Winter 2016

Like always after traveling I had the “At home blues” which coupled with seasonal depression (I see less light that prisoners, I am sure with my half meter window during the days at work) has lead to a pretty rough end to autumn and beginning of winter. But with December 21st soon ahead, I am literally seeing light at the end of the tunnel and ready to reflect over the last couple of months.

Höstlov was amazing – We spent 4 days there to celebrate this old lady turning 30(and it was amazing to introduce Sven to the best city ever). We stayed at an adorable hotel right in the center on the best canal )it’s not a proximity bias because last visit to Amsterdam I also thought it was the best one.

We walked about 14 hours each day but we saw just about my whole list.

The weather wasn’t perfect. It was quite cold most of the time and rained every day on and off. Sometimes pouring and sometimes just misting.

I found some favorites in the short time. Cafes Ree7, Berry, Scandinavian Embassy, Benji’s, Ivy & Bros, Rum Baba . Stores Gathershop, Kolifleur, The Otherist. Also dug the botanical gardens big time. So much bigger than Stockholm’s. But the winner of the whole trip, and one of the reasons I wanted to go back to Amsterdam was Wildernis (the eye candy below).

We didn’t hit any museums besides the botanical garden. We aren’t into museums when we have such a short time to actually explore the city and see different neighborhoods.

Amsterdam does two things really well: Book shops and concept stores. All so crazily gorgeous.

But the adventure ended and I moped for a bit. Came to terms with some work stuff that brought my mood down for weeks, and then last weekend I was ready to get out again. I started surrounding myself with plants and learning about them, visited new cafes and old favorites, visited with friends and generally had a much brighter outlook on life.

I started to get into the Christmas spirt and started doing my shopping – We bought a slightly bigger Christmas tree and new decorations and it fits so nicely in the corner next to my jungle of plants.

We also got two instances of snow so far. Once a few weeks ago that resulted in public transit being shut down and all the fun that comes with that when you still have to get to work. Then again last weekend. I need just a few more weekends of it and then it can go away and spring can be on it’s merry way.

Autumn 2016

 

Just before work started again I went to a place I have be dying to go for years: The blue lagoon, on Ekerö. The water is such a gorgeous colour and you can see so far because of how clear it is. It was really packed on the beach side, but we walked along the lake to find a bit more of a private spot. It is a shame I went so late in the season because then work started and it got cold. It’s on the absolute top of my list for next Summer. Dream of it almost weekly!

 

We took a trip to Göteborg to shake the  back-to-work blues after the summer. The city more than exceeded my exceptions. Next time we will be back for longer than a day and a half. It felt much…cooler than Stockholm but also felt like we saw everything (some stuff multiple times) in a day and a half. The one thing we didn’t do is hit the archipelago which is a must for next trip. As well as a little trip up the coast because cute little fishing villages give me life.

Visted Bergianska which was a bit disappointing after Göteborgs botanical gardens, but Gamla orangeriet hit it out of the park as always. Was drawn to this book for its cover, not gonna lie. Turned out to be fantastic so win win!

 

I discovered a new favorite hang: Dieselverksaden i Nacka. As well a couple stores that bring a smile to my face every time I go in them.

 

Watched Moonrise Kingdom in the park. It was the best movie in the park experience I have had yet. It didn’t hurt that I love that film either. Nice eats and restaurants. Taking advantage of the warmer days to eat outside.

 

 

Dazzling Stockholm. I find that I am starting to…I don’t know. I am not restless but this is the longest I have stayed someplace since “starting my life” after uni.  I love Stockholm and consider myself lucky to live here – I have the best boyfriend known to man, and a job which I love. But I really want to start traveling to get that excitement of seeing places for the first time….

 

 

I just want to state, if it is not clear from the massive dump of pictures in this post, that this is my favorite time of year. Aesthetically anyways. I thought September was amazing. Cooling down but with a dash of summer thrown in. The constant heavy clouds that don’t let any light in (seriously, my monstera plant is dying from lack of light on the window) as of late and waking up and coming home from work in the dark is getting to me and it is not even November yet. Soon is höstlov and a week off which is dearly needed to just unwind and get some light.

 

Went on a girls trip to Sandhamn last weekend and had a blast. The place was very quaint and not a tourist apart from ourselves to be seen. Of course on the other end of the scale it was bitterly cold and windy, but at least the pictures turned out?

