Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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book of august: middlesex

Don’t think I’m ahead of schedule here, this is actually my book of August from a while ago…So I’m little behind schedule, but here it is:

Middlesex

When I say a little behind schedule, apparently I mean three years behind schedule. *geeze* I am apparently a horrible friend. Okay, horrible might be a strong word, but I’ve definitely been slacking on my friend duties. My bad.

Let me explain. My friend Elizabeth and I (name obviously changed to protect identity) decided to do a book club. This book club consisted solely of the two of us. Meaning that we would both read the same book in a months time, and discuss it over Skype.

I did not read the book in a months time. Nor did we ever Skype about it. I mean I did finish the book just now, so we could theoretically Skype about it now…but I didn’t even tell Elizabeth that I’ve finished the book. This will be the first she is hearing of it. Alright I’ll say it. Horrible friend = me.

Let’s disregard that though and focus on the book. I don’t like to dwell.

Middlesex was on Oprah’s book list. Or recommendation list. Or some kind of list written by Oprah, you know the one:

Anyway, I think that is why Elizabeth suggested we read the book. Oprah knows her shit.

To be honest though, the book wasn’t exactly up my ally. Though you may have guessed that since it took me THREE YEARS to complete. I mean it’s not like I’ve been actively reading it for that long, there have been breaks….okay, nevermind.

It did get really good for the final third of the book. But it is really important you read the first two-thirds in order to understand the end…well the moral is, it may be a great book for you, but for me it was an exercise in discipline and determination to be a good friend.

I hope this makes up for it! … ?

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the end of the school year

In 2014 I took an unplanned break from blogging. I got incredibly, surprisingly, busy. Upon my return I apologized, as one is want to do, and listed what it was exactly that was keeping me otherwise occupied. The end of the school year being one of those things.

Since 2014 I have concluded two other school years, that is to say here at pre-school we have welcomed the summer of 2014, 2015 and most recently 2016. Where I work we celebrate the return of the sunshine and warm weather in Sweden by singing songs outdoors. I find these songs to be particularly Swedish where the lyrics inevitably include flowers, swallows and mosquitoes. Because…what else?

2014 I was kept particularly busy as that was the school year I was with the group of children moving on to kindergarten after the summer. June that year was composed of many meetings, compiling documentation for the children and most memorably the quiet pang of nostalgia in my heart as I realized I would only very rarely see many of these children in the future.

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Receiving many thoughtful and kind presents was lovely, but I will hold most dear the letter I received from a small human whom I will always remember.

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I am happy that you have been my teacher.
You are a good teacher.
Hugs!

Coming to work daily and teaching the children left in our care is a wonderful privilege.

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book of july: the paying guests

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Prior to reading this book I had read Waters’ first book Tipping the Velvet. If memory serves,  both books take a while to get into and I don’t know if it’s just me, but I didn’t find myself getting wrapped up in the plot of The Paying Guests until at least 6 or 7 chapters in. Though, once this book gets going it really gets going! I recommend just speeding through the first few chapters to get to the good stuff, you’ll be glad you did. Definitely a great summer read!

All in all The Paying Guests was a fun read, and I will definitely check out more books by Waters. This being the sixth book Waters has written I have a few to choose from, though I think I’ve already decided on reading Fingersmith next.

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memory lane: the royal castle

As my fifth and final installment of my memory lane series, please join me in the summer of 2011.

It was my first summer living in Sweden, and the Malloy clan crossed the pond to experience the Swedish good life. I say the good life because Sweden in the summer really is the good life, and there is no denying that.

Royal Castle 1

We visited the Royal Castle in Stockholm. Unfortunately we were not invited for tea with the royal family, but we did get to see their treasure. Before entering I forced asked my family in a charming and convincing way to pose for pictures with a guard. Now I didn’t test this, but the guards here are not like the guards in London, and they will assault you if you stand and yell in their face. Feel free to test that for me next time you swing by the castle.

Royal Castle 2

There are 3 museums in the royal castle, and since it was pretty rainy that day we gladly went in and saw the sights. We first entered some sort of cathedral. Upon further investigation, I now know that we first entered the royal church. A castle simply would not be complete without its own church.

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We then went on to the treasury museum and got to see all the jewels. Followed by a tour through some very intricate rooms. As you can see they have some pretty great art in the castle.

Royal Castle 3

Castle Art

Finally we went into the armory. You were allowed to try on the knight’s armor. My brother wasn’t breaking any rules. We think.

Ryan in the armory

Tyler in the armory

The very last thing was to catch a ride home.

My ride

It was good fun exploring the castle. Now I just want to do it at night when no one knows I’m there. Like a ninja in the night. Now that I’m a citizen they can’t throw me out of Sweden for “breaking the law”, so it’s totally fine.

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memory lane: the fourth of july

Won’t you take a walk with me? A stroll down memory lane?

