Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden

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gröna lund

One of many Things To Do In Sweden, as listed by yours truly, is to visit Gröna Lund. Which is an amusement park on Djurgården island, which you can get to by ferry, bus, car, bike, skateboard, walking – and those standing scooter things that I assume were created to increase the spread of obesity the world over. And yes, standing scooter things is an official Google search term.

What I’m saying is, you can get there by many means. Once there, and you have paid the admission fee and possibly bought your ride wrist band or tickets, you are free to run around and explore the wonderful mini-world that is this amusement park.

I’ve been a few times, the most recent time being last summer. My personal favorite rides are the tallest ones, especially Eclipse where you can see absolutely fabulous views of Stockholm.

Gröan 2015

Grönan 2




Of course no trip to Gröna Lund would be complete without Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!


All in all Grönan (as the locals call it) is a great time!


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eurovision song contest

If you don’t recall my other post about Eurovision, read up here. There I explain all about how the contest works. Guess what, one week ago today, Sweden did it again!


This post won’t be quite the same detailed run-down as my previous post was, but I will have you know that I personally think that this year’s Eurovision Song Contest was the best one I have ever seen. Every country that made it to the final really stepped it up. Every single song and artist was truly amazing. And I’m pretty hard to please, seeing as I’m a native English speaker I’m hard on artists. If they can’t sing in English, I’m a firm advocate for them singing in their native tongue. This year, however, no one’s English caused me to cringe or want to turn off my TV. Everyone brought their A-game.

That being said, here are the results, as well as links to the songs from the official ESC site.

ESC(picture found here)

  1. Sweden – Måns Zelmerlöw – Heroes: 365
  2. Russia – Polina Gagarina – A Million Voices: 303
  3. Italy – Il Volo – Grande Amore: 292
  4. Belgium – Loïc Nottet – Rhythm Inside: 217
  5. Australia – Guy Sebastian – Tonight Again: 196
  6. Latvia – Aminata – Love Injected: 186
  7. Estonia – Elina Born & Stig Rästa – Goodbye To Yesterday: 106
  8. Norway – Morland & Debrah Scarlett – A Monster Like Me: 102
  9. Israel – Nadav Guedj – Golden Boy: 97
  10. Serbia – Bojana Stamenov – Beauty Never Lies: 53
  11. Georgia – Nina Sublatti – Warrior: 51
  12. Azerbaijan – Elnur Huseynov – Hour of the Wolf: 49
  13. Montenegro – Knez – Adio: 44
  14. Slovenia – Maraaya – Here For You: 39
  15. Romania – Voltaj – De La Capat/All Over Again: 35
  16. Armenia – Genealogy – Face the Shadow: 34
  17. Albania – Elhaida Dani – I’m Alive: 34
  18. Lithuania – Monika Linkyté and Vaidas Baumila – This Time: 30
  19. Greece – Maria Elena Kyriakou – One Last Breath: 23
  20. Hungary – Boggie – Wars for Nothing: 19
  21. Spain – Edurne – Amanecer: 15
  22. Cyprus – John Karayiannis – One Thing I Should Have Done: 11
  23. Poland – Monika Kuszynska – In the Name of Love: 10
  24. United Kingdom – Electro Velvet – Still in Love With You: 5
  25. France Lisa Angell – N’oubliez Pas: 4
  26. Germany – Ann Sophie – Black Smoke: 0
  27. Austria – The Makemakes – I am Yours: 0


Definitely click the link to listen to Sweden’s song, and I even encourage you to click all the links. Form your own opinion. Learn a little about European music. Although I thought this year’s performances were above and beyond, as per the usual I did not agree with this year’s voting.

If I was the Queen of the Eurovision Song Contest this is how I would have ranked the songs:

My list

This year’s song contest did not occur without a little drama. Half way through the contest Russia was winning. The audience did not like this, and they started booing when Russia received points. The TV hosts reminded the audience that the song contest is completely outside of politics, and all artists should be supported. A bit later on a Sweden chant began.

