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Christmas is in the air

6 Dec

I seriously can’t believe we are right in the thick of things with Christmas just 19 days away! Yikes! We got our official first snow in Helsingborg yesterday, which lasted a good 15 minutes and then went away. That is my favorite kind of snow. Over this past weekend Joachim and I met up with my good friend Lykke and her boyfriend Stefan to check out a Christmas market at a park called Fredriksdahl that is located just across the street from our apartment. We spent a few hours at the market on Sunday wandering around to the different stalls that were set up, selling different Swedish delicacies such as different breads, meats, cheeses, jams and sweets along with other little gifts you would find at a typical Christmas market.

What was also neat about this market was that they bring in old houses that have to be at least 200 years old and place them inside the park. Then, they have actors inside the house doing what a typical family would’ve been doing 200 years ago. And let me tell you one thing, THANK GOD I WASN’T AROUND BACK THEN! Yikes. I would definitely be one whiney little bit** if I had to endure the kind of stuff they did. More power to ’em.

Here are some of the pictures I snapped over the weekend:

All bundled up, waiting at the entrance for Lykke and Stefan

Typical stars that you’ll see in the window of every Swedish house during Christmas time  🙂

This one’s for you mom! A giant troll-thingie that costs 1,000 kr (equal to approx. 150 dollars). I would’ve bought it for you but then I would’ve had to pay for an extra seat on the flight home!

Accordion-playing men

Santa looks a bit different here, below is an attempt at capturing Swedish Santa through the window (Joachim didn’t have the patience to let me wait in line to snap a real one!)

Here he is!

My cute little guy trying to stay warm inside the barn

A stand full of sweet treats!

And finally, this one’s for you sister! You can buy your very own eel to have on the Christmas table this year!

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Skinnskatteberg med Mormor och Carina

28 Nov

Joachim and I just returned from a very lovely trip to a small town about 1 1/2 hours west of Stockholm named Skinnskatteberg. Try to say that twice! Since we are headed to Colorado for Christmas, we decided that it would be nice to make time to visit Joachim’s grandma and Carina before we left to celebrate the holidays with them and hang out for a bit. We had a very relaxing time and were so glad that we were able to visit for a while. I think I also surprised Joachim’s grandma with how much Swedish I have learned since the last time I saw her, which made her so happy that we could finally understand each other 🙂 She is such a nice lady and has the wittiest personality.

Mormor’s first iPhone experience!

The beautiful church on the outside of town. This is also the site where Joachim’s grandpa is buried. Quite peaceful.

Skinnskatteberg’s population is approximately 4,500 people and is also where Joachim’s mom grew up.

Mormor and I, making marzipan chocolate balls w/ peppermint topping (I forgot the swedish name for them, thus the lengthy english description!)

The finished product! SO good!

Sweet Mormor and Joachim

And finally, we spent some time going through old photo albums so I could see Joachim when he was younger…check out how ADORABLE he was! (And still is 😉 ) I couldn’t help but snap a picture of this…

Doesn’t he look like Jonathan Taylor Thomas? OMG I was obsessed with that guy when I was little. Just makes sense that I now date someone who looks just like him as a kid! HAHA!

Anyway, I am so thankful that we got to escape and spend some much-needed time with grandma and Carina. I just realized that I have no pictures of Carina from this trip, but I promise she was there 🙂 It really makes me thankful that Joachim has such a wonderful family who treats me like I have been a part of their family forever.

Some (really) big news

15 Nov

Joachim and I are moving back to AMERICA!

I was taught in Journalism school to write a really great headline to catch the reader’s attention and then spill the other stuff later on because the reader usually loses interest when they get halfway down the page. So there it is. The most important information is right up there. Yes, Joachim and I have made the decision to try our luck back in Colorado. Now, I know you’re probably wondering why and I’ll get to that, but just know that this hasn’t been the easiest decision ever (especially considering the visa situation) but we figured this was the best for the both of us, especially since we both eventually wanted to end up back in Colorado anyway.

