Sunday, June 28, 2009

Grades and Toilet Humor



So I found out my grades yesterday! I am satisfied with what I have received as it was a vast improvement from last semester (I definitely learned a hard lesson last semester, but I do believe that my improvement shows that I learned it.) I did not come here to make straight As, nor do I think it's possible in my program. I just want to get my damn master's and be done with it, and I will be doing that by August. Huzzah!

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Funny Sweden Story Time:

The first few days I spent in Sweden were in Solvik which is an area about 30 minutes outside of central Stockholm. It is a camping paradise next to Björn Borg (?) and Mark Hulio (sp?) 2 very famous Swedes..for various reasons which I wont get into...I was just bragging.

Anyways. They have 2 toilets in this camp complex which are not the typical American hole in the ground with a little stinky wooden house on top. Nope, these things were high tech, electric inferno poop burning machines. No smell (well...except when the incinerator was working), and you get to know what it's like to poo and pee in paper bags. Well, the rule was that boys pee in the woods, and girls can use the toliets to pee in, Fredrik didn't know that rule, and so at 2 am guess who was having to pee like no body's business in the woods wearing a maxi dress? (1 guess...it was me). Anyways, so, of course the next day when I decide I can't hold it any longer (I was going against nature at this point and conserving my peeing amounts), I go to this high tech poop burning toilets.

They're beeping with a red light.

This, is never a good sign.

I had not used the toliets before this very moment, I must make this clear. None of what is about to happen is really my fault. Of course, it being my luck, I am the one who feels like the moron for 'breaking' the toilets.

Well I tell Markus about the beeping, and he says it's probably just because someone didn't put enough liquid in the bag and so it didn't go to the inferno properly. So he says to flush a bag of water down to make it work or attempt to fix it.

I did this.

It did not work.

Well, what do to? Playing in water, thinking about how badly I need to pee..and only pee.

Screw it, I'll pee and add water. Can't hurt.

I was wrong. Dead. Wrong. The amounts of water I put down the toilet along with other waste product (hint hint, my release) are now coming out of the bottom of the toilet. This is what I sounded like, "OH SHIT! OH HOLY SHIT! NO NO NO NO NO! SHIT! GOD DAMNIT!" etc.

I go and get Markus. To make a long story short, I went with Jose to go dig a shit hole in the woods, all the while, Markus is fixing the two broken toilets. As it turns out, if paper gets into a certain part of the toilet, it doesn't incinerate anymore...meaning that there is a back up issue. It's a safety hazard if paper gets in the wrong area (talk about setting your pants on fire. haha), so 30 people over 4 days, many of whom were drunk boys (and we all know what happens when you drink too much). Yep. Gross. Gross Gross. Markus, being the trooper that he is, cleaned out both toilets to working perfection. He is demanding a discount/refund from the people. I think it was well earned.


And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a testiment to my ridiculous luck with toilets and bodily functions.

Sometimes, it's just better to shit in the woods.

<3 <3

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Swedish Coffee, Boyfriends, and Cheese Slicers-- My Swedish Vacation


Hello Lovers

I have, very regrettably, returned to Glasvegas from Sunny Sweden.

I loved it.

I know, I know, I know, that I was blessed with some of the best weather Sweden has to offer, but you all need to understand, that even if Sweden isn't always like that (um can we say 25 C slight breeze and no clouds? Oh yes, I think we just did.) It is still far superior to anything I've seen from Glasgow (except that mysterious summer weather that made an appearance when I was in Paris, since I wasn't here for that, I refuse to believe it actually happened.)

I loved Sweden. LOVED IT. Sweden was exactly what I was expecting with a few surprises. The first being that Kalmar, where Fredrik is from, is like Sweden's answer to Troy, Ohio, where my mother is from, where my grandparents still live, and where I would love to live some day. Why? Because it's pretty, safe, picturesque, and not too large, but with a large city close enough to do serious shopping damage in (as we all know this is nessecary to my survival). Kalmar is beautiful and quiet and calm. It is medival with a castle, on the sea side, and the streets are covered with bicycles. Wildlife and pretty people are everywhere (mostly Fredrik, I hadn't seen him for a couple weeks, so he was looking like Adonis to me). I just really loved Kalmar...I can't really say anything other than that I guess? Plus, I got to see some of his friend's flats, and I was (and still am) playing the "This is what Abby and Fredrik's Swedish Flat will look like!" Game. It's one of my favorite games. Plus, IKEA has come out with this awesome home decorator free software...Um..totally obsessed.


On top of Kalmar I also visited (briefly) Stockholm, Öland, and Göteburg. From what I saw of the two main cities (aka Öland is excluded from this discussion, but I will give my opinions in the next paragraph), Stockholm is prettier than Göteburg (Gothenburg). After seeing the beauty in Stockholm, Kalmar, and Öland, I was just a bit dissappointed in the industrial-ness of Gothenburg... It wasn't very picturesque...very much just...a big city. Of course, I only saw a tiny fraction of it, and very briefly...However, except for Kalmar, that was how all of my tours went. Briefly. So my brief opinion is that Stockholm is prettier.

