Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Homeward Bound


Although the news travel fast there still may be one or two people left in the world who aren't aware that we are moving back to Vancouver. You heard me right. After 6.5 years of living in various places - Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Uppsala - we have decided to spend at least a few years in our hometown. B. got offered a post-doc at UBC with a very widely respected prof in microbiology and when we come back for Christmas its to stay. I'm still working on the job front, but I do have a few leads, well, just one so far, but I'm working on it. We already have an apartment lined up for Jan. 1st. We will be living at Arbutus and 10th. And guess what! It's just around the corner from a Swedish bakery so we'll be able to enjoy semlor in February, and perhaps even the odd princesstårta. Vad kul!

You might wonder how I discovered that it was right around the corner from a Swedish bakery, and so I'll tell you. The other day I found this website where you can calculate the walkability of your neighbourhood (not sure if this will work outside of North America - sorry international friends). You type in your address including city and province and it will show you all the shops, gyms, parks, etc. in your neighbourhood and calculate a score, which pretty much indicates whether or not you should be walking everywhere! This is the website: http://walkscore.com Our new neighbourhood scored a 88/100 = very walkable. My dad's house on the other hand scored a 17/100 = car dependent (although I noticed they didn't include the nearby vegetable/convenience store, which is very walkable, on their map). Just a fun waste of time, plus maybe you'll find some interesting shop near your house - like a Swedish bakery!

Other exciting news! A friend from Saskatoon is coming to visit us!! She just decided last week and is coming to stay from Nov. 4-12. We're all going to Copenhagen together, so it should be a fun trip. Now I just have to figure out what we're going to do...

Well, time to get out of my housecoat and get ready for work. I actually have work today, which now feels like an inconvenience since I haven't worked in so long :p
Hope all is well with you!
Trevlig tisdag!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Fall Wedding


Yesterday was a busy day. We attended both a christening and a wedding (and all for one family). The christening was for the son of our friend's C. and H. It was held at one of the oldest churches in Uppsala (practically next door to the cathedral). It was pretty similar to a Canadian christening, although it was in Swedish :p Here are a few shots from the christening.

The happy family!

After the christening we headed to Värmlands Nation for a fika, which included smörgåstårta and cakes. At this point we had some time to kill as the wedding didn't start until 4:30pm. Most people went home and we decided to walk home as the weather was nice and we wanted to enjoy the fall scenery. B. also wanted to get in a quick nap before the evenings festivities. Here are a few shots from our walk home.

A pathway of leaves

The wedding was held in the Cathedral (which is humongous). There were only about 75-90 people there so we sat in a few seats at the very front by the alter (I think a few tourists sat in on the ceremony too :) ). In Sweden, the bride and groom walk into the wedding together so that everyone knows that they are both coming willingly to marry. They are followed by any attendants they might have. The ceremony was nice (again in Swedish) and some of the passages were easily translatable as they are typical passages from a English ceremony, e.g. Corinthians "Love is...""Kärlek är..." Singing the psalms was a bit trickier as we didn't know the rhythms or the words.

After the service we walked down to another Nation, where we started the evening with a glass of champagne in the library. When the bride and groom entered the building we were all waiting on the staircase and joined them in a toast (and a few hooras). Then it was time to enter into the dining room. The dining room was very beautiful with tall candelabras on the table and red velvet curtains. At every Swedish function we have been to, couples are not allowed to sit together (unless they are engaged), but are generally at the same table. It seemed we were at the English table, although most people speak English so well it wouldn't have mattered. The dinner started with a soup (it was a sit-down meal), then we had a reindeer filet, and this was followed by a cheese plate. Every course was matched with a wine (very posh!). In between the courses, and, in fact, during the courses, the MC would make announcements or invite specific people to come up to speak. There were also a couple of fun games for the couple and their parents to take part in. We also sing songs throughout the meal (the songs are printed in the program). As you can guess, this means that the meal takes quite a long time. In fact we had a 15 minute "leg stretcher" between the main course and the dessert. In total I think the dinner took about 4 hours. We then moved back to the library for the cake and coffee, and then it was time for dancing. They had a four piece jazz band complete with a singer. It was really nice, we got to practice our walt, our foxtrot and our chacha. But by 1am Ben was pretty beat so we took off for home.

Here are some pics from the day (sorry for the length of this post!):

Trevlig måndag,

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

E. goes to a Möhippa


Ok, so for those who aren't fluent in Swedish (which includes me) a möhippa is a stagette or a bachelorette party or a hen party depending on which country you live in. Apparently the word "hippa" is an old-fashioned word for a party. The male equivalent in Swedish is a svensexa, and again the word "sexa" is an old-fashioned word for party. Anyways, two Saturdays ago, I attended my first Swedish möhippa. This is an all-day affair. We met at the bride's house at 10am to surprise and kidnap her. Möhippas are usually a surprise. We gave her a list of articles to pack into a backpack and she was required to put on an outfit that was entirely pink (luckily she had pink pants, I don't know about you but I would be hard pressed to find pink pants in my wardrobe). We then drove down to this indoor fun-park thing, called a femkamp (five camp?). There we participated in five events, competing against one another, however, for the first event the bride had to sumo wrestle the groom (who was also attending his svensexa that day, which made it tricky as they had a six month old baby). We all tried to sumo wrestle, which is surprisingly hard work, and then we rode a Segway through a small course, raced go-karts, did archery and rode a mechanical bull. My favourite part was the go-karts! I had never tried go-karting before and man, oh man, it is fun. In the end I ended up winning third prize! Not bad. The bride got second (I couldn't very well beat the bride after all). After our mornings activities we stopped back at the house for lunch and then we whisked the bride to a glass-blowing hut where she got to make five different glass things, with the assistance of the glass-blower. Then it was time for more games and dinner. Before every activity the bride was given a riddle/puzzle to solve which would tell her what we were doing next. This möhippa thing takes a lot of organizing! I left at 11:15pm and was tired. Even without the normal drinking that takes place at a Canadian stag this was a long day!

Here are some shots from the day! The wedding is on Saturday so I'll be able to tell you about a Swedish wedding next week!

C. the beautiful bride

C. and H. "The Battle is on"

Don't I look like a jolly sumo wrestler?

The bride...looking somewhat scary

Getting our instructions, I choose not to wear the fancy racing suit

Me the speed demon

C. with one of her works of art

One of the games was for C. to taste various dips that we bought and try to guess what was in them. Yummm :p