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On my return to Greeley 2007 July 4

Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Family, Food & Drink, Home vs. Sweden, Language, Politics, Social Life, Travel.
10 comments

Well, I’m back. Back to Greeley and trying to get back into the swing of things after leaving Sweden.

I got into Denver on Friday after catching the daily 8:00 am Frontier flight out of Chicago Midway. I weaseled my way out of excess baggage charges by switching things around in my luggage and carrying a few things instead. My parents weren’t at DIA when I arrived (somewhat disappointing, but I’m over it); my brother called me not long after I picked up my baggage to report the existence of a speed trap right outside of DIA. How they knew that, you can only guess…

Anyhow, we had lunch at one of Denver’s best Vietnamese spots, New Saigon, and picked up some Asian foods from the market nearby. It was nice to return and do something like that. We finished up the day with a little shopping and a visit to grandpa in the nursing home.

Greeley has changed only a little since I left. A few more buildings have gone up and minimum wage in Colorado was raised (hooray!). So if I end up not being able to find a decent summer job (which is so far furnishing little result), it might not be that bad if I get stuck somewhere like Blockbuster (again) or something in that line.

I’ve spent the days since seeing some people around town and learning how to adjust in the American world again. It’s kind of neat to have American money in my wallet again. I do find myself having to pause and think a little more when I’m interacting with people; I realize that after a year of living in Sweden has given me different social habits, like pushing through busy streets without saying “sorry” or answering my phone by stating my first name. I’m sure that will fade after a while, though.

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Back from holiday 2007 January 11

Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Miscellaneous, Travel, Weather.
2 comments

So, everyone keeps asking me where my posts and pictures from France and Spain are!

I’ve got them, and I’ve got plenty to say, but I haven’t posted anything yet for two reasons: one, it’s time-consuming; and two, I’m kind of lazy coming off of holiday.

All right, and I’ve got other things to do. Things like cleaning my room (a never-ending chore), laundry, and finishing papers. I’m also kitchen bitch this week. Those sort of things that are easy to put off, and I told myself I can’t do much else until I’ve gotten that finished wth. Yet, here I am, typing away on the computer…

I will say this, though: it was absolutely magnificent to see the sun so high up in the sky for so many days in a row. There were a few overcast and rainy days in France, even some foggy and icy ones too (when we were in Bourgogne), but overall, I got more sun there than I’ve gotten in a while. Not to mention the 18-degree (Celsius!) weather we had on the coast in Coulliere, near Perpignan. It was fantastic!

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Christmas Break, Day 3: Versailles & le Louvre 2006 December 22

Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Christmas Break, Helpful Hints, Travel.
1 comment so far

I went to do some of my own errands on the northwest edge of Paris on the morning of the third day. I made it to my destination on time (thanks to the wonderful metro system!), and after that I met my parents and brother outside the Notre Dame de Paris.

Notre Dame de ParisIt’s only slightly confusing getting to the Notre Dame from the metro stop nearby. Not many guidebooks do a very good job of it, as a girl I had met on my way there had discovered. She was also a visiting tourist, studying in Lyon. After walking around a little while and trying to figure out where we were, we finally got there and spent a while taking some pictures while waiting for my parents.

Last time I was in Paris we visited also the Notre Dame, so after just a few pictures and eating a quick lunch (mom and dad brought baguettes with them) we were on our way to Versailles. It’s easy to get to Versailles; just climb aboard the RER train and take the C line (it’s yellow) towards Versailles, which is the last stop anyhow.

This was our first visit to Versailles. Our last trip was too short for a trip to Versailles, which is definitely worth a good afternoon visit. It’s far enough outside the city that the train ride provides ample time for a snack and a chapter or two of a book.

For those of you unfamiliar, Versailles was once the capital de facto of the French kingdom and home to le Château de Versailles (or the Palace of Versailles). Its history as a château begins in around 1624 as a hunting château, and later became the property of Louis XIII. From there it was built up into a massive palace.

Versailles
The sprawling palace of Versailles.

On the way to the palace from the train station, one encounters several tourist traps (like a few souvenir shops and foreign men trying to sell knock-off watches and such) as well as a sea of cobblestone. The men selling knock-off watches are very good at detecting tourists who will stop and listen, and if you silently walk past them without looking them in the eye they’ll leave you alone.

an elegant staircase
Left: the palace is full of elegant staircases. Right: a hall of sculptures near the front of the palace.

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Bringing Thanksgiving to Flogsta 2006 December 11

Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Food & Drink, Home vs. Sweden, I miss..., Social Life.
3 comments

Ashley, Bergin and I first started thinking about Thanksgiving in August. We were settled down at Djurgården for our first trip to Stockholm when we sat down to have a beer and talk about home. We talked about getting a turkey, making mashed potatoes, rolling out dish after dish of casserole and watching some American football. It came up every once in a while, especially when we were homesick. It seemed like it might not have happened with all the crazy schedules and the troubles we’d heard others mention about getting hold of a full-sized, whole turkey.

Luckily, our dreams somehow became reality with the help of Ashley’s practiced turkey-cooking skills and our combined efforts with some fellow Americans, a few Canadians and a handful of Swedes. There were at least a dozen attendees! We made mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (thanks Mom for the recipe!), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, you name it! The only thing that was missing was cranberry sauce, but that’s okay. We had a great meal anyhow. Ashley’s turkey was spectacular and she did a wonderful job organizing the whole dinner, not to mention cleaning up her corridor for it.

Thanksgiving #3
Looking down the table at a successful Thanksgiving

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The Halloween Blizzard 2006 November 16

Posted by @jennyjenjen in American Holidays, Transportation, Weather.
2 comments

It’s kind of a Colorado thing. Ya know, that Halloween brings the first snow.

But in Uppsala this year, Halloween also signaled the first snow, and a heck of a blizzard it was. The snow really didn’t build up until the day after, but the flakes were flying and it was feelin’ a little chilly out.

It was madness once the snow came. Busses were sliding all over the place and were constantly running late. Of course, nobody wanted to ride their bicycles nor did walking sound very appealing. The snow was blowing horizontally and visibility was ridiculously low. There were a lot of sirens that first day of snow!

Unfortunately, I didn’t take my own pictures of the first snow. I’m disappointed in myself because I’ve always enjoyed the first snow. I usually get tired of snow after a while (especially when there’s nothing you can do with it, that is, for example, we don’t have mountains here!), but the first snow is always amazing.

Here are some pictures that my friend Mike took:

snooowwww more snow!
You know you want to live in Sweden!

It isn’t snowing right now and it hasn’t snowed significantly since, but it might soon. It’s been unseasonably warm (it’s 4° C at the moment), so I’m not sure when the rain will stop and the snow will begin – for real.

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