Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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15 days: my iphone withdrawal story

15 days, that’s one day more than two weeks. That’s how long I haven’t had a smart phone at my immediate disposal. That’s actually how long I haven’t had a phone of any kind easily at hand. 

These days there are a lot of articles about phone addiction, the dangers of extended screen time, or even this one about decreased mental capacity while in close proximity to a smart phone. I haven’t done any empirical studies on how smartphone use personally affects me, but it’s definitely safe to say I am affected. 

First, there occurred a mishap that led to my iPhone being submerged in water for an extended amount of time. No, I do not have the 7, so yes, that was the end of that. Not that I would believe it at first. My very first response was to envelop my phone in a bag of rice for over 48h. Because diligent Googling said that was the ideal amount of time. 

These first 48 hours were no walk in the park. I constantly felt like I was forgetting something whenever I was leaving home, or a friend’s place – wherever I was really. That feeling of “something is missing” was not a comfortable one. Even when I assured myself that it was my phone, and that I didn’t have it with me. 


I didn’t let the fact that my phone was drying out in a bag of rice stop me from uploading to Instagram or scrolling through Facebook. Most importantly I didn’t let it stop me from taking pictures. (I have over 6,000 pictures on my phone pretty much at all times, and yes, I back up regularly to the cloud and harddrives – don’t cry for me Argentina). My addiction to technology is deeply ingraned. I borrowed my wife’s phone often and brought my SDLR around with me in a way usually only reserved for tourists. 

Day three was test day. Finally I would find out if my phone would turn on or not. If my phone would be saved. Turn on it did not. I despaired. I cleaned it out diligently and charged it. Thinking that maybe, just maybe it was completely drained of battery, and needed a charge. 

Days four and five I wrestled with the thought of life without a phone. If it was truly gone I would need to replace it. At some point at least. But maybe – just maybe, I bargained with myself, I could make it all summer without a phone and wait it out for the 8 (or X or whatever Apple decides to name their next smartphone). Why spend the money on an old model now when I can buy the newest version in a few short months? Can I really make it three months without a phone? I could. Right? Or I could buy the 7. That one is waterproof. But why spend that money when a newer better version will soon(ish) be available? Can I make it? I can. Right? How long could I delay my reward? I was torn.

Day six, life. Much to my surprise my iPhone blinked blue on the sixth day. All the buttons were functional, and I could turn it off and on using them. However, the touchscreen was unresponsive. This meant a trip down to the nearest fast phone fix it locale to see if there was anything to be done. One tense afternoon and one phone call to aforementioned wife, lead to the news that the repair costs would equal phone replacement costs. Day six continued: contact with Apple Support, which in alignment with my recently completed survey I am highly likely to recommend to a friend, colleague or blog reader. (In the name of honesty: I added the last category). They helped me with exactly what I needed and gave me an estimate on fixing or replacing my phone, which would result in a functional phone guaranteed to be returned to me. The right decision was ade clear to me: send it in.

The weekend following day six was a three day holiday weekend in Sweden (Midsummer – see previous posts 1, 2, and 3 for more information on that). So it wasn’t until the tenth day that my phone was to be picked up. Alas, UPS could not enter our condo building so the successful pick up occurred on the eleventh day. When I kept our kitchen window ajar and listened for truck noises all morning – and promptly ran out with my decrepit phone when I saw a large brown truck from my bird’s eye view. 

Since then Apple has been assessing my phone and determining that a replacement product is to be returned to me. Bringing us to the present day: day fifteen. Mail is not delivered on weekends in Sweden, so we shall see what happens on day seventeen. 

Maybe my newfound freedom from mobile phones will mark the beginning of a less phone-dependent, more present in the moment period of my life. Or maybe like any true addict I will be back at it as before exactly when the opportunity presents itself. I’m shooting for the former. 

