08 Jun 2013 1 Comment
08 Jun 2013 1 Comment
Today the Swedish flags are raised to celebrate the wedding of Princess Madeleine (Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland) to New Yorker financier Christopher O’Neil. (this is the second royal event since I’ve moved to Sweden)
To celebrate (aka as an excuse) I am prepped with a slice of prinsesstårta (Princess cake) to eat while I watch:
I thought this might also be the perfect excuse to share some photos of Prinsesstårta CUPCAKES that a friend and I attempted for the first time last week. I’ll post the recipe once we perfect it (More fluffy cream and use green marzipan so they look like prinsesstårta, for starters)!
19 May 2013 10 Comments
Last night Europe was huddled around their television sets watching the finally of The Eurovision Song Contest, crossing their fingers for their own country to win, or at least a neighboring country. It’s usually a love hate relationship; there are die hard fans of the competition and then there are people who think it’s a joke. Either way it is an acquired taste. One of my favorite parts is following Twitter #Eurovision2013 and reading the comments and reactions.
Last year I wrote all about the Eurovision contest, recap or learn all about it for the first time by clicking this link: Sweden Wins Eurovision AGAIN! A History Starting With ABBA
This year The Eurovision Song Contest was held in Sweden because of Loreen’s powerful hit, “Euphoria.” Hosting Eurovision is a big deal; bringing in thousands of tourists and being able to show off your country to the world.
Instead of telling you about all 26 finalists (or even highlighting them all) I want to show you my favorite part of the show, which was an intermission song called, “Swedish Smörgåsbord” performed by the host, Petra Mede, singing all about every (true) Swedish stereotype and characteristic that exists. It’s hilariously accurate and paints a great picture of Sweden and the Swedes. (Read the lyrics HERE) It really is a must watch:
Sweden has been getting a lot of credit for putting together a great show this year, with special attention to this song, calling it a “Show Stopper” and that the host “Steals the Show” with a disappointment that you can’t vote for intermission songs.
Sweden’s entry unfortunately came in 14th place:
However, our neighboring country, DENMARK, won by 50 points!:
So, next year Eurovision will still be right around the corner, in Copenhagen.
08 May 2013 13 Comments
It feels like just yesterday I learned about Vår Ruset (Spring Rush) and decided to make it a goal – my first 5k (3.1 miles). Vår Ruset has been running for 25 years and is one of the biggest races in Sweden with thousands of participants in each of the 17 participating cities throughout the country, taking over a month to reach the last city. It’s only for women and raises money for a different cause each year.
I started training (jogging) three weeks before with absolutely no running experience to speak of, horrible cardio, terrible feet, and really old sneakers. See my improvement below – the last one is my time for the actual race: 36:44. My goal was to finish it between 40 and 45 minutes. I think I was able to jog about 90% of the time, which felt pretty awesome – next step is improving my speed.
Prepping for the race:
After our group zumba-like warm up session with the instructors high up on scaffolding:
The race is split up into six different start groups depending on if you are being timed, if you are running the 10k, if you are running, jogging, or taking it easy and walking.
This is our start line:
Behind us at the start line (did I mention there was a lot of people? Imagine, our start group is second to last so most people are already gone):
And we’re off! It was motivational to be running along side so many women:
Hubby found me in the crowd about 2 km in:
Afterwards everyone received metals:
And a goody bag of stuff from the sponsors (and bananas and juice):
I bought a bracelet to support children in Kosovo who need homes:
The weather was perfect for the race and to sit down afterwards and enjoy a picnic.
And as we were leaving an hour after the race, I heard my name in the distance being called over the load speaker. I went on stage and sat with 8 other women, all anxiously waiting to see what we could have won. Half way through the prizes got significantly better and my name was still not called. I’m told that I looked excited and terrified at the same time.
With a microphone in my face I received my first place prize: a trip to Portugal for a whole week to attend Training Camp with Vår Ruset.
I was shocked and didn’t know what to say, let alone in Swedish to thousands of people picnicking after the race.
I explained that I’ve never won anything before and I’ve never traveled outside of New York and Sweden.
I didn’t dare mention that I’ve only been training for three weeks… but now I’ll be sure to continue!
Each day there will be activities to participate in such as running, “nordic walking(?)”, yoga, dancing, strength building, core exercises, and of course lots of fun in the sun!
I can’t wait!!
After an unbelievably exciting day I came home, collapsed, and dreamed of my next adventure.
03 May 2013 Leave a Comment
In 1938 May 1st was recognized as the first non religious “red day” holiday in Sweden, meaning that it’s a day off of work for most. On this particular red day though, you will find even more stores and restaurants closed because it is “International Workers Day” when political rallies flare up to fight for workers rights (since 1890). On this day there are demonstrations throughout Sweden, some of which can escalate into violence. In our town it consists of a couple calm hours of speeches, music, marching with banners, and ‘events’ in town square trying to recruit people to their cause.
