28 April, 2011

Sort-of celebrity sightings

While waiting for the bus yesterday, I saw Simon, the Brit from the Swedish/British design shows Simon & Tomas (I love how the he speaks in English no matter what, even though he fully understands all the Swedish around him. I want to be that.) But yeah, he was walking his little tiny dog just off Odengatan. Does he live in my 'hood? Can't imagine how fabulous the apartment must be. Apparently, they recently had a few episodes of their show on the Oprah network.

And when I got off the bus, I got stuck by a Russian presidential motorcade. Vladimir Putin is in town, and I had to stand at the end of Kungsträdgården for 20 minutes for all 80 escort Volvos to drive by from the Grand Hotel. I'm from DC, where you have to wait for a motorcade every frickin' day (when Cheney was in office, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day!) I hear Putin is pitching Swedish-Russian nuclear cooperation...

Admittedly not the most exciting post, but hey, it's a post!

22 April, 2011

First outdoor fika of the year

Woohoo for 4-day long weekends (for Stu from his internship, not me...there are no real holidays for the unemployed!) And it is GORGEOUS in Stockholm. So many people are out, and lots of tourists. I guess all of Europe celebrates a lengthy Easter.
We finally had a proper fika outside of a konditori in Gamla Stan. Well, not proper: who drinks light beer with their lemon meringue pie? Stu. blech.

Glad påsk!

20 April, 2011

Odd shoe observation

Swedes take their shoes off when they enter private residences. It makes sense in a country that experiences 6 months of winter, since snow boots can bring in so much crap. We do it at home, too. And I think even after we leave Sweden (whenever that may be), it'll be one of those cultural things that stick with us. So hygienic!

When we were heading home from a walk yesterday, I was surprised to see a woman take her sneakers off as soon as she walked *into* a gym! She was one of those people who runs to the gym and then proceeds to work out, so she didn't have a gym bag with her as though she was going to actually change her shoes. Isn't it odd? Stu & I don't work out (gyms are just too expensive) so this is new! Does everyone take their shoes off to enter a gym to work out? Why bother, if you are just going to put them on again to run on the treadmill? I think that is a cultural thing that won't come back with us...

P.S. it is 8:30pm and its not even fully dark yet. We finally made it! The weather has been stellar lately.

18 April, 2011

3am pancakes!

I woke up ridiculously early Sunday morning to find this in the kitchen:
Note the excess flour residue ALL OVER THE COUNTER. There was also a pile of his clothes in the middle of the living room floor. Ahhhh, drunk Stu.
WTF??  After the wedding Saturday, I went home exhausted, but Stu had energy and met his friends out for beers. I didn't even hear him come home, but it was apparently about 3am.

Which is also when he decided to pre-mix pancake batter for Sunday morning pancakes. At 3am.

I had had the weirdest craving for pancakes on Saturday afternoon and made him promise to make me some (he makes really good fluffy American pancakes!) And I guess at 3am, it made more sense to prepare the batter and not have me wake him up the next morning.

Which I did anyway, but I managed to wait until 10.

Really happy Me with pancake ears.

a Swedish wedding

We attended our first marriage ceremony in Sweden on beautiful, sunny Saturday! Technically, we attended Part I of said wedding, since the couple is planning a proper wedding on Midsummer in the groom's hometown in France (and yes, we are going to that too! Woohoo!)  But since the bride is Swedish, they had a legal ceremony and small celebration here in Stockholm.

It was at Stadshuset, the city hall. And the wedding room is just lovely--up a grande staircase, large and round and covered in warm tapestries.
The whole of the ceremony took about 6 minutes. And the bride and groom just answer "Ja" rather than "I do" or something more formal to the question of loving and caring for the other for the rest of their lives. It felt like an odd let-down. "I do" is so specific in English to marriage, but "Ja" is just plain old "Yes." Like, "Do you promise to take out the garbage tonight?" "Ja."

And the reception was fun and homey, held at the bride's parents house in Nacka. The groom has said to us several times that it doesn't feel like the "real" wedding, since they are doing it again in 2 months (his family didn't even come to Sweden for the ceremony.) But the bride said she spent more than 3 days preparing food for the reception, so I think the groom should be careful of her over-hearing his thoughts...why would a bride slave for 3 days in the kitchen for something that wasn't "real"?  But he IS taking her last name (she has a great Swedish last name and his is unpronounceable French) so she won a big battle. Stu & I are still trying to figure out our last name, and we'll have been married 3 years this fall...

09 April, 2011

School update

I graduate this master's program in exactly 2 months, to the day. Stu has to wait an extra week before he gets a proper graduation ceremony in Stockholm's stadshuset. I'll probably just get juice and cookies, but you know, with 7 of us graduating, it's a small class.

His big presentation of his Capstone is on Friday, the project he has dedicated the last 5+ months to, helping solve specific business issues with a big corporation here in Stockholm. They spent nearly half a year, working full-time, and he & his partner get whopping 10 minutes to present the project to a room full of suits, professors and fellow classmates (and me! Hey, there's a free lunch out of it!)  And then he has 2 final classes to finish up before getting that MscGM! I'm so proud! He'll also be working at the big corporation part-time for the next 2 months, and I'm hoping in that time, they'll decide they just cannot afford to lose such a valuable employee and offer him an awesome job with an awesome matching salary.

The lovely stadshuset...city hall
I just hit my page requirement in my thesis, so while it's not done, it feels good to have written so much, so early! I didn't have to write a proper thesis for my first masters degree--I just took 2 extra classes--so this feels more "masterful." It is still shorter than most, since it is only one half of the culminating degree project, the other half being the dreaded exhibition!
My thesis isn't due until May 24, however, my final presentation of my own project is May 19, the installation of the exhibition is that same week, and the opening of the small show I am curating at Moderna Museet is May 21. So I have a feeling that I'll be so overwhelmed in a few weeks, I'll forget I even have a thesis requirement. And I just found out who my examiners will be for my final presentation of the exhibition, and oooh, I did NOT luck out. I got stuck with a particular curator here in Stockholm who frightens that CRAP out of me...I know I will get ripped apart, no matter how well I do! Not looking forward to May 19 at all.

Anyway, we're busy wrapping up, not doing much exciting, blog-post-worthy stuff, and generally worrying about the next stage. ACK! Jobs! What *country* are we going to live in!? It is a source of low-level yet constant stress. If all goes according to plan now, we think we'll be back in the States in July, either for a good long visit before returning to Sweden, or to stay.