Little awkward, but the ESC has been very pro LGBTQ, and Russia these days is the opposite of that. So, although awkward, not unsurprising in the least. I do think that what the hosts said was important though, the music is the focus, and the music this year was GREAT.


I’m super glad Sweden won, and if any of you readers can get me tickets to the song contest next spring I would be forever in your debt!



not dieting/starting again/stopping/then starting again

This probably sounds like a cliché, or an all too often told story. About people who try different fad diets, only to eventually fail at them, to then try some other diet that’s big right now.

That’s not what I’m here to talk about. And, honestly, without sounding to preachy or as if I’m trying to sell you something, I think I’ve found a few things that work when it comes to dieting.

Side bar: I am seriously not going to try to sell you anything. Seriously. I have no money to gain here. It is also probably important to emphasize that I am not in the field of health and nutrition. I have no background education in the matter. I told you all about how I’m a pre-school teacher. What I can say is that if we listened to the pre-schoolers we’d eat a whole lot of candy and cookies. That stuff is tasty! But, I do try to limit the advice I take from 5 and 6 year olds. (Though at times they are truly inspiring.) I’m rambling, the point here is don’t by anything from me, and take my advice with a grain of salt. Do your own research, and find out what works for you.

PN plate

found here

That being said, I think I’ll say it again. I really do not think there is anything better when it comes to “dieting” than doing your own research and finding what works for you. I want to put dieting in bunny quotes because what I do I don’t actually feel is dieting. Yes I am changing my diet. But ideally I am changing my diet for good. For the forseeable future. My personal goal, when I say I want to get fit (and yes I believe a big part of that is through making conscious decisions about one’s diet), is to find a diet that works for me and the lifestyle I want to lead, forever.

THAT being said, I’m here today to tell you a little about what I have found works for me, and my own personal experience with changing the way I eat (more commonly known as dieting).

Start slowly. I’ve read a million articles online about diets that are guaranteed to work, and just follow these easy 10 steps to a healthier you! (It was a million, I counted.) The problem is, it is almost never that I find all the “steps” in all the different “processes” to be simple. I find the biggest problem with dieting is failing at it. That’s why I choose my own steps. In order for this post to stay at a readable length I’m going to list my top three pieces of advice, or first three steps I took when trying to change my diet.

  1. Make it easy for yourself. I believe that successfully completing your goals sets you up for future success. Therefore, when beginning a new project (any project really) I start as small as possible. Miniscule. I make that first step seem like the easiest thing in the world, that I can definitely accomplish. Then comes the important part, that once I do accomplish my easy first step, I go on and make another step in the right direction. (But again, a very, ridiculously, awesomely easy step.)
    For example: If I want to eat less sugar, first I’ll take a look at what my sugar in take is currently. Let’s say I eat a good amount of sugar every day and want to reduce that. So I’ll first just look at one meal. Every morning I put two tea spoons of sugar in my tea. My super easy step then could be to only add one teaspoon of sugar. I think I can manage that with 100% success, so that’s what I choose to change.
  2. Keep track of what you’re doing. There are a bunch of apps out there, or you can go the old write-it-down-with-pen-and-paper rout. Whatever you do, keep track of what you’re doing and how you feel. If you keep track you will be able to easier tell what is working, and what isn’t. (Hint: this can even be one of your first small changes – make it easy for yourself!)
  3. Be allowed to cheat. They say (by they I mean the internet) that your “diet” will be successful if you follow it 90% of the time. That’s pretty sweet I think. If you eat 6 meals a day for 7 days a week that means you eat 42 meals in a week. That means you only have to follow your diet for about 37 meals. That’s 5 meals/week that you get to eat whatever you want. (Within reason and portion size.) I’m fairly sure if you eat seven pizzas for four meals a week you won’t be getting any fitter, regardless of what you eat the other 37 times.