Summer trip

This summer we spent three weeks in Canada visiting family. We originally planned to do a Vancouver and Seattle trip during the vacation, but we nixed it to spend more time with family (turns out 3 weeks flies by when you have to visit my brothers family, about 20 extended family members on my dads side, hit my favorite stores, visit my childhood best friend and her husband before they had their baby,  visit the 30 family members from the other side, my other childhood best friend, visit the cabin, visit our family’s other cabin. We didn’t even have much time to just relax because we were on the go the whole time. Next time we visit, I am cutting the visits down and relaxing.

It felt the same, everything there in Alberta (and Saskatchewan). Kind of like I never left even though it has been nearly 3 years. The only new things were my new niece and nephew. It was so great to finally meet them after them just seeing us on Skype. One thing that did change though was my perception of the city that I lived in for 5 years while I studied at university. I literally only studied while there (nerd!), didn’t visit any cafes, go on any hikes in the river valley, didn’t try any non Chinese fast food restaurants. Basically I didn’t appreciate where I was when I was there (something I am working on right now as well. But more to come on that later) and the city knocked my socks off.

Sommarlov!

I have completed my first year of work! I don’t think 10 months has ever passed so quickly, except maybe my first year in Russia – but both were for the same reason. A lot of new information, people and a lot of learning.

Now I am looking towards the vacation and, I won’t lie, towards autumn with work starting up again. I am looking forward to be going into the year starting with everyone else and having a year under my belt and not being so exhausted all the time like I was September-January.

Life has been moving along, no big trips or big life events since March, but we did book tickets to Canada. We fly out in July and I am really looking forward to getting to see everyone, maybe the mountains and all the Canadian Chinese food I can possibly eat.

Until then I will be continuing to explore all the far corners of Stockholm, bicycling and taking pictures.

New dwelling

Anyone who has spent some time in Stockholm knows that it is hard to find a place to live. The system of checking newspaper listings and getting the apartment 9 out of 10 times is not something that can even be fathomed here.

I got all my apartments in Canada that way, and in Russia for that matter. Call the number, go and look at the place, give them a cheque for the deposit, sign the contract and the apartment is yours as long as you pay rent.

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Anyhow, I think I have at least a couple posts on here complaining about the housing situation here, so I will leave it at that.

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We ended up getting a place for at least a year, a place we really love and I am very thankful that in this city, we got something.

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I spent the last month decorating it and getting all our furniture, piece by piece and it finally feels like home. My first real whole apartment as an adult (the garage we lived in last year and the place with the flat mate do not count).

Copenhagen

Hello!

Earlier in the month we were in Copenhagen. Despite the cold, despite the very, very short time and despite the end of the trip (trying my hand at the whole baiting thing!) it was a memorable trip and I am so thrilled to have gotten to visit the city I had been dreaming of visiting for over a year.

We were a bit bonkers and decided to take the trip after our big move. So it was after 3 days on not stop packing, moving, and cleaning of the old place and we hadn’t even had time to unpack anything but the boxes we had our toiletries and bedding in. Not so smart, as it made for a kind of exhausting week that was supposed to be about relaxation but hey, that is what we are using this week of for (Yes, two one week breaks in March. Pinch me, this vacation time is the best).

We decided to take a taxi into town so we could sleep until 3.40am instead of 1.00. We took the bus to Skavsta and that went fine, even though it hurt that we passed within 800 m of our apartment once we were leaving Stockholm on our way to the airport. If only you could leave from Liljeholmen to Skavsta instead of Cityterminalen….

The flight went great. This was the first Ryanair flight for me and I had heard such horror stories but it was completely fine. Didn’t have to pay extra to choose our seats, we didn’t have super cramped seats. The flight was 50 min, so the bus trip to Skavsta was actually longer at 80 min.

We arrived no problem at about 8.00, and got into the city with no problem. Though it was just another Scandinavian country it actually felt a lot different. The subway is super swank, sort of like the one i Oslo and it was so much less colorful, at least on the way into the city and way more daring architecturally.

We couldn’t check into our hotel until 15.00 and we had only backpacks so we just started walking. We hit a cafe for breaky and then got out into cold, wet Copenhagen. We bascially stayed in the center, up to the little Mermaid and then walked to Norrebro, and I finally, FINALLY saw Superkilen. I have been obsessed with the place since reading a study abroad blog in 2014.

