September 23rd, 2010



I have lived in Sweden for nearly 14 years. Is that right? Did I count correctly? I moved here in January of 1997, so if I take my gloves and shoes and socks off and wiggle my toes and ignore Mr Numbers' malicious grin and start on my pointer finger with January 1998 and add 99, 2000, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, means that when January 2011 rolls around 14 years will have gone by since we moved to Europe.

We've done a lot of things since we moved to Sweden. We've been to Stockholm and Gothenburg and Ystad and Smygehuk (the southernmost point). We been to the coast on both sides and the cliffs of Kullen and the glass factories of Småland. We've been on a boat in the archipelago and celebrated midsummer with frog dances and strawberries and snapsvisor.

I've been to crayfish parties and I've tried lutfisk and surströmming and 80 different kinds of herring at various Christmas smörgåbords. I've learned the language and can even pronounce the sj and sk sounds relatively well. Sju sju sju! Sju sjuka sköterskor, etc.

But despite having lived here for nearly 14 years there are still things I haven't done, places I haven't been, things I haven't seen. Kate, a new AWC member also here with a Swede, just wrote a great post about mushroom-hunting. I've never hunted mushrooms. Much as I love mushrooms, I'm too big of a chicken. Even my BROTHER has learned to hunt mushrooms and he hates the damn things and won't touch them cooked (they're just as crazy about mushroom-hunting in Germany as in Sweden).

I haven't seen the Midnight Sun either. We keep talking about taking a trip up north during the summer, to see Uppsala and Jokkmokk (a name I adore) and all the way up to Kiruna and go hiking about, although sometimes the talk turns to the northern Swedish mosquitoes reputed to be as big as helicopters in summer and my heart quails a bit.

And I haven't become a Swedish citizen. Still! The Swedish government changed their ruling on dual citizenship in 2001, so I've had plenty of time to get off my duff and apply. My nominal excuse is that I keep finding other uses for the application fee of 1500 kronor. And since you must send in your passport, I can't do it now either, since I am traveling to the States in a few weeks. Maybe when I return, I'll do it for my Christmas present to myself!

Neither have I been to the Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi (another great name) though I HAVE visited the much lamer ice BAR, both the one in Stockholm and as of this week, the one in Copenhagen. We were there as part of a dinner/work activity in conjunction with the Global Marketing Meeting held this week at our office. It's quite a cool concept (hee!) but since I don't drink, much of the enjoyment is doubtless wasted on me. I thought I could get a virgin cocktail at least, but it turns out that the drinks are pre-mixed so the only non-alcoholic choices available to me were orange juice or pineapple juice. I ended up with a frozen orange juice slushy in my ice glass just minutes after she handed it to me since there was no alcohol to keep it liquidated. Drrr.

It often seems that the only way to really see the sights in the area you live is to have visitors from out of town, or better yet, out of the country. It forces you to become a tourist in your own backyard, so to speak. I need more visitors!

What have you never done in your hometown that you think it's high time you put on the calendar?