I really do enjoy biking. It’s good exercise, good for the environment, doesn’t require gas, and is in general rather low-cost. Luckily the cities of Sweden are teeming with well-lit bike paths.

See you on the streets!

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2013-2014 hockey season

Every hockey season spans two years. Since starting off the hockey season in September we have come a long way.  The second half of the season starts tomorrow with a game in Stockholm.

Back in September we had a team bonding day where we played different team bonding games. Games that involved long poles, cooking meat sauce and rock climbing. It was a great day, where lots of bonding took place.

poles and such

meat sauce

climbing

We had a few serious conversations about our goals that day. I thought it’d be fun to take a look back, now that we’re embarking on a new year and the second half of regular play. Which is why I made a word cloud, using the fancy Java found here. Before our season started up we had the following goals and ideas about what this season would look like and what it would take to get where we wanted to be.

lindendam_wordcloud

Yes this is in Swedish. For those of you less adept at the Swedish language I also made one in English.

wordcloud_english

This is how we thought, felt, and expected to act at the beginning of the season. This is what we thought we would need to achieve in order to reach our goals.

Side bar: I know I didn’t translate “allettan”. Let me explain. We play in Division 1 East. That entails that at the end of our season three teams from our division move on to compete in a tournament called “allettan”. Allettan is a compilation of the top teams of Division 1 across Sweden. The top two teams from the allettan tournament go on to compete with the bottom two teams in riksserien for a spot in next years riksserien (the highest women’s hockey league in Sweden).

I thought it would be interesting to take a look again at what we were looking to get out of this season. How well have we lived up to these goals? It may be too soon to tell. We still have a chance at making it to allettan, but the road ahead will be a long one. We will have to work harder than we have worked thus far. I still think all of these words have a place in describing our team. I hope they still do when the season wraps up.

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what’s the deal sweden?

Today I checked when Sweden would have more sunlight hours than Boston. March 19th. I plan to have a party that day. I miss the sun. You are all invited to my sun party. Details to come.

In the mean time I’d like to complain. It’s one thing to have a ridiculously dark winter. But a snow-less winter? That’s just not okay in my book. Here in Sweden there was no snow on Christmas or New Years. As far as I’m concerned it might as well not snow anymore. The cheery cozy Christmas with snow outside and a roaring fire never came to be. A glistening snow filled walk down to the city to watch the fireworks was not the case. Now it might as well be spring.

photo 1 (7)

It has been grey and gloomy instead.

photo 2 (8)

Counting down the days until March 19th.

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liseberg

I don’t know if you heard. But there was a woman who fell out of the tallest wood-steel roller coaster, at six flags Texas.

Last year I feel like there was also an incident where someone fell out of a roller coaster. Maybe it was the year before that.

This is clearly terrible news. But, aside from freaking me out a bit at the time, it hasn’t really affected me in the long run.

Yes, this means I’ve been to amusement parks the past few summers in a row. I’m not sure what that says about my intelligence. But, I’ve always gone before these accidents have happened…and not to the same exact park. Helps?

Liseberg day

Anyway, two summers ago I made my first ever trip to Liseberg in Gothenburg (Göteborg for all you Scandinavians out there). Evelina got train tickets and tickets to the park for me for my birthday. I was thrilled. Because a) I love amusement parks and b) they had just opened the highest free fall roller coaster in Europe. It’s name is AtmosFear (the cunningness of which is reason in and of itself to ride the ride – if you ask me). It’s 146 meters above sea level, and drops you at 110 km/h. Yeah I had no idea what that meant either. That’s 482 feet above sea level, or about 2/3rds of the way around 1 lap on your average track. At 87 miles/hr, or fast enough to get you a killer of a speeding ticket on a state highway. Not bad I say, not bad.

AtmosFear

Gothenburg is a beautiful city, and catching the view of it from the top of AtmosFear is certainly worth it. Unless you’re terrified of heights. This may not need to be said, but: don’t ride the ride if heights terrify you.

But summer fun isn’t the only thing that Liseberg has to offer.

photo 3 (1)

During the winter months Liseberg becomes a spectacular winter wonderland. No, the rides are not operational, something about whipping around at 100km/h when it’s -10 degrees Celsius just doesn’t add up. What they do have to offer is a Julmarknad, or Christmas market. They also have a charming Christmas atmosphere to offer. And really that’s the best part. No, I’m not being extremely sarcastic, so don’t read it like that. What’s even better than the best part is going there with great company. (Still serious.)

Julmarknad

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happy lucia!

It’s that time again! Today is Lucia, so I hope you all have a happy happy day. Last year I wrote about the Lucia tradition here in Sweden. It’s a pretty big day.

You all remember the general gist of things. Swedes dress up in one of four outfits, walk around in a line while sing traditional songs, and then eat lussekatter & drink glögg.

This year at work a colleague and I were in charge of planning the Lucia train for the children at the pre-school. It was quite the task as over 200 people would be present. We were in charge of scheduling, assignment of different tasks, attendance, food, et cetera. Basically, this was my first endeavor into party planning – for 5 year olds. I think we pulled it off. My biggest fear was not realized (that someone would get set on fire – which was rational, we had open flame), and none of the children cried. The children seemed to have a grand ol’ time singing away the an outdoor stage, and the parents crowded around trying to get a good photo.

I would do it again next year. To be honest, just give me an excuse to wear a Santa hat and I’m in.

photo (3)

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