Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

Leave a comment

book of september: the woman who stole my life

I’ve featured a few Marian Keyes books as books of the month before. My first Keyes book was purchased for me by my dearest Evelina as a Christmas present. She didn’t know what she was starting: a huge fandom. As in I am now a huge fan.

This was actually an impulse buy. As you may be aware I am trying to read all of the books I own and have yet to read. It seems important to me to actually have read the books I (or someone dear to me) has spent the time and money picking out. Seems logical. So, in pursuit of this I have put a pause on book purchases.

Side bar: obviously last months BOTM was also a new purchase, but I had gotten a gift card as a birthday present and I really wanted a first edition. So there’s that.

The Woman who Stole my Life was so much fun. Keyes’ writing style is so refreshing to me, she truly is a wonderful story teller. This is just the kind of book one wants to have whole on vacation.

Which brings me back to the impulse buy. Evelina and I were on our way to visit family and friends across the pond. I have a hard time in general resisting book stores, but when I’m actively trying to not buy books it makes them irresistible. Needles to say I was drawn in by the gravitational pull of the open plan book store one so often finds in airports. Really I didn’t stand a chance trying to resist. Once I saw a Keyes book I hadn’t read staring back at me from the shelf all hope was lost. I had to. And you should too! Read The Woman who Stole my Life that is. Such a fun read.


1 Comment

a yoga-cation

This past spring I headed over the Atlantic on a wedding celebration, that of my cousin Katy. (I’m sure you recall the previous post.) The destination was in Chicago, a wonderfully amazing city.

On the trip home I stopped off in the Greater Boston Area for a visit home. Of course. Can’t go crossing the vast expance of ocean and not stop by, right? It seems only polite. I spent eight days at my childhood home, and they were quite lovely.

I filled my days with shopping and yoga. It was quite the vacation. If you don’t do yoga, I would seriously recommend it. On vacation I did lots of hot yoga with my bother. In a beautifully lit room with the thermostat turned up to a million degrees we sweat our way to relaxation. If you can, though, I’d avoid doing two and a half hours of hot yoga straight. Or definitely bring a water bottle if you do.

Even more exciting than all the yoga was the wedding shower my family threw for me. It was a beautiful spring day and lots of friends and family were able to attend. Plus there were presents! Just kidding. Mostly. It really was wonderful to see so many of my friends and family all at once. Especially since I see everyone much less often now that I live an ocean away.

April Showers

Makes me think I should probably throw a party every time I come for a visit. That way I get all my socializing done at once. Good plan, no?


book of august: the sports gene

Leave a comment




While on vacation this is the book I read: The Sports Gene by David Epstein. After just beginning to read the book I was discussing it with a friend. At the outset I was a little disappointed, to be completely honest. I was really looking forward to reading about new studies done in genetics and lots of new stories about athletes. This just wasn’t the case from the get go. It was a little bit of a “review” of things covered in other books and/or articles that I’d already read. My friend seemed to understand my slight hesitation about the book, and commented that if you read a lot on the same topic, the same things and ideas tend to turn up. True.

Thankfully my disappointment didn’t last for long, as I was quickly engrossed in Epstein’s writing, which closely ties genetic research with personal stories about athletes and teams. My true enjoyment of the book did begin after talking to my friend about it, I lowered my expectations a little bit, and enjoyed the book for what it is. A very accessible and interesting read about some genetic studies, pared often with anecdotes and specific stories. In the end I think the accessibility of the book is what makes it a good read for anyone. If you’re interested in sports and genetics, definitely give it a read. Although if you’re extremely interested in genetics the “new” things about this book will be how Epstein incorporates stories with science, and his specific point of view. If that piques your interest, add The Sports Gene to your list!



a short absence


It’s vacation time!


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


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

Happy reading!


Leave a comment

eight. go to greece

I had a master evil plan. It was glorious. It involved my escape, with Evelina of course, to the warm, sandy beaches of Greece. In my fantastical plan I would spend my 25th birthday sipping adult beverages in the sunshine.

Greece sandy beaches

picture found here

Sadly, this will not be the reality. I still have good chances of sipping adult beverages in the sunshine, however I will not be in Greece. My dream vacation is still only a dream. Turns out my fantasies have deeper pockets than I do. Greece will have to wait. I hope it isn’t going anywhere.

The resolve has not lessened.



nine. go to mexico

This one wasn’t an easy one like the last one. Or at least it’s not an easy one if you’re starting in Sweden. Standing in the south of Texas would also make this one pretty easy. But that’s neither here nor there, seeing as we live in Sweden. 
photo 1
Evelina and I travelled to Mexico to celebrate the wedding of our dear friends Kallie and Justin. (All names changed to protect identity – duh.) It was a ridiculously beautiful beach wedding at sunset. Being in Mexico for a week didn’t hurt either, with a beautiful hotel, snorkeling and Mayan ruins to be seen, fun was certainly had.
We loved Mexico, and would love to go back. There’s more adventure waiting, seeing as we still have the Aztec and Inca ruins to visit!

