Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cemetery walks and spring

Trees are beginning to bud, fruit stands are in every square and tables and chairs are appearing outside every cafe once again - it's SPRING!
Back in the fall a new friend asked if I wanted to go for a walk. I  accepted and then was surprised when she wanted to walk in the cemetery. It seemed a bit morbid. I imagined a very solemn and quiet walk.  But the cemeteries are buzzing with life. Cemeteries are treated like parks here. People take walks through them, they have benches to sit and relax on and on really warm days people lay out on blankets sun bathing and having picnics. 

Spring has come to Malmö. The sun has switched from that dull sun to a bright one that warms your skin. The skies are cloudless and pure blue. Flowers are popping up from the ground and everyone, and I do mean everyone, has taken to being outside at every available moment. At lunch at school today, students went outside and just sat on the concrete in front of the building.

So, with the sun shining and a brief break in my schedule today, I decided to take a walk - through the cemetery of course. It was refreshing and I felt so happy to be alive in Sweden walking in the sun.

Friday, March 7, 2014


It's funny the little things you have to get used to/learn when you live in a different country. Numbers are one of those things I wish the whole world would just standardize to make it clear, easy and understandable for everyone.

My challenges:
The period vs. comma: Many European countries use the comma to designate the decimal. This drives me crazy. I get so confused when the number on my test reads 984,776. After I've done my calculations and am already higher strung due to it being a big exam, I am now at risk of getting the answer wrong because I don't remember if it's nine hundred eighty four thousand, seven hundred and seventy six or nine hundred eighty four hundred and seven hundred seventy six thousandths!

Dates: Even though I've been here for 7 months, dates still trip me up. Sweden lists Year-Month-Day. This is mostly fine when it's later on in the month. But when my yogurt expiration date says 03-02 does that mean March 2nd or February 3rd?

Metric vs. Standard: Come on America (and Liberia and Myanmar)! We are the only ones holding on to a system that doesn't make sense. Let's join the world and base ten.

And that's what's been on my mind this week. Numbers. Clearly I'm not in English Lit anymore.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Semla and Fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday)

Today is fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) when Swedes no longer make any excuse for eating as many semla's as possible.  To prepare for Lent, Swedes have a tradition of eating semla, a plain bun (with cardamom) filled with almond paste and whipped cream and topped with powdered sugar. Sometimes they are eaten as is or sometimes in a bowl of hot milk (hetvägg). Traditionally, semla's were the last sweet treat eaten before the sobering season of Lent. However, as Sweden has secularized, semla's are now eaten every Tuesday from fettisdagen (Fat Tuesday) to Easter.  They say you are cheating if you eat one before fettisdagen and one of my classmates sent out an invitation to a semmelfika over a month ago to get us all ready! (Don't tell him I tried one last weekend!)

So today, I went to my first semmelfika (fika (of course) with semla). Almost 20 of us showed up at my classmates little apartment where he had slaved away making semla for us. They were huge! And so tasty. I like that the bun isn't too sweet allowing the almond paste and whipped cream to really shine.

To all my friends who live near a Swedish bakery (there is one in Global Market!) go try semla. It's delicious. Happy Fettisdagen!