So for those of you wondering, I was told by my company two weeks ago that my contract that expires on January 1st will not be extended any longer. It’s pretty normal over here to get hired for 6-12 months at a time and then see what the future holds. For those of you who don’t know, my job (along with my work visa) was the only thing that was allowing me to stay in Sweden for a long period of time. Unfortunately, it will expire 1 day after we planned to return to Sweden from our Christmas trip to Colorado, so I will not be able to return to Sweden with Joachim after the holidays… 😦

With 6 weeks left in the country, Joachim and I had some MAJOR planning to do in order to still be able to be together in the same country. Basically these were our options:

If we were to return to the US:

1. Joachim needs to get a work visa (finding a job, getting them to fill out work visa papers, etc. isn’t the easiest thing in the world)

2. Joachim needs to get a student visa (this could happen but the money situation is not ideal)

3. Get married! (ah, maybe we’re too young for that)

In order for me to come back to Sweden:

1. Find a job ASAP and get them to give me a work visa before I return back to the States so I can apply while I’m home (virtually impossible, given that I currently have 4 weeks until I leave)

2. Return to Colorado and fill out some forms to let me temporarily come back to Sweden (for up to two years) and THEN look for a job once I get back.

3. Return to Colorado, fill out the temporary forms and wait for the visa ALL THE WHILE I look for another job in Colorado.. (this could work but Joachim and I will have to be apart for a bit, once again)

So what do you think we decided to do exactly? Yes, I know you know that we decided to head back to Colorado but what do you think our plan is from there?

I’ll update you tomorrow! (love the suspense)

Day 24

4 Nov

A picture of something you wish you could change

I wish I could move that blue country closer to that purple country so my American friends and family would be able to have a relationship with my Swedish friends and family. ALSO, I would like the two countries to be closer so the plane ride back and forth doesn’t take 20 hours! Especially coming from a girl who is afraid of flying. Free alcohol on international flights is a savior.

Day 20

31 Oct

Happy Halloween!! I hope you all (back in America) are having a great time dressing up and celebrating with all of your friends!! Eat some good candy for me since they don’t really celebrate Halloween here!!

Anyway, today’s photo challenge is:

A picture of somewhere you’d love to travel

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Perhaps it’s because I’ve never been to the southern hemisphere before, but I’ve had this wanderlust to travel to Brazil ever since I got back from my Semester at Sea trip. I am hoping that Joachim and I will make it down there for the 2014 World Cup and be able to watch the U.S. or Sweden play! I would also love to make my way outside of the city and discover all the other beautiful attractions that Brazil has to offer.

Day 17

26 Oct

Today’s challenge is:

A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently

 

 

I think moving 8,000 miles away to a new country where they speak a foreign language would make a huge impact on anyone. The question is, would it be a good or a bad impact? Thankfully, I have realized that taking a leap of faith and moving somewhere that I know absolutely nothing about has done a whole lot of good for at least figuring out something…and that is myself. Never before did I realize that shopping for groceries would involve translating what I needed before I left for the store. Never before did I realize that missing home means a whole lot more when getting home takes at least 20 hours and a few plane rides. Never before did I realize that America is a really great place to grow up (not that Sweden isn’t) and that I am truly proud to be an American. I am so thankful that my family and friends have supported me on this journey because without that extra push, who knows where I would be right now.

Day 15

24 Oct

The challenge for the day is :

A picture of something you want to do before you die

Visit the Seven New Wonders of the World (Created in 2007)

1. Machu Picchu, Peru

2. The Colisseum in Rome

3. Petra Jordan

4. Christ Redeemer, Brazil

5. The Great Wall of China

6. Chichen Itza, Mexico

7. The Taj Mahal, India

I am so lucky to have already been to three of the seven and I am pretty certain that I can complete the last four before I die. I think it’s so important to see the world and understand that it’s such a bigger place than just where you grew up. It’s a true blessing that we are able to have transportation that can get us anywhere we want to (for a cost) and I think everyone should take advantage of this. Hopefully I will still have this blog up and running by the time I see the rest of the places on the list 🙂 I’ll be sure to upload pics when I make it there!