By that time it was 14.30 so we made the walk to our hotel. Now about the hotel. We originally were going to Airbnb it, but that didn’t happen because I had about 9 rejections despite my nice review and I got so stressed with planning and moving that I was like “Fuck it, we will get a hotel for the same price” and so we did. In an even better location than the airbnbs were. Things have a way of working themselves out, I guess.

The place was tiny, but clean and very chic.We rested for 30 min and then headed out for food. We found a lovely place in Nyhavn(Yeah. We touristed it the hell up) that had a BBQ buffet and did we PACK IT IN. It was so good, I don’t know if I have ever eaten so much in one sitting in my life. After that we walked around a bit more and came home to pass out after our maybe 8 hours sleep over the last 2 nights.

We woke up early in the morning, had a mediocre breakfast at the hotel(not at all worth the money if you have the time) ad hit the streets. Västerbro was by far my favorite neighborhood despite an unpleasant cafe visit where the waiter literally threw my change on the table after filling up my take out mug less than half way full.

We decided to take the train to the airport a bit early and have a leisurely lunch. Got to the check in and stood for about 30 min. Stood while we were supposed to be in the air. Plane finally landed and we got to go on. The flight was decent until we were supposed to land and nothing. Then the captain informed us we couldn’t land and not to worry. Well, I a a nervous flier as is so my insides were in knots. He came on 15 min later and said the same thing and said they had to make a loop to the airport again. After the 3rd time he said the fog was too bad that he couldn’t land and said he’d get back to us.

Now since were flying on a weekday on the winter bus schedule our options for getting back to Stockholm were 16,05, about 10 min after our scheduled landing time – completely doable we thought. The next time was 17.05 and then 18.05. The next bus after that was 21.55.

After awhile, already 30 min after our scheduled landing time they say they are takin gus to Norrköpings airport to land. After landing they say they got permission from Ryain air to order some buses to take us to Skavsta. The buses come 45 min later. By this time the Swedes worst migraine of his life is in full force. We get on the first bus with the other half of the plane. Looking at the clock and seeing that if we were to leave at exactly that moment we might catch the 18.05 bus. We don’t leave for another 15 min. Going through Nyköping at a snails pace means that it is just not possible to make it. By this time My phone is dead since I thought we would be home by 18.00, but now it is 17.45 and we are just only a few km from the airport we had to land at. We worry all the way, the swede is hunched over in pain with is head wrapped in a scarf blocking out light. We get to Skavsta long after 6.05 and luckily they have a bus waiting or us since a few flights got redirected they just saved the buses. So in the end we got home at 10.30, but I guess it could have been worse. Had we had to wait for the 21.55 bus we wouldn’t have been home until 00.30.

So all in all, good trip. Thought I got a good taste of Copenhagen. Next time I will be hitting all the architectural highlights in the south of the city that I missed this time!

 

Lite vårkänsla

I don’t have anything in particular to write about. Just that I am really jazzed about life for no particular reason or a million tiny reasons.

The first being that it is getting so light now! I actually go to work in daylight now (still waiting for the day I wake up in daylight, but apparently that will be happening in mid March). And even better, I leave work (well most days, if I stay late then forget about it) and it is still light out. I tell you, it is the same time but it does wonders on your mood to feel like you have a lot of the day left after work.

There are flowers everywhere on the street. I mean, in Stockholm the flowers outside never really go away but seeing them in increasing number is really giving me spring feelings.

 

It is Sven’s birthday this coming weekend which means party! It is kind of hard to be social for hours on end, but his birthdays are usually big bashes and he has such a good time that the good times sort of spill over on to me too.

It’s sportslov next week which means a full week off! I am so excited to relax, catch up on my reading, do all the things i put off because there isn’t enough time during the weekends.

The city is feeling alive again. I don’t know how to describe it. I never have been able to but I think it has to do with spring. It is amazing it be out walking now.

We are moving next week! The foremost reason for my elevated mood as of late. It is a long story, but it is a place we looked at in 2014 and wanted and didn’t get and by some crazy coincidence we saw it available again and we got it this time!

Planning a trip for Easter break. Where to is up in the air at the moment. It depends on things like getting our full deposit back and if our current landlord is going to charge us half a months rent for staying two extra days. But it is fun to plan two different locations and I know the one we don’t do later in March, will just get pushed to later this year or the next.