After my initial panic of being without a phone for an extended period of time, later bargaining with myself about how long I could make it without a phone, I’ve now been able to enjoy these past days without a phone. It’s been nice. It’s one less thing to think about. One less thing to remember to have with me. One less thing to distract me from the matter at hand. I think I’ll take a phone vacation every now and again. It’s been nice.


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finally 2017 (a look ahead)

Don’t think I’m late to the party on this one, I am aware that it has been 2017 for many weeks now. (Despite the fact that I recently wrote 2002 as the date.) That’s neither here nor there. What is here and there is the fact that I took an impromptu blogging break – as is wont to happen from time to time. Which is why I’m just now getting to posting about my upcoming year. Last year I looked ahead and focused on these three questions:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What will I improve upon?
  3. How will I specifically work to make these improvements?

In order to answer the first question I’ll take a look back on 2016, a nice way to do that is my reverse bucket list. Not familiar with the concept? Just click that link back there (reverse bucket list) to see my take on it. All in all 2016 was pretty bad ass.  Continue reading


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2016 a year passed


Last year I did a retrospective on the year that had recently passed, entitled Looking Back : 2015 Resolutions. I realized late in the year (right around December 31st) that I had failed to make any New Year’s resolutions for 2015. No worries though, because I reverse bucket listed my year instead. This year I thought I’d make a tradition of it and do the same thing again. 

Reverse bucket listing works as such; taking time to reflect on the year passed write down all the things you’ve done that are particularly memorable, notworthy, or just plain awesome. Differing from a normal bucket list as all the things on this list are completed.

Though I still have one post to write from my 2015 reversed bucket list I’m plowing ahead to 2016. Here’s the list:

  1. Helped bring a wonderful baby into the world 
  2. Cooked up a storm
  3. Watched my baby grow and grow
  4. Got a new pair of glasses
  5. Went on our first family vacation 
  6. Cut off a bunch of my hair
  7. Traveled to Austria
  8. Coached a great group of girls 
  9. Completed the first year of my ECE degree
  10. Enjoyed months of maternity leave

Yet again, I have not written about all of these wonderous events, so stay tuned! 2017 is going to bring more than a few new blog posts!


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half way to 30

By this I mean I’m half way between being 25 and 30, and I would like to check in and see how I’m doing on my 30 before 30 list.

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Ideally, I’d be half way through…

  1. Topping off my 25 before 25 list means two international trips. One to Italy and one to Greece, these have yet to be completed or even booked. Though I have gotten married, watched some IMDb movies, and found a great lasagna recipe. I’m still working on running a marathon, painting a painting, learning to play the guitar and doing a handstand push-up. 3/9 – not quite half.
  2. There are 20 items on my Things to do in Sweden list, and I have completed 16 of them. Though I’ve only posted on 11, so stay tuned. I’m definitely more than half way done on this one, so that feels good.
  3. Still going strong on reading a book a month.
  4. I’ve only read 10 of the 24 books that I own and have not yet read, so that’s certainly not half way.
  5. And I have yet to read a single one of Francine’s “Books to be Read Immediately”.
  6. I have my Swedish driver’s licence.
  7. As well as my Swedish passport.
  8. I have not seen the Grand Canyon.
  9. Nor have I gone to Vegas.
  10. Evelina and I went to Iceland on our honeymoon. We highly recommend the helicopter rides.
  11. I still need to build a savings plan in order to strictly follow it.
  12. My family tree is still just a seed, in need of soil, water and sunshine. To be honest, I haven’t even been to the store to buy the seed. That is to say, I haven’t even begun.
  13. I did my best running å-loppet this summer, but my training was not up to par (a.k.a. non existant).
  14. The long list of posts that I’ve promised to write is not so long anymore, I only have 8 of 26 posts to write to get everything wrapped up and tied with a bow.
  15. Four of five things to DIM (do it myself) off of Pintrest ain’t bad, I’m definitely pleased to be well on my way with this one.
  16. No cruises completed or planned, unfortunatley.
  17. With one of ten movies watched, I can’t exactly claim to be half way on my IMDb movie list.
  18. And zero of five Nordic movies watched is certainly not the percentage we were looking for.
  19. I have started my university studies, soon to be 1/3 of the way through my degree, so this one is definitely a check plus.
  20. Baking a princess cake is still squarely in the “To Do” column.
  21. Seven of ten things to cook from Eggtons blog is a great place to be at my half way point.
  22. No barking dogs here.
  23. I did get a brand spankin’ new pair of glasses, that time I accidentally got an eye infection. (Does anyone purposefully get an eye infection…?)
  24. No graduation to attend yet.
  25. And no Ice Hotel visits.
  26. No Northern Light sightings.
  27. And I am a long way off from getting 100 burpees in.
  28. Of course, that big birthday surprise was an event to remember! Cross that one off the list.
  29. There’s no need to start planning my big birthday bash yet.
  30. My 35 before 35 list is also still a long way off.