How do I know that these steps work? Like I said, I’ve read approximately 1 million articles online regarding changing the way one eats. In the internet wonderland I have found these ideas, and I have tested them myself to see what works best for me.

yummy fruit

found here

To be honest, it hasn’t been a perfect run, as the title of this post would suggest. I’ve fallen off the bandwagon. Dropped the ball. Let it slide. Whichever idiom you like. That’s why I find it important to have my three steps. When it starts going less well, I can take it back to the basics. Back to what I know works. (And keep track of what hasn’t work, and maybe even ponder why it hasn’t worked.)

I tried to keep this short and sweet, but certainly have more to say on the topic.

Stay tuned.


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sweden : portugal :: zlatan : ronaldo

The other day the idrottsgalan was on television. That’s Athletics Gala for all you non-Swedish speakers out there. Where the athletes of Sweden are awarded prizes and it is broadcast on television.

Evelina really wanted to see it because a friend of hers was there. A friend and former teammate. The captain of the Swedish Women’s National ice hockey team. Fancy. We turned the TV on just in time, as she was being interviewed.

At this Gala Zlatan Ibrohimavic was up for a number of awards. He wasn’t actually there, so this picture showed up on the screen a lot:

picture found here

picture found here

Seeing Zlatan reminded me of a time when the hockey team I play for worked at an event. We work at various events in order to earn money for our team. To pay for bus trips and such. The event was a soccer game, and yes Zlatan was on the field. It was a match up between Sweden and Portugal. Or, as many sports news outlets discussed, a competition between Zlatan Ibrohimovic (of Sweden – if that wasn’t yet clear), and Christiano Ranaldo (of Portugal).

picture found here

picture found here

Now, I don’t claim to know very much about soccer (also known across the world as football). To be honest, before the game at The Globe in Stockholm, I didn’t even know what Christinao Ronaldo looked like. The only thing I knew about him was that one of the children at my pre-school claims to be his brother. (They don’t share a last name, so I have my doubts.)

Globen - Zlatan & Ronaldo

After seeing him in person though, on the field, looking smoking. I think I may have my first crush on a soccer player. (Sorry Beckham.) This athlete is good looking, to say the least. Unfortunately the same cannot be said about his Swedish counterpart. I enjoyed working the game, and getting peeks at the play on the field. As well as standing field-side. (Do they say that in soccer? My goal was to apply “court-side” to soccer.) Live soccer is actually relatively exciting. I can see why so many people are absolutely insane about it. Alright, maybe there should be a limit to the insanity…but then it wouldn’t be insanity, would it?




hockey underway!

This hockey season is officially under way, with 21 ice practices and 2 scrimmages now under our collective belts it’s finally starting to sink in.

Time to break in the new skates, and dust off the old equipment.

new skates

Time to see just how far you’ve come over the summer.


With the start of this season I was thinking back to last season. How much fun we had, and what a great season it was. I’m looking forward to a new season.

go team go!

My stroll down memory lane even took a stop around last January, mid season, to when my brother came to visit.

Christmas 2012

Ryan came for his first Swedish Christmas last year. He was here in Sweden over New Years as well (for the second New Years in a row). While he was visiting he joined the team on the ice a couple times. First for what I’ll call a family night on ice. I’m calling it that mostly because it sounds incredibly fun!! Which it was. The team invited friends and family to join us on the ice. We split into six teams and scrimmaged each other on three mini-rinks. It was a ton of fun, and I was ecstatic that a member of my family was actually able to be there. I am so glad Ryan skated with us that night; a memory I will cherish forever.

The second time Ryan joined the team on the ice was supposed to be a practice time. But turns out it was a goalie, Evelina, Ryan and I, and one other player. We spent the night skating around on the outdoor rink. It was a great evening where Ryan got to demonstrate more of his hockey skills, as we did a few drills and played around in the fresh, freezing, Swedish winter night.

hockey night

It’s easy to say I’m excited for the upcoming season. But I’m even more excited for nights like that. Unexpected memories. With friends and family. Ryan, consider this your official invitation to Sweden this winter.


