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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a short absence

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It’s vacation time!

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N

It’s vacation time!

We had a song like that which we sang in the 1st grade. I don’t expect you to know it, but if you do, extra points. Today marks the day I begin my vacation! It’s easy to say I was more than a little jealous during the past four to five weeks as one after another of my colleagues went on their vacations. I sent them off on their days of relaxation and sun with genuine smiles, but a very tiny bit of bitterness as well. I’d still be at work as they were enjoying their sunshine filled days of no responsibility. Or at least that’s how I pictured it.

In reality, I didn’t have much to complain about. I could equally enjoy the sunshine and relaxation that comes with summer. It was just a matter of bringing the children along for the ride. Which I think they also appreciated.

But what I’m really trying to get at (my stubborn bitterness isn’t actually the topic here) is that I will be taking a leave of absence from Enjoy Not Knowing. Don’t worry, it won’t be long. I’ll be back.

While I’m gone, please feel free to explore my seven most read blog posts! Now, I wouldn’t claim that these are my personal favorites; however, they are the most visited posts on my blog. The people want what the people want.

  1. book of december: james potter
  2. 5 years
  3. book of november: the shortest way home
  4. what have i done?!
  5. spreadsheets and triple contractions – with a side of running
  6. new job – can you guess it?
  7. paella is good, but tinto is better

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I also don’t want to leave you without some idea of what’s to come down the road. A little teaser to keep your interests piqued, so here’s a list of seven upcoming posts, soon to be available on a screen near you.

  1. gardening explorations
  2. my attempt to diy: a pintrest love story
  3. a first forray into party planning
  4. the land of ice
  5. planes, trains and automobiles: but mostly just trains, actually
  6. a yoga-cation
  7. lördagsgodis

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Happy reading!

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sun party

I had planned a sun party. It was going to be March 19th, and it was going to be beautiful. We were to celebrate the return of the sun. Or that day where Sweden gets more sun than my hometown of Boston. Not to brag or anything, but I was totally trying to brag.

You see, last winter I was missing the sun. It was very grey and gloomy for a long time. We didn’t get much snow up here in The Great White North. This past winter it was just The North. Nothing white around here, as you can see from the pictures from January.

gloom

gloom

Then March rolled around. And you know what?! It wasn’t sunny!! I was very angry with the Sun Gods. This is why they got no celebration. At least not until Midsummer rolled around. You just can’t help celebrating the light on the longest day of the year. I’m working on my forgiveness, and the Sun Gods are working on making it up to me. It has now been sunny and 30 degrees for days. I’m almost pleased.

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Just waiting until about September to start singing my praises. Can’t get too ahead of one’s self.

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our nation’s capital

Number 16 on my 25 before 25 list has been completed! It has actually technically been completed since the summer of 2012. I’m only now deciding to let you in on the secret.

As previously mentioned, in the summer of 2012 I was living the good-life. The lots-of-vacation-time-in-Sweden-good-life. During this vacation I made a stop down in D.C. to visit my oldest friend, Elizabeth.

Side bar: she’s my oldest friend as in we’ve been friends since we were in diapers, and therefore has been my friend for a long, long time. She is not my oldest as in my friend that has lived the longest of all my friends. Just to be clear.

I had never before visited our Nation’s Capital. (Our D.C. trip in 8th grade was replaced by a Duxbury trip. It was deemed unsafe, by those chosen to deem, to travel to our Nation’s Capital at the time the trip was supposed to commence. May I take this opportunity to say that Duxbury does not compare to Washington D.C. – no offence meant towards Duxbury.) I was thrilled to be in D.C. finally, and even more thrilled to see Elizabeth and the apartment in which she was then residing.

front door

We got some quality bffl time in. bffl activities

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I even got to see Marley while I was down in D.C. Huge plus!

Me sandwich

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And while Elizabeth got some work done I did super touristy things. And took a lot of selfies.

selfie city

An all-around excellent trip. I hope to be able to swing by again soon. Elizabeth, consider this your warning that I may show up on your doorstep unannounced.

