Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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2017, that happened

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My last blog post that did not feature a book was in July. That’s quite a few months of happenings with no writing. In fact, after doing a quick scroll through of my 2017 blog I now realize I’ve only posted 7 times outside of my book of the month posts. Seven:

  1. one year old
  2. finally 2017 (a look ahead)
  3. ry-guy
  4. mediwift
  5. t-man
  6. 15 days: my iphone withdrawal story
  7. four(teen)th of july

Either there’s not a whole lot going on for me, or a whole helluva lot. To be honest, definitely some of both. So, yeah, that happened. I do want to continue my recent tradition of reverse bucket listing my year. This year’s list will serve two purposes: it’s a great way to reflect on the good times of 2017, and is also a list of blog posts soon to be featured here:

  1. Hosted wintry guests
  2. Went on a cruise
  3. Celebrated weddings in Newport, RI and Sundance, UT
  4. Traveled to the western USA with my family
  5. Saw the Grand Canyon
  6. Went to Vegas
  7. Followed my savings plan
  8. Coached a growing group of girls
  9. Attended my 10 year high school reunion
  10. Completed another year of my ECE degree

I’ll stop at 10, because that’s been my modus operandi the previous two years, but there may be an extra post or two coming down the pipeline with happenings from the eventful 2017 – like my epic summer vacation. Get ready, 2018 is here.

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on this, brother, the day of your birth

I’ve started a little tradition by writing a blog post on my brothers’ birthdays, and it’s that time of year again! Ryan has become another year wiser, Happy Birthday brother!

Today I want to share our most recent memory, that is to say our most recent IRL interaction.

Sidebar: (IRL = in real life)

Ryan came to visit during his spring break this year. *WOO HOO!* He got to do super fun things, like meet his niece for the very first time.

But first coffee:

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Cuddle time:

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Doctor’s appointment:

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Games galore!

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Food time (for everyone):

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Even Ryan got in a hockey practice (can’t let Dad one-up you!):

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I hope you have just as much fun today as you obviously had on your latest trip to Sweden.

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france 

Only you have to say it in French…”Fraaance”. Also feel free to be a little snooty about it, but that’s optional.

Balcony views

Balcony views

In October Evelina and I travelled to Paris. My cousin has been living there for about a year with her husband and daughter and now their new-born son. Though his arrival was after our visit. Evelina and  had a great time visiting with them and catching up. The last time I had seen my cousins daughter she was only three months old, so it was quite different to get to play with her as an almost three-year old in the parks of Paris and bounce up and down on a seesaw beside the Notre Dame.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Seine

Evelina and I loved Paris. As they say the city is for lovers.

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Eiffel Tower in the sunshine

Walking around Paris

After we got home I took the opportunity to work on number 15 on my 30 before 30 list. I made a map matte.

Here’s the example picture I found on Pintrest:

Pintrest

And here’s my crack at it:

my frame

I just loved the idea of using a map as a matte! I got in almost everything in the matte that we did/went to. We stayed by the Eifel Tower, visited the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as strolled along the Seine eating baguettes in the sunshine.

Louvre

Paris is for lovers

Paris is for lovers

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memory lane: a danish weekend

As we continue along this trip, let’s make a stop at May, 2013.

Danish flag

Evelina and I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to see my cousin, and meet her beautiful little girl. Who by now has turned 3, but let’s return down the lane and talk more about Denmark.

We arrived pretty late, so the first thing we did in Denmark was sleep. Okay the first thing was to find and check into the hotel, but the second thing was sleep.

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After waking up to a beautiful view of Copenhagen we ate breakfast with my cousin and then proceeded to explore the town.

Exploring Copenhagen

Me & Evelina Copenhagen DK 2013

As dusk fell we found our way to Tivoli, or the amusement park, right in central Copenhagen (next to our hotel, so the finding wasn’t particularly difficult). We wandered around taking lots of pictures of flowers. I’m pretty sure that’s what all the tourists do in Copenhagen. We must have been there on a day of no tourism, because we were the only ones taking flower pictures that evening.

Tivoli

When we returned to the hotel Tivoli started the firework show in our honor.

Tivoli fireworks

We had a great weekend away, and though much of Copenhagen reminded us of Sweden, the ever-present Danish speaking always reminded us that we were a long way from home.

As we concluded our weekend we returned home to Sweden, but didn’t venture far from Stockholm. The evening of our return we caught Pink at The Globe. We ate dinner before the show, and to be honest the food was quite good.

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Pink Globen

If you haven’t yet, go see Pink in concert, she is truly an entertainer. Also, if you have the chance, eat dinner first on a balcony from which you later enjoy the show.

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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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july travels

While on my blogging sabbatical Evelina and I travelled to the good old U S of A. We attended my cousin Maegan’s wedding, celebrated the Fourth of July, went kayaking, ate frozen yogurt, and lots of other summery fun things.

July 2015

It’s nice to reminisce on long summer days, especially now that the darkness has fallen upon Sweden as winter quickly approaches.

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the vasa museum

On my list of things to do in Sweden I list visiting the Vasa Museum. This is because it is one of the coolest museums I have been to. It takes a turn from your normal museum scene (pictures/painting/art on display, or multiple exhibits spanning years of history). The Vasa Museum has chosen its focus, that focus being the 17th century ship the Vasa.

Vasa vertical

The Vasa was a war ship that could hold 64 cannons and 300 soldiers. The ship was ordered to be built by king Gustav II Adolf, who was very concerned with status symbols. The Vasa took almost two years to build by head engineer Henrik Hybertsson.

The Vasa then sank in  1628 on her maiden voyage, after only sailing 1300 meters. Not surprising as the engineers knew it could not sail because of instability. However if the ship were to be built today it is likely the captain would be held responsible for the accident as Söfring Hansson should have sailed with the cannon doors shut to protect against an already unstable boat from sinking. 30 men, women and children died aboard the Vasa, and 15 sets of remains were found upon the ships surfacing. At the museum there is a section called “Face to Face” where you can learn about these people aboard the great war ship.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The boat was carved elaborately and painted beautifully. Color and paint experts have examined the wreckage to determine the probable colors used for this section, as seen in the drawing above.

The ship spent three centuries under water before the Swedish marine technician Anders Franzén found it and began a campaign to retrieve the ship from its watery grave. Once surfaced in 1961 took almost 30 years to prepare and restore the ship and build the museum that the Vasa is standing in today. All new wood & restorations are done in untreated wood, so that a clear difference is seen between new wood and the 400 year old shipwreck wood.

The Vasa horizontal

I have never been to such a singularly focused museum. The ship is impressive enough in and of itself that the history behind it and extra details presented makes the museum a must visit in Stockholm city. Extra points if you sing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme for your entire visit.

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