29 June, 2009

Yard saled and partied...

After a sweet yard sale, we played in the park.

There was frisbee, and blue & yellow balloons.

There were good friends all around!

There was bocce.

And some rain drops.

There was food & beer & cute dogs (that drank beer).

And cute kids (that didn't drink beer!)

We had a great time.

And we'll miss everyone so much.

26 June, 2009

I have the Power!!!

Remember the He-Man?

In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man. And he was a He-Man. Quite possibly the stupidest name ever invented by toy companies. But in it's stupidity lies it's brilliance. Who is He? Yes. What is he, man? Yes. All those things and less, for he is He-Man.

(And don't even get me started on sister spinoff She-Ra. Why not, She-Lady? Apparenly there's a tipping point in toy naming stupidity which we'll never understand, that's why. Eat it, Svengali.)

In any case, He-Man was the shiz. When I was in second grade, well, let's just say we had to catch 'em all. And G.I. Joe. And Transformers. The pushers had us hooked... Oh yeah, and M.A.S.K.

Anyway, the brilliance of He-Man was he was the Lone Ranger, Conan the Barbarian, and Superman all wrapped into one. So why wouldn't you love him? Actually he even grabbed the Hulk/Bruce Banner meme with the giant green cat...

So much combo of toy means so much brillance for cross-marketing appeal and success. Thus, in the mismash of 80's pop-culture that is my brain there are certain key phrases that are left glued-on and indelible upon my ol' knoggin'. Just like "up, up and away" or "hi-ho silver", but for He-Man it was "I have the power!"*

*Please note, not I've got the power. Totally different.

And he did, with his nifty sword and magic riding cat. (A saddle on a tiger? Who would think that's a good idea?! Claw city, yikes.) What does this have to do with moving to Sweden? Almost nothing. Except they do have vikings there.

And 220 electricity. Yup, we need a converter, and thereby We Can Have the Power.

What happens if we don't? Well 110 appliances in a 220 plug are basically getting twice they power they were designed to handle. And it's too much for them and they explode. Well, short out really, but it's just as unfunctional. The mighty European circuits will make like Hans and Franz all over your electrics. Not good, as they cost more there. SO. In comes the power converter to the rescue and settles the dispute. And joins the appliance and voltage together like the two halves of the Sword of Power. See how I did that?

Not so fast? What's that you say, not only to the electrics have a difference in voltage but in different cycles as well?! Arrgghh! Well that's what we'll face in Sverige.

So stay tuned. We may having interesting stories of danger and excitement. Who knew that plugging in a hairdryer could be so death-defying? We're doing the shopping now. It might save us a headache or two. And might gain us the use of the Red Kitchenade... It might also allow us to have a quick fix for blowing up the airbed. That's right, you heard me, airbed. We know you don't want to couch surf without some style. When you come to see the castles. Which they have there. But, look nothing like Castle Grayskull.

22 June, 2009

Yard sales and parties...

The worst part (okay, besides the Swedish winters) is saying goodbye to everyone here. We'll be back for visits, and we'll have space for visitors there, but it will still be sad to leave our friends and family. Since its not feasible to spend a ton of quality time with everyone we love here, come spend time with us!

---Right after our giant YARD SALE (more below) please come to a potluck picnic in Rock Creek Park near the Peirce Barn on Sunday, June 28th, 3pm-dusk (weather permitting). We'll have plates, utensils, cups, napkins, etc, but bring a dish, drink or dessert to share. http://www.nps.gov/rocr/planyourvisit/peirce-barn-directions.htm

---Yard sale: We're selling a ton of stuff Saturday and Sunday June 27th & 28th (9am-1ish) at Nina & Todd's at 18 14th St SE in Capitol Hill. Please come take it off our hands.

---If you can't make the BBQ, join us Saturday night, July 18th, for goodbye cocktails. Details to follow, when I figure them out.

16 June, 2009

Midsummer in Ft Hunt

Midsommar in Sweden is next week, and though we've heard that its been the coldest spring in 50 years, it is a huge celebration. I am sorry we won't be in the country yet to participate! But Saturday, we went to Joint American Scandinavian Association's and Finlandia Foundation's Midsommar and Juhannus Celebration in No Va. I thought I'd post a few pictures of the maypole that everyone danced around (including me, looking like an idiot, but Stu & Guzel were too cool.) It was a gorgeous afternoon. We ate a bunch of Scand-ish food, tried to eavesdrop on Swedish conversations happening around us, and watched little kids jump around in potato sacks.

