Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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four blogging years

Can you believe this?! Four years ago in January I started this little corner of the internet, and my have we come a long way.

4 years of blogging

I’ve posted 285 times. This post you’re reading now is the two hundred and eighty fifth time I have composed word followed by word to send out into the interwebs.

I have uploaded 796 pictures/collages and y’all have viewed my little blog 11,794 times.

Sunday at 9:00pm is my most popular day and time. I should probably start posting every Sunday, eh?

My top three visited posts/pages (aside from the home page) are:

  1. 25 before 25, published March 21st, 2012
  2. 5 years, published November 1st, 2013
  3. Book of December: James Potter, published December 31st, 2012

The top five countries who view my blog the most are:

  1. USA FullSizeRender (4)
  2. Sweden FullSizeRender (6)
  3. France FullSizeRender (8)
  4. Germany FullSizeRender (7)
  5. Canada FullSizeRender (5)

I want to say: Thank you! Tack så mycket! Merci! Dankeshön! And once again thank you! Without you my lovely readers this blog would be nothing.

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midsummer

Not to be confused with my earlier post, midsommar, where all your questions are answered about how to successfully celebrate Midsummer in Sweden.

All of that information still stands, and I highly recommend reading up before you continue with this post.

Before I continue with this post, though, I have some good news! Remember number 12 on my 25 before 25 list? (If you don’t read up by clicking here). Well, now I have an even cooler camera!

That’s right, for the big 2-5 Evelina got me a super-wicked-awesome camera! Which is what brings us to Midsummer. Since midsummer falls after my birthday by a few days, I had this bad boy up and running.

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Which means I could take some sweet pics of the action. For your enjoyment:

Midsummer 2014

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twelve. buy a camera and start taking some sweet pics

When I put this on my list I had envisioned a Nikon D series or Canon EOS, maybe even a Sony alpha mirrorless camera.

What actually happened was I got an iPhone 4s.

Now, I still, someday, want a nice digital camera, but I gotta say my phone really does the trick. I always have it with me, and the quality is surprisingly good. Better than I was expecting at least. Almost every picture featured on this blog, after May 2012, was taken with my iPhone. There’s an app for everything, and I have a number for editing and framing.

Plus, there’s the panorama feature. Which is a lot of fun. Don’t take my word for it, check these out:

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Norrköping, Sweden

Norrköping, Sweden

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen, Denmark

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada

Niagara Falls, Canada

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, USA

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago, IL, USA

Eskilstuna, Sweden

Eskilstuna, Sweden

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Sweet pics, right?

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the best kebab in all of sweden

That’s right I said it. As you may recall…or probably don’t because it is a minute detail in my life, and as a rule other people are most often less concerned about minute details in other’s lives as they are about minute details in their own lives…but I’m rambling.

As you may recall, I have claimed to taste the best kebab in all of Sweden. And I will fight anyone who says otherwise. As long as you’re not bigger and stronger than me. Then you can have it your way. I’m a lot like Burger King…when you’re bigger and stronger than me. Now I’m rambling again.
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Kebab Huset, translated to The Kebab House serves the best kebab in all of Sweden. I have had it in rolls, on plates with fries and on pizza. It is just the most bestest kebab. That’s the way it is. My recommendation to you is to make your way to Sweden at your earliest convenience to eat this lovely Middle Eastern dish. I’m not saying this is the best kebab in the world, I don’t have the data to make that claim, but this stuff is good. GOOOOOOOD.
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I was most recently at Kebab Huset with my brother dearest. We had spent the day gallivanting around rooftops and taking pictures. This is what that looked like:
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rooftops 1
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rooftops 2
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I require him to eat kebab at least once when he comes to visit. He likes it. I’ve decided. Since we had worked up quite an appetite after all he gallivanting, it wasn’t hard to convince him. The kebab roll was our kebab of choice:
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kebab
Clearly I’ll be seeing you soon when you all come rushing here to eat kebab. Can’t wait.
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i have a plan

Time to dust off the tools.

Time to dust off the tools.

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I have a plan. A plan for the future.

The future of my painting. As mentioned in my 25 before 25 list, and my New Year’s resolutions, I want to paint a painting. I haven’t painted for a long time, and this summer Evelina bought me canvases for my birthday. It’s really just a matter of time.

The plan started out in my head with an idea, which I slowly developed, after lots of pondering. Pondering is a key first step in painting. Now I’m ready to make it a reality. But first I’m going to draw my painting. A little.

