Archive | March, 2011

An Ongoing Process

29 Mar

This past weekend flew by quickly because our time was mostly dedicated to our setting up our new space. Saturday morning we picked up our couch and since the furniture company loaned us a trailer, we picked up our hallway closet doors and our bed in one, full sweep. Joachim’s dad helped carrying the couch and bed up the three flights of stairs while Lehna (Joachim’s step-mom) and I chatted and watched them do it all 🙂 After we returned the trailer to the furniture store, we picked up ANOTHER trailer from the gas station and headed over to IKEA. Four hours and $2,000 later, we emerged with a coffee table, 6-drawer dresser for our bedroom, a decorative light/lamp thingie for our bedroom, a BIG, silver/antique-looking mirror, a TV-stand, curtains for the living room and bedroom (along with curtain rods), decorative pillows for the couch, trash cans, a bathroom mat, a small lamp for the bedside table (I couldn’t decide which one I wanted so we still have to buy one) and light bulbs. I think that’s everything, at least according to my photographic memory that’s everything! Anyway, we managed to throw all that stuff inside our apartment and return the trailer back to the gas station 2 minutes past our 4-hour rental period but weren’t charged extra. We decided our day had been long enough so we decided to start the massive assembly party on Sunday.

The beginning of Sunday went pretty well. The bed went together very quickly and there was minimal arguing about what went where. Next, Joachim started to assemble the massive dresser, which ended up taking (no joke) FIVE hours to put together. While he worked on that, I had the pleasure of putting together this light/lamp thingy that hangs from the ceiling in our bedroom. It’s hard to explain what I had to do because you kind of have to see it to understand, but I opened the box and all that was in there were about 12 plastic strips with designs on them and a plastic circle that I had to attach these things to. Not to mention, Joachim had already hung the main part from the ceiling so I was to do this while balancing on a stool and holding my hands over my head. After the first try, the light/lamp was a bit lopsided and I was starting to get frustrated. I’ve come to realize that if something doesn’t go right the first time, I tend to get VERY pissed VERY quickly. Thus, it happened and Joachim had to play the role of the understanding, “don’t worry everything will be alright” psychotherapist while I sat on the couch with this damn thing on my lap (I made him take it down from the ceiling). Five minutes later and voila, I had the damn thing looking like the balanced, circle-thingy it was supposed to be look like! Anyway, long story short, we ended up getting the bed, dresser, coffee table and half of the TV stand put together on Sunday and left the apartment around 9 p.m. We went back over yesterday (Monday night) after work because Joachim bought our new TV! It’s a Samsung, 46-inch, LED (I think). Anyway, pictures of all of this are soon to come! I am waiting for a more finished look (and I still need to pick up the 8 million IKEA boxes that are littered throughout our apartment) and then I post some pics.

Joachim and I are headed to Mora, leaving Thursday night and returning on Sunday night. It’s my first Swedish road trip!! It’ll take us 8 hours to get up there but we are really excited to see some old friends of ours 🙂 Stay tuned next week for pictures (hopefully) and stories from Mora!

Love you all!!

Our IKEA trip! Doesn't look like much because everything is compressed into those little boxes!

The infamous, 5-hour dresser!

Something from home :)

24 Mar

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who has been giving me compliments about my blog. It makes me so happy to hear that you guys are loving what I write and are continuing to follow it. It really encourages me to keep on posting and updating you on what is going on over here, even if it doesn’t seem that exciting to me.

This week has been a bit more fun-filled than past weeks. On Tuesday, Joachim stopped by the apartment rental company and picked up the keys to our **new** place. That evening, we headed over to take another look at it and take some measurements so our trip to IKEA this weekend can be as successful as possible. After seeing it for the second time, I am starting to get more excited about decorating and making it “our own.” It was dark when we arrived and the only lights that worked were the ones in the hallway, kitchen and bathroom so I took some pictures so you guys could see it. Once we get lamps in the living room and bedroom (or go over when the sun in out), I’ll take pictures so you can see those rooms too. The kitchen is still on the small side but it seemed a bit bigger when I saw it the second time.

