Monday, August 30, 2010

Favorites and less favorite things

Fall is here now or at least it feel like it is here to us. It can be so beautiful with sunshine and chilly crispy mornings but it can also be awful with grey skies and pouring rain and coldness. I wanted to write about some of my favorites and some of my not so favorite things so far. Also our internet connection in the apartment we are living in now is not the best. So while we live here I will have to find internet at other places. My blogging might therefore be somewhat sporadic. Right now I am sitting at the library which has free internet and is close by where we live for the moment.

Swedish design is just so beautiful to me anyway. I go past the interior decorating shops and just drool over thing I would like to get. No it will take us a while before we find a place of our own I guess so I will not do or buy anything major but just one or two small things that I happen to fall in love with.

Swedish cheese, yoghurt and all the other wonderful dairy products that exist here. There are a lot more dairy products to choose from. The yoghurt here is quite different as it does not have any or as much gelatin as the American ones.

The pickled herring that I love is great to be able to buy in just any grocery store.

My family of course least but not last. So great to be able to hug mom, dad and Emil the black Labrador and whom I call my youngest brother. My real brother P livening in Moscow is actually coming to visit some time during this coming month. He has been living there for the past five years and is married to J that is Russian and they got little daughter A in March this year. We have Skyped with them from Alabama but I have never met J and A and I am sooo exited to finally get to meet them for the first time in real life.

I love the freedom to be able to move around with other means besides the car. That you can walk or bike to many places here.

I love the city that is alive and where people both live, work and hang out.

I love all the beautiful water that surrounds Stockholm. It is nicknamed Venice of Scandinavia and one understands why. I love taking an early jog and being able to come close to water and take in that fresh scent that lingers in the air.

Sweden not so great…

The weather and climate. Not the best at all times. We have been here about a week and most of the days it has been raining which has not been terrific. It will get worse. This is just the beginning, so far it fall has not yet started even. It will get colder, rainier and darker. We will see if we do stand this climate after all in the end.

Right now we are having a bit of the same problems as we first had when we moved to Alabama. C has been registered as living in the country again but still it will take him about 4 weeks before he really is in the system and until then he can’t get an address and thus can’t get his bank codes ect sent to him.

It is so great to be able to just go out into my parents yard and pick myself an apple or two.

I love these yellow flowers that grow in my parents garden.

Close where my parents live there are rose hip bushes. Here in Sweden it is popular to make rose hip soup. My parents apple trees in their yard.

My parents front porch. It is very nice but here in Sweden front porches have a different style.

Moved into the city and Swedish Crawfish

It is beautiful now when it is not raining.Mornings are cool and chilly, the air is crisp and you get that sense of fall just being around the corner. The air is fresh. I do not miss the humidity at all that we had in Alabama. The muggy weather and feeling sticky as soon as you took a step outside. Here the apples are ripe now in peoples yards. There are so many different kinds of apples. My parents also have apple trees in their yard. They have two different kinds but both are classified as summer kinds. Then there are fall apples as well as winter apples. It is wonderful to stand under my father’s apple trees. I also took some more pictures from my parents yard with many different kinds of flowers in bloom. August is a wonderful month with summer still lingering but fall just around the corner. I hope September will be nice and full of crispy but clear days with blue sky and sunshine. That kind of fall weather is my favorite.

Poor C caught a cold. I hope I won’t catch it and that he is feeling better soon. Now we have moved inte C’s aunts condo in the city. So now we are practicing compact livning. This is a small apartment of about 45 square meters or 450 square feet. It is tiny! It has one bedroom and one livning/diningroom and a kitchen. There is a table in the livningroom so it is also here that we sit to eat. Well it has all we need. We arrived with our suitcases and some more stuff that we got. We also had to go grocery shopping before we arrived here. Kind of major and basic grocery shopping when you have to start out with everything as you have nothing, nothing in the pantry, no cleaning supplies ect. Well I just got us what we will need for the next two weeks as we are soon moving again and we don’t want to move more than we have to. Moving is exhausting enough as it is on it’s own.

We went over to my parents place Sunday and had crawfish the Swedish way (not spicy as the Louisiana crawfish but equally good in their own way). We took the train back into the city in the evening. When we reached the Central Station and I looked at the people rushing to their destinations I could not help myself from laughing out loud. The difference was so stunning between Alabama and Stockholm. Here people walk fast. In Alabama people walk slowly all the time. I felt like a freak there rushing around in my pace. In Alabama people seem to just have all the time in the world all the time. Here in Stockholm everyone walks fast that is just it.

