Dreary, grey November is here. This is my third November in Sweden although I've only lived here for 2 years. I moved here in November 2010, so there's your answer. When the darkness comes, as it is doing now, I don't mind it much. I've actually tried to embrace it, and I think I've done well at it. It's a neat happening as it's so different from my native Ohio. Sure, it gets dark earlier in Ohio during the winter, but probably around 5pm at the earliest. Here, it's currently getting dark around 3:30 or 4 at the latest. In December, it will be dark an hour earlier or so.
What really gets me, at least right now, is all of the grey dreariness. The sun almost never shows its happy, smiling face during November. When it's daylight, I would rather see the sun for the few hours that it is up instead of just the giant covering of grey clouds that never seems to go away. Half the time it's raining, too. Blah to November weather!
Luckily, being an American, I have Thanksgiving to look forward to! No, the Swedes don't celebrate Thanksgiving, but I make sure that a few Swedes celebrate it each year, at the very least. I simply cannot let Thanksgiving come and go without cooking and celebrating it! The food is just too good to pass up. This year we'll be going back to Tibro to J's parents' house and cooking for them and a currently unknown amount of guests. We'll have Thanksgiving on Saturday, December 1st, but better late than never! His parents are going to invite some aunts and uncles and cousins and we'll see who shows up. At most I think it should be around 12 folks so I shouldn't be too bombarded regarding cooking!
Yesterday J and I went to the big ICA Focus here in town right next to Liseberg. It was our first adventure there. I had heard, however, that they have the biggest American food section of any store so I had to go. It wasn't marked at all as the American section, but it very clearly was! It had Hershey's chocolate sauce, American candies like Reese's, bacon bits for salads, Swiss Miss hot chocolate, French's mustard, Jell-o and the list goes on and on. I was so tempted to buy so much of it, like the mac n cheese, but everything was so expensive due to being imported. The reason I needed to go there was to purchase cranberry sauce and pumpkin puree. I got both! We also happened to buy a box of strawberry jell-o to share with the family (I love sharing the little bit of American "culture" that I can share). We'll see how the cranberry sauce is...it's canned. Last year and the year before I made my very own cranberry sauce from frozen berries as I couldn't find sauce anywhere, but this year I thought I'd go a bit more traditional and lazy (the way I'm sure many Americans are regarding cranberry sauce). Now that I have my pumpkin puree I can make a pumpkin pie for dessert. Yay!
Last week J and I sold our 2008 Opel Astra and bought a barely used 2011 Opel Astra Kombi (or station wagon in English terms). Neither of those links are the real cars we had/have, but they look exactly like them. 2008 isn't very old, only 4 years, but the inspections had begun on the car which of course cost money (the first 4 years of a car's life it doesn't need inspected in Sweden to be roadworthy). But also as a car ages you have to spend more money on maintaining it and J is not one for needing to spend money on a vehicle. He'd rather have a newer one and have lower costs on it. This new car, after all is said and done now, costs actually just about the same or even very slightly less than our old car. The insurance costs less, it's better on fuel consumption, and actually the loan costs about the same. So yippee! says I. In case you don't know me personally, I am very, very fond of cars. As you can see in the pictures, you can tell how much of an upgrade the new car is. Opel has really come along these past couple of years. It's got 140hp instead of the 116 our old car had, and it has 6 gears. It's a much nicer ride, and is quite practical with all of its loading space. All of the extra technological features also feel luxurious to have. So far, we are loving it! We're even considering a road trip possibly next weekend just to take it out. J has been to Skövde and back, but I've only gotten to piddle around town with it. I'd like to see how it does on long distances.
I'll try and get some pictures up of the real car! Perhaps next weekend if we do go on a road trip we'll take a ton more pics and then I'll have some more interesting picture material to post again.