Friday, July 15, 2011


My last post, it was 34C and super humid. This post, it's 16C and the only humidity you can count are all the random showers here in Sweden. The air still doesn't feel sticky like in Ohio, though. Yes, I've returned to life in blue and yellow in Sweden. The coolness is almost a shock, although expected. To me it certainly doesn't feel like July. But at the same time it's refreshing.

J is on vacation this week and next, so we've been busy ever since my return on Sunday. On Monday we ventured to the closest IKEA in Jönköping and got a new computer chair for me (the second half of my birthday present, my first was a pretty bouquet of flowers he had picked out/had someone make at the flower store). We visited a couple of friends there as well. We've also been to a little lake town called Karlsborg over on Vättern. I wanted to see it since I'd heard it's such a pretty little lake town, let alone the big fästning (fort) there. Here are several shots I took:

These first two are of lake Vättern. Above on the right if you look you can see the fästning among the trees.

The beach along the camping site. Many children and families were playing in the water.

These last three are of the Göta Kanal. It's a canal that was built to go all the way from Gothenburg to the east coast, a bit south of Stockholm. It uses a bunch of rivers and lakes to get from coast to coast. Karlsborg happens to be a stop in the middle of it.

Sweden is beautiful in the summer. So much green and blue.

It's been nice to come back and not have to go straight back into the daily grind. It's been especially nice since J can take it easy, too. We've been staying up late and sleeping in the whole week. Next week we may head somewhere for a mini vacation, I'll have to keep you all posted. We haven't decided on anything as of yet, it's definitely a "sista minuten" (last minute) decision.

Ahh, Sweden. If there is one thing I should say, coming here did feel like coming home. I'm so glad it felt that way. For me the transition is always tough going between the U.S. and Sweden because to me it's switching between two lives. It always takes just a bit to get readjusted to the other. But I'm pleased that coming here didn't feel like leaving home to go somewhere else. Both places are home for me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It's been hot here in Ohio. Not only hot, but humid. And I have absolutely loved it. If it were this hot in Sweden I'm sure I would have been the biggest grouch ever. Why? Because most buildings over there don't have air conditioning, and A/C is crucial in this kind of weather. It's needed to get away from the heat, although you may enjoy it while outside. Sometimes the local news even warns weakened individuals to stay indoors for fear of heat stroke (those like small children and the elderly). It's been anywhere from 30 - 34C the past week or two (that's upper 80s to low 90s F). The summer heat reminds me of childhood and fishing, swimming, sunbathing, and bike riding. I've made sure to lay out several days while here so I look like I've actually been somewhere and not like a vampire anymore!

Needless to say, I'll miss the extreme heat and humidity. It just feels so good to me, I doubt Sweden has ever felt heat the way heat here is. When the wind blows, it's not cool and refreshing, it's just hot air moving around. Many people think it's miserable, but I love it all. I am looking forward to Sweden's cool, comfortable climate, though. It will feel like coming to a different home, and the weather there will remind me of different things. For now, though, I will bask in the extreme heat and humidity as much as possible.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


So it's July now and my time here in the States has moved along pretty quickly. The past three days were gloriously sunny and hot, hovering around 85 - 90 F (or 30 - 32C). Not to mention quite humid. I, therefore, took advantage of the heat and sun and laid out in my parents' pool each day for at least an hour. I must say my skin complexion looks much better now than the sickly white that it was before. I just love the hot summer weather. Alas, this morning it's thunderstorming and raining, so no sun for me today (which is probably good because I was beginning to get a minor sunburn).

This weekend is the most important weekend of the summer here in the U.S. It's 4th of July weekend! My city has the largest fireworks display in this region of the country. Last night I went to see them right downtown among the hundreds of thousands of people with my brother and my best friend here in Ohio. Our city calls it Red, White, & Boom. Last year at this time I was still living here and J had flown in to visit for several weeks in the summer on the day of Red, White, & Boom. I picked him up from the airport, we drove to my apartment, and walked downtown to watch the fireworks. Part of me can't believe it was a year ago that happened! In any case, last night was a lot of fun and I was happy to get to spend some time with my best friend, but even more so with my brother. I've been able to spend time with the friend a lot over my stay here, but I've barely been able to see my brother since he's been working so much.

Another part of the fireworks I reflected on was just how much the fireworks and this weekend means to the majority (or what seems like it) of people here in the States. Everyone comes together for our Independence Day and truly celebrates it. I was thinking back to just one month ago in Sweden and how the National Day there was barely celebrated at all. I saw some people with flags in their yards, maybe sitting out and cooking out. That was about the extent of their celebrations. I think our independence is still so recent and this country was founded upon a war of breaking free that it means that much more to people here. Looking around me last night during the National Anthem you could really tell everyone was coming together to celebrate the nation. I realized after living in Sweden and becoming a part of that culture, that the U.S. is unique in its way and I was glad to be able to genuinely take part in celebrating it last night. I just love how everyone does something to celebrate the 4th of July rather than just leaving it at having a day off work and maybe cooking out on someone's balcony.

This Monday is the actual 4th of July, and of course I'll be going over to my grandma's annual 4th of July get together (extended family included) where we all bring a dish of food and have a giant meal together. Then everyone just hangs around and catches up with what everyone else has been up to. I see these people only once a year, really, and if I had not managed to come home during the summer then I probably wouldn't have seen them at all this year.

Monday evening my best friend invited me to go with her and her mother in the evening to the local fireworks. The city of Columbus has a giant fireworks display, then all the suburbs and different areas of town have their own, smaller versions. They're always fun to go and watch, too. So this weekend will be filled with family, friends, fireworks, and food! No wonder so many people here love this weekend.

I haven't been up to much of anything else. Visiting with family and friends. Earlier this week I went to my other grandma's in Indiana to visit her for 2 days. It was good to see her. I've missed driving in the U.S., as much as I complained in my previous post. I miss the highways and higher speed limits, and the familiar roads where you can just zoom. Driving has always been my "happy place" as well. Whenever I'm behind the wheel with some good American radio on the speakers I am happy. So a good 2 1/2 hour drive there and another one back were great, especially in the beautiful weather we've had this past week.

A part of me has been missing Sweden, though. That bit grows more each day, but I also am trying to milk my time in the U.S. as much as possible. There are people here who matter a lot to me. I'll get to spend all the time I want with Sweden soon enough.