I preferred Kalmar over all....Gothenburg has the shopping. So train rides for weekend shopping trips is perfectly doable.


Öland was just amazing.

Fredrik grew up there, he is a 'real' islander. His grandmother (mother's mother) still lives there, and still owns the farm where she grew up, and where Fredrik played as a little boy. It was very cool. We paid a visit to his grandmother and helped her out around the place since her husband has passed and she lives alone. It was an interesting experience...mostly due to the fact that she is really hard of hearing, my Swedish is rubbish, and she would still mumble to me in Swedish. So it was a good time. The island is also cool, because 1. there are viking burial mounds 2. old wooden windmills are everywhere and 3. you can see the sea on either side of the island.

On top of seeing where Fredrik was from, I finally got to meet (everyone?) that has influenced Fredrik in one way or another. I was very happy to finish meeting his massive amounts of friends (and re-meeting ones I have met before). Everyone was so nice and really friendly (keeping in mind the swedish stereotype of people being standoffish, having a swedish boyfriend helps in this matter i believe...plus they're cool people anyways). Karl had a bbq and that's where I finished meeting most of the people. Mostly the girls with a couple of boys that didn't make it to Scotland in April. I had one interesting experience that I really want to write about, mostly for her, and for anyone else who has this 'fear'. One of the girls in the group was, I am assuming and was basically told, was nervous to speak to me in English. She understood everything I said, in English, but was nervous and did not like the idea of speaking English to me. Mostly, from what I've gathered, is because she was concerned about being judged on her English by a native English speaker. This is not the first time a non-native speaker has done this, and probably wont be the last. However, I wish I would have known this at the party, because I would have really made it clear that I don't judge people for speaking a second language, no matter how 'bad' it is. How can I? I have no right to do that, especially when I am not bi-lingual in any language, and am barely understanding Swedish. She was already way ahead of me in the ball game if she could understand everything I said, because I couldn't understand her. I just feel bad when people feel this way, because, it's an unnessecary fear. I honestly can't think of a single american friend of mine (or British really) that would judge someone for speaking English poorly...especially when you're in their country.

It was just a bummer, because I was looking forward to meeting her and having some sort of chat. I dont want people to be nervous in any situation..especially if it involves talking to me. It's ok though, I will just have to practice my Swedish more. Maybe the next visit we can have some sort of Swenglish conversation.

But speaking of Swedish-English conversations..I had a humerous observations in Kalmar. Fredrik, some of his friends, and his family (mother in particular) take a sharp breath in with an 'ah' sound (like you're gasping for breath kinda or shocked) as a way to say 'yes'. scared the crap out of me when I first heard his mom do it. I thought something bad had happened or was said. This wasnt the case, but it scared me nonetheless. Then I became acutely aware of it and noticed that almost everyone does it. Then, it just became funny...and really interesting, and finally, when I was in the care to Gothenburg with Fredrik, Petter, and Elin, I asked, 'what the hell is up with the breathing thing?!'. Of course, Fredrik was totally confused at first and I had to really explain it...then he looked at me like I was a bit silly, and either Petter or Elin (or both?) said it was probably just them saying 'yes'.


Elin and I had a really great chat when we met about visas etc. Her boyfriend is Turkish, and they had to go through the whole visa ordeal to get him into Sweden. She and I chatted about the whole process, and what it was like, and the time it took. Also, that my blog is perfect to use as a way to prove Fredrik and I's relationship (Hej Migrationsverket!) since this thing has documented our whole relationship (I even write about meeting him for the first time September.) More and more, it is looking like I will be moving to Sweden within the next year or so. This is for different reasons, but mostly Fredrik and I can't stand this seperation and I am ready to leave the UK, and I really want to move to Sweden. Glasgow has served its purpose, and I fulfilled a long dream to live here, but now, I'm ready to move on. So, more than likely (highly likely), I will be moving home sometime in the fall/winter. Either 1. to get a job and prepare for Fredrik to move to the US to do his thesis work with an American engineering company or 2. to work to save money up for when Fredrik finishes his work and has a job in Sweden, so I can move, and we can get by while I learn Swedish and find a decent job (hopefully within my field. Fredrik and I have agreed that it is really possible for me to get work as an English speaking guide for art museum/castles/etc). However, I am leaving my options open. I would not be moving to Sweden to start an amazing museum career (though it would be cool), but I would be going to be with Fredrik and to have a chance to learn from a different country, a different language, and have an adventure. As long as I have a job I enjoy and I feel good at, then I'll be happy.:) Plus, I loved Sweden, so I think I'll enjoy myself...I'll just need to buy a huge 'Happy Light' for those dark winters.

Ok.. so I took over 200 photos in Sweden, clearly that's too much for this blog, so here is my facebook album link. Enjoy.

And that, my friends, is at least one Sweden post. I have other funny stories to write about, but I just dont have it in me at the moment.