 

Standing at the door, looking into the kitchen. Bathroom is directly to the left.

 

 

 

Our little bathroom. The positive side is that the floor is HEATED! Planning on putting drawers/shelves up in the right corner over there.

 

 

Right side of the kitchen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

left side of the kitchen. the lady before us left that table and stools there for us because she didn't want them. makes a nice little breakfast nook. Refrigerator and freezer next to it and window at the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lina also met us over there so she could get a sneak peek at our new place and hand off her dog, Tindra, so we could babysit her for a few days. Luckily, my company allows us to bring in our dogs to the office (if we need to) so Tindra has joined me at the office the last couple days. She’s very small and lays (sleeps) on my lap for most of the day.

 

Little Tindra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also, yesterday I received a very nice package from my family back at home. I was so excited to see the little notice slip in my mailbox when I got home yesterday and sped over to the post office on my bike to pick up my package. It ended up being quite large and heavy but I still managed to shove it in my backpack (with 6 inches of it sticking out the top) and rode home, sitting at a 45-degree angle so it wouldn’t pop out. Definitely felt like a nerd but I didn’t care! I quickly threw it inside the apartment and peddled over to the gym to catch a quick Indoor Walking class. For those of you gym nerds, indoor walking is like any other group exercise class but it’s full of elliptical machines and an instructor at the front. I guess it originated in Spain and has yet to make its way over to the States, but once it comes you guys should give it a try! Definitely a great workout. ANYWAY, after my Skype date with Beth (my second mom in Arizona) I eagerly sat down at the table and opened my box! It seriously felt like Christmas in March 🙂

 

 

Some of its contents!

Inside there were: magazines (People, Urban Outfitters, Crate and Barrel), a cookie recipe book (for when I start my American bakery here), gum (my favorite “5 Rain”), peanut butter M&Ms (to DIE for), a pedometer (my mom claimed she had to many so she sent one to me), a very cute Colorado Rockies tee from Victoria’s Secret (my ever-so-wonderful sister bought me), Luna bars (the best little snack bar to ever be invented), Crystal Light (they don’t have it over here and it helps me drink more water) , gloves (that I see my mom got on sale for .75 cents! That lady can never pass up a deal J), sunflower seeds (jalapeno seasoned), Annie’s cheddar bunny crackers (random, but delicious) and a box of Special K (my all-time favorite cereal, ever!). After “oohing” and “aahing” over the contents of my box, I came to realize that even though these things may be small, it’s the small things in life that make me SO happy. Joachim gave me some grief for being excited about Crystal Light, but when something reminds me of home, I can’t help but be excited. Do you guys know what I mean?! Anway, thanks Mom, Dad and Sister for putting this box together for me. I love it and I love you guys! And I also love the rest of you who read my blog even though you don’t send me boxes full of American treats 😉 Just kidding!

 

That’s all for now. I’ll upload another post next week with more pictures of the apartment and pictures of our new couch and bed IN our apartment.

Hope you all are enjoying your week.

Xoxo,

Hadley

 

Comparisons

18 Mar

Here I am. Another Friday is before me and I couldn’t be happier for the weekend. Joachim and I don’t have much planned for the weekend but I am SO looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow. I think I am the most tired on Fridays because all of those early mornings have added up by then. Luckily, my office is literally 10 minutes from our apartment so waking up “early” to me is 6:30. Thank God I don’t have to make a 30-minute commute to work everyday or else coming to work at 7:30 would definitely not even come into play. That’s one of the nice things about Sweden. Most people don’t have a long commute to get to work like we do in America. If you have a job in one city, you live in that city. It’s actually weird to people here if you live outside of the city you work in. I’ve actually started thinking about some of the main differences between Sweden and America and maybe now is the time I share some of them with you.