Let me explain. I’m going to sketch onto the canvas the basic idea of what I want my painting to be. I’ve managed to bring my easel and paints across the vast Atlantic, so my tools are waiting. I already know what my painting will be called. But that’s going to remain a secret a while longer.

Stay tuned for pictures.

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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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one month ago today

I thought I would take this opportunity, during a time of merriment and cheer, to reminisce on Thanksgiving. My Thanksgiving post was short and sweet, with a super cute card I got, feel free to check it out.
Now you get to see how we do Thanksgiving festivities in Sweden. You could read last years post. Or you could check out the pictures below.
Thanksgiving 2013
Now I’m hungry.
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lindsey visits

This past weekend my friend Lindsey came to visit! My oh my was I excited. Lindsey is the first friend to come visit Evelina and I from the US at our Eskilstuna abode. (Yes, Ryan came to visit last winter, yes, he is a friend, but first he is a brother. Yes, Katie came to visit us in Linköping, and she will forever hold the award for first North American friend to visit Sweden.)

I suppose Lindsey had it easy, since she technically only came from Denmark where she’s studying for her semester abroad. I mean really technically she came from the US originally, so it still counts. Also, no points were deducted from Katie for having flown to Sweden from Spain.

I can’t help but to break down our weekend as I did Katie’s.

Friday:

12:50: Lindsey landed in Sweden, and promptly bussed it to Stockholm Central Station where she trained it to Eskilstuna. She did all this on her own, and I must say I am greatly impressed. (My own personal difficulties in getting on the correct SL trains is a story for another time.)

14:45: I met Lindsey at Eskilstuna’s Central Station. After which we walked to Evelina’s and my apartment to drop off Lindsey’s things before taking a stroll in to the city.

17:00: Dinner at Papas Tapas. This is my number one favorite restaurant in Eskilstuna. It’s a combination of Spanish and Mexican food, and you almost always need to book a table if you want to eat there. So good.

19:30: The three of us, after returning home for a quick change, went over to a friend’s housewarming party. Don’t worry, I told everyone they had to speak lots of English so Lindsey could follow along. I was pleasantly surprised at the over all English skills at the party. (Just kidding guys, I’ve always know y’all are good at English.) But seriously though, give a Swede a few beverages and the English just starts flowin’.

Saturday:

7:00: Early wake-up call today, because it’s time for Three Kronor Hockey School! Just enough time for a quick breakfast before our ride came to get to the rink.

8:00: Arrival at Smehallen. Last Saturday was the first day of hockey school for this season. Evelina and I are coaching the girls, so our attendance was mandatory. Lindsey stepped up and was a big help on the ice. She asked about a few key Swedish phrases to help her talk to the little ones.

  • Stand up! – “Stå upp!”
  • Walk like Daffy Duck – “Gå som Kalle anka!”
  • Do you need help? – “Behöver du hjälp?”

Now you also know all the phrases necessary to teach a small Swedish child how to skate!

TKS

10:30: Still at the rink, our team’s practice started at 10:30. Lindsey was absolutely up for a go at it on the ice, and it was certainly a success. Evelina’s and my teammates were impressed, and most importantly so were our coaches. Lindsey officially has an invitation to come play in Sweden when she has completed her studies in the US. Seriously, Lindsey, you should come.

12:15: Lunch time. Evelina and I did our best to impress Lindsey by showing her the finest cuisine of Sweden. Just not at this meal time…left overs it was.

14:30: After lunch and a little down time we walked into the city again to look around at the shops. There’s a bit of construction at the main square in Eskilstuna right now, but City Hall is still pretty, and there was a lot to see. We were on a quest for shoes, so we visited all the shoe stores. Unfortunately we did not find what we were looking for, so we recharged with a little fika. It was necessary.

The classic Swedish fika, coffee and a chocolate ball

The classic Swedish fika, coffee and a chocolate-ball

16:00: Still on a quest for shoes we walked out to the mall.

The walk there was beautiful. Peppered with views of the changing trees. Fall is here!

The walk there was beautiful. Peppered with views of the changing trees. Fall is here!

Where both Lindsey and Evelina were lucky enough to find some fall shoes! Shoes…let’s get some shoes!

18:30: Once the mall closed we joined Evelina’s mother, Maria, back in to town. We had been invited for dinner, so we enjoyed some classic Swedish home cooked food. Followed by apple pie, coffee and tea. You could say it was slightly better than the lunch we had to offer… In fact you probably should say that.

