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An American in Sweden

An American in Sweden
My adventures in Sweden as I spend a semester learning about another country


An answer to Elamb's question, and scroll down, I've done some backposting
2007-12-10 15:33:00
Elamb asked me: Sweden is on of the few places I've considered moving to. How is the racial climate? How do they feel about black people? I heard that there is actual FREEDOM there... is that true?Now, keep in mind that this is only a semester's worth of impressions, and I'm generalizing, which automatically means that for someone I am wrong, but I'll go out on a limb and write some of my impressions up here.The Racial Climate is interesting, from what I've heard and read about. Remember, this is only one person's observations though.Sweden is of two minds. You have the political mind, which embraces multiculturalism and works hard toward helping immigrants get used to Sweden. The majority of people are a different matter. Until recently, (within the last 60 years) Sweden has been racially and ethnically homogeneous. Oh, you have some immigration and people adopting, but for the most part, Sweden has been blonde people. However, that has been changing, and it creates te...
More About: Question , Answer , Some
Old Man Encounter, #4
2007-11-11 17:34:00
There's more I need to blog about, but for now, I'll share this brief story.For those of you who aren't aware, I have this sign that only old men can see, that tells them that I'm a good person to approach and compliment and generally talk to. And because I'm a smuck, I generally let them talk to me (some strange thing about respecting your elders and all that, even if they are are crazy).Since coming to Sweden I've had three old men encounters.Now, I would like to add a fourth, that happened while I was in Oslo.So on Friday I'm walking down Main Street in Oslo (a wonderfully touristy place that is a pedestrian street) and I stop at a light and suddenly I feel a hand on my arm. I jump, turn and some older man is speaking to me in Norwegian (which is close enough to Swedish that it sounds familiar, but not close enough that I can understand anything he is saying.) Throughly startled, I respond, "Lo siento, Ya talar bara lite Swedish," managing in one sentence to mangle thre...
More About: Encounter
2007-11-10 14:47:00
So I went to a museum in the fort that was on Norway 's resistance when they were taken over by Germany. The most striking thing about it? A wall of guns. I don't know why it was there (the explanation was in Norwegian) but when I saw it I thought of a certain someone who would appreciate it.*coughMichaelcough*It was kinda scary to behold.After the Museum, I went across the street to the City hall. I really liked the statue out front... The Swans are so pretty, and in a strange way, romantic.At least I think so. I think I'm going to play with this picture ot see if I can get rid of the buildings, so you just see the swans against the blue sky.The inside of city hall. It was actually kinda funky decor, but I liked it. Very impressive in the way that you could kinda tell they wanted to intimidate you. I think I accidentally snuck in, there wasn't a person at the desk so I just walked in and followed behind a tour. I think I went to some places I wasn't supposed to go, bu...
More About: City Hall , Oslo , Lazy
2007-11-10 14:08:00
So on my second day in Oslo it was beautiful out, if cold. I decided to go walking to my destination (Main Street) a slightly different way, and I happened to come across this guy."Tyger Tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night...." except, not.GRRRR! Oh look, you can kinda see it here, but his tail is all shiny while the rest of him is rather dark in color. That's because (as I discovered) his tail is really comfy to sit on. And attempting to climb on him is A LOT OF FUN.His nose is also just a little shiny, from having people rub it. Now, you might ask why I'm calling this Tiger a guy. HE COULD BE A GIRL! (In fact, I thought of him as a girl until I sat on his tail and noticed this:*Insert profuse snickering and me nearly falling off of the tail in surprise* AHHH! GINORMOUS BALLS. He's going to make his girlfriend happy.I couldn't reisist a picture of him, even if my arm wasn't long enough to get us both fully in the picture. THIS GUY was HUGE!!!I then pr...
More About: Norway , Lazy
I'm gloating just a little...
2007-11-09 18:17:00
Some stats about my blog, from Google Analytics:I've had visitors from 26 states.I've had visitors from 35 countries.I've had 496 visits, 860 pageviews, and 200 individual visitors (the stat that prompted this).And how have people found my blog? 24.6% is Direct Traffic, 63.71% is referring sites, 11.69% is search engines.I love looking at the different search combinations that pop up. Some of my favorites:fika swedishwhat to do when an old man in sweden approaches you on the subwayhow to speak swedish "får får får" m/ (someone searched for my blog directly)pancakes and where they first came fromswedish male mannerismsthings i miss from americayou make me happy in swedish?worm coming out fingernail (what would make you search for this?!?)And I can't seem to figure out how to get rid of the links, so you're just going to have to deal.
