The Wandering Swede

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at home! Be thankful for your mother's turkey, because you don't know what you've lost until it is gone. I learned that the hard way this year when I had the same old thing for dinner on Thursday night. I did however feel pretty good about myself because I at least knew that Thursday was my favorite holiday. Jim was quite distraught when he realized he'd missed it.

Not much to report at this time to be honest, I've been cooped up in my room reading my book and trying madly to figure out five pages-worth of Swedish by Tuesday. And speaking of Tuesdays, the next three are going to prove quite interesting because I have a "tentamen" (final exam) on each of the next three. A speaking test this coming, a written the following, and who knows what the third is going to be like! Anyway, I taking it one day at a time and I'm starting to really feel confident with the language though my professor tells me I need to adopt Swedish colloquialisms, but those can wait. I need to get down a workable vocabulary first.

For everyone at home here is a fun list of things to say in Swedish:

Meaning in English


Hur ar dig?
Hure air dey?
How are you?

Vad ar klockan?
Vad air clock an?
What is the time?

Var ligger mina underbyxor?
Var leeger meena under beeyxer?
Where are my underpants?

Jag har tre ben.
Ya har tre ben.
I have three legs.

Har du sett ostfabriken?
Har dew set oost fabric en?
Have you seen the cheese factory?

and lastly...

Jag langtar valdigt mycket efter min familj.
Ya laangtar vaaldit mewket effter meen family.
I miss my family very much.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hello everyone! Sorry I haven't updated in a while, I've been very busy with school work preparing for my exams coming up over the next two weeks. I do however have some news of interest! Last night I attended a real Swedish smorgasbord for the first time. A few weeks ago my roommate Katarina invited me to come to a smorgasbord hosted by a group on campus called inter pol, a club for political science students. I didn't know anyone else who would be attending, but hey, when in Rome...

Upon arrival we had champagne and time for mingling, so I put on my friendly face and met several very nice Swedes. I even spoke Swedish for the better part of the evening which was a real confidence booster. It also helped me feel like I should have been there because it was probably even more lucrative for my studies than simply sitting in my room with a dictionary.

The food and song were wonderful. We had meatballs, sausages, herring (as pictured above), potatismos (kind of like potatoes au gratin), smorgaskaka (the most interesting part of the meal, a kind of cake but with salmon paste and mayonnaise), and chokoladbular (chocolate balls). There was probably more, but I was so stuffed I can't really remember.

This coming week is going to be very busy for me but once I get past Tuesday it should lighten up a bit. The worst part of the week is that I won't get to celebrate thanksgiving with my family at home. Several of my American acquaintances are planning on getting together for a dinner. But nothing compares to mom's turkey, stuffing, crescent rolls, and (my favorite) green jello salad. Okay, I can't keep writing about that or it will make me homesick...mostly for mom's cooking.

Lastly, I woke up incredibly befuddled due to the score of the apple cup. Washington...won? Now wait just a minute. We managed to win with a backup quarterback and on top of that we just plain aren't good? Yeah, that sounds like the apple cup. Congratulations to everyone back at home and I hope you're all partying because that was our bowl game (and the best part is, it was the cougs bowl game too because we won).

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Life in Uppsala is chugging along normally. I had a nice relaxed weekend of studying and...relaxing. I get to read a Swedish novel for one of my classes so I've chosen "Nils Holgerssons Underbara Resa" which is "The Wonderful Adventures of Nils" in English. It is a very famous Swedish book by Selma Lagerlof. So famous in fact that she is on one side of the twenty crown note and a depiction of the story is on the other. It's slow going but I'm picking up a good amount of vocab from it. For example "luft" means "air". I had no idea.

Tonight I ventured across the street to building 10 with Peter, Angelica, and Ulrika to have dinner. Normally this wouldn't be newsworthy, however the dinner did include moose so I thought it was worth reporting. I thought it would be gamey but it was quite delicious and evidently good for you as well. I asked where they got it thinking that it had to be procured through a butcher or some specialty shop but you can in fact buy it at the local ICA.

