Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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gröna lund

One of many Things To Do In Sweden, as listed by yours truly, is to visit Gröna Lund. Which is an amusement park on Djurgården island, which you can get to by ferry, bus, car, bike, skateboard, walking – and those standing scooter things that I assume were created to increase the spread of obesity the world over. And yes, standing scooter things is an official Google search term.

What I’m saying is, you can get there by many means. Once there, and you have paid the admission fee and possibly bought your ride wrist band or tickets, you are free to run around and explore the wonderful mini-world that is this amusement park.

I’ve been a few times, the most recent time being last summer. My personal favorite rides are the tallest ones, especially Eclipse where you can see absolutely fabulous views of Stockholm.

Gröan 2015

Grönan 2

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Of course no trip to Gröna Lund would be complete without Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

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All in all Grönan (as the locals call it) is a great time!

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on this, brother, the day of your birth

I’ve started a little tradition by writing a blog post on my brothers’ birthdays, and it’s that time of year again! Ryan has become another year wiser, Happy Birthday brother!

Today I want to share our most recent memory, that is to say our most recent IRL interaction.

Sidebar: (IRL = in real life)

Ryan came to visit during his spring break this year. *WOO HOO!* He got to do super fun things, like meet his niece for the very first time.

But first coffee:

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Cuddle time:

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Doctor’s appointment:

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Games galore!

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Food time (for everyone):

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Even Ryan got in a hockey practice (can’t let Dad one-up you!):

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I hope you have just as much fun today as you obviously had on your latest trip to Sweden.

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play kubb

Having our wedding in Sweden was like having a destination wedding for half of the guests. That half being my side of the family. Luckily for Evelina and I many members of my family made the trip over the Atlantic to celebrate our wedding with us. We wanted to make the trip memorable while hopefully getting a chance to show family and friends a bit of our life here in Sweden.

How did we do that you ask? Activities. Summer in Sweden is quite an event. I word it that way because that’s really the whole of it. There are events! The sun is up longer so you can do more stuff. Like riding bikes, going swimming at the summer-house, watching speedway, eating ice cream, playing kubb in the park, enjoying fika, going to free outdoor concerts, golfing, visiting Stockholm and riding the Sky View, going to museums, not to mention eating at all the best places (often enjoyed in outdoor seating).

Riding bikes.

Riding bikes

Swimming at the summer house.

Swimming at the summer-house

Speedway

Speedway

Ice cream treats

Ice cream treats

Play kubb in the park.

Playing kubb in the park

07 Fika

Fika at our place

 

Golfing.

Golfing

Sky View

Sky View

The Photography Museum

The Photography Museum

Eating at the best places

Eating at the best places

Now, the title of this post is play kubb, seeing as you’re here anyway, I’d like to explain the rules. Per Swedish tradition, when summer is in full bloom, the Swedes venture outside with wooden blocks. These blocks come in three shapes. A king, which is the tallest of the lot (naturally), which looks like a rectangular wooden block only with a square-shaped crown on top. Then there are 10 smaller rectangular wooden blocks, and 6 cylindrical blocks. There are two teams, each with 5 of the rectangular blocks. These are to stand in the grass in a line, each team’s line of blocks are parallel to each other and a good distance apart. The king is placed in the middle with equal distance from both teams’ line of blocks. Teams then take turns throwing the cylindrical wooden pieces across the playing field attempting to knock down the other teams rectangular blocks. This is where rules may vary, but we played that the first time a team knocks down another team’s block it is then thrown across half of the field of play, that is to say past the king. The team who owned that block now has to knock it down before moving on to the other team’s blocks – as a sort of penalty. Penalty blocks must be stacked onto one another if the team tossing them can hit one penalty block with another. The first team to knock down all the other team’s blocks gets a chance at the king. The king must be knocked down from an upside-down position, where the cylindrical block is thrown between the thrower’s legs. It’s quite the competition.

Evelina and I could not have been happier to share all of this with friends and family. If this doesn’t get you to want to come to Sweden, I don’t know what will. See you this summer! We’ll play some kubb.