Planing a trip to Canada! That will begin next week when we book our tickets but super excited to see people and have my old favorite foods again and thank the bus driver when getting off the bus without feeling like a weirdo. And Vancouver. VANCOUVER.

 

Lära känna-lista.

 

Hur gammal är du?

29.

Hur gammal känner du dig?

Vissa dagar som 29 andra dagar typ 67.

Var bor du?

Stockholm.

Vad har du gjort i dag?

Jag vacknade av att jag var 100% säker på att det var en vardag och att jag skulle komma sent till jobbet men sen kom jag på att det faktiskt var sönda och dessutom jullovet! Hurra för sömn!
Hursomhelts så åt jag en munk till frukost. Vad hälsosamt! Gick till närmaste stor livsmedelsaffär för att återvinna kartong och köpte mat till lunch. Kom hem, läste lite. Gjorde huset mysigt genom att tända levande ljus som doftar rosa grapefrukt. Himligt! Till största delen av dagen har jag ägnat åt att forska lite om en kamera som jag vill köpa. Har tittat på tusentals video på youtube och läste lika många bloggar där man har gjort rescensioner om den. Medan jag läste såg jag på några avsitt av Pushing Daisies eftersom jag ville skapa rätt stämning medan jag läste om min blivande kamera (nerd alert!)

Sommar, höst, vinter eller vår, vilken föredrar du? Varför?

Tidig höst och all nystart och förändring den tiden innebär. Vädret är ännu behagligt, dagarna är långa, men man kan börja ha på sig tunna jackor eller till och med tröjar. Av samma anledning tycker jag också om vår. Då har man hela sommaren med bra väder framför sig också och allt är så himla vackert med allt grönt.

Är du beroende av någonting?

Åh ja. Läsk. Det är någoting jag hoppas jag kan övervinna. Men inte nu. För när bubblor går längs halsen och nästan brinner är det en skön känsla, tycker jag.

Nämn tre saker som man kanske inte vet om dig?

1. Jag har sifferdyslexi.

2. Jag är en dålig förlorare och spelar inte lika mycket spel som jag skulle kunna pga jag förlorar när jag spelar första gången, blir orimligt sur och inte vill spela spelet längre.

3. Jag hatar fötter. Jag är Liz Lemon på mer än ett sätt menmen.

Varför valde jag att dela av mig bara mina dåliga sidor? Det undermedventa är en konstig sak.

Var i världen skulle du vilja befinna dig just nu?
Lissabon. Jag har velat resa dit i några år men har varken haft tid eller pengar. Kanske under höstlovet nästa år.

Vad är du på för humör just nu?
Jo, som sagt det är nu jullovet så jag kan ta det lungt efter nästan 4 månaders intensivt arbete med ett heltidsjobb och ett extrajobb. Allt är så jäckla underbart!

Vilket är ditt favoritgodis?
Fuzzy peaches som inte är något som säljs här. I stort sätt saknar jag surt godis. Svenskt godis är aldrig riktigt surt även om det står att det är surt. Bah! Jag vill att tungan gör ont efter!

Vilken är din favoritaffär?
Hmm. Jag tycker om att vara i Antropologie och Designtorget men köper bara små grejer därifrån eftersom jag är inte någon millionär. Jag önskar att Forever 21 skulle öppna en eller två butiker här i Sverige för då kan man köpa nya kläder nästan varje veckan för allt är så otroligt billigt.

Är du morgon- eller kvällsmänniska?
Helt klart en kvällsmänniska men eftersom det här samhället gynnar morgonmänniskor jobbar jag hårt på att bli en morgonmännsika. Om jag ändå kunde drinka Kafe….

Dessutom mår jag bättre av att stiga upp tidigt och starta dagen samtidigt som resten av världen. Nuförtiden kan jag inte hålla mig vacken efter kl. 23.30

Har du blivit sydd någon gång?

Nej. Ta i trä.

Vem gjorde senast något extra speciellt för dig?

Min pojkvän gör något speciellt för mig nästan dagligen.

Är du blyg?

Ja. Bland människor jag inte känner mig bekväm med. Och när jag känner mig underlägsen i något sällskap vilket är en vanlig förekommelse när jag är den enda som inte kan bra svenska.

Vad heter du i andra namn?

Dawn. Har ingen anging varför. Jag tror mina föräldrar tyckte att mitt namn och mitt andra namn lät bra ihop.

Vill du gifta dig?