In Oslo, Norway, Day 1 (AKA: The post that takes forever to load)
2007-11-09 09:11:00
So I decided I was going to head over to the palace, and see what it was like, and then from there perhaps check out a museum or something. I have to say, for so little planning, things went really well!The first thing I did was look at the view from our hotel, the Radison, which is the highest building in Oslo .I headed out of our Hotel in the direction of Main Street. I was told if you got to the church, you would find Main street. It was, actually, quite easy. And while Main street is rather touristy, it is also really pretty, with street musicians and nice buildings... and really great sculptures! I went a little trigger happy with my camera (but then, when do I not?)I took several pictures of this lady at different times of the day, because the shadows around her kept changing.The church was quite beautiful, or at least, what I could see of it, because it looks like it's under restoration.Pretty buildings!The quite talented street musician. There was a really neat couple ...
More About: Norway , Post , Forever , Load
In Oslo,Norway baby!
2007-11-08 11:08:00
I'm in Oslo , Norway and ready to take on the city! Dad has to work, so I'm going to be wandering around on my own.FUN FUN.
More About: Baby
NOT in Oslo
2007-11-07 09:04:00
Now, you may be wondering why that is since I was supposed to be on a bus this morning to the Airport so I could meet up with dad. Turns out snowstorms in the states have got the planes out of sync, so dad missed his flight to Oslo .I found this out sometime this morning, or last night, just after Midnight when Mom called me.So now I'm flying out TOMORROW morning, same time.God, I hope things go all right.
More About: Norway , Not I
REALLY bad day.
2007-11-06 20:50:00
The following is an edited version of the series of events I sent in a letter:This is one of the days that you just shouldn't leave the house. Really. Forgive me if I sound a bit bitter, and perhaps part of it is being in an unfamiliar place, but today was a day I do not want to repeat again. Things went all right until lunch. Then, I decided I needed to get my food subsidy money cashed and my graded papers from the University, since it looked like I wasn't going to get to a museum or to do anything really productive. A quick internet search later, I left armed with the different locations of the Nordisa (I know that spelling is wrong but we'll go with it) in my pocket, and determination. I got on the subway and started heading to the nearest one. I went there, and they informed me that I needed to have a Swedish person with me because they could not know if I was the person on my passport. Ok. I get frustrated, but that's all right, they're probably bein...
More About: Mika
2007-11-06 10:44:00
My first snowfall in Sweden. It's been raining like Noah's flood lately, and finally it got cold enough that I woke up this morning and looked out the window to snow! You have no clue how delighted I was.It didn't stick for long, which suited me, but it was still quite exciting to see. I took pictures!The view is from the apartment.
More About: Stockholm , Snow
Backpostage... 'cause I'm behind
2007-11-04 08:32:00
I'm actually writing this on the 9th, but filing it on the 4th, because my sense of Order demands it so.So what has been happening lately? Well, I was sick from Friday the 2nd until Monday the 5th. However, on Saturday I THOUGHT I was all better, so I decided to go with Anita and Magnus to see the "Day of the Dead" celebration thingie they have. It's not called Day of the Dead, and it isn't the festival you hear about in Spanish-speaking countries, but on the Saturday after All Hallows, many Swedes go to the graveyards of the people they've lost, light candles and honor them. The sentiment was something I appreciated, and something I kinda wish was more popular in the 'states. We went to one of the biggest Cemetaries in Sweden to light our candles- because both Anita and Magnus' family live far away, and the importance of the holiday is about remembering, not where you are.It was, quite simply, beautiful. It's one of the few cemeteries that has a forest in it, and as we...
