Some of us are on vacation or home, it’s difficult to know really. Home or away from home, who knows anymore. We live out of suitcases so I guess it’s vacation. A lot of things have changed since last time. And a lot of things have changed since we moved. I can’t always say what it is but it’s different. Maybe it’s us. Uppsala feels a lot smaller and everything feels close. A walk downtown took forever 15 years ago, now it takes me less than 15 minutes. A run around the closest trail is done in 20 minutes, very frustrating, that’s just a warm up.
The flight over had no surprises really, just plain boring. I think I might have grown since last time, it felt like I didn’t have any space for my legs. We had a few hours in Amsterdam and had the opportunity to listen to people speaking Dutch. I didn’t understand a word so I really had to listen up and concentrate. How can your brain shut off like this. It’s been 20 years or so since I said a word in Flemish or Dutch but how can I forget everything? And how can it be 20 years? The only words I can think of is schaar and fiets. It feels like yesterday when I walked the foggy streets of Leuven and bumped into the prince of Belgium.
And a small cappuccino in Holland is not the same as a small cappuccino in Seattle. I think I’ve been away for too long. One sip and it’s empty.
It didn’t take us long to adjust this time. I think the kids felt ready to be full time Swedes on the flight over. But the weirdest thing is when people address us in English in stores and on the street. Do we look different? I had to explain that I speak Swedish in a store in Stockholm and the woman behind the counter looked surprised. What is it that makes us different? The hair, the clean faces with no makeup, (we are on vacation and I couldn’t care less) the clothes? It’s very obvious that some things are very popular here and not at home. Swedes love Polo Ralph Lauren in bright colors, Abercrombie and Fitch (ouch) and Converse, it doesn’t matter if you are 10 or 65. Let’s just say that I don’t think you should walk into a A&F store if you are over 18. And no short, skinny, colorful pants on men.
The first week passed really quick. Dinners, fika and some reading time. My plan to visit every CrossFit gym around is not working that well. I can’t wear shoes because of my toe and I still can’t use my right arm/shoulder because it’s in a weird way frozen and out of place. I’ve been squeezing my toe into a pair of shoes and have tried to run as far as I can without shooting pain. My longest run so far – 50 minutes. And it only lasted that long because I had to run back home. It can only get better.
So, what changed since last time.
The grocery stores are overflowing with new dairy products and apparently lots of people think it’s very healthy to eat kvarg (curd cheese or quark) It was called kesella a few years ago but to make it more trendy someone renamed it and did some clever marketing.
There are hundreds of different yogurts. Who eats all the different kinds and when?
The bread section is overflowing but I hear people complain about the lousy bread in regular grocery stores. It’s not comparable to the terrible bread in the US. I am overeating bread with extra everything.
Roast beef, cheese, ham, sausage, salami… so much more flavor.
All the roundabouts?? What’s up with those? I’m driving in circles!
IKEA is actually nice here. IKEA Seattle should really take an educational trip to a proper Swedish store. I almost bought a sofa and chair but realized that I don’t own a house here anymore.
A lot of people, young and old, throw in a couple of English words in a normal conversation. And add some bad words too. Shit, vi hade så kul. Oh my god, så jävla bra. Stop doing that, it makes you sound a little bit stupid.
Since when do Swedes say “Have a nice day”? I’ve heard “Ha en bra dag rå” in every store in Uppsala I’ve been in. No, no, no, it sounds ridiculous in Swedish.
And I still get the question “when are you moving back home?” every day. We are not moving back anytime soon. And yes, we live a normal life “over there”. We work, eat, sleep and read the newspaper. It’s the same as here but different. Very different. And I am happy that I get to enjoy both worlds.
I am not travelling with kids anymore. They are officially adults. I have stopped counting kids every time we stop somewhere and I actually want them to do things on their own. It’s up to them if they want to join me or if they want to do something else. I am happy to say that they usually want to join me. Former summers’ constant chaos and jetlag that made me wish for a cyanide pellet is gone. One nice things is that we don’t have phones. And that seems to make people around us more frustrated than we are.
Highlight so far, a visit at a moose park. Flashback to Alaska but less wild.