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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Swedish Wedding

Church in Gothenburg
Originally uploaded by SSkills12

Certain Someone and I finally arrived in Gothenburg via the X2000 train. The three hour trip comprised on of some lovely scenery ( mainly farms). Certain Someone slept most of the way and then we joined some of the wedding party friends in the trains bistro. Of course he had to travel first class.And I don't complain. We were booked in the SAS Radission right in the town square .The rooms were funky and modern. We only had time for a quick freshen up, nap, change ,and then off to Askims Kyrka for the wedding.

We took 3 taxis to the church after a champagne cocktail in the lobby. The church was a beautiful Scandinavian style church with a high white spire peaking out over the spring foliage.The ceremony started a little after 5:00 pm and was pretty brief. Funny no matter what language the service is in,a Christan ceremony is pretty much the same.I totally knew when they where doing the 'Our Father', etc. The guests then assembled outside the church and pelted the couple with rice before they drove off in a silver Mercedes to the reception. The reception was held in the famous Jungman Jansson restaurant. Its quite famous in the parts for its seafood. The whole party arrived in a coach bus to a breathtaking area right on the sea. It kind of reminded me of Cape Cod or somewhere on the east coast. There where little rocky islands scattered throughout the sea,and all the upscale locals where out polishing and fixing their boats.This was no fisherman's village , but a posh coastal town. It seems a lot of weddings where held at the venue which was open just for us. After a toast with Moet outside on the deck, the toastmaster and mistress started their spiel. I was touched as they singled me out in English as the 'English' speaker and apologized that it would be a long series of speeches in Swedish but I was seated next to another English speaker. They are serious with the seating plan, and Certain Someone was across from me , but a little away.Most Swedes love to show off their English ,so I had no problem finding a conversation. Anyway I liked to zone out and follow. Little did I know I was in for about 6 more hours of seated toasts, roasts, familial skits, speeches,etc.Everyone asked me to how this differs from weddings in the USA. A lot! I tried in vain to imagine engaging in the fairytale skits, song writing drinking songs,and good natured ribbing from friends, and co workers. The food was excellent. We started with lax( salmon) wrapped around a shrimp stuffing. The entree was flat fish lightly breaded with a rich Parmesan cream sauce and a potato mousse.Lime parfait with fresh berries and Aunt Ulla-Britts wedding cake with coffees and various liquors. I was done in and was to lazy to move once the the dancing started. Some tradition were different like when either the bride or groom left the table, then the opposite sex ran up to kiss the remaining partner. The brides brother who lived in California brought over the American tradition of hitting the glass for the couple to kiss.The music was retro American pop and disco. And what would a Swedish wedding be without ABBA?Certain Someone and I aren't much dancers and we observed. I was getting tired and cranky. We finally left around 2;30 am . The sun had managed to set and rise during the festivities. A lovely new experience for me. Certain Someone grabbed a burger in front of the hotel as we arrived back into the city. A drunk Norwegian woman tried to get in our cab before we could get out. I found more drunk Norwegians in the lobby. We went to bed and got up for breakfast with friends and a quick walk around the city.

Tonight we fly to Germany and I'm a little nervous. I called My Swedish aunt this morning to offer my condolences. My Austrian uncle already knew about the his brothers passing and cleared the way for me to call. Let bygones be bygones. So this week was one wedding and no funeral, but a welcoming glimpse into my future life .