Ugh- Day Two
2007-11-02 16:07:00
Warning: This post, upon re-reading, is not for the faint of heart!I wish I had something more interesting to write about, but this is day two of not feeling well. The Nausea of yesterday has lessened, but general abdominal cramping and misery have taken it's place. I have that wonderful mixture of being hungry yet having no real urge to eat. And my stomach and lower intestines have been making some really interesting noises.Probably stemming from my stomach distress, I had horrible dreams of intestinal worms and strange writhing creatures. The best one was when I met this woman in the dream who thought she was pregnant, but when she went into labor had snakes and worms coming out of her belly button and other... areas. She managed to live and was taken to the hospital, where they gave her a drug that should kill any of the remaining worm/snakes in her body. However, she wasn't able to expel them... she was susposed to digest them apparently. So a doctor decided to open up ...
2007-11-01 19:14:00
God, I'm not feeling well. I wanted to finish up my proposal, but somewhere around ten I just started feeling really car-sick, without the being in a car. It's been coming and going in waves.And I hate not feeling well in an unfamiliar place. And while I'm getting more and more comfortable in Sweden, I'm not that comfortable.So I'm going to bed at an early hour and hoping it's gone by tomorrow.
Swedish Test
2007-10-31 23:21:00
My Swedish test kicked my butt and left me whimpering. I'm still recovering.But, I was able to wear the really cute Halloween socks and stickers Michael sent me, so life is good.Happy Halloween to everyone!
More About: Test
2007-10-30 18:26:00
I have a Swedish test tomorrow, and I'm studying my butt off. Seriously. If I wasn't so busy keeping myself studying I would be flipping out. A LOT. I have this program, BYKI (before you know it) that does flashcards. Today I found out you can change the hand that holds the flashcards. I changed it to the one that has pink painted fingernails with butterflies on them, and a big pink ring.Small things make me happy. Isn't it great?In other news, I got a package today from a certain... someone *grins* and it says I can't open it until tomorrow. This is driving me more than a little up the wall. Det är stå på matt, driving me crazy. (See? I'm praticing my Swedish! that means, there it stands, on the mat. I think. If I got it right.) But it's standing there mocking me. Telling me to open it. Like that plant that says "feed me!" in Little Shop of Horrors. 'Cept the box is saying,Open me! Nobody will know! And I might have some wonderful distractions in me. Thin...
Strange Men and Time Changes
2007-10-28 23:59:00
I swear, I have a sign that hovers over my head that indicates to old men that they should talk to me. I went to the bank to cash my food subsidy check. Now, here in Sweden it's fairly common when you go into a bank (or any place where you normally have to wait in a line in America) for there to be a little ticket-issuing machine that gives you a ticket, and then you wait for your ticket to be called. So, like any good Swede, I hit the button, take my ticket, read it, take not of where they are in the numbers (ten people ahead of me) and go sit down. There's one seat available. It is by an old man.I sit down, open up my book, start reading.The old man shifts.I hold my book closer to my face, ignore him, and pray to god that he won't talk to me.No luck.He says something in Swedish, I reply back that I don't speak Swedish.He then proceeds to use lots of pantomime, and wears a big smile as he talks to me. For emphasis, he touches my arm.After struggling to be polite for five ...
More About: Time , Strange
My Field Trip to City Hall, Video Version, Part 3
2007-10-26 23:40:00
So now we go to the Gold room, which was created by a young artist. He wasn't really that famous before he did the Gold room, and in Sweden he wasn't very famous afterward either. This is because the old artist who was going to do the room died before he could start. The new guy was found, and he was very promising... but he first estimated that the room could be done in seven years, only to be told he had two years to do the work. So there's a few mistakes. Like St. George the Dragonslayer's head is chopped off.Now, the Gold room is rather controversial because the artist did it in a style not typically thought of as "Swedish" Or even classical, in keeping with the rest of the building. Rather, this room is rather foreign in flavor, more in keeping with Roman or some other mosaics. However, all the motifs are Swedish.The best thing about this room though is the woman who dominates the artwork. She's susposed to the the spirit of the lake that joins up with the sea (Wher...
More About: Video , City Hall , City , Trip , Part
ahhh! The video quality is SO BAD
2007-10-26 23:38:00
Really, I'm looking at what I've posted thus far and I"m thinking that youtube has the worst video quality ever. I swear my videos are better than this. But I will persist, because I know of no other way of doing it.