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listen to your calendar

Do you know what I always say?

Listen to your calendar.

Do what your calendar tells you to do.

For instance last week, I had forgotten I needed to immediately bike to the ServiceCenter to sign up for an online Swedish class after work. Unfortunately I had made plans with my Evelina for that afternoon after work. But, it was really the only time in the next three weeks that I was able to go there to sign up for my class. When I got off work and saw the calendar alert on my phone, I was jarred away from my pleasant daydreaming of my pleasant afternoon plans. Stupid calendar. Stupid phone. It REALLY was the only chance I had to sign up. So bike away I did. It was the right choice. (Despite my now lack of pleasantness.)

People: listen to your calendar. Your calendar knows best.

Luckily today is a fun day to listen to my calendar. Why? You ask. Because this is what my calendar told me to do this morning: today august 15 So eat chocolate for breakfast I did. It was beautiful. It looked a lot like this: chocolate for breakfast I hope your calendar has equally as beautiful things for you to do today. signature

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what i wish my inbox wouldn’t say about me

A little while ago I wrote about things my spam folder says about me. What that guy Earl thinks is a little crazy, so I’ll try not to worry about it too much.

quiet you....

quiet you….

There are however three things that repeatedly show up in my inbox that are 100% legitimate, but I really, really wish they weren’t.

  1. Low balance alerts. With my bank you can sign up for them to send you an e-mail alert whenever you reach a certain “threshold”. I, apparently, dip below this threshold often. My inbox is spattered with these “friendly reminders”. I know what you’re thinking. Just lower the threshold. I thought of this, and I can’t actually lower it…it is as low as it goes. Super.
  2. “Your Discover card account update!” What bothers me about this is that I don’t have a Discover card. I had one. I closed it. Still get monthly e-mails about “my account”. I called Discover to inquire about this situation. They said they were likely residual e-mails from when I closed the account. Four years ago? Get it together.
  3. My DriveEasy (insert brand name here) statement. I had one of those nifty little responders that you load with money and get to just drive right through the toll booths. (As long as you maintain the posted speed, and don’t choose to drive at rush hour when more people have the pass than pay cash, so you’ll be in line anyway.) It worked well for me. But then I lost the responder…and moved to Sweden…but never canceled the account. (Which is linked to the canceled Discover card…) So I get semi-frequent reminders of something I neither want to do nor have any motivation to do…which is cancel the account.


Anybody out there got any suggestions??? (Preferably better advise than “get down to business and take care of it” I heard that one already.)



outdoor concerts

I want to talk about outdoor concerts. I’m not going to say it again, but you all know why this is coming. Summer nights outside listening to live music is a quite excellent way to pass the time. Especially if you’re in Sweden, where the sun never sets, and you’re at the concert for free.

Swedes are ALL FOR free stuff. They almost expect it, which I really hope doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate it. In Sweden you can go to concerts for free in the summer…and you can have free money. (I mentioned this before, and one day, I promise, you’ll get to hear more about it.)

Well my first trip ever to Sweden encompassed a series of free concerts on an island in the city I was visiting. (Reason number 109 I moved to Sweden.) This past summer Evelina and I went to a concert on that same island. A fair had come to town, and with it a musical event!

outdoor concerts

I don’t need to tell you again, but I will, I can’t wait for summer!



paella is good, but tinto is better

I promise this is the last time I’m going to talk about it. But heavens to Betsy it is cold! Since I can’t go outside without freezing my toes and my boogers, I’m going to handle the situation how I handle situations best. Denial.

In that light, I’m going to take a stroll down memory lane, and in the coming days I hope you’ll join me. To scorching summer sun we go!!

Spain part 1 of 3: Madrid

What you’ve all been waiting for. The much alluded to, and previously mentioned, trip to Spain! This past May Evelina and I embarked on an adventure to Madrid.