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

A Special Dinner

Erics Gondolen
Originally uploaded by londonla
Certain Someone promised a special day on our last unexpected day in Stockholm. We managed to get reservations on the fast train for Saturday to Gothenburg. So we took advantage of the day and naturally he slept in really late until past noon ( he just does not want to adjust to European time) .Or it was that Poker game the night before. I tagged along for dinner . His friend F lived a the swankest part of the city I've ever seen. He mentioned the King visits a neighbor on occasion ( that's how la de da it is). It really was a beautiful place and yet another area I told my honey we have to live in. Right!Well after a mans meal of some diced potatoes,meat, etc. served with beets, and condiments( Cant remember the name),I left them and went back home. I got off a stop earlier and walked down my new favorite street Gagatan. Really Hip and fun on a steep hill. He got home later.
So the next day we got up late, had breakfast and planned to walk around Gamla Stan. He craved pasta, so we had a little late lunch at Stureplan many outside cafes. The day was beautiful for more people watching on the Birgit Nillson Alle. We then looked for some crystal glasses and walked home. Certain Someone managed dinner reservation for a romantic spot. See the picture above. Its a restaurant called Erics Gondolen high above the Stockholm,over the water, with panoramic views.Its run by a famous Swedish Chef. I had a Scandinavian style Bouillabaisse with garlic aioli and Cesar salad with grilled scallop. Delicious! Certain Someone had duck breast with ginger and lime. After dinner , we walked to the bar which is actually the part that juts out in the photo. They had a large book of mixed concoctions to choose from. I ordered the tart and fresh Green Eyes( something with pear cognac,lemon, and green curacao). Naturally he liked mine more and we switched. I was embarrassed because I had stupidly gone into the wrong toilet not comprehending Herr and Dam. When I opened the private cabin I turned to see a man taking a whiz! I managed to get out even though more man had entered , and was received by a girl laughing at me. Must have been the food. Certain Someone and I watched the mixologist master their skills and then called it a night. I was hot and dizzy.The cool night air was great as we took our final walk home. So now we are off to Gothenburg for a wedding later today, Germany tomorrow. Probably my last post , but you never know.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Next to Last Day in Stockholm

gamla stan
Originally uploaded by timpgh.
Yesterday Certain Someone and I slept really late and didn't get going until about noon. We first met a friend for Chinese lunch, took care of his errands and business ,and then just hung out and window shopped. We had some coffee and soaked up the sun in the trendy Sturplan. This is a plaza of sorts where all the beautiful people of Stockholm congregate to see and be seen. Certain Someone was a little moody due to some job developments and I tried not to intrude so much but be of support. We went into my favorite store NK and just window shopped. The walk was beautiful and the day was nearing evening. We had dinner plans in Gamla Stan ( Old Town) . I love Gamla Stan , no matter how touristy it gets. The streets are narrow and cobbled( ruined my Escada shoes) and the restaurants are great. We went to Ruby's Grill . Certain Someone and his friend F ordered grilled steaks , while I had the most delicious cheeseburger this side of the Atlantic with some Bearnaise and pommes frites, och spenent sallad mit Parmesan . YUMMY. And dont let me forget the Mojoitos and beer. Certain Someone then had a moonlit stroll back home along the water and looked at the all the shop windows ventured back into the artsy hip district we are staying in.
This morning Certain Someone got up really early to play golf. I for some reason didn't want to get up and was kind off dreading the day. I met my cousins girlfriend and baby afternoon with the intention on some quick shopping,walk with the baby, and maybe lunch/ coffee with her mother.I found my way on the subway alone and eventually met up with her in the vast T Centralen. No sooner than 10 minutes into our walk she got a call. My uncle had died. We are on the outs for the strangest reasons known to me. I couldn't see him this visit as I wasn't supposed to know he was sick. Now I'm in a odd situation because I'm not supposed to know he died and I cant' tell his other brother , who probably won't find out for while( like a few months when he decides to call between his travels). Certain Someone and I can't even send flowers. Talk about family dysfunction.! So I'm in Sweden where my fathers favorite brother has died( and I'm remembering the first time I met him here a few years back and the warm welcome I received) and now I might as well be a stranger .And I can't honor my fathers memory and pay respects to his family. Certain Someone just shook his head in bewilderment. Welcome to the family honey.And I'm torn because I want to call another uncle to let him know. We may see him in Germany and what am I supposed to do? So I'm just chilling at home feeling weird. Certain Someone has a poker night and I just may walk , think, and make some dinner for myself. We are supposed to leave for Gothenburg tomorrow , but SAS may go on strike. That's another issue. I had wanted to take the train anyway and the wedding is not until Saturday. Bittersweet day in Sweden

