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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eighteen. read a book a month

I hope you didn’t think I’d break the count down, just because it was book of the month time!

No siree Bob.

I have now read a book every month since my 25 before 25 lists inception. I thought it would be fun, in this final review post, to list them in order of my personal preference. If you’re looking for a book to read, I recommend the following:

  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey
  2. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  3. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  5. How to be a Woman by Caitlin Moran
  6. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
  7. Seriously…I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  9. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  10. Inferno by Dan Brown
  11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  12. The Shortest Way Home by Juliette Fay
  13. The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barak Obama by David Remnick
  14. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  15. The Mystery of Mercy Close by Marian Keyes
  16. Promises to Keep by Jane Greene
  17. The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
  18. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus
  19. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
  20. The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
  21. James Potter by G. Norman Lippert
  22. The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins
  23. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  24. Godnatt, Alfons Åberg by Gunilla Bergström
  25. Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville
  26. Mödrar och Söner by Theodor Kallifatides
  27. Läroplan för förskolan Lpfö 98 by Skolverket

Now that was fun, wasn’t it?

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book of august: bossypants

I’ve mentioned this book before, but haven’t done a book of the month about it. This August I re-listened to Tina Fey’s book Bossypants.

It really does get funnier the more you listen/read it. I so highly recommend this book I would actually buy it for you. But, y’know, you can also get it free at your local library.

I particularly enjoy the audiobook because Tina Fey reads it herself, and I really think you get more out of the book and the jokes read how the author wants them to read when it’s read by the author. So, basically, if you’ve already read the book you should seriously consider listening to the audio version. (Also often available at your local library).

Side note: the part where she talks about 30 Rock really is a lot funnier if you’ve seen the show. So go ahead and buy/rent/Netflix those bad boys ASAP. Also, hilarious.


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i was slashed

The other day at work I was re-listening to Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. (So good, listen to this or read it immediately if you haven’t already.) When I realized. We had the SAME childhood!!!

Okay, there was just one story that was the same. Okay ‘the same’ might be pushing it. But hear me out.

In the ‘spring semester’ of kindergarten Ms. Fey was slashed in the face by a stranger in the alley behind her house. (Side bar: Ms. Fey is the one referring to the time of year as the spring semester. I dunno about you guys but I never had semesters in grade school. Or we definitely didn’t call them that.) To this day Ms. Fey has a scar from the experience. A physical one. Not sure how she’s doing emotionally, we’re really not that close.

Now, there are slight differences between her story and mine. For instance, I was not slashed in the face. I was slashed in the hand. Or thumb, if you want to get specific. It did not take place in an alley behind my house. The only thing behind my house growing up was woods, and my friend Peter’s house. It took place in my dining room. Finally, I was not slashed by a stranger, I was slashed by. . .well. . .me.

But as you can clearly see, the main details of the story are the same.

Note: details of this story may be edited by time – in that I may not recall the events as they took place, but this is how it happened according to me.

In preparation for two birthday parties I was to attend that weekend, I was wrapping presents. The best thing you can do to adorn a present is to have fancy ribbon on it, curled. This is where I ran into trouble. While I had never curled ribbon myself, I had seen it done on a number of occasions and felt it was within my seven year old abilities. I will warn you now, if you’ve never curled ribbon, ask someone first. or check Youtube. It’s harder than it seems.

I, at least, had the basics down. Take the ribbon you wish to curl. Start at the base of the ribbon, as close to the knot on the present as possible. Place one blade of the scissors under the ribbon, and hold it there with your thumb. This is where the concept got fuzzy for me. It seemed as though one just pulled the scissors as fast as possible while holding the ribbon flush with the scissors. The detain I failed to deduce was that you don’t actually put your thumb on the blade. Merely next to it. When I pulled, as hard as my monkey bar swinging arm could manage, I sliced open my thumb.

I’m sure I screamed, or made some sort of commotion that sent my parents running to my aid. I remember my dad wrapping my thumb in a towel, possibly with ice, and my Mom rushing to assemble the things needed to get to the emergency room. I was carried to the car by my father and deposited in the back seat. My memory holds that both parents accompanied me to the ER, however at this point I had two small brothers aged 4 and 1, so I assume someone was home with them. My mother rushed me into the ER upon our arrival, and the next thing I remember is her suggesting we count in Spanish while the doctor injected local anesthetic to my gushing thumb.

Four stitches later I was all patched up. This remained my most serious childhood injury to this day. You can still see the scar on my left thumb, in a small V shape slightly distorting the gentle swirls and curves of my fingerprint.

As a result of my ribbon curling shenanigans, I missed the first birthday, but was able to go to the second the following day. I was still determined to rock at all the games at Chuck E Cheese.

So, any childhood injuries of your own that left a lasting impression, if not a scar??

(picture credit: bossypantsribbon)


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enjoy not knowing

And so it begins…

I have been somewhat hesitant in starting a blog, but it has always been in the back of my mind as something I want to do. I have been reluctant for many reasons (or two) and these are they:

  1. Time. These days I barely have enough time to get all my meals in, after work, hockey, and pretending to learn Swedish is out of the way. (I say pretend because when you’re at work for 8 hours and the rink for 5 there’s only enough energy left for pretending, not actual learning.) So, how can I expect myself to compose short essays at somewhat frequent intervals? High hopes. And, while I thoroughly enjoy reading my friends’ blogs, I also get behind from time to time, and have a few to read at once. My fear is that I’ll get behind on both my reading and my writing…and then it’ll be 10th grade English with Mrs. Auciello all over again. No one should have to experience that twice.
  2. What if no one reads it? I mean the point of a blog is for people to read it, right? Well, going back to my time argument above, what if no one I know has the time to read my blog? And plus I’m just not that entertaining. But after listening to Tina Fey’s autiobook “Bossypants” she taught me something. ‘Do your thing, don’t care if they like it.’ Great advice. (Bossypants is currently available on iTunes.) Plus, there’s always my mother.

In this, my first post, I will address the blog title. ‘Enjoy Not Knowing’ is something I’ve gotten from the one Brian Andreas, the creative mind behind Story People. A fabulous website definitely worth checking out. I will admit I did not discover him on my own. I was in fact made aware of his art, and website through my friends Kyle and Katie. (Whose names I have obviously changed for privacy purposes).

The quote goes as such: “I wish I knew what this means but I wish that about a lot of things so mostly I enjoy not knowing.” And I feel that this is a pretty accurate summation of my life at this point in time. There are all these things going on (both real and imagined) that I am trying to figure out. I’m starting to get the notion that I will not be able to figure things out, so I might as well sit back, let time run it’s course, and I’ll figure it out when I figure it out. If I figure it out. If I don’t, I might as well enjoy not knowing.

So here we go, I hope this goes well. Keep you fingers crossed. Or as they say in Sweden, håll tummarna (literally hold the thumbs – clearly more luck bringing than that finger crossing nonsense.)