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midsommar

It’s official! Midsummer has come and gone in the wonderful land of Scandinavia. (As well as, y’know, the northern hemisphere.) The big day was the Friday before last. Festivities, cheer, and spirits ran high. It was a magical day where the sun never set. Pretty much. Seeing as today is the 4th of July, which means outdoor adventures, grilling, cake, and fireworks in the good ‘ol US of A, I thought I’d show you what we do in Sweden in the summer time to have a good time. (Fireworks just don’t work as well when it doesn’t get dark.) As this was my third consecutive midsummer spent in Sweden, I now know all of the ingredients necessary to make the most of your long, long day. I will now share them with you. The following steps need to be followed in order to have a successful midsummer. (Midsommar in Swedish.) The order is not required, only recommended.

  1. Head out to the country house, this part is key, because all the best midsummer parties are in the country. (I am entirely making this up.) Just be sure to have a high flying Swedish flag somewhere near by, and you’re bound to find the fun.
  2. Fika. A Swedish word for having coffee and cake. Or cookies. Or cupcakes. Best case scenario? All of the above.
  3. Play kubb. A Swedish game where you throw wooden pieces across the playing area trying to knock over the wooden pieces belonging to the other team. You win when you knock all of theirs over, and then the king. The king stands in the middle. Bonus: win.
  4. Make flower crowns. A long standing tradition on midsummer is to make flower crowns. Boys, girls, young, and old gather flowers from far and wide to create a crown. It’s required wear to the crown to the raising of the maypole, so be sure to complete this step early in the day.
  5. Lunch. A very important step. Very. Important. This is when you eat all sorts of wonderful Swedish food. Swedish meatballs, Janssons, red beet salad, boiled eggs, sil, sausage, and vegetables. (Vegetables optional.) If you’re lucky you’ll get a lovely day of sun, and can eat outside in the bright sunshine. Luckily, this was one such day.
  6. Optional: get dressed in traditional Swedish garb. The photo shown is if Evelina’s Aunt Pia. The pattern for this dress is from the 15th century. However, in the 15th century they would not have been able to achieve that color red dye, because there is nothing in Sweden that could create that dye. Another option is to be a ridiculously cute Swedish child with bright blonde hair and a flowy white dress.
  7. Head on down to the maypole raising. Where “strong men” are asked to assist in the raising, and thereafter children and parents dance around in a circle. It’s magical. And you get treats for participating.
  8. If you’re feeling lucky go ahead and buy a raffle ticket. There are a number of items for children to win, as well as two prizes for the adults. Age appropriate prizes, like water guns and alcohol. (In a perfect world you’d get both.)
  9. If you’ve got a sweet tooth try your hand at the chocolate wheel. At 2 SEK a turn you can afford to play until you win!! Hopefully you win big and get Toffifee or Tobelerone. Not bad. (Although your chances are…)
  10. The next part is key in working up a good appetite for step 10. As well as legally required. Swimming!! So get over the 18 degree (centigrade) water and jump in!! As a former lifeguard I feel the need to ask you to please be sure to swim responsibly, and ensure that life saving devices are at hand.
  11. Dinner. This means breaking out the grill, and more outdoors eating. Essentially the goal on midsummer is to be outside for the entire day. Now’s the time for meat on the grill, potatoes al gratin, and salad. After dinner it’s cake time. Where the traditional midsummer strawberry cake is revealed. All good holidays include cake, I always say. (I also say all good days include cake.)
  12. What better way to continue the evening than with dancing!! Head on up to the dance floor and show your moves!
  13. Stroll on over to the waterfront to catch the beautiful sunset, that will seem to last for ages. Because it will.
  14. Then it’s time to head back over for some games and dancing! Try your luck at some throwing darts or BB gun shooting! Just make sure you haven’t had “too many” to be a good shot. Or ensure that you have, so that you’re a good shot. It goes both ways. Especially for that hag in front of me in the BB gun line. I have yet to hit the target (in three years), and her worst shot was an 8, and she’d “NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE!!” Take it down a decibel, lady, no one cares. (Read: I care very much, and am very bitter.) Then, hit the dance floor and break it down. The chocolate wheel is open all night if you’ve got a craving, and the near by swings are good fun for all ages.
  15. The last and final step is to return home and try to sleep. Even though the sky looks like photo 24…bright.

I hope these steps will ensure your next midsummer will be as memorable as mine was. Hejdå!

P.S. Happy 4th everybody!!