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I Guess They Were Too Busy With the Japanese Emperor

Originally uploaded by ksofies.
Seriously... Today was yet another hectic, but not to glamorous or romantic day. My cold peaked during the evening and I was miserable and tired when I woke up. To top it all off I was worried about Gabi and her medical woes. Get well soon! I woke early and watched some TV at around 6:30 AM. Certain Someone didn't sleep well either. We had to drop his car off that morning in the suburbs for repair. His day started off with a expensive bill and got progressively worse. He dropped me off in the city to meet my cousins girlfriend. We had planned to spend the day together as he took care of his business. M and I went back to her place, fed the baby , and relaxed. Never had I met a sweeter baby, and I'm not saying that because hes a cousin. We then went shopping for a appropriate dress for the wedding in Gothenburg on Sunday. I had packed a black dress because that's what fit . That's a no no here. I went to good cheap and chic H&M and found a nice one and accessories to match. Not bad for broke little me. I love the Kylie Minougue collection there. Its so glamorous and I wonder if its hit Stateside yet. I can see why shes a gay icon. The girl has style ,looks, and is a survivor. M and I then had kaffe and pastry in one of Stockholms old coffee houses. And then it was time to go. I met my man back where he left me and we were driven by our evenings hosts to their house in the suburbs for dinner. Midway we got a call on both of our cell phones that the security alarm went off back home and police had been called. Just great. And I was feeling a little sad that I wont see my cousins this trip because they were dealing with some family issues. A few minutes would have been nice coming all this way,but I understand. So I'm sitting here stuffed after to much wine, great food, and company. We took the train back and on the way to the station walked by some hilly areas that supposedly contained ancient Viking graves. I immediately though of a Swedish Poltergeist movie going on that neighborhood.Not much on the agenda tomorrow,so we will see where the wind takes me.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Drottingholm Palace

drottingholm palace
Originally uploaded by SarahMagda.
Today Certain Someone indulged me in my interest in all things royal. We drove out to see Drottingholm Palace , where the royal family resides. The weather started out beautiful as we walked the vast grounds . It was beautiful with a lake . No tours were offered but we paid admissions and walked the interiors with my guide books as reference. Typical Palace fare. War rooms, bed chambers, libraries,etc. My favorite was this room with portraits of kings, queens, sultans, etc .of other countries. And the Chinese Pavilion was a nice treat on the grounds. The weather turned gray and rainy,so we took a late lunch and returned home for a nap. Certain Someone and I got really tired with all that walking earlier. This evening he showed me his condo and I met his lovely tenant. Remarkable woman! Too bad he"ll have to sell the place this summer. It really is nice.The real estate market is crazy here and housing is expensive. He showed me a area I'd love to buy in when we move here. Bromma has lovely single family homes. Unfortunately the prices can go sky high. People put a lot into getting the right place,and space is small. So we will see. Good Night.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Could Live Here