1 Comment

the sweatiest bus trip of my life

Spain part 2 of 3
(part 1 found here)

While in Spain I experienced the sweatiest bus trip of my life.

I’m almost hoping that when you picture a sweaty bus trip you picture an old, half run down, bus with all the windows down and its occupants just sweltering. Fanning themselves with exhausted arms in a half stupor from the heat. Admittedly, it is warm in Spain. However, what I hope you’re imagining is no where close to what my reality was.

They have very effective air conditioning systems in their busses in Spain. On my bus trip the temperature was actually verging on chilly in there. I became extremely sweaty on this bus trip for none of the reasons you’d expect.

The trip by bus from Madrid to Don Benito takes four hours. By law bus drivers in Spain must take a break after two hours of driving. That means half way between the two cities we stopped at a rest stop. Up until that point my bus trip was very low-key. The woman to my left spent the time sleeping, and I spent the time taking wonderful scenic pictures of the Spanish countryside while listening to tunes on my iPhone.

See how wonderful!

Spanish Landscape

Take a good look at these pictures. Doesn’t it look, just a little bit, like we were driving in circles? In retrospect I seriously wonder if we did that a little bit. Probably not. Who knows. Anyway…

Moving on!

At the half way mark everyone got off the bus, as required, and the bus driver locked the bus. We all hung around a rest stop, some people buying snacks, most everyone using the facilities. Had I known what I was about to embark on during the second half of my journey I would not have nonchalantly basked in the Spanish sun. I would have been studying. Studying the Spanish language.

Little did I know my travel companion in the seat next to me was quite the chatter. I did not know this, because, as mentioned, she slept for the first two hours. For the second two hours it was time to chat. Can you guess where this is going?

If I thought that I got nervous while speaking Swedish to Swedes it was nothing compared to how nervous I became while trying to differentiate in my brain between Spanish and Swedish. In general English isn’t very widely spoken in Spain, so if you think a broken blend of Spanish, Swedish and English is at all understandable to anybody, you would be wrong. (This is not only applicable in Spain, but rather exactly everywhere on Earth.)

Despite our hindrances, that is to say, despite my hindrances, and sweatiness, I ended up having a lovely conversation with María-José. She explained about the different areas of Spain. Where she had travelled and lived. The stark differences between the Spanish countryside and Madrid (which I had actually picked up on – believe it or not). Told me about how her daughter had travelled to the US and was now working there. My big input in the conversation was commenting on horses. I’m sure she was simply blown away by my intellectual contribution. I did successfully explain that I was from the US, now lived in Sweden, and was visiting a friend who lived in Don Benito. (She was wondering why on earth I would travel to Don Benito.)

Map of Spain

A clear written explination of our discussion on Spain

I don’t think my sweatiness bothered her. I say that because once we arrived in Don Benito she stuck around with me until Katie arrived at the bus station. Safely leaving me off with someone who knew the area. María-José, thank you, I will always remember our bus trip together.



my “new” job

I have officially worked at my place of employment for over a year. A while ago, I told you I had gotten a new job, and had you guess about what it could be.

Here’s the big reveal: I’m a pre-school teacher.

The anticipation must have been eating away at you. After having worked at my new job for a little over a year and a half I have realized a few things.

  1. Small children are both wonderful and terrible. (Lucky for us, usually the former.)
  2. Working with children may be the most rewarding thing I have ever done.
  3. Sweden rocks


Let me explain this last point. First by taking you back to the very beginning. It’s a very good place to start. The beginning of this story starts in July of 2012. I had worked my final weeks at REC, you all remember good ‘ol REC, and the many shenanigans I got in to there. Well I had nostalgically worked my final weeks there (something about knowing you’re leaving to never return makes everything a little nostalgic – and funny – oh how we laughed!) and had moved up north. Not too far mind you, I do have some sense left in me. As mentioned, it was July of 2013, a beautiful Swedish summer, and I was getting paid to do absolutely nothing. (Reason 1 why Sweden rocks.) I had amassed enough vacation days while working at REC to pay for my entire summer vacation. I had 5 weeks off in a row, and my bank account did not suffer for it. I even went on an actual vacation to scare the socks off my Mom for her birthday.

This, people, is why Sweden rocks. 5 weeks of paid vacation!? I can’t even believe it’s true, and I’ve lived it. Another great thing about where I work is it is relatively easy to get time off. When Tyler graduated high school, and friends get married, it’s just a matter of giving them fair warning in advance that one would like to galavant across the ocean, and it’s done. I am exasperately grateful for this.

5 weeks, people

This is what 5 weeks looks like on a calendar. I felt this was necessary.

Reminiscing on that great summer of love does make me a little sad though. It is highly unlikely I will again take 5 weeks in a row of vacation. 5 weeks is a long time, a person can get a lot of relaxing done in that time. I’m gonna miss that.

Now you know that I like travelling across the Atlantic when I get vacation time. What about you, what do you like to do when you take time off? signature

Leave a comment

2013 – looking back

At the end of each year I like to take a moment to reflect on a year gone. Okay, no, that was a bold faced lie, sounded good though, right?