13 June, 2009

Oh, yeah...

Plus, we'll have a dishwasher. Anne was very excited as well.

Vi kommer att bo i en fin lägenhet i Stockholm!


We've getting boxes packed and preparing for our move today. For we have found an apartment!

It's such a relief. We just got off the phone with our new landlady and she was so nice. It gives us a real good feeling to know our living arrangements aren't a big scary question mark, looming...


Can't you guess, yes, it is I, Stu, as our silly/intrepid blogger du jour.

In anycase, Anne and I are very excited. And she wants me to quit goofing off and post the pictures. Without further ado I present you, our new cuteness.

It's so bright! Such long, pretty windows. Granted, it won't be as bright at night, which will be approximately from Nov-Feb, but time will turn. (We'll break even from the basement light we "enjoy" now.)

Anne's particularly psyched about the bathtub. This is a one bedroom place, but is actually 10 whole square feet more that our current place! Plus, it's a stone's throw from school. Somehow that will make our first Nordic winter more bearable when I just have to do a quick 200 meter dash. Hardly seems fair, no? Well, I endured Siberian air blowing down to Korea for two winters, so I've paid some chilly dues.

Oh! And we found great deals on cold weather boots and a parka with a fur-lined hood for Anne. We'll do fine.

10 June, 2009

When it rains, it pours

One of the biggest sources of anxiety with moving (for me, anyway) has been finding a decent, affordable place to live in Sthlm.
We got ourselves on at least one student housing queue, but since nearly everybody goes on to higher education in Sweden (its free, so, duh) students can get on waiting lists for apartments when they turn 16. So I'm competing with people who have been waiting YEARS for a place.

I've found the Swedish equivalent to Craigslist (blocket.se), which of course, has proven just as flaky as our Craigslist, and I had contacted several people about their listings (in English) without a peep in response.

We decided to shell out for the pay service, with the thinking that people have to pay for posting their apartments, so they are pretty serious about getting good tenants. For the Stockholm area, Bostad Direkt charges 695 SEK (which came out of my bank account at $92) and after a little juggling to get access, we can now contact owners. And I have. And I've already heard back, from several of them! And these are nice apts in super nice neighborhoods...Vasastan, Kungsholmen, Sodermalm, etc. For about what we pay in DC, if not slightly less.

But Stu also got a lead from his school on a great-sounding place about .2km from his campus, so we should get pictures and further details tomorrow. And because we have a Swedish-speaking university employee vouching for us, its a more solid possibility. Fingers crossed.

Another hurdle we're kind of, half-way over. At least I feel like we're getting somewhere, and won't land on August 4 with no where to go. So if we get housing wrapped up in the next few weeks, all I have to do is move! Oh, wait...

Yesterday, I weeded, organized and packed my jewelry. No small feat. This morning I organized pens. Who knew that between us, we had so many writing instruments. I think I should be moving a little faster.


We got them!
We were told to expect 2-3 months turnaround on getting our residence visa applications approved and back from the Swedish Migration Board. We dropped them off at the DC Embassy on May 9th (and I went back a few days later to re-do what was the wrong paperwork...whoops!) And we received a call on June 4th to say that we'd been approved to live in Sweden until September 2010. We'll have to renew after the first year, but it seems like we just have to submit a renewal application that shows that Stu didn't flunk out, etc.
The actual visa is an odd little print-out with our pictures and a raised stamp in the back of our passports....I don't know what I expected.
Either way, big hurdle jumped!

03 June, 2009

Countdown: 2 months

There is way too much to do, and I'm afraid we'll end up forgetting important things! But without working, life will be easier in making that transition.
We're planning to ship about 1/3 of our stuff, house-y items, books, winter clothes, etc, and are limiting ourselves to a whole 35 sq ft of space for shipping. I don't even know how big 35 square feet is, but it costs about $300 and takes 45 days via boat from B'more to Stockholm.
About a third of our stuff will be put into storage at my mom's place/storage unit in VA.
And the last third will be sold. Via Craigslist and a giant garage sale the last weekend in June.

And July 15th, we'll be homeless! 6 weeks from today...