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outdoor concerts

I want to talk about outdoor concerts. I’m not going to say it again, but you all know why this is coming. Summer nights outside listening to live music is a quite excellent way to pass the time. Especially if you’re in Sweden, where the sun never sets, and you’re at the concert for free.

Swedes are ALL FOR free stuff. They almost expect it, which I really hope doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it. In Sweden you can go to concerts for free in the summer…and you can have free money. (I mentioned this before, and one day, I promise, you’ll get to hear more about it.)

Well my first trip ever to Sweden encompassed a series of free concerts on an island in the city I was visiting. (Reason number 109 I moved to Sweden.) This past summer Evelina and I went to a concert on that same island. A fair had come to town, and with it a musical event!

outdoor concerts

I don’t need to tell you again, but I will, I can’t wait for summer!

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paella is good, but tinto is better

I promise this is the last time I’m going to talk about it. But heavens to Betsy it is cold! Since I can’t go outside without freezing my toes and my boogers, I’m going to handle the situation how I handle situations best. Denial.

In that light, I’m going to take a stroll down memory lane, and in the coming days I hope you’ll join me. To scorching summer sun we go!!

Spain part 1 of 3: Madrid

What you’ve all been waiting for. The much alluded to, and previously mentioned, trip to Spain! This past May Evelina and I embarked on an adventure to Madrid.

While we were there we did touristy things. Like live in an apartment building that, upon our arrival, we were locked out of for an hour. While the guy who had our key walked/ran from his apartment to give us keys and instructions about our stay. It was classy. Luckily we felt just like home, seeing as our apartment was on the top floor of the building and had slanted roofs. (Those of you lucky enough to visit our Linköping apartment know.) The similarities ended there, however, as it was approximately 107 degrees up there. Celsius. (Possible hyperbole in action.) Oh, and everyone in the building spoke Spanish. Not Swedish.

During our stay we made our way up and down hills to see touristy things like:

Go in the Catedral de la Almudena (Almudena Cathedral)

Visit the Catedral de la Almudena (Almudena Cathedral)

And go to Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) This is the view from the Cathedral.

And go to Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) This is the view from the Cathedral.

Enjoyed the astounding view of Madrid from the Almudena Cathedral.

Enjoyed the astounding view of Madrid from the Almudena Cathedral.

We searched out the best shopping, and the prettiest buildings.

We searched out the best shopping, and the prettiest buildings.

We procured our favorite American coffee drinks!

We procured our favorite American coffee drinks!

Took a stroll down to Palacio de Comunicaciones (City Hall)

Took a stroll down to Palacio de Comunicaciones (City Hall)

We explored some amazing churches.

We explored some amazing churches.

Wandered on over to Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate). Unfortunately not at night, that's on the list for next time.

Wandered on over to Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate). Unfortunately not at night, that’s on the list for next time.

Visited Museo Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia Museum) I WAS SO PUMPE FOR THIS!!! Saw my favorite painting in real life!

Visited Museo Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia Museum) I WAS SO PUMPED FOR THIS!!! Saw my favorite painting in real life!

Besides my favorite painting, we also got to see other art. This is clearly art.

Besides my favorite painting, we also got to see other art. This is clearly art.

It was a little bit exhausting trekking around Madrid in the heat, but totally worth it. Most importantly we found El Corte Inglés. Where we bought Evelina’s mom a birthday present. And, well, obviously, we bought ourselves some presents. Evelina bought a beautiful watch. And I, in accordance with my 25 before 25 list, bought a pair of wicked-super-awesome sun glasses. Ray Bans. They’re blue. Don’t take my word for it, check out the pics.

sunny sun glasses

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chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool

In the evenings we ate paella outdoors and sipped tinto late into the night. Strolling along the restaurant lined streets in a comfortable warm breeze. One thing, at least, that Spaniards have in common with Swedes is the desire to eat out doors. In the summer this is an awesome way to dine.

Part one of what we’re now calling “The Spain Trip” went swimmingly. I had an amazing time in a foreign land with my dearest. I highly recommend Madrid for all you city lovers. A city vacation isn’t for everyone, but Madrid has the big things a city vacation needs: beautiful architecture, fun landmarks, museums and castles, and shopping. I recommend all of this to all of you.

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