This year at least I would like to take a look at last year’s New Year’s resolutions which read as follows:

  1. Paint a painting.
  2. Find a lasagna recipe Evelina enjoys as much as I do.
  3. Make homemade macaroni and cheese.
  4. Bake a rulltårta.
  5. Watch more movies.


It seems the only resolution I have successfully been able to follow is number five. To be fair I have also completed 3 & 4, but really just in the past few days as a last ditch attempt to be successful with my resolutions. Yes, I deem 3/5 successful. Passing grade people!

In regards to the first two. I’m pretty okay with their lack of completion, as they are both well on their way. For my birthday Evelina got me two canvases and some paints. I have already planned out what I am going to paint and how I’m going to paint it. Half way there. As for number 2…Evelina has exasperatingly explained that she does not like lasagna. She will not like lasagna. As she does not like cheese, which is a main ingredient in lasagna. Little does she know I plan on adding these two uncompleted resolutions to my new resolution list (coming 2014) and I have a little something up my sleeve. Cue evil laugh.

found here

found here

I don’t want to dwell on the things I haven’t accomplished, but rather take a look at the things I have.

  1. Well on my way on learning Swedish
  2. Read Wuthering Heights
  3. Went to Mexico
  4. Read a book a month (despite some delays in posting about it – coming soon)
  5. Own the complete 10 seasons of Friends


And those are just the things off of my 25 before 25 list. I’ve even:

  1. Planned a Lucia celebration
  2. Celebrated my Dad’s birthday with him
  3. Attended my brother’s high school graduation
  4. Listened to my calendar when it told me to eat chocolate for breakfast
  5. Learned even more about Sweden


I’d say this has been a successful year.


1 Comment

chichen itza in detail

Because of the HUGE response I got from my Mexico post…

Side bar: there was no response. At all.

ANYWAY! Because of the huge response I got from my Mexico post, I’m here to tell you more about the Chichen Itza experience.

Very interesting history. By the way, I’m glad the Mayans were wrong about the end of the world. (I’m thinking they just got bored with writing the calendar…) That’s neither here nor there.

Chichen Itza

As mentioned, it is quite possible our guide at Chichen Itza was making up 80% of the things he told us. I’m choosing to believe it was 100% fact. Here are some of the fun facts we got to learn about Chichen Itza and the ancient Mayans (only 20% guaranteed to be true):

  1. The carvings on many ancient structures depict pumas, jaguars and birds. These animals are carved in a sitting position, as they then represent warriors.
    sitting jaguars
  2. The Mayans built pyramids over pyramids. That is to say Chichen Itza has a tiny baby pyramid inside it. Only the baby pyramid will never be born…and is older than the one on the outside. I’m thinking the baby metaphor was a terrible one…

    Here you can see excavated layers of a newer pyramid that was once built over the Chichen Itza pyramid standing today.

    Here you can see excavated layers of a newer pyramid that was once built over the Chichen Itza pyramid standing today.

  3. The Mayans constructed all of their architecture without the wheel or metal.

    No metal. No wheel.

    No metal. No wheel.

  4. In searching to explain why hundreds of thousands of Mayans would perform the back-breaking work of constructing these structures (again, without the wheel or metal), archeologists think one possibility is the high priests performed cranial deformation from a young age, as well as teeth deformation. They were looked upon as demigods, and therefore were obeyed. (Google “cranial deformation“, I dare you.)

    If you can see the three protrusions from the corner of this building you can see three statues of Chaac. The protrusions are his nose.

    If you can see the three protrusions from the corner of this building you can see three statues of Chaac. The protrusions are his nose.

  5. The Mayans had many gods. My favorite is the rain god, Chaac. Because of his huge nose. I am that superficial. (They also had a corn god. Since there is no longer any wild corn, does that mean the Mayan corn god is dead? Or does she now oversee all the scientific improvements in corn in the last 3000 years?)



  6. Behind the Chichen Itza pyramid is a field of columns. Engraved on these columns are warriors. You can see they are warriors by their feathered headdress and by the fact that the engraving is wearing a jaguar skin and holding a weapon. There are 700 columns in all, however they are called “the 1000 columns” after a story about a boy who was asked by a priest to count them. He spent the day playing instead, and at the end of the day reported that there were 1000.

    Looks like 1000 to me.

    Looks like 1000 to me.

  7. There is an arena standing near Chichen Itza where three different styles of games were played. This court is the biggest in all of Mexico at 167 meters high.
    Mayan games
  8. There is also a platform engraved with skulls. It was on top of this platform that sacrifices were performed. As reiterated by our guide, human sacrifice was rare and it was a high honor to be offered as a sacrifice, the sacrifices were willing.
    Skull platform

I hope you had as much fun learning these 8 fun facts as I did. They were the ones I didn’t distinctly remember learning in school. Which adds to the theory that they may only be 20% true. Or my memory isn’t perfect. Either or.

This adventure was certainly worth it, and for those of you out there interested in a little history on your vacation I say this is a good way to go.

Also, don’t belive the guys out front selling hats. There is shade inside the walls surrounding the pyramid, and you will not melt in the sun.