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Boston Blatte

Raised in Boston, remade in Sweden

Archive for February, 2013

Keeping up with the Svenssons. Guilt ladened parents

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

Facebook and its fan base are flaunting smiling images of happy families on skis up on mountains, sitting in sunshine with drinks. Everyone is smiling and they are all somewhere else. They have taken their families to be active during the Swedish winter holiday week devoted to sports. Outdoor sports. They even call it sport holiday or sportlov in Swedish.

Swedes are incredibly outdoorsy. Activities are always outdoors if they can help it, and they go around chastising any poor soul foolish enough to utter at bad word at the weather with, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only insufficient clothing”. Even in the face of sub-Artic temperatures, blizzard conditions or ice storms. They are taught to identify trees, flowers, plants, mushrooms, birds and anything you might find on a nature walk. That way they can embarrass us city folk when they ask non-chalantly, “What do you call that” under the disguise of small talk with the English speaker.

They giggle politely when I answer, “Tree, flower, mushroom, bug” since I haven’t a clue if it it isn’t respectively, a maple, rose, supermarket variety or spider.

Now back to the guilt of not on a skiing holiday during the sporting vacation (they should rename it ski or you are a loser holiday). We have done some activities around Stockholm to make up for our shortcoming as outdoorsy parents. We played boule on Monday, hunted for monsters at the fort outside of Vaxholm on Tuesday and learned about the Blue Hall, Golden Hall and made our own mosaics at the City Hall on Wednesday (all highly recommended and very affordable will edit in links later).

Thursday I worked (sounds like a line from a modern laborer’s bible) and tomorrow we will discover the secret identities of the skeletons found aboard the Vasa Warship.

Unfortunately, my Instagram, Vine and FB uploads of these events are guilting my other friends who have planned the week around closer to home events. That is not my intention.

So I guess I should stop blocking my skiing friend. They do so look like they are having a good time.

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Stuck in Stockholm for the sport holiday? Best kept secret is BouleBar

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Boule Bar at Globen was our one-stop shopping solution to keeping a 5-year old, two 8-year olds, a mom and a grandmother entertained on our first day of the sporting holiday week.

And fed.

All that on a very limited budget.

boulebar

Included in the 89kr/adult 49kr/child pricing: hot dish, fresh salad bar, juice, coffee/tea, homemade chocolate truffles AND a round of boule WITH free popcorn.

You might know boule better as bocce or pétanaque

boule

It was better than bowling since anyone who could carry and throw the metal ball could play. And the pace was pretty quick to keep the easily bored or distracted active.

Until today I had only been to the location on Kungsholmen and then we have only eaten or enjoyed beverages.

Added bonus(es) to the Globen location:
-free parking
-kid friendly
-indoor cours
-nicest staff

Unfortunately, I don’t get a red öre for this shameless plug.

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Sweden does the Harlem Shake (so does the Norwegian military)

Friday, February 15th, 2013

Gagnam Style is so 2012. If you haven’t caught a whiff of the newest viral video meme craze sweeping the world (at least any part of the world connected by the Internet), it is the Harlem Shake.

harlem shake

If you search YouTube or with any search engine for the Harlem Shake you are going to get an insanely long listing of the wackiest versions of this 30-second dance meme.

This internet phenomenon kicked off at the end of January this year, and within the first two weeks of February it has grandmas, lego figures, Pokémon and everything in between doing the 30-second shake. The only definition that versions follow is best described here on Wikipedia.

Here is the best one I have found with a Swedish touch.

Norway, on the other hand, has produced the best military version. Thanks to Norway’s membership in NATO, the military drills can take a lighter twist.

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Debunking Swedish Stereotypes: Cold neighbors

Thursday, February 14th, 2013

Bring on snow and the Bostonian in me cannot be contained.