Jim informed me today that the ICA downtown has an "American Food" section. He listed off a number of items that didn't really jump out at me but I'm going to be in town tomorrow so I might as well see if I can find two things I genuinely do miss: Ranch dressing and refried beans. What I wouldn't give for a burito.

The next few weeks are going to be a bit hectic so I'm apologizing in advance if there is a lack of updates, but I'm going to try to keep them up every few days. Today marks exactly 1 month left of fall term for me which is showing me that time is really starting to fly by. I better get studying. From Sweden with love:


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Well, I've just returned from a trip to Helsinki with Duncan, Ryan, and Mike. We had a great time on the "ferry" and Helsinki is a very beautiful city. Come to think of it we spent more time on the ship in transit between Sweden and Finland than we did in Finland. But that wasn't really a problem due to the fact that it was basically a cruise ship with a club, several restaurants, duty free store, and a latvian acrobatics show (Duncan and I went twice). We did however not spring for the deluxe cabin on the same level as the casino and instead were in the bowels of the ship under both car decks in the very bow of the ship. Duncan felt that it was important to note that if the ship hit anything we would be the first to die.

We arrived in Helsinki at ten in the morning and spent about six hours running around looking at all kinds of things. I kept the streak up of nearly being hit by a tram, so that makes Goteburg, Amsterdam, and Helsinki. I need to make sure that the next city I visit doesn't have them. We visited several churches as well as a very impressive monument to a Russian emperor which we couldn't figure out why it was still there since the Finns don't really care for the Russians. We also hit the Helsinki historical museum which had a really neat exhibit on maps and cartography. For a few pictures from the trip click here!

Sitting here I find myself swaying a bit. Hopefully that will go away in the next few hours. I don't see any big plans on the horizon to speak of yet but I'm sure something will come up. The roads are now all clear of snow which means that it is supposed to snow this weekend, but I'm staying optimistic! At least now we have a sled and not trays from McDonalds.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hooray snow! It arrived early this year in Uppsala according to the Swedes that I live with. We got about a foot of snow on the first of November and a bit more in past few days, which have been very exciting due to the high amount of sledding we have been doing. First we tried using the trays from the local McDonalds but they were quite flimsy and our hind parts are larger than we originally thought. So Jim and Duncan invested in a real sled the following day. It has been a lot of fun watching Jim because he is from California and this is the first time he has EVER gotten to play in the snow. I've got some pictures up if you would like to see them. I also put up a few videos for the folks with broadband connections.

Last night I attended the Mozart requiem at the Cathedral with some friends. The music was beautiful (though the french horn player needed a little more practice) and quite moving. I'm off to play basketball at the gym with Duncan and Caley this afternoon. More to come soon!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Hej på dig! Well, compare this picture to the last one and you'll have an idea of the weather right now. The wind is also blowing pretty hard so the snow is starting to drift. Admittedly, I haven't actually gone out in it yet, unless you count the ride home last night after all hallows eve. It was snowing but none of it was sticking..andd then I woke up to this.

We had a pretty good time last night. I hung out with batman, superman, a ninja turtle, an eggplant, a pirate, a convict, and team zissou. Unfortunately for us the Swedes are much more serious concerning the holiday. Many of them were dressed as ghouls and zombies while we were just goofy. But hey! We had a great time, though come to think of it, I didn't get any candy. Shame really.

Next week on Tuesday I we're planning a trip toHelsinki, Finland aboard the Viking Line ferry. Mike, Ryan (from the UW Swedish club), Duncan, and myself have reserved a cabin for four. Ferry is not the right word to describe the ship, it is more like a cruise ship to be honest. The ship leaves port overnight and arrives the next morning, which will be great because we will have all day in Helsinki on Wednesday before we catch it back to Stockholm. I don't really know what is in Helsinki, but Ryan has been several times and should know where all of the best things to see are.

Well, I need to head to ICA (grocery store) so I suppose I should brave the storm. I should have realized that since it can rain here all day, for several days, it can probably do the same thing with snow. Wish me luck...