This is what the Swedish milk and buttermilk look like. Here they are sold in boxes like this of 1 liter. The little red cow is the symbol for Arla cremery which is the leading and most well known creamery of Sweden.

This is what our tiny bedroom looks like. The bed is not even queen size so right now one of us sleeps in the bed and the other in the couch. We take turns. When we move to the other place around the 10th of September hopefully we will get a larger bed because this is just too small for me. I am used to our king size bed.

This is the kitchen and then the living room.

This is another picture of the living room. Here C is sitting with his computer.

Today we went over to the Karolinska Insitute where we will be working. I wanted to figure out where I am to go so that I find my way here on Wednesday. We had planned to take our bikes here but when we were to leave it was raining so heavily that we had to surrender and take the buss. It has been raining everyday almost since we arrived about a week ago. We looked at each other and wondered if this idéa of moving back was the best in the world after all. I think that we will have to expect this roller coaster of emotions for some time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

New Cell Phones

I have finally entered the modern era that many already have been in for quite a while. Finally I got myself a smart phone! Having a cell phone is very important. We have also planned that we will not get a land line but only have and use our cell phones just as we did in Alabama. Both me and C bought an Ericsson Experia Mini Pro. It is a small and light andriod phone. We wanted something that not only had a touch screen. C has already been playing around with his for hours, he love new toys like this.

I think that I will have to play around with mine some more. Yesterday when we were out C called me and I just could not even figure out how to answer his call. Not an easy transition to the modern world when you have had a phone that is about 7 years old for quite some time. C has given me a small crash course now so hopefully I will be able to answer my phone when it rings the next time. Now I can enter the world of aps and download some cool stuff also :-)

I got a red one and C got the black one.

The weather was really nice yesterday with sunshine and this morning is equally beautiful but it sure is getting chilly as fall is approaching. It is only 6 C or 45 F this morning but during the day it will go up to a 62 F or 17 C. It is really those crisp and beautiful fall mornings by now. I love all the apple trees in peoples yards. Me and C took a nice bike ride yesterday. We got the phones, some stuff for our bikes and I also got myself some proper rain clothes so that I can still use my bike even if it is raining. My bike has not yet arrived as it is in the container but I have borrowed a bike meanwhile and C borrowed one from a friend of his. We are planning on biking to work.

Again this is what the new little beauty looks like.

Today we are planning on moving out to C´s aunts place in the city. She has a small one bedroom condo that she just sold but the new owners are not moving in until first of October. We will live there until the 10th of September when we get access to the condo we will rent in Hammarby Sjöstad (one of Stockholms close suburbs). We are going to one of C´s oldest friends tonight that is having a small get together. I still am working on my jet lag so I don´t think that we will stay very late. Tomorrow we are coming back to my parents place in the evening to have some crawfish which is a Swedish tradition to eat in August.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Visit to IKEA

Yesterday me and C went to IKEA. Now we will not have to travel 2.5 hours in each direction to get to IKEA, hey we can even bike to it from my parents place. It was quite a while since we had been there the last time so it was fun to just stroll around and look at everything. The parking lot was completley packed with cars. I wonder if people work here in Sweden. How can so many people have time to come to IKEA in the middle of the week and in the middle of the day?

Yes it was overcast and with some light drizzling rain again. I better get used to this as it will only get worse with the cold season and winter approching. Today, however, the sun is shining and the sky is blue :-)
That feels soooo great!

This lamp both me and C liked quite a lot. It looks very cool.

C is walking around checking the fabrics out. He is very good at sowing actually and he is the one that taught me how to use a sawing machine. The fabric section is so much larger here in Sweden compared to our IKEA in Atlanta.
Yes there is junk food here in Sweden too. Unhealthy fast food. The Swedes love their hot dogs and there are hot dog stands almost everywhere. This is what a hungry Swede grabs on the go. A cheap hot dog. Well you do get what you pay for as everywhere else in the world.

Now IKEA stores here in Sweden also have a food section selling various goods.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Over cast

August is supposed to still be a summer month but to me it feels like fall is already here. When we landed it was cold and rainy. We have gotten to see and feel some sunshine and that has been very nice. Yesterday was a mix of rain showers and a few moments of the sun peeking out between the clouds now and then. Today it is just plain grey. We left Alabama with its heat and humidity with temperatures in the high 90 range (35 to 38 C) and here it is only in the 60ies now (about 15 C). It sure feels awfully cold. We have already had a few of those moments wondering if this idea of moving back REALLY was so great. I guess we will experience many more of those moments in the months to come. We are used to weather being over cast for a day or so but then the sun is supposed to come out and shine. Here it has been overcast since we landed with sporadic rain showers, hey what kind of crappy weather is that?

