Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Work, friends, and more Swedish holidays

I know I haven't posted in a while but I haven't been feeling the inspiration, and I figure it's better to write when I feel the will to rather than doing so just because.  J and I have been working a lot lately.  Not this past weekend but the weekend before we worked both Saturday and Sunday.  We were basically ordered by our boss to do so.  To make a long story short we have a lot of fixing to do with the program we develop for the company and have been set some serious deadlines.  It's not that exciting but that's been what's been taking up most of my time lately.

This past Saturday, however, was a huge breath of fresh air that I really needed!  My friend M was in town, as was her Swede.  They came from Skövde to meet up with her Swede's friend, so that he and his friend could go suit shopping together.  So for the entire afternoon M was mine to (finally) go downtown and mosey around in all the lovely little shops here in Gothenburg!  J is never interested in going downtown and shopping around/looking at all the stores.  Me, of course, being pretty new here, have no friends to go hang out with to do these kinds of things normally.  Needless to say I'd been dying to go downtown shopping with someone.  It's just not the same doing something like that alone.  It was great!  I ended up getting a much needed pair of jeans and two shirts.  M definitely didn't get everything on her list, but she was happy with all of the other purchases she made.  It was also pretty nice weather, which is surprising for this time of year.  More on that later.

Don't worry, J wasn't sitting at home alone while I was out happily shopping.  He actually had a svensexa, or bachelor party, to attend in Skövde.  So I ended up having the bed all to myself that night, as well.  After M and I went shopping on Saturday we ended up at her Swede's friend's house for a taco buffet and friendly company.  It was so strange, for once M and I were outnumbered by Swedes.  Why would that be strange in Sweden, you ask?  Well, whenever we normally get together with friends we're with our "immigrant" group, that is, our normal posse from SFI.  Surprisingly enough we had a tight little group in Skövde that sprouted from that.  This time in the Gbg, though, it was a bunch of Swedes we were with!  After the delicious taco buffet we went out to a couple of bars.  By the time I got home it was 4am.  In Skövde all the bars close at 2am, but not in the big city.  It ended up being a lot of fun!  I also now have hope to have made a new friend or two. =) 

Yesterday was a "red day," or a holiday as we say in the US.  The first of May is always a red day here in Sweden, and I can't even begin to explain why.  I tried to ask J and another coworker and they just couldn't really explain it.  I do know that there were a bunch of marches downtown by several of the left-leaning political parties.  Apparently they do this each year.  Some even call it "Commie Day."  The day before, being a Monday, was taken advantage of by a majority of the population and took the day off work.  Those kinds of days where there is one work day "clammed" between a weekend and a holiday are called "klämdagar," or "squeeze-days."  I think the explanation is obvious enough.

We took the day yesterday to catch up a bit at work (only worked 4 hours, though).  Then, because it was 20C (68F), warmest day yet I think, we decided to go to Liseberg since we got season entrance passes as a Christmas gift from J's sister's family.  We were excited to finally get to use them, as Saturday was the first day it was open this year.  We were only there for about 1.5 hours, but we really enjoyed it!  As it only takes about 20 minutes to get there, we weren't worried about spending such a short time there as we'll surely be back plenty of times this season.  The weather was perfectly warm and sunny and yet there were hardly any people there.  This somewhat surprised us as it was a holiday and the weather was so beautiful.  My hypothesis is that it was around dinner time and everyone was at home grilling out.  On the way back home we walked by a big gravel field (I think it's used for soccer) that has a lot of green grass around it and I saw several groups of people sitting precisely on the edge of the gravel.  I thought it odd at first and then realized they brought with them small portable grills and set them up on the gravel, while sitting comfortably on the grass nearby.  What a smart idea!  I told J we need to do that sometime.

Monday evening was another celebrated day in Sweden called Valborg (apparently Walpurgis Night in English).  The big event on April 30th of each year is the lighting of massive bonfires.  The fires can look like this.

We didn't end up doing anything on Monday night, though, as we were waiting for our arrival of Linas Matkasse (Lina's FoodBag).  It's a lovely way of avoiding going to the grocery store, while also eating healthy recipes.  It's delivered to our door every other Monday evening between 5 and 10pm.  You receive all the ingredients for 5 meals (4 portions each meal) and the recipes with directions for each meal.  So, for the two of us, it ends up being 10 meals each.  Handy for lunch and dinner!

Now I would like to do some catching up on reading my newspapers, as I have a daily subscription to GP.  =)


Meg@SomethingSwedish said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend! Always nice to meet up with a friend and maybe meet some new ones, that is great news! I love Liseberg- I wonder if we will have the chance to head that way soon.

Anonymous said...

Hello! I just found your blog...I am living for some months with my husband in Gothenburg as well (he is from the US). I feel still new in the city...maybe we can meet for a coffee these days? Write me!

Ben said...

Yes, some times you have to work in order to earn some money. Without money, you can not go shopping, order something to drink in a bar or buy Lina's Matkasse. It is the same everywhere. Even here in the woods ;-)

Swedes who could not explain the First of May celebrations? This red "red day" is what you in the United States and Canada call Labor day - if I am not mistaken.

Jessica said...

Thanks Meg! Hope you guys get to Liseberg soon =)

Poala - I'm guessing this is your name from the listed email address. I'll send you a note soon!

Ben - Yes I figured out that it was International Labor Day soon after I wrote this. Our Labor Day in the US is always the first Monday of September. I don't know why J and our other coworker had no idea, strange indeed!