Wow, what a difference one hour can make. What is one hour, anyway?
It’s 60 minutes.
It’s 3600 seconds.
It’s the normal length of a meeting at work.
It’s the normal commuting time for me (to and from, including walking).
It’s the length of a flight from SFO to LAX.
It’s at the upper end of how long I’m willing to wait out a delayed flight.
The day is March 31, 2013, which also happened to be Easter Sunday. Daylight savings time. The clock sprang forward and we all lost one hour of sleep in Europe. But beyond being a little more tired on Sunday, something else changed. The inhabitants of Stockholm… woke up, for the lack of a better word. My friend said it’s as if someone turned on the lights in this country and everyone realized that they were awake.
People are happier, spending more time outdoors, and starting to wear more colors. They’re sporting their Ray Bans (Aviators and Wayfarers are still the two styles that I see the most), and they’re starting to put on their Converses. Forget what the meteorologist told you about the little flowers that blossomed a few weeks ago — these are the true signs of spring in Stockholm!
I’m sitting at an airport lounge in Arlanda ready to travel around the world. The lounge, having been recently renovated, is surprisingly airy and cozy. Looks almost like a bar somewhere. Many more tables for people to work on their laptops and play with their phones and tablets. And it’s super bright outside on the airport tarmac. Clear blue skies, a bit on the cold side, but delightfully sunny.
What a difference an hour can make. One has to be Truly Swedish to appreciate this!
I took some time off during the holidays to vacation around a bit, so I’m posting this new entry from the 20th floor of my hotel in Beijing. This is the last evening of my trip; I’ll be heading back to Stockholm tomorrow afternoon.
This is also my first time in China. I decided to visit Beijing because I had a stopover here anyway, so what better way to visit a city that I’ve wanted to see for a while now?
It’s glögg season again, and it’s time for another post!
Stockholm got its first “real” snow this past week! Real snow is when it actually sticks to the ground and stays around, and boy was it needed. It had been raining a lot and was dark and miserable, as it tends to be during this time of year. But as soon as the snow came, everything brightened up. Yes, it was still cold but I prefer cold and dry to cold and wet. Even WordPress.com has snow on its front page!
The start of the fall is always a promising time for picking mushrooms in the forests of Sweden. Chanterelle mushrooms are plentiful, if you can find a good spot to find them. Every Swedish family has its own secret patch of the forest that they go to every year to find mushrooms. Apparently, 2012 has been an extremely good year. Since it’s been such a wet summer, the mushrooms grew quickly and were available quite early in the year.
Kebabtallrik from Hakepi, my favorite kebab place!
Okay, it’s not really a Swedish delicacy, but it’s as popular as IKEA’s meatballs so I think it should be.
Kebabtallrik (literally, “kebab plate”) is a plate of kebab meat (thinly sliced beef from a vertical spit), some lettuce, onions, cucumber, tomato, and a fefferoni pepper. I actually didn’t know what those peppers were called until I started eating kebab in Sweden. You then get a side of carbs, the most common options being french fries or rice. They usually sprinkle some paprika powder on top of the fries. In most places, the meat is doused with a red tomato sauce and then a white garlic sauce. No skewers are involved, so you can eat it easily with fork and knife. Continue reading →
Like a good Swede, I’m always looking for good deals. I really like that about them – in the US, sometimes I’d be called “cheap,” but here, I’m just being sensible with my money.
A few months ago, I dropped my friends Josh and Kellee off at Arlanda airport for their move back to the US. They took a taxi to the airport so I went with them. I had no plans that morning so I thought I’d take public transportation back to Stockholm. The Information Desk at Arlanda told me that I could take SL bus 583 from Arlanda to Märsta and then take the pendeltåg (commuter train) all the way back to Centralen. After living here all this time, I had no idea there was actually an option to travel easily to and from Arlanda via public transportation! I always thought you had to take the train halfway and then pay for the Upplandståg (a separate train system which requires a separate ticket).
I love watching movies. In the US, I also really enjoyed the lead-up to a movie night at a theater: You queue up at the ticket window, hoping that the movie you want at the time you want isn’t yet sold out. You finally get to the ticket window, and you ask for a ticket for the show you want. You hand over your credit card and your frequent viewer membership card, and then you wait. Sometimes you arrive early so you go and have dinner with your friends. If it’s a big big showing (like the Harry Potter movies or the Lord of the Ring trilogy was), you probably want to get in line right away, even if you are hours away from show time. Continue reading →