If I see a car stuck, I just jump in and start pushing. Despite the Swedish husband’s concern that people might get offended, every Swede I have helped has thanked me appreciatively. The day I got stuck in soft, deep snow outside our place at Hornstull I feared I might be there for hours if people were as cautious to assist me as my husband had suggested. Not the case. Within minutes a man asked if he could help. Out in a flash.

snow push

Not surprisingly, I have been following the Blizzard Nemo that hit Boston and the northeast last week. I was feeling rather helpless thinking about my mid-octogenerian parents in Watertown. They have adopted that Yankee stalwart independence despite both of them being naturalized citizens (in fairness I think the stubbornness and independence was imported with them, but tis no matter, they fit right in) and had waved me away on each concerned call to confirm that they had a plan in place to get them shoveled out.

-You don’t have to worry about us.
-We are all set.
-We will manage.

Did I mention that my father just got his hip replaced less than two months ago and my mother has been playing his nursemaid since the pre-op? And yet she was out there shoveling the day after Nemo stopped dumping snow. But so were her neighbors and my friends who live close by. And I was very grateful.

sdf

Today, in an act of repayment in the spirit of paying it forward (because the help my parents got is now being passed along) I took a shovel up to an elderly neighbor’s house. The snow accumulation has not been much here in my ‘burb of northern Stockholm, but it has been consistent. The plows caught up yesterday and piled up heavy, frozen banks in front of cleared walks and drives. My sweet neighbor clearly just couldn’t manage it, and probably like my parents, hadn’t turned to neighbors since she figured she could manage climbing over it.

So, I just started clearing (and quietly swearing since it was solid frozen and heavy). She came out a bit surprised to find me there. I assured her that I was happy to do it and I explained about my own parents. With moist eyes she hugged me.

Best thing I could do on the day of love; love my neighbor. And she loved me back.

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Sweden’s quirky sports: Ice pole sitting

Monday, February 11th, 2013

Yep, you read it right. Ice pole sitting. Or motionless ice pole dancing? Freeze tag? Hey, I saved you a spot.

This past weekend, in the Västerbotten region, better known for its cheese , (lit translation: western bottom…pun on left cheek?) the little community of Vihelmina, held its traditional Wihelmina Winter Weekend (what a clever abbreviation WWW…whoops, already taken, nevermind.)
ice pole

Poking around on the municipality’s website (with links to a live webcam!) it seems the only activity on offer for the WWW event is…watching the pole sitters.

The competition was grueling. Six started out and…all six contestants won!

To claim their 20,000kr prize they had to stay atop the block for 48 hours. With reports that youth unemployment is sky high, this might be one way to bring home some cold, hard currency.

Even the Huffington Post couldn’t leave this alone.

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Viking envy: Kubb for AmeriSwedes

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Kubb, the lawn-game popularized in modern Sweden in the 1990s, has made it to the US.
kubb

In the early days, Kubb games spattered the grassy parks around Stockholm and urban areas throughout Sweden. It was new to Swedes then, too. The marketing of the game linked it to ancient Gotland, and when you say “ancient” in Sweden, it is an easy leap to Vikings. Outside of Sweden, that means…Vikingmania. And it is way more colorful to tie it to Vikings. (factual note: the game as such is not older than 20th century.)

An article from the Twincities.com website (including a video spot) from Minnesota shows how its explosive popularity has surpassed that of Swedes of Sweden with determined Kubb players taking to the frozen lakes to play kubb. I can’t say I have ever seen a kubb game anywhere in Sweden on snow let alone ice.

Yo modern Vikings…your cousins in the US midwest are beating you in outdoor determination. Why skate, ski or ice fish when you can swill chilled beers and play kubb!

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25 August

Hit och dit, här och där (The Swedish Teacher) »

" Hej igen! A common challenge for Swedish language students are the location adverbs hit/här, dit/där, hem/hemma etc. Some of the location adverbs come in two versions. We should use one type of location adverb when we use a verb describes where we are, and we should use the other type of location adverb when we the verb..." READ »

 

25 August

The Dollar Store (Blogweiser) »

"A dollar store in Sweden. Blog post: http://t.co/tNuuvcP1q0 #USD #greenbacks #sweden #sverige pic.twitter.com/RHFAYf7U1k — Joel Sherwood (@joeldsherwood) August 23, 2014 There’s a chain here in Sweden called The DollarStore. This name always stood out to me in a country where they don’t use dollars. I went there for the first time this weekend. They actually accepted greenbacks..." READ »

 
 
 
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