Ja!

Har du något smeknamn?

Girlfriend, Goilf, Birdy, Wubber är kanke de enda som jag har haft i hela mitt liv.

2015

I guess time for a yearly update since I can’t seem to update more regularly?

This year was much less hopping because now life is just life and I am not constantly discovering new things. Now it is basically just the Swedish language which still manages to surprise me almost daily.

I finished my course in Swedish at the university in the first week of June. Now that it is done I feel I can properly evaluate the experience. It is not a course that will really make you better in anything but maybe writing if you really work at it. Since there is so little class time, and most of it is self study based, means that you are essentially studying by yourself with textbooks and novels chosen by you and checks in writing and pronunciation every once in awhile with essays and presentations. The group sizes were too large as well – though a friend of mine is taking the course this semester and she said they are just 10-12 people as opposed to 20 something.

My biggest complaints: No real conversation practice, half of the chosen literature was hard as hell and of no interest to almost every student. If I ever see the book Plikten, profiten och konsten att vara människa again I may have an outburst of rage. I did however love Expeditionen, min kärlekshistoria which got me interested in in the fascinating story of the fateful Andree expeditionen. Doktor glas was also amazing. The writing assignments had tiny max word counts. Like, I could never say anything in 250 words. My intros are usually 250 words. I find it impossible to have an intro, conclusion and a body paragraph or two about complex subjects in 250 words.

The final consisted of basically the TISUS exam. Written, reading comprehension and speaking. I passed but I think it was just barely with the speaking test. I was so nervous because I was put in a bad group with two basically fluent ladies, got the worst topic out of the 2 and had a camera in my face recording the whole time, had the exam marker behind it writing our mistakes who was difficult to ignore and the exam leader directly across from me. I am already a nervous exam taker, especially oral exams so that coupled with no sleep and those factors made the experience a hell. I am glad that I never have to do it again.

The summer was pretty relaxing though the weather left something to be desired. I had my first visors in Sweden. My parents came and rented an air bnb which was pretty great but when they arrived the train that would easily connect us was not running due to the building of the citybanan so every time we visited them in the evening it took us over an hour to get home when it should have taken 30 max. My parents really liked Stockholm but preferred to just relax the 2 weeks instead of being out and about every day so there was a lot of quality time spent to make up for a year and 4 months of not seeing each other.

Later on I had my childhood best friend and her husband visited. They had a better air bnb on Södermalm by the best Thai place ever. They were here nearly a week and unfortunately the weather was pretty cruddy. I think they was one day with some sun, and most days it was rainy or windy but they really loved the city anyways. It was the end of their month long trip to Vienna, Munich, Berlin, Budapest, and Prague and they liked Stockholm the most out of all the cities. Though the fact that they  nearly died of heat in the rest of Europe and then came here to a cool, comfortable Sweden might have been a big factor in their decision.

Visited an island in the archipelago I have been wanting to go for years called Öja. It was indescribably quaint and perfect. Must go back and spend the night next summer.

August and July was a tough time. My savings were coming to an end in a few months and I have having no luck on the work front. I missed the deadline to apply for komvux due to a miscommunication and the programs I applied for at the university in archive studies were cancelled due to lack of interest so I was left scrambling. I applied and applied to everything and then cried and cried and a lot of self pity parties  were had when I would get rejection after rejection or worse no response. I had a couple of interviews I thought went well that led nowhere. I even had a trial two days at a daycare that was super desperate for an assistant for their 5-6 year old group – it was the worst two days ever as half the children had special needs and a lot of the time it was just me with 14 kids who were known as the “tough group” by other staff. So in the end I am glad I never got the job but the rejection really stung especially since I felt I did just as well as the other girl who started the same day. After two days they said they couldn’t give me a contract and the bout of depression came back. I was getting a paralyzing fear of even checking online job search engines as the savings got smaller and smaller. One day I decided to just bite the bullet and get back to searching and applied for a job teaching English which I got. It’s only 3 hours a week but it gave me the confidence to continue applying. A week or so later I saw an ad for my dream job. I applied, got a call for an interview a few days later. Prepared for literally two days straight for the interview and went in feeling good. I thought it went great but didn’t have high hopes as I had had an interview previously I also thought went great. A few days later I got an e-mail with a job offer. Signed the contract the next day and have been now working there since the first week of September. I hope my contract will be renewed in March but even if it doesn’t, I will be forever thankful for these months of professional growth and of course money! This is my first real job with normal hours and a monthly salary so I am enjoying it immensely.

