Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

I am back to work now the last two weeks. Easing Stumbling back into everyday life… – funny how that happens so fast again even after almost three weeks off.

I had a lovely two weeks in Sweden visiting family. We have a few new family members this year and it was fun meeting everyone though I am not 100% sure of what they thought about meeting their “great-aunt”… lord, am I really a great-aunt!? Scary!

The two weeks were pretty hectic, seems like there were 50 people around most of the time. Not to mention several dogs, horses and cats. Even with all the visiting and seeing everyone; it was great. So much laughter and catching up.

I started in Copenhagen in Denmark and then went up the east coast of Sweden to my parents for a few days. I could only stay for a few days as they have a smaller apartment and with three adults, two cats and one dog it does get crowded. Not to mention that although I love my parents to bits; I can only take that many days before I go slightly mad. We then drove to my brother’s place which is inland. Well, I drove. I persuaded my Dad to let me drive his car. He was notably nervous as I mainly drive on the left hand side these days (he frequently reminded me every time we came to a roundabout…). Well let’s face it, I was not going to travel 200km at 60km/hour due to my Dad’s regrettably slightly diminished eyesight.

I stayed a good few days at my brother’s place. They live in the middle of nowhere. It is fab. So quiet at night. Surrounded by forest, horses, big dogs and seemingly a constant stream of people. Most days there were at least eight of us. I helped out a bit on the farm and loved it. Though I was less fond of those blasted horse flies and mosquitoes that took a liking to me. I did not understand why they were biting me like never before until I realized that they seemed to like the body-butter I used. So hint, hint… Body Shop’s Body Butter is great but avoid in the vicinity of horse flies. Though everyone else was grateful…

My sister and her partner (or maybe I should say boyfriend.. though can you really say boyfriend if someone is over 45?? Haven’t figured it out) arrived on her birthday so we had a great birthday celebration. I laughed until my belly hurt.

Then I left with my sister to go and see my nephew who lives in the most gorgeous idyllic place, in a place that is the essence of the county where I am from; Småland. He and his family live in this gorgeous red wooden house with white corners built in the 1600’s. They are surrounded by lakes, cows and more dogs and cats (seems to be an ongoing theme in my family).

Then as my last stop I stayed with my sister on the west coast of Sweden. Shopping, a bit of sunbathing (when the sun decided to actually make an appearance), a round of mini-golf (which I suck at ), lots of chats and laughter and meeting everyone else (and again some more dogs and cats).

The weather was not great unfortunately during my two weeks but I had so many laughs that it did no matter. Not to mention all the absolutely fantastic food. I normally do not have a second helping but during these two weeks I ate until I was stuffed til bursting point. Best food ever! Oh a few beers, cocktails and wine found its way to me as well…

Then it was back to Dublin for a few days of chilling. I rounded off my holiday with a long (20km) walk along the coast of Dublin with a good friend. The sun was shining (for once) and it was fabulous.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures. Hope you all had a lovely July as well!!

All quiet in the hood:

Småland:

Then there was a bit of time for just pure chilling as well:

The last two weeks have passed really, really fast and I am once again back in Dublin. I have had a great time in Sweden and could write a long detailed account about all the good times, hysterical laughs, great conversations, lively discussions, divine wines drunk and fabulous food eaten… but… I decided not to. Instead I will focus on what tickled my senses and share a few photos with you.

Because it is easy to just write down a point by point description of what I did but this was a holiday that I tried to experience with all my senses. In a way that really relaxed me and did what it was supposed to do – recharge me. So I will try to do my best to convey this to you. If I fail, well then at least you will know one thing… it still was a fabulous holiday!

Laughs with my brother. The smell of paint in the summer air. The sun warming in my back as I work away. Muscles aching in the evening. Feeling relaxed.

The scent of freshly cut grass. The adrenaline when I nearly keeled over – lawn mover go-kart…

That first taste of a cold beer after a day outside. The divine smell from the BBQ.

The sense of calm in the forest. Seeing the light filtering through the trees. The peace all around.

The amazing scent of fir trees after a warm summer shower.

The sweet taste of wild strawberries.

The belly aching laughs when playing Kinect with my sister and brother. The groans of embarrassed despair when seeing the recordings of said gameplay.. (and forget it, NOT sharing those.. ).

The beauty of all the many small lakes dotted between the trees. Sinking into warm still water as the sun sets. The faint sound of buzzing insects.

The smell of the salty ocean. The laughter from children running into the water. Sand between my toes. The sun warming my tummy. The intoxicating scent of sun-kissed skin. Feeling the world slowly tuning out as my eyes get heavy and I snooze in the sun.

The smooth taste from a 10yr old Tullamore Dew single malt. Feeling thoughtful, happy and content in the evening sun.

Calm sea. Not even a breeze to be felt. Distant cries from seagulls echo across the water.

Walking through Ale forest along the coast. A bird sanctuary can be found in a small swamp. The green colours are amazing. The buzzing and blood sucking mosquitoes are not as amazing. The itching bites are annoying but still… part of summer.

