Friday, December 31, 2010

“Home is not where you live, but where they understand you” ~ Christian Morganstern

Well, where did I last leave you in the adventures of Theresa?  hmmm... oh yes, Christmas.  I have had a Christmas very similar to Hanukkah in which I get presents several times over the course of a few weeks :)  It has been great!

After Christmas dinner at Eva's I went out with Hans, Magnus and Sara for drinks with Hans' friend Andreas (the giant).  Apparently, it is very common to go out and party with your friends on Christmas night in Sweden.  It is kind of similar to our Thanksgiving Eve parties... everyone is in town and very happy... so lets go drink!  We went to this very short bar which was in an old cellar but really cool.  The short thing didn't affect me so much but Magnus and Andreas had to stoop over when they walked around! Here are some pictures:
 Sara (Hans', pictured here, girlfriend) requested that this one makes it on the blog ;)
 This is what he normally looks like.

 Magnus and Sara
 Andreas the giant
 The fam!
 Artistic shot over a glass of beer... blame Magnus
 Hans bought the table a bottle of champagne.  He is so cool he even had them pour one out just because he can... just kidding!
 But he was very generous and we all enjoyed a few glasses.
 Me dancing at the table... yes, that is my dancing face.
 Andreas the giant... I think this is his American look.
 Sara, what are you doing?
Blue Steel!

Then there was some real dancing... where we stood up I mean.  Andreas had to dance a little bent over at times because of the ceiling! It was a lot of fun and a lot of drinking which then led to raiding the fridge when we got home!! yum :)

The next day I went to Stockholm with Hans and Sara and then to the airport to try and make it home to NC.  I am sure you have all heard of the chaos that is the north east... mainly Newark.  Well, that is where I was supposed to fly into!  I was concerned but optimistic, usual Theresa mode.  I got to Arlanda, the Stockholm airport and it said my flight was only 1 hour delayed! Great! I got on the plane and my view was this:

 Then we sat on the plane for 2 more hours while they de-iced it... decided if we would make it to Newark and in general were really bitchy.  I don't understand why the flight attendants were so rude! We were all very nice, no one caused a scene but if you asked for anything or needed help they were super rude! Wankers.
 I managed to fall asleep, mostly because there was nothing else to do.  I had finished my book.  The movie screens stopped working about 3 hours into our flight and there was nothing to eat.  I woke up and looked out and saw this! Sooo pretty!  Then I looked over and saw someone's screen worked, they had it on the flight map but it was showing us going to Ohio.  Weird I thought, it must be a little off... why would we go to Ohio?  Then when we were about to land (this was the longest flight ever it felt like) the pilot said "well the weather in Cleveland is bla bla bla, local time is bla and our flight was 9 hours something minutes, well over an hour longer then it should have been."  WHAT?!?!? CLEVELAND?!?!?
 We sat here for about an hour deciding if we could just refuel and go to Newark, or maybe Philly or maybe they would just dump us out here and say good luck.  Which is what they ended up doing.  

I then stood in the ticket line for an hour or so with a million tall blonde Scandinavians and tiny little Asians, whose plane was also diverted here from Tokyo.  It was a mad house and I realized it was exactly what you see on TV! I was in that situation!  Weird.  I managed to get on standby for a flight to Raleigh at 7 or so... but I was second standby.  If I couldn't get on that flight I would have to wait until SATURDAY for a flight!!! WHAAAAA!  I almost joined a car ride of some other girls from my flight who were going to the east coast but decided to take my chances with standby.  I was feeling confident, went through security where NO ONE was in line because they were all still at the ticket counters.  Then sat and waited... and waited and waited.

