Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


Leave a comment

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:

IMG_0892

Cuddle time:

IMG_0909

Doctor’s appointment:

IMG_0912

Games galore!

IMG_0917

Food time (for everyone):

image1

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

IMG_0960

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

signature

 


1 Comment

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

signature


Leave a comment

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.

IMG_0394

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.

IMG_0405

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.

signature


1 Comment

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.

signature


8 Comments

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.

signature


Leave a comment

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.

signature


1 Comment

across the atlantic

Again, I have made the trip across the Atlantic. This past April. The alliteration here is ridiculous – that just has to be said.

This most recent time I returned to my side of the ocean to celebrate my cousin Katy’s wedding. Katy lives in Chicago, and that’s where the wedding was. It was a beautiful ceremony with a great party to follow. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s start at the beginning.

Getting to Chicago.

This April I was flying Lufthansa. About three, maybe four days before I was scheduled to travel one of the top news stories was a pilot strike with Lufthansa. I had a mini-freak-out and checked my reservations. No worries, my flights from Sweden to Chicago were via United.

No worries, or that’s what I thought until 6am the day I’m trying to leave Stockholm. That’s when my flight isn’t listed on the flight board. That’s when I have a super-freak-out. I rushed over to the Lufthansa counter. Didn’t have to wait in line because there was only one other customer, and multiple personnel waiting and ready. In a panic I explained my situation – which was that I had no idea what was going on, and where was my flight, it shouldn’t have been affected by Lufthansa strikes seeing as it was a United flight. I was booked through Lufthansa on a United flight which was operated by Lufthansa, the woman at the counter explained. She would see what she could do. There was a United flight I could get on. Or wait, they had inserted Lufthansa flights into the schedule, flown by non Lufthansa pilots, apparently. As she clicked away on her computer, called the United desk, asked her colleagues questions, clicked away some more, my anxiety slowly rose. Eventually I got on the Lufthansa flight, leaving at 9:00am, meaning I could have slept for another 3 hours instead of getting up at 4:45 for the taxi. But that’s neither here nor there.

I was on a flight! And that’s what mattered. I killed the time by enjoying Starbucks coffee and calling my dearest. I then read my book by the gate. Our departure time changed to 9:15. Nothing to worry about, flights get slightly delayed all the time, I’d still make my connection. Then it was delayed to 9:30. My “killing time” turned into anxiously staring at the flight information screen hoping the flight wouldn’t be further delayed.

We took off from Arlanda at 10. This was really cutting it close. Upon landing the kind airline personnel who helped me find my seat made an announcement. “All passengers continuing on to Chicago please make your way to the bus in front, all other passengers please board the second bus.” Okay, I thought, no big deal. Get on the first bus.

We had checked all our hand luggage over a certain size, so after retrieving my bag I made my way to the bus. Which turned out to be a car. The man waiting outside hurried over and put my bag in the back. I jumped in. As did he. Strange, I thought, shouldn’t he help the others with their bags. As he started the motor and drove off, I realized that when the kind airline personnel announced all passengers she really meant the one passenger, me.

I was driven directly from one gate to the next, where my driver brought my bag to the customs agent. Who was quite rude to me upon presentation of my passport, until I said I lived in Sweden, at which point he got very cheery and wished me a nice trip. The driver showed me to the next security point, waited patiently as I passed through, and brought me to my gate. Waiving farewell as I entered the boarding tunnel.

happily in my seat

That’s what I call service. I would certainly fly Lufthansa again. I made it to Chicago safe and sound. Much thanks to the excellent service provided me.

I arrived in the city a matter of minutes before my father and Ryan arrived. We found each other in the airport and made our way to the hotel. The three of us enjoyed dinner out and a relaxing night at the hotel. The following day was the wedding, and it was to be quite an event. But not before Ryan and I went on a 9 mile run! If you ever get the chance to run through Chicago in early spring, it’s a great way to see the sights.

Chicago by storm

Then it was time to get ready, so after primping and pruning the family made our way over to the ceremony. As I said, the ceremony was beautiful. The local was amazing, with an outdoor terrace with an amazing view. There was excellent food, touching speeches, and dancing fun. Everything you need at a wedding. Plus, my cousin looked absolutely magnificent. Congratulations again Katy!

Katy's wedding.

City views & Dad

signature