Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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the birthday boy

The younger of my younger brothers has his birthday today! Happy Birthday T!

Me & T

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m getting older, but in my mind’s eye Tyler is still 6 years old with a stylish 90’s haircut to match. I can still rest my elbow on his head. You know, to relax while standing. I’m not ready to give that up. I’m considering bringing a step-stool around whenever we hang out.

Tyler, on this day, the day of your 20th birthday I bestow upon you sisterly advice. (It’s not that thing about bees.) But rather a new look on an old adage. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Unless you make two cakes. I’m not sure why no one has thought of this yet. So, brother, whenever you’re at a cross roads in life, bring two cakes.

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the birthday boy

This guy turns 23 today! Happy Birthday brother!

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Not only can I not believe it is already June of 2015, but the elder of my little brothers is turning 23 whole years today. I feel like I should bestow some wisdom upon you on this special day, but all I can think of is don’t step on bees. Even bumblebees, it still hurts.

So, with that, I hope you have a fabulous bee-sting-less birthday today. Listen to your older sister, she knows.

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an introduction

Hello and welcome! 

We are now officially entering the last 25 days before I turn 25. Big things here people, big things.
25 days before 25

this. big.

I would like to take the coming days to recap my 25 before 25 list. I endeavored to complete this list between it’s inception, in late March of 2012, and my 25th birthday. When I composed my list I thought of 25 things that I had as goals. Goals to complete and achieve by a certain deadline. I compiled this list in my pursuit of happiness. Not to be a huge cornball or anything, but seriously. Completion of goals makes me happy. Might make you happy too, give it a try.
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What I found was that my 25 before 25 list did not always make me happy. At times it stressed me out. This is the exact opposite of the purpose of my list. Stress is not what I wanted. Stress enters my life all on its own. It doesn’t need any help from me.
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I haven’t completed all of my 25 things. Some are still in the works, and may be completed before my 25th birthday. But that’s for me to decide. Me and my stress load.
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Kidding.
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Sort of.
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I am glad I made my list. I would certainly do it again. (30 before 30 in the making?? – possibly.) Now, looking forward to the coming 25 days, please embark on a journey with me. A journey back in time, to review my 25 before 25 list. Yes, to assess the completion of said list, but also to assess how I feel about said list. And if my true goal was to become happier, let’s find out if I’ve gotten there.
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Buckle up. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
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our nation’s capital

Number 16 on my 25 before 25 list has been completed! It has actually technically been completed since the summer of 2012. I’m only now deciding to let you in on the secret.

As previously mentioned, in the summer of 2012 I was living the good-life. The lots-of-vacation-time-in-Sweden-good-life. During this vacation I made a stop down in D.C. to visit my oldest friend, Elizabeth.

Side bar: she’s my oldest friend as in we’ve been friends since we were in diapers, and therefore has been my friend for a long, long time. She is not my oldest as in my friend that has lived the longest of all my friends. Just to be clear.

I had never before visited our Nation’s Capital. (Our D.C. trip in 8th grade was replaced by a Duxbury trip. It was deemed unsafe, by those chosen to deem, to travel to our Nation’s Capital at the time the trip was supposed to commence. May I take this opportunity to say that Duxbury does not compare to Washington D.C. – no offence meant towards Duxbury.) I was thrilled to be in D.C. finally, and even more thrilled to see Elizabeth and the apartment in which she was then residing.

front door

We got some quality bffl time in. bffl activities

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I even got to see Marley while I was down in D.C. Huge plus!

Me sandwich

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And while Elizabeth got some work done I did super touristy things. And took a lot of selfies.

selfie city

An all-around excellent trip. I hope to be able to swing by again soon. Elizabeth, consider this your warning that I may show up on your doorstep unannounced.

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graduating: here and there

My brother graduated high school this June. My youngest brother. Not to make this about me, but holy crap, I am SO OLD!!! I can’t even handle it.

Moving on.

It was a festive event with lots of festivities. And balloons. I don’t recall having so many balloons at my high school graduation. In fact I remember very little about the actual day of my high school graduation……I wonder why. BUT! That is neither here nor there, like I said, this isn’t about me.

Tyler graduated the 9th of June, and I was so lucky to have been able to be there.

The weekend was full of celebratory dinners, grilling, and present opening.

Tyler's graduation 1

And of course the big event.

the event

As it happened Tyler’s graduation weekend was the same exact weekend as high school graduation in the city I live in in Sweden. The way the Swedes choose to celebrate graduation differs from the usual traditions in the US.

First on graduation day you have a champagne breakfast with your entire class, and teachers. (The big difference here from the US is the presence of champagne, as 18 is the drinking age in Sweden, and also the age of high school graduation.) After breakfast there’s some sort of assembly of the entire class. Then the class as a whole exits their school building, to the welcoming croud of their closest friends and family. The immediate family of the graduate makes a sign, usually with an embarassing childhood photo of the graduate printed as large as possible on the sign.

