Christmas Day in Sweden

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With no other real reason to get up, I decided to attempt a Christmas breakfast; I had secretly bought gluten-free pancake mix the day before with the hopes of conjuring home holiday spirit.  Although it was nice to have something homey, the gluten-free blobs were extra tasteless without syrup or jam or home, so we made do with crunchy peanut butter, courtesy of Mrs. Fancy. The day wasn’t anything special, filled with hot chocolate, Christmas movies, relaxing, and a wonderful walk through the countryside before sunset around 3. The whole experience was surreal. We’d look at each other and say, “Can you believe we’re in Sweden? This is wild.” Continue reading “Christmas Day in Sweden”

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Christmas Eve Day

IMG_1057Christmas Eve Day I got going early and rode the three kilometers through the beautiful countryside to the supermarket. It felt like Little House on the Prairie leaving Ashton home alone in a one-room cottage, while I ventured out into the unknown wild. It was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit, bright, high clouds, and everything was muddy; it was like an early April Sunday in New England. I wheeled the old bike out of the yard and through the gate with my messenger bag, navigating the oddly paved driveway that combined large flat rocks cemented two inches apart with small pea gravel strewn all over the place, and hopped on the bike. I teetered on the oversized bike, staring at the muddy dirt road and telling myself I had enough skill to stay on. I wasted no time as my pavement-pounding mentality set in- regardless of my winter boots, jeans and cross-over-commuter bike, I zoomed through the countryside of southern Sweden. Continue reading “Christmas Eve Day”

Travel Day: Hamburg to Sweden

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Snowing and blowing in Hamburg, a Christmas trip wouldn’t be complete without a delay and running to catch your ride. I guess we Americans aren’t used to trains, because, unlike planes, you don’t have to arrive two hours before for security, check-in, and baggage check. So we were early, and in typical holiday travel fashion, our train was delayed. Continue reading “Travel Day: Hamburg to Sweden”

Christmas Begins

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Last Christmas, I told my parents I wouldn’t be coming home from Germany at all, not even for winter break. I was adamant about it; I thought everyone just stayed through the break. It was also something I never in a million years would have considered before- ask anyone who knew me growing up. So fall semester in Germany ticked along, I had no idea what I would do for break. Then one of my best friends, who is studying in Paris, offered a half-joking idea of going to Vienna and renting an apartment. From there our plans went wild. We considered apartments in Belgium, Greece, Germany, Russia, France, Switzerland, etc. etc. etc. And here I am, writing this post from the countryside of southern Sweden. Continue reading “Christmas Begins”

The Holidays Abroad

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It’s not warm and it’s not cold and it’s not pleasant. It’s damp. The leaves are old and yellow, bright yellow at this point. They contrast starkly with the gray of the bark, the gray of the sky, the gray of the damp dirt ground. These are the kinds of days in November that trick you. They are ugly but yet there is something magical about them. They come with comfort after the surprise of autumn has worn off; this is the second phase, this is the realization that winter is coming. But you’ve made it to November and threads of the holidays creep in. Happiness comes from plans for the holidays, concoctions in the kitchen, preparations of the colder days to come. Yes, there have been hard frosts and bitter rainy days, but the short respite that comes in these transition days is much welcomed. There’s a slight mist that hangs around the bare branches, making the moisture in the air visible, giving the air that distinct autumnal scent. Continue reading “The Holidays Abroad”