I started feeling more and more tired... confused about what time it was... where I was and if I would get home.  I started out sitting up, reading and being coherent.  When I had an hour left till my flight I was at the point where I could barely mange to order a pizza (I couldn't remember what type I ordered), sagging in my seat and giggling uncontrollably at sarcastic comments made my airline people and goofy cleaning people.  I could barely hold conversations on my phone and was getting a little nervous about getting on the plane as the waiting area filled up more and more.  THEN I saw this:
 A BEAUTIFUL sunset... Clearly a sign that it would work out!  I had to wait for a long time to get a seat and then I had to gate check my bag of glass! eep!  I sat on the plane with a very nice guy who at one point said "you are getting visibly more tired" which didn't make me feel very good.  I finally arrived in Raleigh and could barely make sentences and Mamma and Pappa picked me up and took me home to bed!  I passed out and slept for a very long time.  Sadly, due to the time change, I woke up wide awake, but tired at 6 AM!  

Then I went to see my two best friends for a brunch.  It turned into a puppy spree for Jenny and a lunch from The Bake House!  Here is Jenny with Valerie's family's puppy:
He had to wear the cone of shame because the got fixed and ate an acorn or something.  He had belly stitches.  Very adorable but teething and tiny puppies definitely have the sharpest teeth!

These ginger bread houses were at The Bake House and absolutely adorable!

Then we went to my parents house, played with Mamma's poodle puppy Julia and exchanged gifts! It was really nice to see them both, but way too short lived!  I won't see them again until JUNE!!!!! Which is horrible.  They got me great presents and I think they enjoyed their glass gifts from me.   The rest of the time I have spent trying to get over my jet lag and cloud mind and spending time with Sam and my family.  

Yesterday, Alex and I went for a ride and then to Raleigh to buy me a deeply fabulous outfit for New Years Eve!!! I can't wait to see Sam's band play and visit all my Virginia friends!  I hope you all have a good New Years and see you in 2011!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"they got a noreaster' hittin' Newark..." ~ My international pilot

So, I spent Christmas with Eva and her family.  It was really great and lots of wonderful food! We all ate ourselves into food comas and drank lots of schnapps.

Eva had these adorable Tomtes (santas) made of wool! I kept picking them up and petting them whenever i walked past.
 It was a white Christmas, well Christmas Eve technically... this is the view out the dinning room window.
 For lunch Bjorn made jordärtskocka (sun root or Jerusalem artichoke, even though not an artichoke, more a root) soup!  It had shrimps in it and tasted much more exciting then it looked.
After coffee Hans played Santa and passed out all the presents.
 Then it was time for the Christmas Eve FEAST!!!
 Here is all the cold stuff!
 Sausages, home made liverpastje, the ham, beet salad, mussle and shirmp salad and some pork with peppers.
 Here we have the ham again, mustards, smoked eel, home made pickled herring (two delicious varieties), pickled salmon and bread.  Also, there were cheeses somewhere...
 And here are the warm things... Johnson's Delight on the right, wild mushrooms, meatballs and purple cabbage.
 The Fish plate!  Clockwise from 12 we have smoked eel, creamy pickled herring, shrimp and mussel salad, tomato pickled herring, and pickled salmon with mustard sauce. 
 The other meats plate!  Ham, pork and pepper spiral, mustard, liverpastje on bread and then sausages.
 Here is a bad picture of Johnson's Delight on the right, meatballs and then mushrooms.  My plates kept getting smaller and smaller because I was getting SO FULL! It was all amazing.  Well, I didn't like the Johnson's delight so much.  It is like potatoes au gratin with anchovies and a ton of salt.  Kind of an acquired taste I think.
 The chandelier was lit with REAL CANDLES! It was beautiful!!!
 Here is my Christmas presents! A yellow bag from my parents, beautiful smoky quartz necklace from Eva and Anders and some chocolates from Santa!  A very good Christmas Eve I would say!

