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Hej internet!

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I know, I’ve been radio-silent for ages now. Sorry! It has been a bit… well – chaotic. Good chaotic, but chaotic nonetheless.

My time in Sweden has almost come to an end. I have around one month left now. I’m planning to update with some of the things I have done that I haven’t really done blogposts about, but I don’t know exactly when I’ll put them live.

However, without any further ado, I can give you a brief rundown of the last few days at the very least.

May came to visit from the UK on Thursday. She’s from Belfast, and has an awesome accent. On Friday we showed her Gothenburg, and on our way through town we walked straight past the wonderful Bill Bailey! The plan on Saturday was to go to Slottsskogen and meet the moose. However, it turned out that Saturday was Goteborgsvarvet, which is basically the Gothenburg Half Marathon, which starts and finishes at Slottsskogen. Instead, I took her through town and we watched the runners for a bit, eventually finding our way to the ice-cream stand at Kungsportsplatsen. Whilst we were up at Gotaplatsen, I tried my hand at simultaneous translation from swedish to english of the things the people on the big screen were talking about. I managed a few chunks, but it’s really really hard.

Saturday night was the Steampunk party, which I must say was absolutely wonderful. I loved it! We had over a hundred people there, and a lot of them were either my steampunk friends or people who knew me via the facebook group. A lot of people were from the Alingsås Konvent, but there were plenty of new faces too, which made me very excited. I ran the tea duelling, and there was free tea.
We had fire-eaters and circus acts, and some lovely DJs, By the time we got home it was already light. Unfortunately I had a fight with the pavement on the way home (I have zero balance at the moment) and I totally ripped up my knees and my right foot, so I currently have massive bruises and biiiig grazes all over them.

On sunday we actually *did* go to Slottsskogen, and we saw the moose, and it was fun. We also went to visit Emil’s parents and tried waffles, which I will admit, I have never eaten before (don’t judge me ok? Don’t know why but they just hadn’t happened before). Oh, and we showed her Repo! the genetic opera.

May went home yesterday after a day full of wandering gothenburg a little more and yet more ice cream. And then I had Game, which I had totally forgotten about until the last minute. So yep. Things and stuff.

On a side note, I have two take-home exams to write. I should probably get on with those at some point today…

Engelsk och Svensk Mat.

I managed to hardly see anyone last week somehow, and towards the end of the week I got quite homesick as a result. Need to work on the whole making-sure-I-socialise-thing.

What’s that got to do with English and Swedish food, you may ask. Quite a lot actually, would be the answer! Food can have a lot of emotional weight attached to it, and when I’m homesick, I usually end up craving sausages. That might sound odd to some people, but when I was little there was a phase when sausages were one of the very few foods I would eat. Makes sense I’d go back to the same food as a comfort food.

English-style sausages are almost impossible to get in Sweden. Almost all sausages are pre-cooked or are chorizo-type ones, and often sausages are made with very finely ground meat so they have almost the same texture inside as hot dogs. Even in Saluhallen it’s impossible to find the wonderful strings of uncooked sausages waiting to be grilled or fried, waiting to give off the delicious aroma and that awesome squeal and bang that only sausages can make – they’re all the dried, cured or pre-cooked varieties, which is such a shame. Don’t get me wrong, I like Swedish sausages. There are lots of varieties here, and Falukorv is absolutely delicious. It’s one of my favourite things to eat here, and it tastes very similar to Polony sausage. But it’s just not the same.

However, yesterday Emil managed to find the Holy Grail in ICA Focus: CUMBERLAND SAUSAGES!!! He bought me some incredibly expensive ones and then we proceeded to have Sausages, mashed potato and onion gravy for tea. It was heaven. They were really good sausages too! The texture was like the nice butchers’ ones that can somehow never be replicated properly by supermarket sausages. They were quite honestly amazing. Can’t buy them often, because at roughly £8 for a pack of 4 jumbo-sized sausages they’re pretty pricey, even if they are wonderful quality.

Anyhow, there are a few other things I’m missing, albeit less seriously:

Ribena

1) Ribena

Whilst there are other drinks over here similar, it’s hard to get the bottles of concentrate so I can have hot ribena when I don’t want tea but want something warm to drink. What is Ribena? I hear a few non-brits ask? It’s a blackcurrant-based fruit drink that *everyone* drinks as a kid. Very sweet, but very nice. Real blackcurrants too.

Skips Crisps

2) Skips

Skips are prawn cocktail flavoured maize snacks. They’re also one of the foods kids always eat, and are one of my favourite types of crisp.  They melt on your tongue when you eat them. No one seems to have heard of them here, and the English shop doesn’t ( to my memory) even stock them.

Aaaah! Bisto!