Its about 11:30 pm and we have just completed Day 2 of our Stockholm visit. Certain Someones friends were kind enough to let us borrow their very fashionable apartment in the hip Sodermalm area. This part of town reminds me of Monmarte in Paris, with the steep slopes and hills. This morning by accident while Certain Someone slept I discovered how high the streets can go and fell upon a lovely walkway on the edge that overlooked the ocean and all the other islands. Incredible. Day 1 was spent getting settled , a little nap, and then we were off. Certain Someone and I drove off in his tiny Ford Fiesta to eat at his favorite Kebab House near his condo(which he lets out, so we cant stay there). Oh My G** , the food was incredible and people come from all around to eat. We could have easily shared one plate, but we tried two dishes.His bragging lived up to the quality. We then stuffed ourselves back into the Fiesta and he drove me to another island that is owned by the King called Djurgarden. This quiet little enclave was a scenic nature filled walk with a fabulous grand mansion tucked here and there. The styles were uniquely Scandinavian . Certain Someone was quick to point out that we couldn't afford a house there, blah, blah, blah. We watched the ferries to Finland glide on the water and took lots of pictures of geese and swans.After about a hour and half we drove to his old University .It was still light outside , as it doesn't get dark up north until about 10:00( and even then not that dark). Kind off freaky but helped me with the jet lag in a odd way. We strolled the grounds and it was bittersweet, everything looked smaller and younger. Getting Old. We then came back home, did some shopping in the local supermarket( I love going to foreign markets) for breakfast things, etc. and settled into the night.
This morning Certain Someone slept until noon. By the time he awoke I has invited my cousins girlfriend and new baby over. They arrived and Certain Someone and the baby boy T bonded. They kind off looked alike with the blond/bald heads,cute faces, and blue shirts. We all had some tea and cinnamon rolls and talked for a while . We made plans for dinner later in the week and helped carry out all the stuff we brought over that she ordered for the newborn. Certain Someone and I then drove out to meet his best friend and family at 3:00. They adopted a precocious little girl nick named Tin Tin from China. She thinks shes a princess and has all the props to go with it. We naturally clicked ( one princess to another) and Certain Someone and I helped her cook mud pies in her sandbox. Her parents had a delicious Swedish BBQ for us with grilled chorizio, pork fillets,and marinated chicken. We all toasted the first year anniversary of Certain Someone and I with Champagne. It was a year ago to the day we met! Tin Tin and I posed for pictures pretending they were paparazzi and she was sent off to bed. She called Certain Someone and I her 'other' parents and I do plan to spoil her when I see her again. So cute! So now we are back home. Tomorrow is my royal day and I plan to see both palaces. I'm so glad Certain Someone brought the computer. I've found a few areas I can settle into when we move here in 3 years.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Stockholm ,Gothenburg, and Essen

Well I just wanted to wrap up my week now. I'm trying to get our things together, start packing, organize , etc. before we depart Friday afternoon for our 2 week European vacation. Certain Someone is a little stressed as there is so much to do and see when we get there. Our Swedish house guests will entertain us, we will meet up with more Swedish friends,and I get to see my cousins new baby. Then after a few days in Stockholm we fly to Gothenburg on the other end of the country, for a wedding of Certain Someones colleague. I'm looking forward to this coastal city and all the great seafood. From Gothenburg we fly to Dusseldorf Germany , to get to Essen, Certain Someones home. It is there where I will meet the parents. I wish I can blog during the trip, but it will be hard from the Black Berry. I will try to access a computer, but will more likely have a long and picture filled recap when we return on June 2. Hej då and Auf Wiedersehen!

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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Just As Cute As Knute

Eisbär Knut darf leben!
Originally uploaded by Lioness.08.
Certain Someone and I are mesmerized by the German Environmental Superstar , Knute.We track his blog, collect his magazine covers and photos. He really is a ham. Unfortunately we wont be able to catch him in the Berlin Zoo, so we decided to visit his distant cousin at good ol BROOKFIELD ZOO. We're amazed that not much media coverage has been given to the baby polar bear at Brookfield. I only heard of him on a obscure talk radio show. The zoo spends more time publicising the Naked Mole Rat exhibits on bus billboards than the unnamed baby bear. There even a naming contest going on , but still no name.I propose Jackie Bear, after my Mommy. They share the same birth date,December 14. When we got to the bear he wasn't on view.Certain Someone refused to budge from his seat until he saw that Baby Bear. Big bad PapaBear was strutting around next door all alone. But soon a excited rush came over the crowd and out came Momma Bear with the little one obediently following. They chose a cool shaded corner and baby went to town as he nursed on his Mommy. It must have been boring and draining( hahahaha) that she fell asleep.Baby Bear finished and took a little one with her. Certain Someone and I went to the beer garden and continued to watch the bears. They got up , relieved themselves for all to see, and walked around some more. We noticed the crowds were not that huge, but it was the main zoo attraction. Berlin Zoo is making a killing off their bear.I guess Brookfield doesn't need the money as it costs a bit to park, gain entry, eat, drink, and rent a wagon for the kids. I'm spoiled with the free entry of LINCOLN PARK ZOO. But nevertheless, its a great zoo. We enjoyed the desert, rain forest,and Australia House exhibits.Certain Someone took a liking to the bat section in which they were free to fly around you. All the animals seemed tired and were "sleeping" or just being lazy when we approached them. The families and kids gave us some interesting observations as well. We spent four hours lost in nature and I thought that was good way to spend Mothers Day. We can learn a lot from the animals. And unlike little cute Knut, who for some reason rejected by his mother, it was heartening to see Mamma and Baby bond. On second thought, lets keep this Chicago's quiet unspoiled secret.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