  1. Friday nights are not the nights you party in Sweden. Actually any night of the week, besides Saturdays, aren’t the nights you party in Sweden. Friday nights here are more aimed at going to the grocery store, buying chips and candy, eating a “nice” dinner and sitting on the couch with your loved ones to watch TV or a movie. No joke, they actually save all of their best television for Friday nights because they know that’s when the most people are at home. Weird huh? When Friday nights come around in America, there is sh** on for TV, Happy Hours are the place to be, and friends are constantly calling each other right around 3 or 4 to plot strategy for the night. There are some days when I miss that mentality, but there are some days when it is nice to have a “lazy” Friday at home.
  2. You don’t talk to people that you don’t know. It is normal (and a nice thing to do) in America to make small talk with random people you bump into, let’s say with the cashier at the grocery store or Target or something. “Hi, how are you?” is not something you say to a random person here. Actually, most people will look at you as if you are crazy and start questioning if maybe they’ve met you in the past and just don’t remember. Swedes are very introverted and keep to themselves. This has made it a bit hard to make new friends but it’s also nice because I know the random lady sitting next to me on the bus won’t try to strike up a conversation with me in Swedish. I can’t imagine how all the immigrants who come to America and barely speak English feel when some random American starts small talk with them.
  3. On that same note, smiling at someone you know isn’t normal here either. If you are walking down the street and someone is walking toward you, just you and him/her, they tend to look down and pass you as if you aren’t there. This has been a really hard thing for me to get used to because I think it’s so nice to give someone a smile and receive one back. Maybe we do this in America because we like to show off how nice our teeth are! I think I take that for granted too! Lol.
  4. College here is FREE! Yes, people still take out small loans because having a job while you’re in school here isn’t common, but nonetheless their tuition is absolutely free here. Whenever I mention this to some of my friends back at home, they can’t believe it. But I guess this is one of the benefits of having high taxes.
  5. Vacation time (called semester here) is 6 weeks long. Yes, that means that if I wanted to save all of my time off and take a 6-week vacation this summer I could. On that note, if you have a baby you can get up to 1 ½ years PAID work leave. Come to find out, most women share this time with their husbands so the husbands can stay home for a month or two with the newborn and then head back to work. Suddenly, I have come to think that I might have a family the size of the Duggars while here! KIDDING!
  6. Groceries/food is so much more expensive here. For example, one bag of frozen chicken breasts that have, 6 or 7 breasts per bag, is equivalent to $20-25 dollars! Even vegetables are out the roof. 1 avocado costs $2-3 dollars and who eats just one avocado!? Lol. Also, going out to eat (like we so often do in America) only happens when it is a big, celebratory occasion here. For example, Joachim and I went out to one of the “cheapest” restaurants in Helsingborg for our anniversary the other night. I had chicken and rice with a soda and he had a pizza with a soda, the grand total was $42.00. I’m not sure why food prices are so high here, maybe it’s because we are SO far north that shipping things up here cost an arm and a leg.

I think I’m done with my comparisons for now. I know there are a ton more but I’ll write about the rest some other time.

Oh! Another thing. Joachim and I bought a coach and a bed this week! We didn’t buy the first couch we were looking at because 1. It was going to take 7 weeks to ship it here and 2. It was 2,000 Kroner (315 dollars) more than the one we went with. We actually found one that has the same form and layout as the first one we were looking at: with a chaise lounge on one side and a little cubby section on the right side. (See below). Also, the one we bought was already at the store so we can pick it up next weekend when we get the keys to our new place. We also bought a bed that comes with a mattress and a mattress pad from Sweden’s Craiglist (blocket.se) for a total of $400 dollars. We hit the jackpot here because if we were to buy the bed frame, mattress and mattress pad separately it would’ve cost us close to $1,000. Click here for a picture of the bed 🙂

Other than that, I can’t think of much else to update you on. I am still riding my bike to work and haven’t managed to come across any more obstacles as of right now. You guys will be the first ones to know if this is to happen!

Proud owners of our new couch!

Puss/kram

Hadley

 

I made it!

