Sweden at Christmastime

I was chatting with a friend about travel the other day and I happened to mention my 2018 trip to Sweden.

Yes, I went to Sweden in the winter and it was GLORIOUS!

Of course, I was so afraid of being cold, seeing as how I was born and raised in sunny, warm California.

So I brought long johns, boots, scarf, hat, snow gear and a really long heavy puffer jacket.

The end result?

I sweated my way through my vacation.

I’d go outside all bundled up only to enter a building with the heat on BLAST.

I’d strip off layers to cool off, only to have to put them back on again when I went outside.

I was perpetually HOT, not cold, as I’d projected.

I joked that I must be going into menopause with all the hot flashes I had.

Of course, my memories of Sweden are more than just the cold and the heat.

I remember sweet shops and bins filled with candy at the supermarket.

There was salted licorice gum (it tastes exactly as it sounds) and candy that resembled rocks.

I remember a glorious smörgåsbord dinner with friends at The Grand Hôtel – complete with champagne and caviar.

And no one, I mean NO ONE, does Christmas like the Scandinavians.

There was glögg, a kind of spiced mulled beverage which is served hot with ginger crisps.

There were lighted ada candlabras in all the windows and colorful dala horses on display:

And a light snowfall made everything seem magical.

I’d like to transport myself there now and get away from all the strife going on here at home.

Sweden at Christmas is much favorable to California during the next few weeks.

Holiday Break

My work will be closing down for three weeks for the holiday break.

I can’t believe it!

The last time I had three weeks off in a row, I was unemployed.

Over the 2017-2018 holiday break, I took a one week trip to Sweden.

Oh, how I miss Sweden in December.

All filled with Christmas lights, snow, 3 pm sunsets, dala horses, advent candles and spiced wine.

This year there’s not much I can do besides stay at home.

There’s no point in travelling when you’d have to quarantine anywhere you go.

Were we not sheltering in place, I’d consider a trip to London to visit my friend Michelle.

Or perhaps a trip to Oslo to see where my great-grandmother came from and explore a little of my genealogy.

Sadly, I think my holiday will not be filled with travel.

I think I’m stuck at home, quilting.

Again.

I’ve got about 6 quilts to work on so I definitely won’t run out of things to do.

But part of me longs for travel, this year especially since I’ve got so much free time on my hands.

Puppies

Let’s just go ahead and acknowledge my love of all things Swedish.

Since before my trip to Stockholm in 2018, I have loved Sweden.

After all, what’s not to love about a country who gave us ABBA, the cheese slicer, and The Swede?

And speaking of The Swede, he’s adopting another puppy come December.

A female.

Which means he will be able to breed his dogs to get puppies.

And I think he intends to do just that.

So besides having a new car, a new motorcycle, a new fiancée, a new home, a new hot tub, a new dog, and a new puppy, he will now be breeding more PUPPIES!

The thought of puppy breath and soft velvet noses makes my peri-menopausal ovaries shudder a little with pleasure.

Me thinks it may be time to adopt a four-legged friend for myself.

Sweden vs Norway

I get a lot of questions about learning Swedish.

Mostly people want to know WHY SWEDISH?

Why would a woman of Norwegian descent opt to learn Swedish instead of Norwegian?

That is an excellent question.

The answer is pretty simple:

Because Rosetta Stone doesn’t offer a class in learning Norwegian but THEY SURE DO IN SWEDISH.

And so, I’m learning Swedish.

Close enough for government work, as they say.

I did however take a moment to consider joining the Daughters of Norway.

Ultimately, I decided that now isn’t the right time.

I’m working on embracing diversity and equality more in my life and the DoN represent a pretty slim selection of what is out there.

Though don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate that they’re an organization of women maintaining their heritage and culture in a country which doesn’t necessarily embrace diversity.

So here are some little knows facts about Norway:

  1. The cheese slicer was invented in Norway, though cheese is often bought pre-sliced (something I remember from my trip to Sweden).
  2. The longest tunnel is in Norway.  It is 15 miles long and cost $113 million to build.
  3. Unlike most Nobel Prize awards, the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Norway, not Sweden.
  4. Some Norwegians live in Hell.  Literally.  It’s the name of a city in Norway with about a thousand inhabitants.
  5. In Norway, the last time a police officer shot and killed somebody was in 2006. [LINK]

If that isn’t enough to make you love Norway, then I’m at a loss.

 

 

Tongue tied and twisted

I’ve been practicing Swedish for a week now and I’m getting a little better every day.

I still can’t get used to the cadence however.

There’s a lilt to Swedish that I just can’t capture.

And, of course, there are SO MANY WORDS that are spelled one way but pronounced another.

I can’t help but feel like I’m practicing tongue twisters.

There are words that start with “skj”, for instance and the closest I can come to making the appropriate sound is to half-whistle-half-sneeze my way through the word.

The number 7, for being a teeny tiny little three letter word (sju) gives me such problems.

It’s phonetically pronounced ‘wqu’ I THINK.

Before I speak any Swedish, first I translate from Swedish into English and the words I don’t know I speak in French, because I remember quite a bit of my French lessons.

So I’m speaking Swench.

Or Fredish.

Someday I’d like to return to Sweden – perhaps even pop into Norway to see where my ancestors used to live.