Sunday:

9:00: Wake up call! Although it wasn’t too late of a sleep in, Lindsey and I had gotten train tickets in to Stockholm for Sunday morning, so up and at ’em! After packing up and saying bye to Evelina we took a stroll through some parts of the city we had missed before on our way up to the station.

10:30: Train departs from Eskilstuna Central Station.

11:45: Arrival in Stockholm. We (I) decided we should walk down to the water and take a look at the old part of Stockholm City. It is one of my favorite places in the city, and not something you should miss. When we first left the train station and looked right we got a good view of Stockholm’s City Hall. My fun fact was that they had recently cleaned all the gold on top of the buildings in all of Sweden for the crown princesses’ wedding (other probably factual things I know about the royal family found here). Along the way in to Gamla Stan (the old town) you get a glimpse of Riddarholmskyrkan, which is most known for as a burial-place for kings. (I say “most known for” I mean most known by me, as in it’s the only thing I know about it. More informed people might have other opinions.) On our way in to Gamla Stan we also walked past Riksdagshuset, or the parliament building. (This time we didn’t venture in side.)

Gamla Stan!

Gamla Stan!

There are a ton of cute little shops in Gamla Stan, so we slowly made our way through.

12:45: After exploring Old Town we arrived at Vapiano. Still my favorite Italian place to eat in Stockholm. The Vapiano in Old Town is my favorite of the three in the city because of the location and the atmosphere. This is how excellent and fabulous the food looks:

photo 3 (3)

13:15: Once we had eaten our fill of excellent Italian food we took a stroll down to the water again to loop the other way through the city. Looking across the water we saw Grona Lund, some beautiful boats, and the National Museum.

Another breathtaking fall foliage view.

Another breathtaking fall foliage view.

Stockholm on the water

Turning back up to the city by the Royal Castle, we arrived just in time for the ceremonial changing of the guards.

changing of the guards

After which we made our way through the commercial side of Stockholm and saw all the stores and shopping. Since we weren’t looking for anything in particular we had a nice opportunity to have fika outside Ahlens and people watch.

more fika

We then made our way back to the train station.

14:05: Arrived back at Central Station and went over to the Arlanda Express tracks where Lindsey and I said out good byes. I hope you had an awesome visit to Sweden, Lindsey, come back soon!

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walking in a winter wonderland

The things my winter has been filled with:

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frozen trees

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snow up to my knees

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sunset clouds

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no crowds

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snow-covered sign

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fence in a line

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where we go

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shining church

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big clocks

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bird filled birch

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white walks

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a walk in the park

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sledding in the dark

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cold courtyard.

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Christmas stars

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icy cobblestone

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a candle alone

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falling snow

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snowball lanterns

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big and small

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a burning candle

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hot chocolate for all

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happy birthday dad!

 

 

 

 

I love looking back through pictures of my family. Pictures from when I was alive, and from when I had yet to be born. Not only to gawk at the absolutely wonderful clothing and accessory choices of my family through the years. (I have yet to understand the meaning of glasses that go down low enough to allow your cheeks to see clearly – but knowing fashion that’ll probably be “in” again next week. Cheeks have the right to prescriptive lenses too.) But also to hear the stories told by my parents, aunts, uncles, and my grandmothers (when I was lucky enough to have them).

Pictures are memories. They remind us of who we were and where we’ve come since the photo was taken. Pictures show us our history. I guess oil paintings do too, before 1826 – but do you really trust oil paintings? (Do you really trust photographs anymore either?) That’s neither here nor there.

The fact is a camera isn’t always handy. I haven’t had a camera available at every moment I would have wanted one. Maybe that’s not so important though. A camera can capture a scene, but does it always capture the feeling and emotion occurring? A camera can’t be relied on to remind us of every memory we have.

On this day, my father’s birthday, I’d like to share one of my earliest memories, that wasn’t captured on film.

As far as I can tell, my first memory was of being held by my father. Cuddled safely in his arms I was being fed milk. He stood with me by the kitchen sink, and I looked up at the, blurry with the passage of time, vision of lights above us.

While a short memory, it is one I often bring up with fondness. Over the years I have been carried by my father on countless occasions, and sometimes, when I’m really really tired I realize how good I had it when I was little. Carried up to bed after a long day of running around wildly.

Dad, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Sit back, relax, and rest that back of yours, I’m sure it’s tired after years of lugging us kids around.

Happy Birthday Dad! You’d better like the present I got you.