7 Mar

Today marks the first day that I rode my (Joachim’s old) bike to work and it was an (almost complete) success! I was eager to make the 15-minute trek to work this morning so last night, like an anxious 4th grader preparing for her first day of school, I packed my **new** backpack, that has a special pouch specially made for that ever-famous iBook my work gave to me last week, and shoved in my gym clothes/shoes, snacks, gum and my lunch for today. I woke up a little earlier this morning since I planned to leave our apartment around 7:15 to arrive to work at 7:30. Although I forgot my hat, which I later regretted, I managed to get out the door and on my bike in time. Now, last night I was trying to plan the route I would take to work since there’s not a continuous sidewalk/bike path from our apartment to the door of my office. I thought I had it pretty well planned out until I encountered my first obstacle of the morning 5 minutes into the ride: a closed bike path! To my surprise, the path that I was going to take was closed in both directions so I had to re-trace my steps (pedals) back about 100 yards and cross over the street toward the ever-famous, and only, McDonald’s in Helsingborg. As I crossed the street I noticed that where I was headed didn’t have a sidewalk for me to ride on AND there was a car honking at me! So, what did I do you ask? I literally FOUR WHEELED my ass across the front lawn of McDonald’s while people were staring at me from their car windows while they were ordering their Mc-breakfasts! Now, I don’t know if you guys realize, but biking is one of the main forms of transportation around here. Everyone makes it seem so effortless weaving around traffic and crossing the road at the right time that I felt like I had a sign plastered on me that said “WATCH OUT! AMERICAN TRYING TO RIDE A BIKE!!” Oh, did I mention that Joachim’s bike looks like it was pulled out of a WWII museum? Thus, the front wheel and handlebar wiggle ever so slightly as I peddle down the street AND over the rocky terrain of McDonald’s. I swear I saw my life flash in front of my eyes. Anyway, I made it to the desired stop light/cross walk that I wanted and made the rest of my way to work trying not to make eye contact with anyone driving past me. Thus, I learned two things this morning. 1. Wear a hat. By the time I got to work my ears felt like they were bleeding and 2. Fake it ‘till you make it. Besides my little road block, McDonald’s four wheeling snafu, I think I tricked everyone around me to think that I was a legit, bike-riding to work, European master at the wheel in my rusty-blue WWII bike ☺

As for this weekend, I didn’t do too much. Friday after work, Joachim and I ventured out to a furniture store to scope out some new stuff for our apartment. Didn’t find much at the first store but we started narrowing down what style couch we are looking for. After that, we had a relaxing evening and caught up on American Idol episodes. Saturday, we went to the gym in the morning and then went to another furniture store that was a bit outside of town. We ended up finding a couch that we really liked but decided to look around a little more before making a decision.

 

Joachim found "his" spot already!

 

After this, we headed home so Joachim could get ready to go bowling with his floor ball team and hang out with them for the night. I ended up having a night in by myself that included an hour-long Skype date with my parents, reading a People magazine that my mom ever-so-greatly sent me, watching “Good Hair”- that Chris Rock movie about the world of African-American hair (and surprisingly it was really interesting), and watching an episode of the Jersey Shore. On Sunday, Joachim and I had a lazy morning and watched the world’s longest cross-country skiing race, Vasaloppet, which ends in Joachim’s hometown of Mora. This is the one sport that Swedes LOVE and I literally don’t understand what all the hype is about. I mean, yeah it’s cool that someone can cross-country ski for 4 hours (90 kilometers) but the excitement of this just isn’t there for me. Thus, I dozed in and out until it was over. After that, we went out to IKEA to start to look for some other furniture and found, but didn’t buy, a couple of things. That night, Lina came over and had dinner with us while she waited for Simon to get home from his floor ball game. After Lina left, Joachim and I watched a movie called “The Tillman Story” which was extremely interesting. If you aren’t aware, Pat Tillman played football at ASU and later, the Arizona Cardinals. After September 11th occurred he resigned from the NFL and joined the military. He was tragically killed by, what they later came to find, friendly fire. The sad part is is that his family was initially lied to by the government about what really happened. That’s all I’ll say so I don’t give too much away, but I really recommend watching it. After the movie was over, I realized that I needed to stop showing Joachim all of these movies about the U.S. government (Sicko, 9/11) because he is literally starting to wonder if the U.S. is all it’s “hyped” up to be. I also realized that this isn’t helping with convincing him to move to the U.S. eventually! Haha.

