Thursday, August 28, 2008

Sämsta sedan 1896

JenniferThe 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing were the most disasterous games that Sweden has endured. Ever. Sure, they ended up with a total of 5 medals, 4 silver and 1 bronze, behind both Denmark and Norway (oh the shame of it!), but not a one of them gold. Finland? Finished with 4 medals... but one of them gold. Finland, for heaven's sake! (Sweden did manage to beat Iceland, who only managed one silver. Woo-hoo!)

Here's a list of some individual things that went wrong for Sweden, or are otherwise shameful in some way:

Monday, August 25, 2008

Revenons à nos moutons

JoeToday is the first day of orientation for the Datavetenskap Masters Program at Uppsala University, so this afternoon I returned to that sheep-strewn meadow. Up until a week ago, the only firm information that had been sent out about the program start was a note that there was a mandatory roll call on 25 August. Last Monday, this explanation was amended to include a time (13:15) and a place (building 1, room 211), with the promise that further information would show up during the course of the week at a web address, provided.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

They're here! part two

Note: this post originally started on August 2, but somewhere between vacation and the Olympics it got lost. I thought I better finish it before the apples come in (which they are starting to do already)...

Jennifer They're here!

What are here?

Svensk blåbär, that's what! Oh, you thought cherries were my favorite? Well, anyone who knows me well knows that blueberries are actually my favorite. Not blueberry-flavored things, mind you, but blueberries, the raw fruit, the real deal. What did I used to get from that Dutch place in South Haven, a 10lb box? And I could eat half of that in one sitting. Just look at that big pot of blueberries (500 grams for 40 SEK) Joe brought back for me. I'm going to dive in there and eat and eat and eat until...

Hang on...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

37 minutes of night

JoeTonight we see the return of an old friend: actual night. It's been hard to track the dwindling of daylight this month, for several reasons. Our new apartment is on the first floor and pretty thoroughly shaded, so it has never seemed as bright here in the evenings as it did in Flogsta (where our view to the northwest was virtually unimpeded). What's more, the past two or three weeks have been unremittingly overcast, making it hard to tell when exactly the sun is going down. Actually, there's been so much unseasonable rain this month that there's a danger of Sweden's crops being ruined.

Nevertheless, it's definitely getting darker now. As I write this it already looks like nautical twilight outside, and by midnight tonight we'll enter our first half hour and change of official night.

Yup, not long now till it's just plain dark out.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I survive a möhippa

JenniferSo I got this rather enigmatic email last Wednesday morning that read:

Subject: [A.]'s "möhippa" (hen-party for a bride-to-be)

Hi all,

Since [post doc G.] and [A.] are getting married soon we want to give [A.] a hen-party for a bride-to-be. Would you like to participate? It will be on Sunday (sorry about the short notice but we didn't know any details until today...), approximately between 11.30-18. Send an e-mail or give us a call if you want to join! :)
Keep it a secret... ;)

/[two names and phone numbers for women I do not know]

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I don't want to eat that

Jennifer"Vad tycker du om surstömming?" was nearly the first thing I heard them say on the radio this morning when the alarm went off. Oh no, I thought, it's August. That means it's surströmming season. That means there might be a surströmming party.

Surströmming is something that everyone agrees is a Swedish specialty, even though plenty of Swedes either don't like it or refuse to even try it. It is one of those one of those sorts of foods that can be considered a national dish, mostly because it can be used to terrorize outsiders.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Swedish Lessons (almost)

JoeToday my Swedish lessons started… er, sort of, that is.

You may recall that I attended a meeting about taking Swedish classes at the end of June. At the end of that meeting, we were told that we would get a letter detailing the where and when of the class before it started on August 4th. Fast forward to last week, at which point I still had not heard another peep about the class. I started sending some e-mails, but got no response. Finally, Friday afternoon at 3:40 I got a response, telling me that the class started Monday at 12:30, but it had moved from the ever-so-convienently located Polacksbacken to an industrial park on Fyrisborgsgatan—all the way on the other end of town. No explanation was ventured as to why I had not previously been informed of this little tidbit.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Goodbye Helsinki (and Temptation Resisted)

For a map, see post for the outward bound trip

JenniferThe ship departed Helsinki at 17:30 local time (which is an hour earlier than Stockholm time, the various guides and brochures took pains to point out), and we got on board with plenty of time to spare. This time we headed straight up to deck 11 to get good view of the departure and the little islands dotting the harbor. Smoothly and with no fuss or drama, the ship left punctually. "Well, we wouldn't want to miss our tide," I said, deadpan. Joe sniffed at my attempt at naval humor.