The next day being Christmas we had all the leftovers for lunch!
 And this time I knew what I liked already so I could load up on that and skip the Johnson's Delight! haha
I gave these candle holders to Eva and Anders for Christmas and they even made it on the table!! Very pretty!
 After lunch and before dinner my cousins said I had to get outside.  I had been inside the apartment for over 24 hours with no fresh air at all.  So we went for a walk to get some fresh air, exercise and work up an appetite for dinner.  This is a waterfall in the city where they do a light show.  
 Rainbow icy waterfall!!
 This blue made it seem even colder with the ice being blue!
 Chandeliers hanging in the street between some houses.
 They were HUGE!!! 
 The beautifully set Christmas table!
 Glasses from Kosta all matching and beautiful  and the cloth napkin is from my Grandfather's parents with the Raven "R" on it.  We decided they are about 90 years old now! Pretty cool :)
For Christmas dinner we had roasted veggies with thyme and salt. 
Then seared tenderloin filets with cheese on top and a port sauce!  It was heavenly :) 
 Then baked Alaska for dessert!!
 I had to cut the first slice! It had a nice raspberry inside with cake on the bottom!
It was sooo good! I ate 2 slices I think :)

Then we went out to a pub after dinner to see Hans' friend.  I have some VERY hilarious pictures but will have to post them later.  Now it is time for Christmas with my family in NC!!! I am finally back in the states and happily spending time with my family and Sam in Pinehurst for a few days!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

God Jul!

Sorry for the slightly erratic posting... I am sure it will continue over the next little while.  It is hard to post and keep track of everything while traveling and being with family.  Also, there are lots of other things to do which are just more fun, honestly.

Wednesday was my last day of school, it was frigid (-24C) but we were in the factory next to the furnace luckily.  We had some Christmas porridge in the morning and said goodbye to everyone one last time.
 There was music.
 Christmas rice pudding/porridge stuff and sandwiches,
 I was told by the Norwegians to bury it in cinnamon and butter and it would be good.  The texture was a little odd and it mostly tasted of rice, butter and cinnamon... Not too exciting but not bad either.
 Then we sang some Danish song called Soren Banjomous that sounded a lot like "skiddle ma rinka dinka dink, siddle ma rinka duuuu" but in Danish... if you can imagine it.
Good bye my personal sun for a few weeks!

Then I got on the bus to Nybro, the train to Alvesta which was late and at first very cold.  I arrived in Alvesta about 30 minutes late, but luckily my connecting train to Norköpping was over an hour late so I didn't miss anything.  The worst part of the whole ordeal was that while waiting for my second train it was unbearably cold and the train kept getting delayed another 5 minutes almost every 5 minutes for about 30 minutes.  It was horrible because that wasn't enough time to go inside and warm up and we all just had to stand outside and freeze to death!
This was my view pretty much the entire time... not too exciting and very cold looking even!  I finally made it to my Aunt and Uncles and happily sat down in a warm, non-moving chair for a while.  Björn made a very delicious wok (stir fry) for dinner and finally bed.

Thursday (yesterday) we decorated the house some, did some last minute shopping, finished the Christmas Ham and finally all my other cousins arrived also.  The house is beautiful and all of the decorations are adorable and very classic at the same time:

 REAL apples around the candles!
 Advent candles with lingon berries around them.
 The Christmas Ball I mailed my Aunt and Uncle is hanging above the dining room table!
 The Christmas tree is decorated and has more then one present under it now I promise...  Hans said "that present is for Jesus" and then looked at my suitcase and said "you know we have a small car right?"  Uh oh!
 This is the Christmas Ham!  Eva has boiled it already,
 removes the skin and some of the fat,
 covers it in mustard sauce,
and bread crumbs and bakes it until it is brown.  We will eat it cold for Christmas.

In the evening we had a delicious salmon and potatoes dinner with a hollandaise sauce and lots of drinking.  But what else are the holidays for except spending quality time eating and drinking with your family?   Today, being Friday, and Christmas Eve (the big day here) we are going to have a smorgasborg, watch Donald Duck (Kalle Anka here) and open presents tonight.  Also, I may go to a late night church service with Bjorn, but I don't know if I can stay awake that late!  

I hope you all have a good Christmas Eve and get to spend lots of time with your family and loved one!