Friday, September 27, 2013

Snowing in September

Well as you can probably tell from the title, it SNOWED yesterday. It snowed a lot for about three hours, but it melted when it hit the ground. I was biking to my class in the field when it started, and it took me a while to figure out what was happening. I was thinking hmm this rain is harder and colder than normal, but I still didn't want to get too excited. As a girl from Florida I was more convinced it was hail than snow. So I asked a classmate to confirm that it was indeed snowing haha. And then it started snowing even harder so that there was no denying it! I tried to take a picture but you can't really see anything. Today it rained though sadly, no snow. Cold rain is no fun, especially on a bike!

A pretty gross picture but this is me soaked from the bike ride home today! But I didn't mind it because its Friday!!

This is a popular brand of chocolate bar here and it is sooo good! One of the late night walks to the store nearby when we we (ok me) were craving chocolate!

This week has been busy with school and mostly just trying to stay warm! The weather drastically changed this past week from warm enough to only need a light jacket to me needing to wear my Florida winter jacket everyday now. So everything colder than it is now will definitely be a new experience for me!

Biking to school everyday in the cold and being busy with school work can make it easy to forget about all the wonderful things here but I actually really do enjoy my bike rides. They are relaxing and biking so much allows me to eat more candy and chocolate than I could normally, which I think makes biking very worth it! :)

My sweet fiancé even though he has been sick all week and had two tests and a presentation woke up early one day this week to make me breakfast before we left. He made me bacon even though he's a vegetarian, it was very sweet and made my day.

Tonight I'm trying to think of a dessert recipe to make, but all the U.S. recipes I find use vanilla extract and Sweden uses vanilla sugar. I usually just use it the same as vanilla extract and hope it comes out the same! 

My week alone last week went ok by the way! I went to the grocery store almost everyday and enjoyed some relaxing time alone, but I'm glad it's over! :) To treat myself at the end of the week I bought and cooked some reindeer meat! It is popular in Sweden and it was really different but really good.  I felt very Swedish buying reindeer at the grocery store. The fiancé told me Santa won't bring me any presents anymore though haha, oh well! I'm sorry Rudolf! 
Yummy yum yum.

I'll try to post more often now! It's just been too cold and rainy to take out my phone and take pictures!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rain rain go away

Er, Tuesdays. Everyone complains about Mondays but on Mondays you still have some leftover weekend feeling. Tuesdays are just the worst. Especially rainy, cold, and dreary Tuesdays. Today was my first day biking to school in the rain! It actually wasn't too bad, it definitely made me bike a lot faster!

Put a plastic bag over my backpack and I'm ready to go! Extra fact: In Sweden if you want to put your grocery in plastic bags, you have to buy them when you buy your groceries! And you bag everything yourself. When I grocery shopped today I just put my food in my backpack.

Even though it was a grey and cold day on campus, these pretty trees brightened everything up a little bit. I think they are called mountain ash? But it feels like just yesterday these trees were green.

My pants when I got back from fieldwork yesterday! Unfortunately these are my only rain pants so I had to wear them again all dirty today (too much information maybe?). I signed up for a laundry time today don't worry. (In Sweden you have to sign up on a list to reserve a time to use the laundry room, at first I was a little unsure about this idea but now I like it. I always know that no one will be using the washer and dryer when I go to do laundry.)

The pretty view while doing fieldwork, in a farming area near town.

Last night was my first night alone in Sweden without the fiance. He is away on a school trip all week so it is quite a change. I usually get home before him so I'm used to being on my own a bit and biking on my own and finding my own way now. But I really miss him just to look over at while I'm reading and see him smile at me. I don't really mind being alone too much, sometimes it's really nice. But he just brightens my days, and I really need it on a dark and rainy day like today. But on the plus side, I made zucchini bread! Or at least I thought I did. It turns out I'm not too great at identifying cucumbers versus zucchini, and I made cucumber bread. It tastes almost the same, except slightly more pickle like...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Relaxing Weekends

Another weekend is almost over here! This weekend was very relaxing and nice. Fall is officially here! It's cold and the leaves have started to fall. Right now I'm really enjoying it though. I'm not even worried about the snow coming, I'm looking forward to it! But I wouldn't mind if it waited a while... :)

My sweetie on a bike ride today across the river. It was a little rainy today.

 The pretty view from our bike ride. I didn't notice the graffiti until now, but apparently it says poo...haha. So I learned a new Swedish word!

 We also tried to make bread this weekend, this was our attempt at baguettes. We looked up a recipe using Swedish ingredients, and it was so much simpler than all the english recipes I found. And it was another opportunity to improve my vocabulary! These were soooo yummy. Maybe not the prettiest things in the world, but a good first try! Also, yeast is really cheap here. I never used it in the U.S. really so I can't compare, but it was a nice surprise. Baguette recipe

Dessert in bed while doing homework! I'm a lucky girl. (I didn't actually eat all this at once...or did I...).

 The cake was leftover from the fiance's birthday that I made! It was pretty good, especially the next day! It was also my first time grocery shopping alone for the ingredients and some birthday goodies and candles. Grocery shopping is definitely something I took for granted in the U.S. Knowing where everything was and knowing my card would work and knowing the checkout person spoke english. Oh Publix how I miss you. U.S. credit cards work here, but they require a few extra steps and showing your id, and my Florida ID seems to always confuse people. But I've learned how to help them make it easier and my fear of grocery shopping is officially over! 

