Posts Tagged ‘sweden’

Sweden: Two Weeks in Photographic Review

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Like a glass of tasty bubbles, all good things must come to an end..

Click the first thumbnail and use the arrow keys to advance.

Check the Sweden tag for all posts from my time abroad.

The End is Near

Monday, June 24th, 2013

Taken by Per, celebrating an excellent second-to-last day in Stockholm, and the purchase of my keepsake from Sweden which I am wearing. We are all a little sad that I am leaving tomorrow.

Happy solstice from Sweden

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Midsummer

We opted for a long walk and movies at home.

Nail documentation

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

Figured it was about time to document my awesome nails, which are soon to be dispensed of in the name of my vocation.

Back in child and young adulthood, my nails were so thin and fragile that I could only get them about half this long before they tore off. Even the length I did have was rather useless, because they would bend when I applied pressure to them, and be so delicate when wet it was downright stressful.

This is all the growth (on my right hand, my left, save for my thumb, are still short for instrument playing) from my trip minus the small amount of length I lost when I shaped them in NYC, and they have proven to be much more sustainable than previous attempts to keep my fingernails.

I have gotten an exorbitant amount of pleasure in having them for all sorts of reasons, including how they look, how useful they are, and how they indicate that I have grown healthier over the years.

I will miss them when they are gone.

Woman Laughing Alone With Salad

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Photographed by Mute Photo Concept in Stockholm, Sweden

Mute Photo Concept: digital artwork

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Photographed by Mute Photo Concept in Stockholm, Sweden and post processed by me

Nalle

Monday, June 17th, 2013

“My heart wants roots. My mind wants wings. I cannot bear their bickerings.” – E.Y. Harburg

Midnight in Sweden

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Meeting Stockholm

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

In the airport feeling sad and disconnected, so I bought myself a new friend.

One of the stewardesses on my flight asked me if I’d named her yet, and when I said I hadn’t, she declared that her name is Nalle, which is Swedish for “teddy”. For some reason I was really touched by that. Once the stewardess had moved on, I petted Nalle’s head and cried quietly for a little bit.

It seems, having traveled internationally now a few times, that my body tends to freak out a little on these long flights. Maybe planes tend to fly higher for longer trips or the amount of time I am in the air matters, but for both my Ireland and Sweden flights I’ve had weird shit happen to me physically.

This time, after an hour or so in the air, I felt nauseous and had the salivation indicative of impending vomit. I noticed I was incredibly sensitive to the loo chemicals and was getting waves of discomfort every time someone opened the lavatory doors a few rows behind me.

Based off my experience after eating the (delicious tasting) airline food last time, I skipped dinner this time around, and thankfully I wasn’t very hungry anyway having eaten before the flight. My stomach was sour and I couldn’t escape the discomfort, so I went to the lavatory to stick my head closer to the chemicals that seemed to be contributing to the feeling and try to throw up.

About a half dozen dry heaves later, I realized that wasn’t going to do anything for me either, and decided to sit back down. I never lost consciousness like I did last time, but I did fold in half and rest my head on Nalle and the tray table, periodically falling into a deep strange sleep that felt like a heavy energetic vortex.

It was like I was tapping into a river running under my conscious brain which then sucked me down into sleep. It felt sourceful and calming despite what I appeared to be having to go through to get to it. Notably, I haven’t felt the hopeless alien sadness that I’d been battling, fairly consistently from the beginning of my trip, since. It was like I reconnected with myself a little.

Periodically, I’d wake up in a haze, having to burp up giant amounts of gas, both folded over and then urgently having to sit up to let more out or risk choking on it. Then I’d get more light headed again, feel the river, get sucked back down, and fall asleep for another hour or two.

Eventually my body stabilized, with no cold wet sweats or voided bladders. Later on in the flight, about an hour before landing, my sinuses and teeth ached but also balanced out, and thankfully none of my descents have resulted in ear pain or uncontrollable pressure which is very common for me.

I was glad to have Nalle for the rough parts, and the rest of the flight was pretty uneventful. I tried to watch the new Cirque movie, but found myself completely bored, so settled on the Bill Murray film “Hyde Park on Hudson” which I related to in ways I wasn’t expecting. Customs was a breeze, and Per was waiting for me at the airport.

Per explained to me on the ride home in no uncertain terms that my trip to Sweden was his gift to me, which included my food, our shared outings, and necessities like a transit and bike pass. The way he presented these facts left me totally at ease and immediately feeling lighter for not anticipating nickel and dimeing myself and continuing to skip meals to save money, which I kinda hadn’t realized I’d been doing this whole time already.