With only 6 things completed, and 4 items half way completed I’m more than a stone’s throw away from the halfway point on this list. That’s okay though, still two and a half years to go!

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choice

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Seven words, one concept, discussed in many of my childhood classrooms. Today I am in the position to choose. To choose where I want to live my life. Where I can find my liberty and pursue my happiness. A country where equality is a priority. Where respect is a valued concept. 

I choose to live in a place that has free education. I choose to live in a country whose minimum wage provides a respectable standard of living. I choose somewhere in which affordable healthcare is a cornerstone. I choose a woman’s right to choose exactly what healthcare she requires. I choose legal marriage between whichever two people who together think they can beat the odds. I choose over one year of paid parental leave. I choose a border policy aimed in aiding and supporting those people who need it most. This is my pursuit of happiness.

Forever an American, I did make the choice over six years ago to move over seas. Tonight, my fellow Americans have also made their choice. “While progress isn’t guaranteed each of us has the power to choose our path. Not just on nights like this but every day in between,” as my main man Obama said. The ability to choose, to vote, is an amazing power, Obama phrased it well: it is a beautiful and fragile gift.  

Though tonight’s election results are not enticing me to a quick homecoming, I do hope that America can move forward with “respect, empathy and kinship” among all Americans. Because who says it better than Barack Obama?


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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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gender reveal party

Now, my avid blog readers will already know the ending of this story, but I’m gong to tell it anyway. The journey is the destination, man.

I don’t know if you’ve explored the baby side of social media recently, but according to that, gender reveal parties are all the rage. From the get go it sounded  to me like an awesome opportunity to eat cool colored cake, so I was in.

Gender reveal parties can be done one of two ways. Either a special someone is designated to find out the gender of the coming baby, keep that a secret from the couple and all other humans, and help make the appropriate color schemed surprise. Or the couple finds out the gender of the baby and no one else knows until the big reveal during the party. Evelina and I went with the latter option.

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After deciding that we needed to figure out how to do the big reveal. Pop a balloon filled with blue or pink confetti, open a present/box whose contents reveal the gender, be sprayed by our loved ones with the correct color of paint…the list is almost endless. We went with the tried and true method of cutting into a cake, and letting the cake do the talking.

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Now, for games and entertainment. A prerequisite of attendance was a specific dress code, everyone had to wear pink or blue, depending on which gender they thought the baby would be. When our guests arrived they were conveniently divided into two teams as determined by their clothing choice. Before dinner was served our guests could guess the baby’s name, by writing it on the appropriate colored paper. We also played a quiz game where Evelina and I had written questions about common superstitions about pregnancy symptoms that can reveal the baby’s gender. Each team answered the questions, and the winning team won the honor of being victorious.

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After dinner it was time for dessert, or as we say in Sweden, fika! Since Evelina and I knew the gender of our little one, we were the ones to order the cake to match, covered in white with the words “It’s a…” glazed on top. That evening our guests gathered round in suspense as we cut into the cake, finally revealing that we were expecting a little girl!

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