The little Swedish flag hanging at the corner of my parents house. Here I walk around in my woll slippers all the time inside because it is sooo cold.

C got registered as citizen living in the country again and I got my pics taken for the drivers licence and sent that off so now that is done. It will take four weeks before he is in the system.

The jet lag is slowly getting better. I slept through the entire night last night without taking any melatonin. I managed to stay awake until 9:30 yesterday and set my alarm on 7 am this morning to make sure to get the body adjusted to reasonable times considering we will start working in one week. Everything though still seems so unreal and weird. It is still hard for my brain to cope with the thought that I LIVE here now. Well I will have to give adjustment more time. The thing is that everything is familiar in so many ways yet it all is so different from what we are used to. The feeling is as if being in a weird surrealistic dream that you can not wake up from. It is very peculiar.

No more Morning Show on NBC with Math and Meredith, here it is a different morning show either on channel one or four with other hosts to get familiar with.

The great thing about being back as we are now it that things don´t have to be as intense as when we have been here before on vacation but also now that I know I can enjoy them for a long time that takes a little off the edge of that specialness.

I can´t really decide if I should keep all my blog posts in English or if I should mix and have some in Swedish. What do you think? What do you prefer? Should I write in English some days of the week and other days in Swedish? I do not mind mixing at all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Today I feel soooo much better. After 11 hours of sleep which I really needed I feel like a new person. I took one of those melatonin pills before going to bed and then I slept through the entire night.

We have been here less than a day yet there are so many small things that are so different to be noticed between Sweden and Alabama. Size for instance. I know I have taken a picture like this before and shown ya'll but it is worth showing again. Two Gala apples, the big one bought in Publix at Alabama and the small one bought here in Sweden. The Swedish apple is about half the size of the US apple. There just are small differences everywhere. It is fascinating to see them just as they were when we moved to Alabama. We come back to Sweden seeing everything with different eyes.

No right on red turns here. Gotta watch out and not do that.

We can not comment out loud to each other about other people using Swedish language. Here we have to whisper carefully or learn another language all together.

When it comes to dairy products this is heaven. Sooo much to choose from.

I passed by one of my favorite cloth stores, H&M, I will be able to shop there from now one, yeay!

Swedish toilet paper is so much more rough compared to the soft and silky american toilet paper. Swedish toilet paper can almost seem like cardboard at first compared to soft, silky American paper. The Swedish toilet paper is not bleached and white like the American either. Ha ha you really do get that cardboard feeling and look ;-)

Today C has gone to get registered as a Swedish citizen. I have to renew my drivers licence that just expired so I have to take care of that. We have also stared checking out smart phones to buy but want to get some more information before we get them.

Dairy products are just wonderful here such as cheese. There are so many more kinds to choose from. I had a yummy breakfast with Swedish strawberries and American blueberries along with some mussli and Swedish yoghurt.

Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to my new blog both new readers as well as good old friends. This is the beginning of something new. A new chapter in our lives is about to start. New blog, new name and new language. I thought I would write in English now so that our dear friends from Alabama can follow our adventures here in Sweden. I might write in Swedish also from time to time so it will be a mix anyway. Sweet Home Alabama has now become Sweet Home Sweden. We sure hope that times here will be sweet in many ways.

So much lies in front of us. So many questions that we will get answers to in time. What will life be like as an expat returning to your native country? We both have dual citizenship now and are both Swedish-Americans officially but we are about to figure out just how Americanized we have become during these past four years.

For now we are spending the first few days at my parents place. We are then going to move into C’s aunts condo in the city and live there for about two weeks before we get access to the condo in Hammarby Sjostad where wewill be living until we find a place of our own to buy. There are many things that are exiting that I look forward to such as finding a new home. Me and C got a few days before we start our new jobs on the first of September. Just enough time to get over the jet lag. I have only slept two hours at my parents home since we arrived. I did not manage to get any sleep on the plane. I feel like crap. My body is totally confused about time zones right now. I just hope I will be able to sleep through the night.

C needs to go and get registered as a citizen of Sweden again. I already did that last summer. We also need to get new cell phones. Time to enter the modern era and leave behind those stone age phones we have had for a while ( I have been using a phone that is seven years old!). Now I want a smart phone like everyone else.

For now we are just going to enjoy the last sun of Swedish summer and eat some yummy pickled herring (yes, I know Liz is going to go yuck but hey girlfriend this is really good stuff if you are a Swede). For the moment I am not hungry at all. My poor body does not know what time it is. I just rely on the dark strong coffee of Sweden to keep me awake here for a couple of hours more.