My advice for anyone searching is just don’t give up – apply for everything. Even if you don’t have all the qualifications or a lot of experience. Give a great interview and have a few good references from other jobs and people will give you a chance.

I have not got a travel a lot this year due to money issues in the first 3/4 of the year – Sven graduated university in June and got his first teaching job in mid August so we both are not cringing every time we go grocery shopping or avoiding buying new shoes though we really, really need them like before. I did however go on a short trip to Riga at the end of October with a friend. She had a groupon for the ferry we each paid about 60 bucks for our own cabin  with ocean views for two nights and a nearly 2 hour guided tour in Riga. I was just excited to be traveling that I didn’t really have huge hopes for Riga but was blown away. After having spent some time there I wish I had also taught English there as well. I love St. Petersburg and miss it every day, but Riga would also have been fantastic. I am still thinking about the architecture.

I also got my permanent residence permit. I applied a month before my current permit expired and wasn’t expecting an answer fast due to the priority of refugee applications but I applied on a Wednesday at 9.30 pm and got the answer at 8.15 am the next morning. It feels nice to not have a date looming over me anymore or having to pay a fee for an extension in a year.

And that is pretty much my year so far. Not super exciting, but with a a much needed bout of stability. Now just need luck on the apartment front!

5 missing months

Wow, has it been awhile. I ended up getting lazy and then a half a year went by and here we are. It feels like quite a lot has happened….but at the same time, not at lot. I guess that would be the reason for the lack of posts. Not huge earth shattering news, so I kept saying “eh, later” and then I got busy with my studies and then when I wasn’t busy with that, I found some excuse or another. Now, during my sweet precious downtime, I have started reading the blogs that I follow to catch up and decided my blog looked a wee bit sad and decided I would update with my meager amount of news.

July brought: More swimming, and my first experience with blocket. I got it in my head that I couldn’t like longer in Sweden being bikeless, so I started searching for one. Being unemployed, I opted for a used bike. One day I will get the bike of my dreams, but for now I am happy to just have a two wheeled beast to get me from point A to point B. The whole experience started with heartbreak when I was promised a bike for a STEAL at 400 kr on Facebook. It was a little red beauty that had seen better days but would do the trick. I was then blown off by the owner for a week who was busy finishing projects before she was to move back to Spain and then in the end while waiting for a time I could come and pick up the bike, she informed me that she sold it to a coworker. I WILL NEVER FORGIVE. Just kidding, but sort of not – I really fell in love with that bike. Then I was burned again when I waited in the rain for 45 minutes for a guy to bring the bike I was to view. He was smart and chose a tunnelbana station for the meet up, so I couldn’t even ring his bell or leave a mean note taped to his door. But I did leave several texts and called several times to no avail. The next was again sold before I got to see it. There was another in the far north of the city in Täby. I liked it, but there was just no way I was going to be able to get it home. I have not biked since that 24 hour period in Amsterdam and then not before that for 16 years. I didn’t think I, nor my backside could manage the bike alone (I get squirmy in traffic not feeling secure that I know all the rules) for the 50+ kilometer ride home. Svens father had just downgraded to a smaller car as well, so there was no way a bike was going to fit in it. So, I decided to just calm down a bit, limited my search to the nearest kommuns so I could get the bike home easy. I found one about a 40 minute ride from home. Took it for a test spin, the owner was really pleasant and I rather immediately took the bike of his hands. 5 minutes after I bought it the biggest downpour I may ever have been in started and Sven and I decided that his parents place was closer sp we rushed to their house to store the bike until the next (non-cats-and-dog-style rain) day. Since then we have been on many bike rides and I regret not getting a bike sooner so I had more actual nice weather to enjoy the bike in.

I do need to get work done on the bike though I am waiting until spring to do it. I would like to just get the bike a bike version of a physical. Make sure the brakes are fine and get new tires because the ones on there are, I am sure, the original tires and this bike is from the 80s or early 90s by the looks of it. Also getting a basket is also a priority so I don’t have to rely solely on my backpack.

Went to Allsång på skansken for the last show. It was… quite the experience but glad I got to cross off that important event on my quest to become Swedish list. I went to Popaganda, a Swedish pop music festival which is held on Södermalm at the end of August. It was incredible. And seeing Veronica Maggio who was one of the first Swedish artists I listened to back in 2009 was amazing. Also seeing First Aid Kit live was something akin to a religious experience for me.