More About: Video , Quality , Ality
My Field Trip to City Hall, Video Version, Part 2
2007-10-26 21:34:00
This is the room where congress meets. The dais is there not because of any sense of grandeur (heaven forbid Swedes raise someone up higher than all the others and perhaps imply that he or she is better than all the others) but because of acoustics... because the room is so high. The beams. Originally the beams were supposed to be covered, but the architect decided he liked the effect, so he left the concrete beams in, covered them with wood, and had them painted. The motifs in the "sky" are supposed to invoke the Vikings, who held their meetings under overturned boats in the winter. Apparently the Vikings made very quick decisions because nobody wanted to be out in the cold that long, and this was the architect's way of trying to tell the governing body to keep things brisk and efficient here. To one of the sides there is seating for people to watch. What's funny is often the members of the council will bring their children with them for their meetings, because most of ...
More About: Video , City Hall , City , Trip , Part
My Field Trip to the City Hall
2007-10-26 20:37:00
So today the whole of the Swedish Program got up really early to go see Stockholm 's City Hall - the place where the Nobel Prizes are awarded. It's coming up soon, and already people are starting to get excited and talk about it. This first video is of the courtyard. The City Hall is actually only just over 80 years old, even though it looks older. They made it to look and fit in with the other historical buildings in the city. And while they succeeded in some areas, they did not in others (some of the rooms are quite modern looking, or quite... other country looking. You'll see what I mean, later)*EDIT: MY ORIGONAL POST HAD THE "COURTYARD" AS MY DINNER FROM LAST NIGHT. IT HAS BEEN CHANGED. MY APOLOGIES. I hope you have been amused.This is of the view of Gamla Stan and the sorrounding area that can be seen from the City Hall. The Bridge goes over the island that was once the prison, and is now a Youth Hostel. This the the Blue Room- which was supposed to be blue, but the...
More About: Trip
Video of my dinner
2007-10-25 20:33:00
Just in case you needed proof.
More About: Video , Dinner
Small things make me happy
2007-10-25 20:22:00
Like getting to sleep late in the morning.Or wandering around until noon in your pj's.Or getting almost my whole proposal done (except for part of the thesis, which I'm stuck at but not totally helpless on)Getting my laundry done (which I have to take out of the washer- remember that Jen before you go to bed!)Making dinner tonight (real dinner, not just boiled eggs for myself) for myself and Gabe... and having it be edible! And rather tasty too! I made stir fry, (with fake chicken and lots of veggies) and put it over grits (because I wanted to be adventurous and prove to Gabe that I could at least cook SOMETHING)Just as proof, I took a video of it, but I'll have to put it up at a later point.My connection is shaky right now.I'm feeling rather off, and I had a grand intention of writing a witty and funny post, but now I'm just feeling tired.Later
More About: Small , Happy , Make , Things
my last day of International Relations
2007-10-24 21:59:00
So get this: my International Relations course was only half a semester long (same amount of course hours though because it was twice as long as the rest of my classes... and added to that he often ran 45 minutes over- and the class was supposed to end at six- so sometimes I wasn't getting home to 8:15). And today was the last day. Now don't get me wrong, the class wasn't that bad... I just think that there was a cultural difference between how American teachers teach and how Swedish Teachers teach. It meant that at times there were crossed wires and miss communications. And well, the subject matter could have been presented in a more interesting way. But the class itself was informative, and the evaluations were papers, so I'm pretty happy, because that's my preferred method of learning.Anyway, with the exception of a final paper, the class is done, which means I now only have three classes, that happen mostly in the mornings. It's actually quite exciting, because I'll...
More About: International Relations
For your Viewer Entertainment
2007-10-23 14:27:00
On impulse, because I had the camera with me the other day in Swedish when we were working in the language lab, I decided to take some video of me Singing in Swedish, just so you could see how far I've come!So, with no further ado, I bring to you, JEN Singing in Swedish! (also, take note that I've only had barely two months of Swedish so my pronunciation is TERRIBLE. If your a Swede, please don't get offended.)The song is about the days of the week, and how the person doesn't do anything on any of the days because of various reasons. And yes, there is a second song, as if the first wasn't embarrassing enough... It's a love song, but a lighthearted one. The lines proceed something like this, Do you like me? Yes, I do. (another question) (another affirmative) It's cute, and it's an ear-worm. In other news, I FINALLY managed to send the package off. Now, you might think this isn't that hard of thing to do, but consider this: In Sweden there are no post offices. ...
More About: Entertainment , Viewer
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