<3 <3

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Life Updates and Paris

Hello Lovers,

Well, I am slowly recovering from Fredrik moving back to Sweden. I'm going there on Friday to celebrate Midsommar and have my first official visit. I wish I had my Kirsten American Girl Doll to carry around with me. ;) Though I didn't have her springy/summery outfit. Mostly winter clothing...

anyways.

Life update.

Right now, all I am doing is working on my dissertation and trying to figure out what I am going to do after Glasgow. Scotland's weather is really getting to me, and the entire lack of summer...though we've had warmer and sunnier days the past week (I say this is the Universe trying to cheer me up, but only partially succeeding. Give me an 82 degree sunny day, then we'll talk.) My dissertation is due August 27th and from then on, I really don't have to go to school ever ever again. (Until I decide (stupidly) that I want to do a PhD. (haha.) My 'summer' is being spent working on the dissertation (18th Century women's clothing & Comfort--focus on stays). Travelling to Sweden on Friday and staying for a week, then I'll be in London/Liverpool with Brooke to look at clothing collections and hang out (I'm very excited for my grand return back to Londontown after 3 long years! Even if it is for only a day)

After that, depending on my schedule and my dissertation I'm going to desperately try to get home in early/mid august with Fredrik (this is becoming a greater challenge as time goes on. grr). He's never been, and with us trying to figure out our next step (this long distance thing is unnacceptable to both of us.) We have three options. 1. I stay in the UK and he comes here. 2. We move to America (he found out he can do his thesis work in any country, and there are a lot of Swedish companies that have posts in America...one of which is in Chicago --- though I want to be in Virginia. 3. I move to Sweden! I am more willing to move to Sweden than to stay in Glasgow at this point. Though it's just as far North, I like the idea of the adventure that moving to Sweden and learning Swedish will bring. So, we dont' know what we're going to do yet, but hopefully the decision will be easy, successful, and a good one. :)

Also, I'm continuing my massive Masqurade 18th Century project. Stays and a waistcoat are next. Fredrik's shirt is finished, and I'll post it on my new blog 'Stay-ing Alive' (haha get it?) I haven't really updated it yet (surprised? I think not) but that's where I am going to try and put up all of my projects so it's organized and wont clutter this blog. I got all my fabric for my gown and Fredrik's Breeches and Waistcoat (lovely golden yellow and white silk stripe)

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So...I went to Paris.

:) Mom & Vicky came for a lovely visit to Glasvegas with an AMAZING 6 day stay in Paris! Our hotel was amazing, and the weather was even better. Mom and Vicky had a balcony and so many a night was spent watching the 18 year old parisians throw a party next door, get busted by the cops, and spy in people's flats. (It's creepy, but I really like knowing how people decorate)

Our first full day was spent at Versailles, where I got to see a wonderful 18th Century Court Costume exhibit. Most of the clothing was actually from Sweden (oddly enough), because of the damn French Revolution destroying so much stuff. It was great though, just a little crowded at some points. When I'm in situations like that, and I am really there because of my love for the subject, I get incredibly pissed off when there are tons of school kids there who actually don't give a damn. It's annoying. Actually, the tourists at Versailles were just annoying in general. Tons of tour groups. Tons of kids, tons of flash photography (omg I wanted to break everyone's camera when we were in rooms with textiles)

Versailles was cool...but all the tourists clog the energy of the place. You can't just enjoy it...you're rushed, pushed, shoved, hot, annoyed, and fighting with everyone to get the 'perfect' picture of Marie Antoinette's Bed (like, okay 10000000s of tourists who don't actually care about it, are you EVER gonna look at those again? I think not.)

It was lovely though, Versailles is just aboslutely majestic, and it was enjoyable to think about what the life there would have been like. (Like an oversex drug and booze filled High School?)

The next day Fredrik and I went roaming around Montmatre, which was a huge goal of mine. We had this card deck of walks around Paris (brilliant product), and there were several Montmatre walks, so we saw ALLLLL of Montmatre, including the horrible tourist traps. It was much prettier when the mass crowds are gone. Paris can be a very quiet and cozy city when you're in the right areas I discovered. We had crepes and wine for lunch, again, lovely. :)

We also went to the Eiffel Tower at night, Musee D'Orsay, some other random neighborhoods, and hung out with mom and vicky too. They had a slightly different agenda so we didn't do too much with them, which was a bummer. However Fredrik and I went to the Jewish Quatre in Paris, and Mom and Vicky met up with us, and that was nice. I really liked that neighborhood. :)

Sheesh...I'm forgetting what all we did..it was all a blur.. anyways...here are some pictures that Fredrik took.







Paris was good. :)

Alright, it's time for me to get going....but first I need to change my layout back to the old way, I'm not a fan of the new one.

<3 <3

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Blah.

Mom's left.
Heloise left.
Fredrik left today.

I don't think I've cried this much in a week since my dog died when I was 16.

Time to distract myself with my dissertation.