I just want to start by wishing my Grandpa a very happy (and day late) birthday! You have taught me so many wonderful things in life, and I have memories up to my ears for time spent with you. I will always remember coloring on the huge rolls of printer paper you kept at your house (thanks to you being in the newspaper biz and all), eating pancakes with butter and sugar until my eyes popped out of my head, and you teaching me how to bowl at Tough Guy Lanes. Here’s to many more memories to come. I love you.
These past few days have been a little stressful, to say the least. Problems with my schedule over here have really put a damper on my mood, but thankfully today I got a little reassurance and feel a lot better about one of my courses. All of my problems are not solved quite yet, but I feel as though I’m heading in the right direction.
I went downtown today to buy some sweaters. Mainly because it’s super chilly here and I needed some over sized cozy knits to get me through the next couple of months. There are holiday lights strung across the main road in the downtown, and some of the stores are even playing Christmas music… even though it was Justin Bieber.
Obviously they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here, so after Halloween everything is full swing ahead for Christmas. Hopefully they still support Black Friday though.
It is slowly getting darker a little bit earlier – around 3:45 p.m. Because I am in class all day I usually miss what little sun there is, if any, besides what I can soak up on my walk to class. One thing that irks me is that the milk here is not fortified with Vitamin D. As many of you know, the milk in the U.S. is fortified with some amount of Vitamin D. Why? Because it is almost impossible to get any Vitamin D from food. But, keep in mind this vitamin can be synthesized by our bodies if we spend 10-15 minutes, three times a week is some amount of sunlight. Let’s think about this for a minute – here I am in northern Sweden where I am lucky to get a smidgen of that per day, let alone that much sun in a given week. Their milk is also not fortified.
Pretty sure a broken bone is inevitable here.
And now for a few observations:
- Swede’s are very good multitaskers: Have you ever tried riding a bike, smoking a cigarette, and talking on the phone at the same time? Me either, but apparently Swede’s were born from the womb doing this. At least they were born riding bicycles.
- Europeans can get away with anything: I feel like just because it’s Europe, the more outrageous, the better it is. I no longer question anyone’s taste level or sanity based on what they are doing, saying, or wearing.
- Freakin’ imports: There are a few things at ICA that are imported, well I’m sure there are a lot more than a few, but the ones that I am talking about include bananas, maple syrup, and coke products. I have a feeling the bananas are plucked from their tropical paradise long before they have even grown an inch, because making it all the way to Sweden is pretty far. Every few days new bananas are rotated through and piled onto their banana stack. Of course I pick through every single bunch picking the best ones for myself. Sometimes they ripen with a very strange, mild onion flavor though. Maple syrup is also expensive, and for a small amount. I miss my jumbo Costco maple syrup that I could use to bathe my waffles in. Talk about having to practice self control. And finally, coke products. No diet coke. I know, this ought to be a cardinal sin. They have coke, coke with vanilla, coke zero, coke light, etc. but no diet coke. I don’t even think they know what diet coke is. Coke zero does not equal diet coke… any day of the week.
- Europeans are more interested in American politics then Americans are interested in American politics. With everything surrounding the election and all it’s hullabaloo, there was some serious discussion about who was going to be the next U.S. President. There were even gatherings at places like Origo to watch how the votes turned out. And I must add that most Europeans were in favor of Obama over Romney.
Tomorrow I am also meeting with my friend Iwan to discuss our travel plans when we country hop around the Baltics in late December/January. As I have mentioned before, we are going to Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, and Riga, and possibly Oslo which is located just across the Nor… way.
After that trip it is home sweet home for me! I have decided not to do any extensive traveling beyond this point because I am anxious to get home. My roommate said it right when he said we are at the point where we either need to establish ourselves permanently or come home – because we have seen most of what there is to see and now it is just everyday living – not much new like in the beginning. I had the option to go to Vienna, Austria and visit my aunt and uncle who will be moving there shortly, but have decided to wait and go when I can visit them for a longer period of time (1 month+), visit some other countries during the stay, and also hopefully go with my parents.
Better get your passport photo taken, pops.
Speaking of traveling, I just want to say that my dad makes the best tourist. I don’t think his feet have seen the light of day since he was about 12 years old, and they are just as white as can be. Combine that with some pretty intense velcro sandals, shorts, fanny pack, and a baseball cap and there you have the poster boy for best looking tourist. Don’t get me wrong, my dad is a handsome fellow. He is 50 years old, hardly has any gray hair, weights about the same that he did in high school, and is a really talented golfer.
I would be proud to be with him and his fanny pack in Vienna.
And, quickly going back to my Chemistry course, there was a new person in class today who is also an English speaker! Jackpot! His name is Nick and he is from Canada. Finally, I won’t be sitting along listening to Swedish mumbo jumbo all day every day. Not to mention I have someone to help me with all the math equations. Thank you God for blessing me with someone from North America.
I can’t think of much else going on right now. I did watch the Avengers (finally) over the weekend though. If you haven’t seen it, but like superhero/action type stuff, I would recommend it because it was really good! I have also decided in my next life I would like to be Iron Woman, as Robert Downey Jr.’s sidekick extraordinaire.
Well hello there, foxy. (Do people say foxy these days?)