There’s always a lot more than politics going on on this beautiful day though – aside from the hang overs from last nights Valborg celebrations. The two things that catch my eye are the releasing of the cows (which I unfortunately wasn’t able to see) and the classic car parade (which is not a Sweden thing, but a Halmstad thing). Last year we stumbled upon the car parade by accident and posted photos. This year we went in anticipation with ice cream in hand. Instead of photos, enjoy this video so you can hear the rumble of the engines, beeping of the horns, and music blasting from the windows.
01 May 2013 4 Comments
Last year was my first time experiencing the celebration of Valborg in Sweden. Here, let this link to last years post refresh your memory: **Links are currently broken – search for “Valborg- How We Welcome Spring in Sweden” to learn more about this tradition **
This year I decided to do something a bit different – I decided that text and photos are no longer enough for the fans, friends, and family of SomethingSwedish – so I started a Youtube channel, recorded a video, edited it, and am now sharing it for your viewing pleasure!
A lot of you have said how it feels like you are living vicariously through my words and captured moments, I want it to feel like you are really in Sweden with me. A picture can say a thousand words, but is that enough to feel the atmosphere, hear the language, and listen to the music?
Enjoy this video of the Valborg celebration, I hope it to be the first of many! Tell me what you think and what you want to see videos of next!
27 Apr 2013 8 Comments
This month I was hired by Folkuniversitetet to teach an English class. Folkuniveritetet (The Peoples University) is an adult education foundation with over 100 locations all throughout Sweden. They offer tons of classes ranging from psychology to photography, but are probably best known for their language courses. The classes aren’t free like most education in Sweden, but they are more convenient. It’s specifically a great place to learn Swedish if you don’t have a personnummer and aren’t qualified to go to SFI.
I applied to Folkuniversitetet a few months ago, and while they were interested in having me onboard, my classes didn’t get any student sign ups. This time around they had a class with no teacher and called me. I was offered two other classes, but neither worked out for other reasons, but its nice to have my foot in the door and be requested.
My class is a 90 minute conversational English class three times a week and it has been a blast! I love helping people improve their English and seeing my students build confidence. It’s fun creating lesson plans and coming up with fun and interactive ways to use the English language. It’s very different teaching adults, but I am enjoying it just as much as teaching kids.
I’ve decided to take my TESOLS certificate class this year and continue my education towards a pedagogy degree in January, which means a lot more Swedish studies this year so that I am on a High School level. Right now, it feels great to be teaching and putting my English degree to use. Hopefully I will get more classes, or even a job at a school eventually.
Another part of me is torn. It feels a bit like cheating to be working in English instead of Swedish. I want to use my Swedish skills and continue to improve them. Right now I appreciate the balance between teaching English, having a language internship at a restaurant, and substituting at a preschool all in Swedish.
All this temp work is coming to an end soon though, so we will see where life takes me! All I can say is moving to a new country means starting over again, being sent back to a 5th grade learning level, working hard to prove yourself, being busy studying your way up to an understandable level, trying new things, never turning down an opportunity, not being over qualified for anything, needing to make a lot of connections, enjoying new experiences, and going with the flow. Oh, and holding your thumbs. (Swedish way of saying crossing your fingers)
05 Apr 2013 9 Comments
Sitting on the train heading up to Värnamo to spend the holiday with my in-laws we were approached by a little girl. Being accustomed to panhandling on the subway in NYC, I averted my eyes, hoping my husband would deal with it and send her away. When a meek gentle voice wished us “Glad Påsk” I saw that the girl was dressed as an Easter Witch with a green apron and scarf, covered in painted-on freckles. She was the daughter of the train conductor, handing out free chocolate Easter egg candies to all the passengers.
Easter in Sweden is all about the candy, eggs, and witches. Instead of Easter baskets, candy is kept in large paper Easter eggs:
The three main decorations of Easter are these oversized decorated Easter eggs, colorful feathers, and witches on broomsticks.
Wondering why Easter in Sweden has so many witches? Easter was believed to be the day when the witches would fly to the blue mountain and dance with the devil. It was common to close the windows and light fires so the witches wouldn’t land on near your house. Nowadays, Swedish Easter witches are kids walking from house to house dressed in scarfs and rags with a copper teapot collecting treats from neighbors in exchange for drawings.
This year I even found devil chickens to accompany my Easter witch:
Freaky. Thankfully the cute type are still around:
And then we have the edible type that my husband expertly crafted:
Behind the scenes, making of:
As with every Swedish Holiday, the smörgåsbord is beautiful and delicious:
With a little extra eggs (Hard and soft boiled) on the table, Påskmust (Easter soda) and schnaps. it is an Easter meal.
We rounded the night off with some monopoly…guess who won!?
Hope everyone had a great holiday!!
08 Mar 2013 6 Comments
This year I skipped the long in depth play by play and am just curious about your votes! The songs range from serious to funny, with lyrics in English or Swedish, Pop, rock, or ballad styles all with great choreography. Tomorrow is the finale which will decide which one of these songs will represent Sweden in the Eurovision Song Contest in May. Watch these 10 videos (in order of their line up schedule tomorrow) and let me know which one you think will win! (or any commentary about the acts) Lets vote!