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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.

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.



Bringing Thanksgiving to Flogsta 2006 December 11

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

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


Mail from home 2006 November 16

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Helpful Hints, Home vs. Sweden.

One of the great joys of studying abroad is getting packages from home, and it manages to be somewhat pf an ambivalent thing; whereas one misses home quite a bit, it’s always nice to get a little bit of home while being away.

My aunt Jean has been sending me some cute cards, and I’ve really appreciated that. I’ve gotten once package from home before, too, which I sorely needed at the time; it included a few of my jackets! But it had been a little while since that last package, so I was looking forward to the next one.

I received a great package from home just the other day, and felt that it was momentous enough to document:

Stuff from home! Here was the bad boy. Packages usually get left at Skolgatan, apparently, although I was originally told that packages not small enough to fit in mailboxes were taken to the ICA Väst just behind Sernanders väg. One takes the slip that gets left in the mailbox and takes it to the listed location. There’s a little barcode on it and they just scan it and get it all marked up in the system (or something like that). Since I never know how big or small the boxes that come to me are going to be, I usually take the bus to go pick them up. It seems to take ten days, regardless of what USPS says, to get here to Sweden.

I had an idea of most of what was going to be in the package, but the anticipation of opening something from home was enough to keep me excited.


Corridor living: kitchen duties 2006 October 17

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Corridor Living, Helpful Hints, Home vs. Sweden.

“Kitchen duties” is a nice way to put it. In my hall, we call it something else:

kitchen bitch
That’s right. We make no politically-correct apologies.

Yeah, I was Kitchen Bitch this week. It entailed putting away dishes that were on the drying rack, taking out trash and recycling, and mopping and sweeping the floor at the end of the week. It’s really not that strenuous work at all, but taking out the trash is really disgusting – you’re emptying what twelve people are leaving in the trash cans.


What I miss (part one) 2006 September 26

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Food & Drink, Home vs. Sweden, I miss..., Miscellaneous.

Although I’m having a blast here and it’s a great time, I’d thought I’d write about a few things I miss quite a bit:

  • Peanut butter. Sure, you can find it here in Sweden, but it’s kind of expensive for the rate at which I’d be using it. My mum says she’ll ship some to me.
  • The mountains. Even the hills here are sorta weak. Though, I have to admit, there are some advantages to being at this lower altitude!
  • Good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll. I mean real rock ‘n’ roll. There’s really no such thing here. There are some great musicians, yeah, but it seems like there is no familiarity with “anything with a guitar.” Bergin and I were talking to a French student about music and he didn’t seem to get the fine lines between rock, folk, bluegrass, country, etc., and it’s pretty much because you can’t find too much of it on this particular side of the pond. It’s like it gets lost once it hits the UK. Of course the bigger acts are known here but it’s not necessarily the bigger acts who have the best rock. Anyways, there’s a good amount of hip hop and house at the clubs, plus some of the good 80’s stuff and decent pop, but it seems it’s either that side of the spectrum or really angsty metal music.
  • Baseball and American football. Practically nobody around here would know what the heck I was talking about if I talked about blocked punt returns, infield singles, the seventh-inning stretch or rushing yards.
  • Driving. It’s not so much being able to get somewhere by car, it’s driving itself. I’ve always loved driving and I am a pretty good driver at that. I think I would love highway driving here.


Swedes elect new ruling party 2006 September 19

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Home vs. Sweden, Politics, Swedish News.

After being bombarded with election information since the second I stepped off the plane, I’ve witnessed a Swedish election firsthand and managed to learn quite a lot about the political system here. The election was held Sunday and the “Alliance” challengers have narrowly won the vote of the Swedish people in a race that has ended the 12-year reign of the Social Democratic Party.

As a non-Swede, it’s not that passionate of an issue to me, to be completely honest. On the contrary, it was almost much more interesting than it was frustrating to watch a national election; I’m used to wringing my hands at the American election results and either being incredibly disappointed or completely joyous. Due to my status as a non-citizen, it seemed to me that I spent a lot more time listening to the candidates’ views and analyzing how those views were constructed, instead of rooting for my side.

Since I’m taking a Swedish politics course right now, we’ve been discussing the parties and how elections are conducted. It was certainly a great time to take the course. Our professor, an instructor that was stepping in for the person originally intended to teach the course, was actually on the local ballot for the Moderate Party (Moderata Samlingspartiet, or Moderaterna). The Moderates were the leaders of the “Alliance” that defeated the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraterna) and are considered a right-leaning/conservative party. Of course, this definition is all relative, but newspapers were declaring Sweden to now be “blue” (the color that represents the conservatives, contrary to the United States color associations).


Settled in Uppsala 2006 August 21

Posted by @jennyjenjen in Home vs. Sweden, I miss..., Travel.

I’ve finally arrived in Uppsala, and have plenty to tell!

However, my Internet is not yet enabled and I am checking mail from a computer in the student union. I will hopefully be hooked up soon and will have time to write posts. For now, I can give you a teaser about what I am to write:

  • Getting Lost in Uppsala 101
  • I love flying!
  • Haggling in Swedish for a bicycle
  • Strange customs, strange coincedences (or is it really that strange?)

Uppsala is very beautiful and the weather is quite nice, so I am enjoying it while it lasts. I don’t miss home too much quite yet. Besides my family, friends, and dog, I do miss flexible store hours, being able to drive if I need to, cheap bus fare, my extensive wardrobe and Illegal Pete’s. While I’m on the topic of Illegal Pete’s, I also miss Jamba Juice, Half Fast, and Hapa Happy Hour. I don’t miss pollution, lots and lots of cars, the Bush administration, and driving everywhere (it has its pros and cons, you see). Strangely enough, I don’t really miss English; there is plenty of English spoken here, and when I can’t manage in English, I manage in Swedish pretty well (you’ll see when I tell about getting my bicycle).

Now, off to town!