Visited Gröna Lund. It was the most beautiful day and a fun experience despite me being a chicken to go on most rides. Also went to two sporting games. Swedish fans are crazy. Both times they cheered the entire game. Entire game.

Autumn came and I began my Swedish Program at Stockholms University. My thoughts are sort of everywhere with the program. I don’t feel that I have learned that much, but at the same time, I can definitly see an improvment in my writing and my vocabulary is a lot bigger. The group is made up of 60 people that are broken down into 3 groups. We have lectures on grammar, cultural studies and random smitsmatters of other things all together and we have writing and reading/speaking and listening in our smaller groups. We had a lot of books to read, a lot of presentations to give but the writing portion was a bit of a disappointment as each assignment we were asked to write 250 words which was impossible as its difficult to write much more than an intro in only 250 words, but it seems like most people, me included, wrote always 600 words or more. On the plus side, I loved my group and we have gotten quite close. We shrunk under the semester as people quit for work or because the course was too difficult. In the end it was just a 17. A Finn, 3 from France, A South African, 4 Germans, A Turk, An Estonian, A woman from Taiwan, Two from Columbia, one from Chile, and one from Reunion. I am the only native English speaker so thank god, we speak only Swedish all the time and it has done some wonders for my speed and fluidity. The course still isn’t over as we have our Oral exam in January and then those that pass all the tests/coursework get to move on to the next course that is about the same as SAS 3. I am a bit terrified as we have to write a B-uppsats and I am useless at writing academic papers and really dread defending it as well. But we will see! If I don’t pass the oral exam, then I will take SAS 3 at komvux instead which I have heard is much easier for the same “intyg”

Enough about school, on to my trip “abroad.” Yes, I went all the way to the far off land of….Finland. Well, Åland. A friend of mine found an off-season deal which included a round trip on the ferry, a bus from Stockholm to Eckerö (north of Norrtälje) for 40kr plus a bus trip from Eckerö to Mariahamn and back for another 20. It was quite cold because of the wind and I am sure it would be a touch nicer in the summer but the place sure was beauitful in the autumn colours. The place felt just like Sweden only we payed with Euros, it was flatter than the landscape I am used to and there were Ålands flags instead of Swedens everywhere.

In October we actually had a trick-or-treater for Halloween! Sven was dressed as a mummy and I was a witch (our planned Pulp Fiction costumes will have to wait until Halloween 2015 when we have more money and a party to go to) and the kid looked terrified when we opened the door. He wouldn’t even take the candy until after a 10 second period of us just starting at eachother when I finally dumped some candy in his hands. Sven also got to carve his first pumpkin and was the cutest while doing so.

In October our roommate let us know that he had looked at a one room apartment, like it and said yes to it. It was also a first hand contract so that meant that he had to give up the current apartment. And since we are not family, we couldn’t take over the contract. We stressed out a little and then realized that we finally would get to live together alone and be done with the constant parties. We first looked on bostaddirekt, but the only place we liked was 10,000 kr and was a one room (remember in Sweden one room means one room. That is the living room is your living room and bedroom combined) that was free for a year. But the fact that it was 10,000, 30square meters big, furnished rather…shabbily and we would have to pay 1500 kr to just get in contact with the owner, we decided to search blocket after my bike success. We put up an ad and in the end it was down to only 3 apartments we would even consider (some out as far as Södertälje or Uppsala despite narrowing the search limit to “Stockholm”, over 16,000 a month for just 4 months (or even places for 2 weeks!), and they wanted to see work contracts and need 5 references. Most were just advertising rooms which we did not want, we wanted our own place.). Our first contender was a basement apartment in a house in Alvik. My dream neighborhood along with Gröndal, The entirety of Kungsholmen, Mariatorget, Bandhagen, Älvsjö, Fruängen, and Näckrosen.). The owner was really nice and the price wasn’t too steep but it was just one room and a kitchen and I hated the furnitute. The kitchen looked shabby and like this dank kitchen in a place I rented in Univeristy. It also only had two burners and no oven. And the worst part was the bathroom was in the laundry room (which we would share with the owners) that was separate from our “apartment” and the shower was literally in the middle of the laundry room. Not even in the same room as the toilet to give some privacy. So we crossed that one off our list despite my desire to live so close to it all.