In 2013 my littlest brother graduated high school, and I crossed the Atlantic to celebrate with him and my family. I like to call him my littlest brother because I used to make a habit of leaning on his shoulder. You see his shoulder was at the perfect elbow height for leaning. But we’re going to take a left at this fork in the road and continue our stroll along memory lane in the direction of the Fourth of July 2013.

Evelina and I travelled together across the Atlantic this time, and celebrated the Fourth of July on Lake Winnipesaukee. Celebrating the fourth at the lake is always awesome. There are fireworks, boat rides, water skiing, lobster, and volleyball. It’s basically a weekend of fun, no matter what. Yes, even if the Fourth isn’t on a weekend, it still feels like a weekend.

The Lake

Side Bar: That July we were actually even in Canada for Canada Day.
Which I don’t really know anything about, so let’s get back to the Fourth.

Evelina and I started the day by spending the morning at Fenway Park watching my most favorite baseball team.

Fenway 2013

Sox game

We then high tailed it up to the lake in time for fireworks.

sunset boat ride

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fireworks

The next day I managed to convince Evelina to try water skiing, and it went wonderfully. The rest of the weekend was full of swimming, ping-pong and puzzling.

Water skiing

Wakeboarding

Fun in the sun

Until next time!

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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.

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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?)

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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 max & amelia

This summer two amazing people tied the knot. Maxwell & Amelia celebrated their love surrounded by friends and family on a beautiful island off the coast of Maine. The rehearsal dinner was entertaining and celebratory, the wedding ceremony was beautiful and lead seamlessly into an amazing night to remember.

Rehersal Dinner

Wedding

The entire weekend was made all the better as many of my high school friends were in attendance and we had our own mini reunion. The weekend surrounded by great friends was made all the better with fun activities.

Lobster dinner

Lobster dinner

On a boat!

On a boat!

Brunch

Brunch

Relaxing after jumping off the HUGE rock!

Relaxing after jumping off the HUGE rock!

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Ice cream!

The weekend on Frye island is not one I’ll soon forget! Congratulations again Max & Amelia, what an amazing weekend!

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the summer solstice

Today is the summer solstice! Meaning it is the longest day of the year, when we get the most hours of sunlight here in the Northern hemisphere. Despite the fact that today is the longest day of the year, here in Sweden we celebrated two days ago, on Friday. Unlike Friday it’s actually pretty sunny today! Much warmer as well. For the first time this year summer is at our doorstep. Hopefully soon to actually breach the threshold.

I am very ready for summer’s arrival. Not only because of the excellent festivities in Sweden for midsummer, as cataloged in 2012 and 2014. But also for the cake.

strawberry cake

Kidding, summer isn’t just about strawberry cake (though would it be so bad if it were?). I’m looking forward to long summer nights, sunny summer days, and wearing sunglasses daily. Basically, I’m looking forward to the sun. Me and the sun are tight. Except when it’s fire rays burn blisters into my skin. Then we’re not so tight. Definitely not doing that this summer. Stay tuned to see if I’m successful in that endeavor.

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lilac in linköping

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The neighborhood we lived in when we lived in Linköping bloomed in the spring. Bloomed with lilac. Every house and garden had lilac. I assume it was a requirement – if you agreed to reside there you agreed to maintain lilac. A reasonable assumption.

It smelled wonderfully. For a few weeks each spring going for a walk was accompanied by the lovely redolence of lilac. It was wonderful.

Now that spring has sprung I wonder if our old neighborhood is teeming with the beautiful purple flower once again. I hope it is. I hope to take a stroll through those lilac filled streets soon.

For now my memories will have to do.
Until next time,

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oh canada

At the end of June/early July 2013 Evelina and I were in Canada for a very exciting event. Not Canada Day. Well, actually we were in Canada for Canada Day, but we weren’t there to celebrate that. I’m rambling. Our friends Trudy & Brian tied the knot! This is clearly old news by now, but on June 30th we had the joyful opportunity to celebrate Trudy & Brians nuptials. It was beautiful.

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The ceremony was conducted in a church unlike any I had been in before. The pews faced each other, which lead to a wonderful viewing experience. The blushing bride and the handsome groom make quite a couple. My favorite part was towards the end when the duo came to stand among us, in the middle of all the pews to declare their love for each other among family and friends.

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The weather was on our side as the newly weds cut the cake and christened the dance floor with their first dance. Thus the festivities began!

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I clearly had a great time. As I’m sure Evelina, and the rest of the guests did as well.

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I even had a chance to get a picture of the bride, Kallie and Evelina. This bad ass trio, untied again. It was certainly a day to remember.

On our way home, for we had a 10 hour drive from Toronto to Boston, we stopped at Niagara Falls. I had never been, and I wanted to bask in the glory that is four million cubic feet of water cascading downward every minute. It was also beautiful.

Niagara Falls

Evelina and I spent our Canada Day 2013 just barely on the Canadian side of the Falls. Don’t worry we had Tim Horton’s while we were there. Who knows when our next trip to Canada may be. Possibly sooner than you think.

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