I clearly took this opportunity to make one for Tyler.

photo 5

As you can see in the picture of Tyler, another aspect of the sign tradition is that family and friends present the graduate with toys and commemorative items. These toys (and an occational bottle of champagne) are mounted on string, and hung around the graduate’s neck. To top off the look the Swedes always wear their graduation caps, which look like white sailor hats. So many Swedish high school graduates have a picture that look a lot like this:

photo 1 (4)

picture found here

The graduates then join the members of their class in a large truck and/or on the flatbed behind a tractor and/or some other sort of large vehicle. I should first explain that each graduating class is divided into many groups, and it is in these groups that you take all of your high school classes. So, it’s not like 300 people were piled onto a truck. It’s usually around 30. Much safer. Although they do get booze…less safe…

Loud music is usually played out of every vehicle. The graduates are also usually armed with some sort of horn/noise maker. Plus they can always yell. They essentially have a party on a tractor’s flatbed. Which they have decorated before hand in preparation. These many decked out vehicles then form a sort of parade through the city. It looks a lot like this:

graduation parade

pictures found here and here respectively

I hope Tyler enjoyed his small part of Swedish graduation as much as he enjoyed the rest of it.

Congrats again!

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happy birthday dad!

Last year on my Dad’s birthday I shared one of my earliest memories. With him and with you all.

This year, luckily, I was able to be home to celebrate with my Dad and family. Not on the actual day…but weekend before is pretty damn good when you live an ocean away. That’s what I say.

We watched my Dad play soccer and had a cook out. The soccer game was a good match, where Dad was in net. Or he was in net up until the last 20 minutes, where he came in and put one away. That’s right, he had a shut out and a goal, quite the Sunday morning. Dad’s goal brought the score to 4-0. An exciting game to watch on a beautiful fall day.

Dad's soccer day

Dinner was also good.

dinner time!

And of course there were presents.

Dad's birthday 2013

So: Happy Birthday Dad! Grattis! Congratulations on another year well lived.

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book of march: the giver

They used to tell me that you should go back to a place of your childhood to see how much you have changed. Once you’ve grown up and moved away, the idea is that when you return to the places of your childhood they will have stayed the same, and it will be you who has changed. You can then use these places as a reflection upon yourself. It will become starkly clear to you, just how much you’ve changed.

Well I already know I’ve changed. But I can’t go back to the places of my childhood to examine these changes either. It’s a nice idea, but places change just as much as people do. Buildings get knocked down and re-built. Roads get re-paved, or disappear altogether, another road going somewhere else built in its stead.

Not that this is going to stop me. This summer I’ll be in my home town. (There really is no place like your home town, is there?) I can’t wait to see the new high school and go to the new ice cream place. Some things will be the same, that’s for sure, but some things will have changed more than I have since my last visit.

However; one place you can always count on to be the same is the world within a book. There’s something magical about knowing you can always go back to the same exact place written within a book. You may perceive it differently, or remember things inexactly, but the words printed on the page are the same every time.

The Giver

This month for my book of the month I decided to do some self-reflecting, and re-read a book off my 6th grade reading list: The Giver by Lois Lowry. One of my favorites of that year, I was excited to have allowed enough time to pass between now and my last reading of this book to be enthralled once again in the details.

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If you haven’t yet read this gem, do it at your soonest convenience.

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happy birthday dad!

 

 

 

 

I love looking back through pictures of my family. Pictures from when I was alive, and from when I had yet to be born. Not only to gawk at the absolutely wonderful clothing and accessory choices of my family through the years. (I have yet to understand the meaning of glasses that go down low enough to allow your cheeks to see clearly – but knowing fashion that’ll probably be “in” again next week. Cheeks have the right to prescriptive lenses too.) But also to hear the stories told by my parents, aunts, uncles, and my grandmothers (when I was lucky enough to have them).

Pictures are memories. They remind us of who we were and where we’ve come since the photo was taken. Pictures show us our history. I guess oil paintings do too, before 1826 – but do you really trust oil paintings? (Do you really trust photographs anymore either?) That’s neither here nor there.

The fact is a camera isn’t always handy. I haven’t had a camera available at every moment I would have wanted one. Maybe that’s not so important though. A camera can capture a scene, but does it always capture the feeling and emotion occurring? A camera can’t be relied on to remind us of every memory we have.

On this day, my father’s birthday, I’d like to share one of my earliest memories, that wasn’t captured on film.

As far as I can tell, my first memory was of being held by my father. Cuddled safely in his arms I was being fed milk. He stood with me by the kitchen sink, and I looked up at the, blurry with the passage of time, vision of lights above us.

While a short memory, it is one I often bring up with fondness. Over the years I have been carried by my father on countless occasions, and sometimes, when I’m really really tired I realize how good I had it when I was little. Carried up to bed after a long day of running around wildly.

Dad, I hope you have a wonderful birthday. Sit back, relax, and rest that back of yours, I’m sure it’s tired after years of lugging us kids around.

Happy Birthday Dad! You’d better like the present I got you.