3) Bisto Gravy

Whilst I’ve managed to make myself a substitute gravy which is almost as good, nothing beats bisto.

 

PG Tips!

4) PG Tips tea.

In two months , I’ve drunk roughly 240 cups of tea here. How do I know? My box of tea is almost empty. I drink an insane amount of tea, and a £4-on-offer-box of PG Tips would cost me about £13 here. Yeah. Not good.

Fruit Pastilles

5)Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles.

I know Rowntrees are evil because they’re owned by Nestlé now, but nevertheless, I love their sweets. Particularly the lime fruit pastilles. Those are my favourites.

 

 

 

And now, to a friend’s for lunch, a visit to slottskogen and gaming!

 

(Edited to add tags and photos)

En Kväll på Operan och en dag på Museet

I’m sat in my living room listening to the rain outside. It’s the sort of rain that’s relaxing to listen to: storm levels of rain but no wind or thunder, just rain. Curled up in my dressing gown and blanket, a cup of tea in one hand, it’s somehow serene. I am, however, very grateful that I don’t have to go out in it, though.

This week’s been quite eventful really. Sunday kicked it all off with Emil’s Concert in Kungalv. The concert was a musical quiz, and each piece of music was to do with at least one question. I went with a few of Emil’s family members to it, specifically his mum , grandad, and his grandad’s ( for want of any other word) ‘lady-friend’ Britt. Emil’s Grandad and Britt don’t speak much English. I ended up speaking a bit of Swedish with them – not as impressively as my last outburst of Swedish with Emil’s parents, but still – it was at least partially understandable, because we did have a short conversation.  The quiz was more in the form of a crossword, and whilst we didn’t finish the crossword, there were at least a few questions that I got the answers to on my own. It was very enjoyable, not least because one of the pieces of music was Pomp and Circumstance, which is a guilty pleasure of mine.

Monday was Viking Lecture again, coupled with meeting up with Nina and setting the world to rights via a visit to Knapp Carlsson’s ( the button store). The lecture was alright too.

Tuesday was a visit to the Gothenburg City Museum with my Viking Class. It was fun to go around the Viking Exhibit with a few other people, even if I admit I didn’t end up paying attention to our lecturers much, and went off ahead with Hayley to look at stuff on our own a bit and to chat about Game of Thrones. We got quite irritated with the number of typos in the English versions of the texts on the walls. With some of it I could understand – the errors were clearly from direct translation from the Swedish, but some of them were literally just bad proof-reading. Generally speaking, I love  the museum there – It has a couple of really wonderful exhibits, and I particularly love the hundred year old piece of film footage of someone going around on the tram and looking at what the city looked like a hundred years ago. It’s so fun to watch!

After the museum I sat outside on the steps at Brunnsparken and read a bit. It was beautiful sunshine and I didn’t feel like going straight home. I called Emil and he met me there, with the idea of going to Eriksberg for a bit. In the end we ended up doing useful stuff instead (read: I sat in Condeco whilst he went to the Bank to organise Society stuff), but it was still lovely.

Wednesday was a bit boring. I ended up inciting Emil’s Panic Monster to get his PhD application finished. However, in the evening I rediscovered Disney’s Atlantis, which was great. I forgot how much I like that movie, and also quite how much Milo looks * exactly* like Daniel from Stargate. Seriously – it’s the same character as well!

Yesterday was quite good too. I woke up quite late but when i did get up ended up going for a walk. It was a lovely day and quite mild out, so I just kept walking. I ended up coming from Korsvagen through Avenyn, up to Vasa, through Haga and ending up at Jarntorget. The idea initially was to find Emil a present, because he’s been lovely recently, but I didn’t find anything good unfortunately. As I arrived at Jarntorget, Three Fire Engines went past, followed by a white vehicle of some type with flashing blues. Evidently something big, I thought. I got on the tram, and a fire car came past, then an Ambulance with sirens and blues. As we went down towards Linneplatsen, I saw that they had all parked up around the outside of the toy shop with the big lego sign. The staff were all looking chilly and stood outside, and several firemen in full breathing apparatus were heading into the shop. I didn’t see any fire ( or even any smoke) but seeing as it’s quite a big block and buildings here seem to be made of a considerable amount of flammable material, I suppose the large-scale reaction may have been as a precaution. I haven’t seen anything online about it, so i guess it can’t have been too bad.

In the evening we went to see La Cage Aux Folles at the Gothenburg Opera. It was AMAZING! It was the Swedish version of it, but I still understood what was happening, and parts of it moved me almost to tears. I would fully recommend seeing it to anyone who is considering it – seriously – It’s a great story, and I must say all of the dancers have the nicest legs in the world ( seriously.)