All in all, I had quite the relaxing weekend and I feel rejuvenated today at work. I hope you all are enjoying the start of Spring and are continuing to read my blog.

Take care, The Swenglish Girl

Here are some more pictures from the weekend:

 

Found some "Rocky Mountain Marshmallows" at our local grocery store!

 

 

 

I swear he's happy!

 

 

 

Joachim's excited "let's go look at furniture" face

 

 

Joachim in Lady Gaga's "egg"

Rant and Rave

3 Mar

March 3, 2011

Hello friends and family!

I hope this week has been treating you nicely. Trying to do the best that I can at updating this blog once a week since I heard that my mom stopped reading it because she “thought I wasn’t doing it anymore since I haven’t written in AGES.” SO, here I am, trying to keep a promise to myself that I will keep up with this 🙂  I would really like to start adding pictures into my posts as well so I will do a better job at 1. Taking pictures and 2. Having them available to upload at the time of my sporadic postings.

Over the past week nothing TOO exciting has happened in my life. I have come to realize that living in Sweden most people don’t do much, if anything at all, during the week. Talking to my sister the other day, I realized how much I miss going out with my friends mid-week for dinner or even going out on a Thursday night to get some drinks. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s nice to go to the gym, and then home to make dinner after work and relax, but every now and then I would like to go out to dinner or do something “out of the norm” during the week. Okay, rant is over.

On another note, I think Joachim and I are going to be headed to Mora (his hometown) on March 18th or 19th to grab some leftover things he has stored up there. It looks like his dad, Bengt, and his step-mom, Lehna, are going to make the drive with us because they need to grab some things from a cabin that they have close to Mora also. I’m not really looking forward to the 8-hour drive but I am excited to see some of Joachim’s friends whom I met the first time I came to Sweden and Joachim’s mom, Carina, because Joachim is selling her his old couch. Also, Joachim said that we will be able to get the keys to our new apartment a week before our move-in date (April 1) so we can go back and forth with our stuff before we actually have to be out of our old place, which is nice.

I received my temporary personal number (social security number) yesterday in the mail but, as usual, they had my freakin’ birthday wrong! I swear, this whole process, which should only take a week or two has taken TWO months. This is the magic number that allows me to get a bank account, register for health insurance, etc.  Thankfully, Joachim has a bank account where my salary can be deposited or else I wouldn’t have been able to get paid the last two months. This whole process has been very frustrating and just makes me realize how disconnected most governments are with the people who live in their countries! Hmph! Oh well, sooner or later all things will be cleared and ready to go…probably just in time for me to have to apply for my VISA EXTENSION!

Let’s see. Oh! On Monday, my company surprised me with a brand new MacBook Pro and a brand new iMac desktop computer 🙂 The MacBook pro is hooked up to my desktop computer so I can have my e-mail open on one screen and work on another. My, my, my. Also, the mouse is programmed so when I roll off the right side of my desktop’s screen it gets picked up on my laptop’s screen for easy maneuvering. I can definitely say that they spoil me here!

All in all, things are going well. I still can’t believe I’ve only been gone for two months because it seriously feels like I have seen my friends or family for 6 months or longer. I’m still planning on coming home mid-July for two weeks (thanks to the 6 week vacation we get over here) and hopefully again for Christmas. Our doors are always open to ANY of you who want to wander over this way and visit us. I really hope some of you guys can figure out a way to come over here so I can show you around and you can get acquainted with my “European lifestyle.” I still remember my parents telling me me over and over when I was home for Christmas how “relaxed” I looked. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing because I am only 22 and need to live out my younger years, but I do feel a new sense of calm and relaxation since moving here. ANYWAY! I love all of you guys and I hope you are doing well. Text me sometime (it only costs .50 cents) or e-mail me at Hadley.mick@yahoo.com. My cell phone is (type it exactly like this) +46738260299.

Big hugs!!

Hadley

P.S. Lindsay (my sister) I’m serious about this whole bakery/me working with or for you whenever I get home! How great would it be to work and be successful together! AH! Imagine the possibilities! LOVE U!