No European Shopping Spree For Me

Originally uploaded by Liz Highleyman.
So next week Certain Someone and I fly off to Sweden and Germany. This will be the first time I have gone to Europe since I was a teenager, with limited means. I've have had at least 3 major European Shopping sprees in the past 8 years. A sort of pick me up after some traumatic times. And I don't regret a euro or kroner spent.I still wear a lot of acquisitions, although I could loose a few pounds. Ive pictured one of my favorite department stores of all times, and Ive been to many! NK. I guess I have to be content window shopping all the great Scandinavian designers on display.It's a shame because I read a major strike with retailers had been averted. They must have known I was coming.I will stay focused and do a lot of site seeing and walking tours of Stockholm and Gothenburg. And I will revisit Certain Someones friends and my own cousins. I cant wait to see the littlest addition to the fold.And after that whirlwind I will spend five days getting to know the parents of Certain Someone. I cant wait and I'm counting the days.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Town Drunks

Town Drunks Pabst Flyer
Originally uploaded by wellsdunbar.
I had a terrifying weekend with the wine demos .The location I choose to work at is at a crossroads with the Gold Coast and some notorious Public Housing projects. So you can imagine the mixed bag of customers. And add free samples of wine,hot weather, and Cinco De Mayo , a girl can be asking for trouble. I place my table in the wine department which is not far from the refrigerated beer. There is a particular beer called 211 which seems to come in large cans and sells for around a dollar. Well these 'characters' seem to pop in at various intervals to purchase their can. Its not unusual to see them make several trips in a few hours. I don't think they know what a six pack or case is. Well anyway, a few of the 211 patrons decided to harass me . One sexually suggested that he noticed how low I can go as I was counting my inventory of wine. I wanted to smack him . The other was a happy drunk who insisted on a aperitif of my sampling before he drank his. He insisted on shaking my gloved hand with his dirty one( I politely refused) and told me point blank he was a alcoholic, I was beautiful,and he wanted me to meet his mama.Words to win a girl over, NOT! His mother popped up right behind him with her 211 purchases and got a sample too! The real trouble came when this guy started yelling that I had samples. He strutted over and started rolling his eyes. He was looking for a fight. In a antagonistic tone he challenged me to give him all the samples he wanted. When I gingerly handed the cup over with a my regulation gloved hand,he started yelling that I was treating him like garbage,that I was beautiful but to stuck up to smile at him,etc. I recited my wine pitch to him and he still wouldn't leave. Then I told him I've done my job, if hes not going to buy, but continue to harass me I would call security. He screamed at me some more and walked off looking over his shoulder and said that's why he would get ' a white woman'. I told him to go ahead. Good luck to him with any woman!. Well a few hours later I felt his presence,and there he was ,getting his 211 beer. His eye caught mine and he strutted over again. He incoherently mumbled how he would deal with me , etc. and I just stared him down and reminded him of my earlier threat. Disgusted and defeated he walked off. It freaked me out a bit. I think I'll ask for a new location. 211 beer and heat does not mix well at all when a girl is trying to sell some wine.

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Glamah-rous cook and baker. Thanks for visiting. I love to receive comments.

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