Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ticks in Stockholm

Hejsan Alla,

Well, I made it through my whole week of camping in Norway without any mosquito bites or any other bug encounters of that kind...only to go to Stockholm for the day and get bitten by a tick!!! Crazy eh? S., J., B. and I went to play mini-golf (golfbana) and when we returned to the apartment I discovered a small black beastie behind my knee. He had already started gorging himself on my juicy blood but I managed to rip him out and he hadn't gotten too big yet. Of course, this started me thinking about Lyme Disease and Tick Borne Encephalitis, but I did a little digging on the internet and discovered that if you remove a tick within 36 hours of being bitten it reduces your chances of contracting the disease to pretty much nil. Regardless, I bought myself a thermometer and proceeded to take my temperature several times a day over the next few days. I know, I have an overactive imagination and it doesn't help when its left to entertain itself.

Besides that adventure I have settled into a summer-time routine. Go to the gym, cook supper, check out the internet, perhaps have a fika with friends, sleepwalk...well, the last one isn't exactly a routine, but since we've moved to our new place I seem to be sleepwalking or sleep talking almost every night. My favourite story to date is the morning that B. asked me if I remembered talking to him, I said "No, what did I say?" And he said, "Don't let the chicken out!". As soon as he said that I remembered my dream about coming upon a cave with a wooden door covering the entrance. There was a sign on the door that read "Don't let the chicken out", someone did in fact let the chicken out, hence my verbal admonishment. Unfortunately, its gotten to be somewhat of a routine, so the other night when I rose to use the facilities, B. can be forgiven for saying, somewhat exasperatedly, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?". To which I responded, "I'm awake! I'm just going to the bathroom! And do you have to be so mean about it!!!"

Well, B. is gone for a couple nights so we'll see if that affects my night episodes!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tunnels and Trolls

I just finished writing a super long email about our trip to Norway so I'm not going to repeat myself here other than to say that it was a great trip and that the scenery was amazing. So different from Sweden, somewhat similar to B.C. but in much larger doses. It seemed like every time we entered another valley it was more impressive than the last. One thing that I forgot to mention about our trip was the extensive amount of tunneling that the Norwegians have done. And I'm not talking about short tunnels. Most of the tunnels were at least 1.5km long if not longer. We ended up going through the longest tunnel in the world (at least on land) and it was 24.5km long. Can you believe that? I guess its more expensive to repair roads every year due to landslides than to tunnel right through the middle of the mountain. We kept expecting to see intersections in the tunnels that's how long they were! I have to say though, that tunnels do prevent you from seeing the scenery :)

The other thing I learned about Norway is that they have an affinity for trolls. I just looked up some information about Norway and Trolls on Wikipedia and found the following excerpt:

The Troll is a fearsome member of a mythical race from Norse mythology. Originally more or less the Nordic equivalents of giants, although often smaller in size, the different depictions have come to range from the fiendish giants – similar to the ogres of England (also called Trolls at times, see Troller's Gill) – to a devious, more human-like folk of the wilderness, living underground in hills, caves or mounds. In the Faroe islands, Orkney and Shetland tales, trolls are called trows, adopted from the Norse language when these islands were settled by Vikings.

Nordic literature, art and music from the romantic era and onwards has adapted trolls in various manners – often in the form of an aboriginal race, endowed with oversized ears and noses. From here, as well as from Scandinavian fairy tales such as Three Billy Goats Gruff, trolls have achieved international recognition, and in modern fantasy literature and
role-playing games, trolls are featured to the extent of being stock characters.

On our last day in Norway we drove down a mountain known as Trollstigen (sp?). In English, this translates to Troll's ladder. It had some serious hairpin turns on it, as well as the only Troll crossing sign in all of Norway :). That same day we stopped at the Troll's wall, the tallest vertical rock face in Europe at 1100m. Needless to say, the souvenir shops have profited off this love of trolls. There were trolls for sale in every shop, we did succumb and we purchased a small troll for our Christmas tree (we collect ornaments from the places we have travelled to). But by and large we managed to avoid the temptation to purchase some large troll statues for our home :)

I've finally posted the photos from our trip and you can check them out here:

Trevlig helg!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Canada Day Fest


We held our very own Canada Day party a couple of weekends ago...thanks to J. and R. for all the decorations! We decided to create a mix of Swedish party traditions and Canadian ones so we held a trivia quiz called a Tipspromenad (where you walk around with a partner or small group and try to answer trivia questions). We created a quiz about Canada to test our international friends on their Canadian knowledge (which is turns out was somewhat poor). I've included the questions in this entry so you can test your knowledge. Please keep in mind that we did have some Canadians participating so we had to make it hard enough to challenge them as well!For photos from our party click here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=136921&l=cdd62&id=842465120

Canadian Tipspromenad:

1. Which of the following was NOT a Canadian Invention?

a) Telephone
b) Zipper
c) Wonderbra
d) Can-Opener

2. In what year did Canada become the country it is today?

a) 1949
b) 1962
c) 1999
d) 2001

3. Which of the following is NOT a Canadian comedian?

a) Mike Myers
b) Will Ferrell
c) Jim Carrey
d) John Candy

4. What is the approximate distance from Vancouver to Newfoundland (coast to coast)?

a) 10,000 km
b) 5500 km
c) 7000 km
d) 12,000 km

5. Who was the first Prime Minister of Canada?

a) Robert Borden
b) Lester Pearson
c) William Lyon Mackenzie King
d) Sir John A. Macdonald

6. Canada is known as a hockey playing nation, but what other sport was invented by a Canadian?

a) Baseball
b) Curling
c) Basketball
d) Water Polo

7. What medical invention/discover was NOT invented/discovered by a Canadian?

a) Electric Wheelchair
b) Pacemaker
c) Dialysis Machine
d) Insulin Treatment

8. Which superhero was created by a Canadian?

a) Spiderman
b) Superman
c) Wonderwoman
d) Aquaman

9. What is the National Animal of Canada?

a) Moose
b) Cariboo
c) Beaver
d) Bison

10. If you were to travel from east to west across Canada, which of the combinations of cities is in the correct order?

a) St. John, Ottawa, Saskatoon, Winnipeg
b) Charlottetown, Montreal, Whitehorse, Yellowknife
c) Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay
d) St. John’s, Quebec, Toronto, Saskatoon

11. How many times would Sweden fit into Canada?

(You’re on your own for this one….take a guess!) (This was the tie-breaker)

Answers: 1. d 2.c 3.b 4.c 5.d 6.c 7.c 8.a 9.c 10.d 11. 22.2 times

Have fun!