Next we checked out this amazing one year unfurnished sublet in Segeltorp just a 15 min walk from Fruängen or a 2 minute bus ride. The owner had contacted us via our ad and told us if we were interested we could come and see the place and gave us a time and the address. When we arrived 30 min early for the viewing, we ran into another couple who were waiting for the owner to arrive as well. They were supposed to have seen the apartment a few hours earlier, but had had to reschedule. When the owner arrived he asked if it was okay if he showed both couples the place at the same time. We walked in to an unbelievably beautiful newly renovated 2 room place. On the first floor but with a massive outdoor area closed off by its own little surrounding forrest. It was huge and fully decked out and both us and the other couple wanted the apartment. Sadly it went to them because they were first on the list of people to view so the owner thought it was fair that they get first dibs and as it was at the very top of our budget and without any utilities in the price, we couldn’t even offer more money.

Our next serious contender had attractive pictures and it was the place we eventually got. I was a bit disappointed at first because I really wanted to live in Stockholm, Stockholm for at least a year. I don’t think we will ever be able to buy in the city center and I kind of thought I could get at least a year living there before we got a first hand contract out in Tyresö. The place is essentially a first hand contract for as long as we want. The owner has several properties and had a garage on one of them that no one ever used so he decided to convert it into a little free-standing apartment. He just finished the renovations so everything is brand new. It is quite compact and I feel a bit like I live in an Ikea show room but I actually think that is a cool thing. One of the reasons I was hesitant to look at any one room places was I really wanted a separate sleeping area. The place has a sleeping loft so we don’t have to have the bed down in the living room and we could each have our own space and its less awkward when we have guests over. As for the location, well I am still reconciling myself with it. But it IS closer than were we were living before and the train takes just 10 mintues to Södra station and 13 to Central Station. There is also a bus that we can catch after a 7 minute walk that is a 2 minute ride to Rågsved (or 5 to Högdalen) so we have the option of taking the metro if we need to get anywhere to a south green line. I also look forward to being able to finally be able to take my bike into the city for a ride because bikes are allowed in the pendeltåg, hurrah! I can’t wait for summer of picnics and bikerides on Söder. We moved on the 13th, which meant that I did not get to enjoy a Lucia concert. It took us about 3 hours to pack all the stuff into the moving truck, get to the new place and unload. Everyone involved said it was the easiest move they have been apart of probably because the only item of furniture we had was an arm chair and a bed. We then hit IKEA for our furniture and we spent the next week and a half setting everything up.

There are still a few doodads I need. A beanbag chair for the reading nook in the loft, a shoe rack, rug and a few storage boxes for the loft and the entertainment stand.

The real downside for me, the internet addict, is the fact that we don’t have internet. There are no phone lines (we don’t care as we cave mobiles) in the place because the owner knew some young couple would take the place what with the climb up the ladder to the loft twice a day and the house is too far away from our apartment to bring down the fiber cable(not too far, too expensive) so we are stuck with the option of mobil bredband. I am dreading it. Not only is the internet expensive, it is limited. 60GB a month. I get a little claustrophobic thinking of it as a netflix, streaming music addict.

I have been to the theatre quite often this autumn/winter and it has been fantastic. I really miss it.

Stockholm is still beautiful, incase you were wondering.

Christmas was terrific. I hit what feels like every Christmas market in Stockholm and as for Christmas itself, well we spent the 24th relaxing, then went to Svens parents to Kalle Anka and supper. The food was fantastic as usual and we were sent home hours later with full bellies and leftovers. Since we spent a lot of money in December with the furniture (some of it was Christmas presents from my parents and his, but some of it was just our own plus we had to pay the deposit as well) we decided to have a 200kr spending limit on a present so I bought him one of his favorite childhood books and he bought me my beloved card game Bang! The sneak also bought me a tiny plastic Christmas tree because I was being a grouch one day saying that it didn’t feel like Christmas without a tree, so he came home a few hours later with a secret surprise of a tree and decorations (Have I mentioned lately how thankful I am that he is partner in life? I really am.) I am also so thrilled that Swedes celebrate Christmas on the 24th because my family in Canada has done this my whole life as well (Ukrainian orthodox Christmas traditions, whoo!). It means that nothing feels off-whack or strange about doing basically nothing on the 25th. And there we have it, 5 months worth in one post.