 

We have full fat milk at the moment  because of the baking I was doing today, and I’m used to semi skimmed or skimmed milk. For some strange reason full fat milk now tastes like UHT milk to me if I drink it in tea.

That is, it tastes genuinely awful. It’s nice on it’s own, but in tea? Somehow it just tastes wrong. I suppose it’s good really but it’s very odd.

Strangely enough though, in Sweden, Full fat milk is in a red carton, semi skimmed is green and skimmed is blue. This I find really confusing as it’s the opposite way around in the UK, where red-top is skimmed, green-top is semi, and blue-top is full fat ( we also have gold top, which is Jersey milk and is even creamier). There’s also the carton thing, which i find really odd too: Swedish milk comes in cartons, whereas in the UK it comes either in glass or plastic bottles.

And as a result of this observation on my part, I now have a song stuck in my head:

 

Enjoy

Dansa och Megaloppis

Yesterday was quite a busy day. As I mentioned already, we went bowling in Gamlestaden and had semla there too. However, that wasn’t the half of it.

After we returned home we had a few minutes of peace before chaos reigned again as both Emil and I got ready to go out (although the going out was to two different places!) Emil had a ticket to go and see Mnozil Brass play in a nearby town, and was going with his band friends. Just before he left they all found out that due to a plane strike in Frankfurt the band was running three hours late, but nevertheless, they went and really enjoyed it, arriving home at around 2am.

I, on the other hand, was going out dancing. Nina had promised that they’d show me how to dance ‘Bugg‘ which is, as i gather, a bit like a swedish variation of the jitterbug, and apparently there was a dancing night at a local casino. So, I dressed up in my favourite blue (slightly rockabilly but not entirely) dress, and dolled up with make-up, before heading over to Nina and Niklas’s  flat for a bite to eat and a board game with them and one of their other friends. We played Suburbia (I think that was the name), which was pretty fun, and were randomly attacked by Nina’s amazing flying kitten ( whose favourite games seem to be chasing my red-painted fingernails and pretending to be a parrot).

Soon it was time to go and we headed into town to Casino Cosmopol, not too far from Nordstan. It is, as suggested, a casino (one of only a few in the country). We paid entry (30kr) and then headed in. The band wasn’t that good to just stand and listen to, but it was great for dancing to, and Niklas is a very good dancer and great at teaching (and was also very patient when I screwed things up!). Within a few minutes I was dizzily twirling across the dancefloor. It was brilliant fun! Nina and I took turns dancing with Niklas as Joakim didn’t feel like joining in. In between Joakim and I were people watching, which is also a lot of fun. We were there from about 10 until 1.15 – a good sign of how good it was! I felt it was brilliant value as well – 30kr for entry, including wardrobe and free water on the side. In all, that made it cheaper than the nights out I would go on in the UK.

Niklas and I spent a while nattering after we got outside which was also very nice, and I then took the tram home. As I arrived at my home stop, I got of the tram and realise what a nice evening it was. For a few minutes I considered going for a bit of a walk. At this point, it dawned on me just how much safer it feels in Sweden than the UK at night: In the UK going for a walk on my own at 1.30AM would be unthinkable anywhere I’ve previously lived. Even in Cornwall it’d be unwise. In Sweden, not only did I come home on my own on public transport at 1.30AM, but it would be quite unlikely that I would have any problems if I went for a walk at that time – even on a friday night/saturday morning! I must admit, it’s really nice and quite freeing to feel able to do that. It’s a shame things aren’t so good in the UK. In Reading I rarely would go out of the house past 9pm on my own, and when I did I’d often either have comments thrown at me or feel unsafe. It’s very strange to see the difference.

In the end I decided to go straight home as I was thirsty. I stayed up until Emil got back, and he super-excitedly told me all about the concert, which he loved, and the fact that they had done thriller.

Today we went to Svenska Massan (which is just around the corner from us) for a massive flea market. Imagine a flea market the size of MCM Expo, for my UK friends, and I kid you not, that was the size of this one. We met up with Nina and Niklas again to go to this, and whilst we were inside we saw another friend – Sara.  I bought a set of sugar tongs for 20kr, and a few bits of netting with which to make some new petticoats. It was really good and I got some great bargains.

Since I got back I’ve been baking. Emil has a concert tomorrow and they’re going to have free Fika in the break and so he volunteered my baking talents towards this. As such, my kitchen is currently full of the aroma of Lemon Drizzle cake and Blueberry muffins. Both have come out in quantities slightly larger than I expected, but tests by the chief taste-tester (read: Emil) suggest that they’ve worked well. I’m actually very tempted to cook some more, as my sister linked a recipe for 7 calorie brownies earlier and I’m itching to try making them.