The food… oh the fabulous food. Every bite to be savored. Taste bud heaven.

The stormy spray of sea mist. The wind blowing through my hair. Giggles as we try to get at least one pic we both can live with.

Dublin Airport

Image via Wikipedia

It is finally that time again. Holiday time! I started my holiday today by going to the hairdresser and my hair is a vibrant red again. All cut and styled and looks good. The red will hopefully last a while but it does have a tendency to wash out quickly and get stuck everywhere else; my sheets, my towels, down the drain… Whoever invents a nice red hair colourant that doesn’t wash out so fast is onto a winner. As long as it isn’t a carroty red – cos that is maybe not THAT great…

In less than two days I will head to Dublin airport and then off to Sweden I go. Bag will be packed with shorts and tops, flip-flops and oh maybe a pair of jeans (this is where I am challenging the weather gods to behave and let it stay sunny and warm for the next two weeks).

As per usual I will forget something semi-important and pack too much stuff that I won’t use. I will get dazzled in the airport shop and ignore the sorry state of my credit card and happily find more stuff I do not really need. The obligatory shopping spree in the booze section is not to be forgotten. Why does everyone I know like whiskey so much?

As I am no longer capable of being totally off-line I will spend a substantial part of my holidays checking-in on FB at various locations, just so that all can keep tabs on me. Why you might ask… well ‘cos I can. It gives me a weird and something a shrink would find fascinating freaky sense of achievement doing so (yes I know, we could derive many issues out of that statement but lets not).  This blog will suffer a bit unfortunately as I will not have much time to spend blogging but I will follow-up when I am back. As I will be staying with family the whole time I am away my internet access will suffer somewhat. Thank god for smartphones and this is where I once again will ignore financial drawbacks – in this case my forthcoming phonebill.

I will spend the beginning of my holidays at my parents. Will definitely not have much internet access there. Am pretty sure they have not even heard of WIFI. They do have a PC and internet but trying to explain why I need to go on that “facebook thing” as my Dad calls it will just be too much work. As per usual procedure when I am visiting my parents I will regress back to a 14 year old, which always happens after a day in their presence. I just have to accept the fact that I will start coming out with heavy sighs, go all “ahhh but Muuuuum”, demand my favorite foods and argue with my Dad about the remote control. I might go insane…

After those “rejuvenating” days I will stay with my brother and his family and then with my sister after that. I am looking forward to meeting all, have many laughs, lots of outdoorsy days and evenings, nice food, lots of a few drinks and just a good time.

Tomorrow I have to bring my cats to the cattery. They will stay in this really nice place on the country side with a dedicated little hut and their own enclosed outdoor space… it is like a cool luxury cat hotel. Still… I will miss the little buggers and I have a funny feeling they know what is coming considering the major sucking up that is happening this evening. As the drive to this place will be a little under an hour I will be treated to howling cats in the car. They are not too fond of driving… anywhere.

Once I am back I will hopefully have lots of pictures that I can share with you (note to self – remember to bring camera). No dreadful bikini shots will be included.

So adios for now and hope you all will have a great few weeks of summer ahead wherever you are!

 

 

OK, 2010 is over very soon… it has been an interesting year. I have tried to compile a list of highlights for me this year.

  • I realized that I loved my newly bought car and that I had forgotten how much fun it was to driiiive. Yay!

  • Learned to snowboard and went on not one but two winter holidays! (Yes my credit card was pretty exhausted by this…).

  • Realized that I needed to change jobs. From sales to something different. I worked in a great team with great people but a change was needed. I found something new and so far… so good, even if I am mad busy at times.

  • I started blogging! Then went from blogging anonymously to blogging as just… me.

  • Continued with Bujinkan Budo Taijitsu and realized more and more that I truly enjoy and love it.

  • Spent a good few days at the west coast in Sweden soaking up the rays on the beach with my sister. Sun… bliss!

  • Had a blast at my Mum’s 70th birthday party with the whole family gathered.

  • Spend some days with my brother and his family and just chilled out.

  • Gained confidence in myself and what I can do.

  • Had laser eye surgery done – was very scary (as I can be a total scaredy cat) but so worth it! No more glasses or contacts!!

  • Spent a brilliant weekend with the girls in Prague. DARK beer anyone?

  • Got a new tattoo!

  • Came to realize a few new things about myself.

  • Made some new friends.

  • Had a fun Christmas work party and a mad Christmas party with the club. Oh the laughs!

It has been a year full of new things and new experiences and I wouldn’t have wanted it any different. Thank you all for reading about my ramblings and stumblings through my life this year. Bring on 2011!

Today it is the 1st of Advent. This symbolizes for many in Sweden the real start of the Christmas period. It is traditionally the day when most put up their Christmas decorations and in almost every window you can see an advent candelabra lighting up the dark. The Christmas markets start up properly and everywhere you go you can hear Christmas music. Lots of gingerbread cookies are eaten and lots of mulled wine is consumed. I love this time of year.

