Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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surprising evelina on her birthday

Do you know how difficult it is to surprise Evelina? I’ll tell you, it is incredibly difficult.

Some of my failed attempts at surprising Evelina on different occasions have included such things from Christmas present shopping to trying to make dinner unannounced. Either I’m an open book to her, or she has some sort of magical intuition which translates my sentence “I’m on my way home now, I left late from work” to “I left work right on time, went to the grocery store and am secretly making a surprise dinner for you at this exact moment”.

Evelina may have a crystal ball.
Or be in cohorts with the NSA. Or whatever the Swedish equivalent may or may not be.

This year I finally did it! It took almost 6 months of planning, the careful disclosure of said surprise to select individuals (as to not thwart my plan), and a whole lot of anxiety on my part that I’d somehow let it slip. I didn’t though, and I gleefully completed number 28 on my 30 before 30 list.

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Speaking of turning 30, this year is the big 3-0 for Evelina. Hence the long drawn out process that was my preparing to surprise her. Like I said, it was a six month process that involved ensuring neither of us would be working on the big day (today); followed by planning and booking a week’s trip to Gotland, and then shutting up about it for the (seemingly endless) time up until Evelina’s birthday celebration.

Yes, the big surprise for Evelina’s 30th birthday is a trip to that island off the coast of Sweden that I wrote about back in 2014. The whole family will be going, all three of us. I still can’t believe my lucky stars that I get to share my life with this amazing woman. For every day that I have known you, I am grateful. I cherish dearly every moment that we have spent together. Surprise, my love, I hope you have a wonderfully happy 30th birthday.

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mom’s day

I don’t mean Mother’s Day, I mean my mother’s day. Her birthday. My Mum is turning 39 this year (as far as I know), and I’d like to wish her a wonderful day!

Though today may not involve a surprise visit from across the great blue, I hope it’s just as wonderful. This is a big year. Not only is four-oh approaching (right?) but this is Mum’s first birthday as a Nana!


It may be hard to tell by the clenched fist pictured above, but Baby K is so happy to have you as her Nana. We all hope you enjoy your birthday present.


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welcome to the world

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Hello,

Welcome to the world my baby. Allow me to introduce myself, I’m your Mommy. We live in Sweden where your Mama grew up. We are very lucky to have you. Some of your family lives here in Sweden with us, and some of your family lives in the US. Everybody is looking forward to your first flight across the ocean. Most of all Mama.

You came into our lives earlier than we expected little one, and we are happy and relieved that you’re doing so well. Luckily, in Sweden both of your mommies can be with you full time these first few important weeks of your life. We have had a wonderful experience at the hospital, where we’ve lived all together as a family for a week now. Everyone says how cute you are. Me and your Mama most of all.

During this first week you have already grown a lot. Gaining weight and getting longer. My does time fly. Images of you going off to college already plague my imagination. Mama says there’s a lot of time between then and now, I have yet to be convinced. I wish we could be together always.

You’ll learn about the world soon enough so I won’t spoil the surprise now, but I want you to know that me and your Mama are over the moon to have you here with us. We are so grateful. Please take your time growing up.

Love,
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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 maegan & joe


My cousin Maegan got married in July. Evelina and I were among those in attendance and we had the best time! The wedding was out in the country by a big old barn (renovated for just such an occasion). We could not have asked for better weather or a better hype guy.


You know the guy at a party or club that gets everyone into it? Yeah that guy was amazing at his job. He kept the night rolling and all guests entertained. We danced away, the bride and groom cut the cake, and there was a great entrance sequence. Not necessarily all in that order, but you get the idea, it was a night to remember. Don’t worry, there’s even picture proof.


Congratulations to the happy couple!

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39 is it?

Now, to be sure, one doesn’t ask a woman’s age. One just shan’t. On this day we celebrate my mother’s birthday, how old she turns, nobody knows. Except those who know what year she was born, and are particularly adept at maths.

Evelina and I were recently state side, and we brought along a present for my mother, yes it was a bit in advance, but she opened it, and I think she was satisfied. It was a canvas with a saying that she came up with, and I put together and had printed.

Run away the worries

I thought the sentiment would make a nice poem, so as a gift on  your actual day, here’s a poem for you Mum:

Run away the worries,
Run away the pain,
Run away the badgering thoughts,
Through wind and sun and rain.

Run to find happiness
Run to find your peace
Run to find a dollop of joy
Cross muddy fields and streets.

Run to run
For running is fun
More fun in the sun, I say!

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book of november: happier

This fall has been a little bit of a stress fest for me. That’s what happens when you sign up for a lot of activities. My main issue with all my activities is that I really enjoy doing all of them. So I want to do a bunch of things every week that you apparently can’t fit into one weeks worth of time. At least not one week where I get to sleep during the night-time. So I thought it would be a good time to focus on happiness.

Happier

Tal Ben-Shahar is (was?) a professor at Harvard teaching a class on Happiness, yes with a capital H, to show its importance. So he wrote a book about what he taught in the class once the class got ridiculously possible. I think of the book as an adult activity book. It really is a lot of fun. There are things called Time-Ins where you reflect on what you’ve just read and apply it to your life. I have a black Moleskin book which I thought would be perfect to use for this. Plus there was fun doodle time.

Doodle time

The book is a super easy read, accessible to everyone, and has some real golden information in there. And graphs. I was pretty much sold once I saw the graphs. Who doesn’t love a good graph!?

graph fun

This book is written for everyone, and I really do think everyone can get something out of it. Give it a read.

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