The bulle (similar but also very different to cinnamon rolls in the U.S.) our neighbor brought over for us which was very sweet. On my way home from school the other day on my bike I passed two of our neighbors who waved and said hej and it just made me happy that I actually know people! It's the small things.

Just a short post today but wanted to do an update! Tomorrow I go back out into the field with my class (my tiny class of 6 people). Then we have a big paper due a week later so I will be busy working on that. Thank you to anyone who actually reads my blog, it means a lot and I enjoy writing it! :)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Four ways I'm becoming Swedish

Living in Sweden means adapting some of the Swedish ways of life. So I thought I would share a few things that I have started doing consciously and unconsciously.

1. In Sweden you address professors by their first name, even in an email. And yes I found this out the hard way. And I was quickly corrected. Luckily my teacher used to live in the U.S. so he understood. Apparently in Sweden he explained you rarely (if ever) use Dr. as someones title. Even medical doctors you call by their first name. He said doctor is a job, not a title. And professor is a job, not a title. Everything is much more casual which I really love. Work isn't who you are, it's just what you do. Lovely.

2. I have a new found love of cooking shows. Now this may not be true and may just be a false stereotype, but I remember reading someones blog about living in Sweden before I moved here and they mentioned that people in Sweden love cooking shows and that they are always on tv. Well I forgot about that until today I heard myself talking to the tv, criticizing one of the contestants cooking ability. Hmm. Maybe there is something in the water here. Watching the cooking shows has even gotten me to love cooking, and I've been experimenting with recipes.

A picture from my zucchini bread making phase. 

Baking sugar cookies! These ones actually weren't my best. But if you need a great oatmeal cookie recipe without butter let me know because those are my favorite!

3. I LOVE candy. There is something special about candy in Sweden. They have a big selection in all the grocery and little stores and it is amazing. I was never really a big candy person back in the U.S. Mainly ice cream was my sweetness weakness. (Icecream is still a favorite, I don't think I could ever give that one up).

 This picture doesn't do Swedish candy justice, but you can see the variety. I obviously prefer the sour fruity ones but also threw some chocolate and other random pieces in. These creepy looking black and red skulls are actually one of my favorite.
4. Kind of related to number 3 but also totally different. I love licorice. LICORICE! I remember when I first got to Sweden I wouldn't even buy a bag of candy if it had licorice in it because I didn't want to eat the contaminated candy. But now I purposely pick licorice to fill up my candy bag on Saturdays. It is salty and sweet and amazing. Licorice is very popular in Sweden, and now I know why. They know how to do it right. Or, as I said, there is something in the water.

So three of my four Swedish things are food related. Hmm. It's probably good I bike to school an hour each way...

Pretty sunset from earlier in the summer. Its starting to get dark earlier each day. Oh no.

Its Thursday here and my sweetie has a friend over and were watching a hockey game. Go Umea! I'm really enjoying my life here in Sweden. Some days are harder than others and I still miss family and friends everyday. But each day here I feel more like it is becoming my home. And I honestly couldn't be any happier than I am right now. School is good, and life is good. Ok, I'll stop the corniness.

Two posts in a row, wow. Hope I can keep it up!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

School in Sweden and Swedish school

I can't believe I'm in my second week of graduate school, let alone my second week of graduate school in Sweden! It's definitely very different from the U.S. in good and bad ways. The biggest difference to me is the number of classes you take. This applies to graduate and undergraduate students. You take one class at a time in Sweden. One class! In the U.S. I usually took four or five at once. Except somehow this one class takes up all my time. In the U.S. with five classes I would be at school for three or four hours a day, but in Sweden with one class I'm here around 7 hours. I think I like the one class better though, it allows you to put all your effort into one class. Another difference is how I get to school. I bike. In the U.S. I would either take the bus, drive, or walk. Biking never seemed like a good option. But here it is almost the only option. Buses are pretty expensive and walking would take forever. But since everyone bikes it's not a problem. Except for I start my bike ride off with ten layers of clothing and by the time I get to school I'm down to just one.
A picture of all the bikes, and this is when we got to school early! 

One downside of school is Sweden or any other country is not knowing anyone or anything. For example opening a door. You think that would be fairly simple, but some doors have these buttons you press first and then have to wait a certain amount of time before you open it. And I usually stand there trying it for a minute or so looking silly. Overall though I'm enjoying my class. It's only been a week and I've gotten to go out into the field three days in a row digging in the dirt, which I love. 

One of the many holes we dug for soil sampling.

I love that there is a mixture of nationalities in my class. I am now a minority, and it's really a crazy feeling. It's hard to explain. Some days it feels exciting and adventurous and some days I feel out of place. But the next thing I'm going to talk about I think will help...Swedish school!

I have been applying to many different Swedish language programs and finally got into one starting October 1 called Swedish Crash Course. Woohoo! So updates on how that goes later.

In other news, we made blueberry jam! I know, I think I'm a bit obsessed with berries. Hopefully it's yummy! Also a random thought but if anyone goes to Allstars pub, they have an amazing raspberry milkshake. It's a very American type sportsbar and restaurant. And very expensive (as are all restaurants here really). This milkshake was called the "five dollar milkshake" and it cost the equivalent of ten dollars. It just made me laugh. Worth very penny though to celebrate starting school!


Well that's it for now, hej då (bye)!