Saturday, July 25, 2015

Swedish summertime

Wow a lot to catch up on! Since my last post we have had a visit from my parents, I passed my Swedish national exam, I defended my masters thesis and graduated, visited family in England, celebrated midsummer, and just returned from visiting Florida! Alex is busy with his thesis work and is camping out in the woods most of this month measuring lichen and has seen probably hundreds of reindeer. Now I'm starting to get busy with studying for my driving license in Sweden. I would explain the long and painful and expensive process involved but it would just make me more frustrated so I'll just leave it at that :). I'll try and share some pictures from since I've last posted, it may be quite a lot! I'm really going to try to write more often now. We have lots of decisions coming up to make about our future plans and this might be a good place to keep everyone up to date!

This was the pathway in March...quite icy still. Don't worry, we took the bus to class!

This was the path I biked on to the power plant nearby to do one of my experiments. At one point the bike path turned into a mud road with farms and sheep in the field right next to me, no fence or anything. They just froze and stared at me. It made the bike ride a bit more entertaining.

My parents came and visited in April as well. It was still pretty brown out as you can see but it was warm enough to bike around (don't let their scarves and winter hats fool you).

Even biking in the rain! Such good sports.

 It was a great visit with lots of exploring, margaritas, and fun times.

In May I went down to Stockholm for the Global Swede awards ceremony and got to meet lots of international students from other universities in Sweden. Everything was so green in Stockholm I was amazed, it was still pretty brown in Umeå at this point.

This is at the end of May, kind of green now but a bit cold. And there's not normally that much trash on the ground, we were at a music festival type thing.

This is me at the Umeå airport with Alex getting ready to fly to England for a week! I had just presented my thesis the same day, so I was tired and relieved and ready to relax!

Some pictures from visiting Alexs family in Southampton. We had such a great time there. I got really lucky with the new family members I got from marrying Alex! We wish we could visit more often.

Then we hopped on a bus to London to spend time with Alexs aunt and uncle before flying back to Sweden!

Not really the best pictures but we had a wonderful time in London visiting with more family members and were so glad to be able to meet them, even if only for a short amount of time! And London of course is always beautiful to visit. 

This is back home in Sweden, biking home around 2am from our friends house. It never really gets dark in the summer, so I feel like I should never sleep!

Preparing for midsummer with a trip to the Systembolaget (Swedish alcohol store). It was superrr crowded as everyone was buying alcohol for the upcoming holiday!

Midsummer! It was a beautiful day and we went to a celebration at the museum nearby. In case you don't know, midsummer is to celebrate summertime and involves dancing around a pole, drinking strong alcohol, eating pickled herring and potatoes, and enjoying the summer time. Many people pick flowers and make crowns. I'm sure there is a lot more to it, but that's the highlights. 

Lots of people sitting outside drinking and eating. I guess it's also tradition to go to a summer house (which many Swedes have) and celebrate midsummer there with friends and family. We had a great day and even did some dancing!

Look how green it is! The blueberries are starting to come out now and it is really gorgeous here in the summer.

In Florida! I got to spontaneously visit (and surprise my dad and sister) for almost two whole weeks and got to see some friends and lots of family.
It made the long trip alone 100% worth it! I had planned on taking my many required driving tests and classes at this time in Sweden but I found out in July most businesses close (including the driving schools)! It's the month of vacations in Sweden. Which is great for them, bad for me. So I decided I'm basically part Swedish now, so I took a vacation too. :)

It was so great to see family and friends I hadn't seen in a year! 

My aunt had frozen the top of our wedding cake, but Alex was back in Sweden working on his thesis. So since our anniversary was close enough, we ate (and pretended to eat in Alexs case) our cake together through Skype. 

In other news, I gave Alex a hair cut! And I think I did a pretty good job for only watching one YouTube video! haha. Sorry for posting these pictures Alex. :)

Phew, that felt like a long post. I hope you made it through without falling asleep. And I know I always say this, but I really will try to post more! I think things here have just started feeling less foreign to me so I stopped taking pictures. But I should start again! Hope everyone is having a great summer :). 

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