I bought a book on Scandinavian cooking and you can be sure that when it arrives, I’ll be scoping out some healthy fish recipes for my diet.

I feel a lot like Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

Only there’s no handsome Rex Harrison to frustrate me and throw marbles in my mouth.

Well, to that I say not every great story involves a romance and I’m quite happy learning my Swedish for me.

Tongue tied and twisted as it may be.

 

 

One Lucky Lady

I got news today from The Swede.

All is well in Sweden, in fact he has a girlfriend now.

I’ll admit, I was a little sad.

But wasn’t he sweet to tell me instead of letting me find out via Facebook or Instagram?

Yeah, that was nice of him.

He was bound to find a girlfriend.

Honestly, both of us have been single for years.

We’re RIPE for the picking.

It’s nice to hear he’s doing well, and no worries, I’m not crushed or anything.

I’ve been flirting with my own (new) man who seems quite kind, funny, and generous.

He’s my distraction.

I will miss chatting with The Swede but we’ll keep in touch I am sure, even if it’s only just a little bit of catching up from time to time.

So there you have it.

The latest news from Sweden.

The Swede has a girlfriend.

And she’s one lucky lady, because he is amazing.

Swedish bikini

I want this:

I want it for no reason other than it reminds me of Sweden.

The blue.

The yellow.

It’s like a deconstructed Swedish flag:

And lord knows I certainly like things Swedish.

Even though I’m of Norwegian descent.

I’m not buying it though.

Nope.

Because I have a habit of buying bikinis and never wearing them.

And I’m not going to do that anymore.

Let’s face it, I already have a Swedish bikini bottom I purchased from Globalkinis:

I intended to wear it with a Swedish flag tank top out on the playa with The Swede but then he wasn’t able to come to Burning Man:

So I scrapped the outfit.

I still have it though.

Maybe I’ll titillate The Swede by wearing it under my clothes and showing it to him in private.

Boy, does that man like all things Swedish.

Swedish coffee, Swedish candy, Swedish chocolate. . .

American women, though.

Lucky for me!

So even though I have a hankering to turn up on a beach in Florida wearing a Swedish colored bikini, I have a strong feeling that I will never actually follow through and do it.

Me and bikinis.

I imagine I’m bold enough to wear them but then I chicken out.

That’s just how I roll.

And as a parting gift from me to you, a picture of the Swedish Bikini Team:

You’re welcome!

I’m big in South Africa

So maybe I don’t have a HUGE fan base in the US.

It’s just a couple of ex-boyfriends, some burners, and my birthmom who read this blog.

But I’m big in South Africa.

And, incidentally, Sweden.

But we all know why. . . I write about The Swede.

The Swedes. . . well they like that I enjoy my Swede.

But the South Africans?

Now why would someone in South Africa follow my blog?

I have a few ideas.

First of all, they seem to surf into my posts where I am trying to date while being totally frustrated with the whole experience.

Maybe dating in South Africa is challenging as well.

They also seem to like my BOUDOIR photos.

Which, in case you haven’t seen them, are HERE.

But I also get a lot of visits from India for the exact same reason.

What can I say, I’m a thick snack and SOME PEOPLE LIKE THAT.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if it’s dating or boudoir photos.

I just like having an international group of blog followers.

If you’ve read this post to the end, then take a second to comment and tell me what country you’re from. . .

 

Life is Swede

Yes, I’m still on my Swedish kick.

I broke down and clicked on a few links and. . .

  1. I now have a bottle of glögg arriving at my home in a week or two
  2. I signed up for a Beginning Swedish language class starting in January
  3. I figured out where to buy small batch Icelandic vodka
  4. I’m going to stop by Lunardi’s in Los Gatos to pick up akvavit (aqua vit)
  5. I signed up for a few Swedish activities mailing lists and liked a few Swedish FB pages

I’m convinced, if The Swede doesn’t snap me up like the trophy prize I am, that Alexander Skarsgård is destined to fall in love with me and propose marriage.

Ahem.

Yes, I have True Blood fantasies.

AND I can pronounce Skarsgård properly.

If that doesn’t make me perfect for some Swede, then I don’t know what is.

I also decided to buy the cutest little America loves Sweden t-shirt.

TECHNICALLY, I think it’s about Swedish Americans and we’ve established that I’m definitively Norwegian.

But watch me care less about that.

This American likes her Swedes.

Life is Swede.

Scandinavian

While I was shopping for Barbara’s birthday present, my online research branched off into a tangential research project.

Scandinavian cooking classes.

To be specific, I was looking for Swedish cooking classes.

How do I make those tasty meatballs, is what I want to know.

So there I am, looking for Scandinavian cooking classes (I missed one on November 3rd in Reno by the Daughters of Norway), when I stumble across a resource for Nordic/Baltic goods and services in the Bay Area.

Woot!

On the list, there are a number of Swedish-owned wineries, breweries, and glögg makers.

And just like that, I created a trip for me and The Swede to go on – a tour of Swedish wineries:

  • Field Vineyards
  • Garden Creek Vinyards
  • Gustafson Family Vineyards
  • Sjoeblom Winery
  • Soil & Soul Wines
  • West Wines

Voilá!

Of course my plan does require The Swede to actually PACK A BAG and COME TO CALIFORNIA.

But when he does, I have a wine outing to take him on.