I need to go and dig out the Christmas decorations under the stairs as well. The fact that it is all white and snowy outside makes it all the more cosy. I will get it all done during the week though. Today I will just relax. I will enjoy the fact that I can spend some time on my own (well, with two furballs) as A is away on a business trip for a little while. Maybe I will have some nice hot chocolate with just a hint of rum…

Have a nice 1st Advent everyone!

Illustration depicting thought.

Image via Wikipedia

I was having a prolonged breakfast in work today with one of my colleagues (a truly fab person!) today and for some reason we briefly talked about blog post topics, probably cos she is one of the few that read my blog… thank you, thank you!! Anyhow, she suggested that I blog about the people I see everyday, i.e. my colleagues, in a very anonymous fashion obviously. I am still thinking about as I am not sure if my observations will be appreciated or not. Not that I have anything bad to say about anyone really but there is always some who would feel a bit slighted. I am pretty good at putting my foot in it and with my luck I would manage to do it to someone who for some obscure reason would read my post out of the blue. I have to mull the idea over a bit more.

Then when I got home I was reading some blogs that I follow, namely “Alone… with cats” and “Cat fur to make kitten britches” and they both had posts about family members. Great posts at that, highly recommended funny reads! It got me thinking about post topics and the fact that I have a quite eccentric family. There is probably a multitude of posts that could be written about my family and experiences from growing up in a loud, passionate German family in a small religious town in quiet part of Sweden. Being my family they at least know all of my quirks and know that when I come out with a particular odd sentence that it is totally by accident. They are all loud, shameless, mad and funny people. Though when I was growing up I was convinced that my parents were the most embarrassing parents in the world and that I had been mixed up at the maternity hospital as a baby. I love them all and wish I could see them more often but such is life. So there might be a few posts about them in the pipeline. You have been warned.

The tattoo that I have been thinking of getting will most likely be done soon. I have been in touch with a tattoo studio with my ideas and might pop in there this weekend, if I can. The artist, whose studio it is, is very good but he is unfortunately booked up until hell freezes over (slight exaggeration here) but he has 3 other artists that he has full confidence in…or so he says. Am a bit nervous about getting this tattoo which really is silly as I already have two small ones but it is probably because this one is more important to me and because I have actually put some thought into the design. I just want to makes sure it turns out well and not looking like some horrid cliché. There will be pics posted here, once I have finalized the design and it is actually inked in.

Just finished a lovely soup and salad for dinner which means I now have to clean both the laptop screen and wash my jumper… this tends to happen when a cherry tomato falls like a V-2 bomb back onto the plate making a splash landing in the dressing. Time for some cleaning.

 

The name we are given

Posted: July 1, 2010 in Rant
Tags: , , , ,

Most people I know have at some stage in their life had some kind of issue with the name they were given at birth, either feeling it is too common, too boring, too complicated and so forth. I definitely fall into the too complicated category. My mother had for some inexplicable reason developed a fondness for Russian sounding names by the time she was pregnant with me. A fondness that my sister and brother escaped – lucky them.

So it was decided that I would be named Annuschka. The specific spelling of my name is very unusual – trust me, I have tried to find others with the same spelling, googling away to no avail. I believe the original idea of the spelling was that my friends could shorten my name and call me Ann… needless to say no one ever has and even if they would I would not react to that name, not realising they mean me. Either way, I ended up with a name that was very unusual in Sweden at a time when everyone else was called Anna, Maria, Linda, Emma etc and with a spelling that everyone got wrong.

To add to the confusion I also have an unusual surname (Wiesemann). It is a German surname and quite common there but definitely not in Sweden and it is a surname which is pronounced differently in Swedish, German and in English… which means all would spell it differently. I have spent a large part of my life spelling my name letter by letter for lots of people/banks/organisations… the list is endless… and many still get it wrong.

School was interesting… as my surname starts with a “W” my name was almost always the last to be called out and as soon as there was a new teacher I knew that they would get to my name on the list, stop, hesitate and then try to pronounce my name – incorrectly. Ohhh happy days. I have also spent much time explaining that yes I am from Sweden, yes I speak Swedish, yes I have a German background, no I am not from Russia or have any Russian connection part from my mothers fondness for Russian sounding names (I might blame that on all those “Dr Zivago” type films that she loves). One has to remember that nowadays there are lots more international names flying around in Sweden but in the 80’s, not too mention that we lived in the middle of nowhere in the countryside, most people were not used to “foreign” names.

When I moved abroad I was actually surprised to find lots of people who could pronounce my name correctly – even though the spelling still is an issue. There are definitely perks to living in a city with a multi-national population. When I was younger my name was a bigger issue for me than it is today. It is now part of whom I am, part of my identity – even though I have to confess that there are still plenty of times when I wish I had a simpler more “international” name.

So where do I want to go with this… maybe just pointing out to people out there and especially to parents that you might like the idea with a different, unique name but remember that it is your child that has to live with it… not you. Just keep it real.
Rant over.
And really… I kind of like my name now. At least I always know whom people are calling for when I hear my name – no mix-up. Guaranteed.