We celebrated New Year's Eve, this year and last year, with four dear friends from Umeå, Ann, Björn, Anna & Jonas. They came down to Gävle and spent three nights with us. We had a blast, three course dinners, blind beer tastings, a music quiz, dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants, and got to see a fabulous firework display from Skybar as the clock struck midnight, see video below. We hope they'll be back again next year to keep this New Years tradition going! The pics shown are a mixture of 2015 & 2016.
October is one of my favorite months, especially if you live in The States! Football season, the beautiful fall colors, pumpkin patches, boots and comfy sweaters, a reprieve from the summer heat, fall festivals, and of course...Halloween!
It's harder to enjoy football season and have tailgate parties in the middle of the night, with the time change and all. Sweden doesn't have pumpkin patches, and ''summer heat'' is virtually non existent. With that said, Sweden sure has some beautiful fall colors when the leaves change. Halloween is well known and although trick or treating hasn't really caught many people throw Halloween parties. We had a party last year in 2014, and since we won't have time to throw one this year, I thought it'd be the perfect time to share some pictures from last years festivities!
God Jul! It's Christmas time again! Being at the cabin is always so calming and whimsical, despite the lack of snow we received this year. The picture with snow below was taken just after it snowed, which quickly melted away. As always there was lots of good food, company, and presents! Hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas too!
Andreas' parents gave us the beautiful yellow flowers and yummy Easter egg filled with lots of candy shown above. In Sweden Easter traditions include painting eggs and eating lots of candy. Spring flowers are purchased to decorate inside and colorful feathers are attached to trees outside of homes. Aside from the Christian beliefs Swedish folklore tells of witches flying to the blue mountain to meet the devil during Easter. It reminded me of Halloween because children go from house to house dressed up as witches with long skirts, colorful scarfs, and painted rosy cheeks, presenting the occupants with small drawings or paintings they made in the hope of getting sweets in return.
We celebrated with a few close friends and enjoyed a fantastic three course dinner! Swedes celebrate the new year same as American aside from watching the ball drop, which was something I couldn't explain and still don't understand, but no matter where you are there's something special about the thought of a new year and ringing it in family or friends.
My New Year's resolution is to progress to a fluent level of Swedish. After 7 months of living and studying Swedish I'm at a good conversational level, but being fluent is no easy task!
Picture of downtown Stockholm, New Year's Eve 2013
God Jul! My first Christmast in Sweden was wonderful! Andreas and his family made it so very special for me. We celebrated at their snow covered cabin by the sea, a picturesque winter wonderland. There was lots of good food, family time, and presents!
Swedes celebrate Christmas much the same as Americans, but there are a few differences, the largest I suppose being that Christmas is NOT the 25th, it's the 24th and is celebrated in the evening. The Christmas table or julbord is filled with delicate offerings of herring, boiled eggs and potatoes, dopp i gryta (a hard bread dipped in ham gravy), janssons frestelse (scalloped potatoes with cream and anchovies), little sausages, meat balls, beet salad, salmon, and more! We also went cross country skiing and used the "kick" (which is kind of like a personal sled you stand on), both of which I would reccommend trying.
It was so pleasant to take a break from school, celebrate, and just enjoy being together. I've seen friends from Florida post pictures of themselves on facebook lounging at the pool, the sun shining brightly in the background, and a comment saying something like "gotta love Florida in December" which is true, but I also think one can't help but love Sweden in the winter too!
St. Lucia is known throughout the world but predominately celebrated now a day in Sweden and Norway. On December 13th a girl is elected to portray Lucia. Wearing a crown of candles on her head, she walks at the head of a procession of women, each holding a candle. The candles symbolize the fire that refused to take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned. They sing a short concert of the St. Lucia song and other Christmas carols. The video shows a typical procession and I also took a few pictures from the performance I attended at Umeå University.
Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful friends and family! A special thanks to my American partner in crime and her boyfriend who hosted and cooked everything! It was Thanksgiving to a tee with salad, mashed and sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts with carrots, homemade stuffing, biscuits, gravy, Turkey (of course), and apple and pecan pie! It was so delicious I forgot to take pictures after the first course!
This picture is from 09/19/2010,
the day my Swedish life began.