While we were there we did touristy things. Like live in an apartment building that, upon our arrival, we were locked out of for an hour. While the guy who had our key walked/ran from his apartment to give us keys and instructions about our stay. It was classy. Luckily we felt just like home, seeing as our apartment was on the top floor of the building and had slanted roofs. (Those of you lucky enough to visit our Linköping apartment know.) The similarities ended there, however, as it was approximately 107 degrees up there. Celsius. (Possible hyperbole in action.) Oh, and everyone in the building spoke Spanish. Not Swedish.

During our stay we made our way up and down hills to see touristy things like:

Go in the Catedral de la Almudena (Almudena Cathedral)

Visit the Catedral de la Almudena (Almudena Cathedral)

And go to Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) This is the view from the Cathedral.

And go to Palacio Real de Madrid (Royal Palace) This is the view from the Cathedral.

Enjoyed the astounding view of Madrid from the Almudena Cathedral.

Enjoyed the astounding view of Madrid from the Almudena Cathedral.

We searched out the best shopping, and the prettiest buildings.

We searched out the best shopping, and the prettiest buildings.

We procured our favorite American coffee drinks!

We procured our favorite American coffee drinks!

Took a stroll down to Palacio de Comunicaciones (City Hall)

Took a stroll down to Palacio de Comunicaciones (City Hall)

We explored some amazing churches.

We explored some amazing churches.

Wandered on over to Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate). Unfortunately not at night, that's on the list for next time.

Wandered on over to Puerta de Alcalá (Alcalá Gate). Unfortunately not at night, that’s on the list for next time.

Visited Museo Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia Museum) I WAS SO PUMPE FOR THIS!!! Saw my favorite painting in real life!

Visited Museo Reina Sofia (Reina Sofia Museum) I WAS SO PUMPED FOR THIS!!! Saw my favorite painting in real life!

Besides my favorite painting, we also got to see other art. This is clearly art.

Besides my favorite painting, we also got to see other art. This is clearly art.

It was a little bit exhausting trekking around Madrid in the heat, but totally worth it. Most importantly we found El Corte Inglés. Where we bought Evelina’s mom a birthday present. And, well, obviously, we bought ourselves some presents. Evelina bought a beautiful watch. And I, in accordance with my 25 before 25 list, bought a pair of wicked-super-awesome sun glasses. Ray Bans. They’re blue. Don’t take my word for it, check out the pics.

sunny sun glasses

photo 2 (3)

chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool

In the evenings we ate paella outdoors and sipped tinto late into the night. Strolling along the restaurant lined streets in a comfortable warm breeze. One thing, at least, that Spaniards have in common with Swedes is the desire to eat out doors. In the summer this is an awesome way to dine.

Part one of what we’re now calling “The Spain Trip” went swimmingly. I had an amazing time in a foreign land with my dearest. I highly recommend Madrid for all you city lovers. A city vacation isn’t for everyone, but Madrid has the big things a city vacation needs: beautiful architecture, fun landmarks, museums and castles, and shopping. I recommend all of this to all of you.


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you win some, you lose some, you eat cookies

I hope you have been celebrating advent. This past Sunday was the second. So that means two candles have been lit. If you’re not familiar with the concept, every Sunday before Christmas you light one candle, and all the candles you’ve previously lit. That’s about it. Not too complicated.

Here in Sweden we did it Swedish style. Evelina and I were at our friend Johanna’s place for första advent (the first Sunday). After lighting the first candle we enjoyed lussekatter, pepparkakor and glögg. Lussekatter are saffron buns with raisins, pepparkakor are gingerbread cookies, and glögg is spiced wine (varieties with and without alcohol) you drop peeled almonds and raisins in the wine to make it extra tasty.

Second advent was a little less celebratory on our part, as we played a hockey game in Uppsala. Which we lost. I’m done talking about it. I’m over it. Whatever. We did light the candles again at least.

I recommend spending your advent how Evelina, Johanna and I did our first Sunday. Cozy warm, inside, with friends and treats.

Now, an instructive photograph:

an advent how to

an advent how to