And then I saw the house. Shit on me this place is fucking adorable. Tinyhouse inspirations everywhere, including their incredibly compact bathroom and exceptionally comfortable stripy fold out loveseat.

I’ve said more than once that, god forbid they both die in a plane crash or something, I’ll totally take the condo, and I’m up for house sitting with enough notice to get back here.

Their cat, Bosse (boo-sah), is super chill and largely keeps to himself but gives a little cat dudenod when you give him some attention.

Per is on an extended vacation right now, and up for adventure, or lazing around, or both, which we are doing all of in spades. Ingrid, his supercool wife, will also be on vacation next week, and I’m really excited to have girl time with her getting facials and shit. She’s on the quieter side, so Per and I are doing the social things, like Karaoke, after she goes to sleep (which is early).

We’re authoring a list of stuff we’re all interested in doing together which includes some neat museums, walking through a massive graveyard, a flea market, some schmancy food (you’ve never had OYSTERS? BLASPHEMEY!), and checking out a 16th century warship.

Thus far we are gelling nicely and they basically think I’m the best houseguest ever. I’m sleeping a fuckton, letting them feed me and doing dishes. I feel as though coming here is really cementing an already genuine and long term friendship and adding to my membership of chosen family. It feels good, especially to have another strong woman in the fold that I connect well with.

I had hoped this trip would feel more breezy and vacation-y once I left America, and I am glad that is what came to pass. It’s been rainy and cold here, too, but the sun came out today, and will on other days, and really the periodic rain is a good cue for me to take the day to chill out and rest. Now that I’m finally doing that and don’t seem to be so chewed up inside I don’t mind it very much.

As the three of us wandered through a small portion of Stockholm looking at antique shops and hitting up a cafe for fika and shrimp sandwiches, I was reminded again of one of the reasons I think it takes transplanting myself into different cultures to relax; Being in a place where I can’t read the signs produces a calm something like being in nature, in that it is impossible for me to be accosted by advertisements and media like I am at home and as I wander, I’m not really paying all that much attention. There is a sense of calm and belonging, and everyone here speaks English, so I’m managing to get around really well even without being able to read anything – best of both worlds.

England wasn’t quite so effective at this advertising cushioning effect, as the large American corporations have a fairly big presence there, and I remember being somewhat disappointed by that. But as I recall Ireland, Amsterdam, France, and most of all Sweden are rather untouched by the tendrils of American corporate greed and indications of their existence here are few and far between. So far, the only US company I am seeing here in Stockholm is 7-11, which for some reason isn’t really bothering me.

The more I learn about how things work around here (Per is super talented at explaining things and likes to talk aloud a lot) the more I like the thought of immigration. The economy is solid, in part because Sweden resisted the Euro, and their politics are very progressive and supportive of the humanities, even more than Amsterdam, which also sounded pretty fucking good. In the 50’s this place was just as sexist as America was, but they’ve really worked to get their shit together about it, and the benefits of being employed here are fucking staggering, including paid leave for fathers as well as mothers. It’s also expensive, and white, as fuck.

Still, every time I come over to this area of the world, something in my tectonic plates gets set right, and I wonder what the fuck I am doing in the United States. I am so fatigued and tired of watching the US fuck everything up, starving for basic human rights like health care and mental support, scraping at the bottom of the barrel and feeling subhuman because I care about shit that’s actually important in life when the culture around me doesn’t.

You can’t judge a place by a vacation in it, and I know that. But, no matter what I was doing for work, so much of what I constantly stress over in my daily life would be alleviated if I were just doing it here, and the more of the world I see the less I believe I belong where I am. Even if I don’t wind up in Sweden, I can’t help but think maybe it’s time to actually listen to what travel is telling me and make some long term plans that enable me to do something about this.

For now, I’m thoroughly enjoying my time here, have met a few people already (we went to karaoke upon being invited by a shopkeeper today when Per mentioned to her that I am a singer) and am looking forward to continuing my explorations. I’m slowly figuring out the subway and where I am staying geographically in reference to the different areas of interest around the city, and figure I’ll be ready for extended solo walkabouts by the middle of next week.

I’d like to take this moment to extend my gratitude again to Per and Ingrid for their fucking amazing gift, as well as to the others in my life who have supported my ability to have experienced more of this world.