Linnéa's Trellis

Where musings on Sweden flourish
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December’s Arrival

December 8th, 2010 by Linnéa

December is finally here! While Sweden is being covered in snow, Boston has yet to see even a single flake. I don’t understand why my great-grandmother’s family ever left Västra Götaland.

Also, Advent is here! That means lots and lots of baking! I spent this weekend baking over one hundred Pepperkakor. For the next 24 hours the apartment smelled absolutely wonderful! Hopefully, I’ll manage to bake Lussekatter tomorrow!

This picture–which serves as inspiration for me to get out my Swedish language textbooks–is from Gamla Stan, taken on a particularly frigid morning this past spring.

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Kanelbullar

November 26th, 2010 by Linnéa

I have been on a quest as of late to find the perfect kanelbulle recipe. After several attempts (some of them epic in their utter failure), I believe that I finally found the kanelbulle recipe. You can find it on pages 18-19 of the cookbook Swedish Cakes and Cookies (Sju Sorters Kakor). I love this cookbook because it lists both the metric and the imperial measurements, which is wonderful for one who is trying to become used to the metric system. Here’s a picture of how they turned out (the following batches were even more golden in color):

If anyone has trouble locating the cookbook, let me know, and I’d be happy to post the recipe!

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Det är en vacker dag – It’s a beautiful day

November 24th, 2010 by Linnéa

Ja, det är en vacker dag. Here is a photograph of another beautiful day (from mid-March 2009), when my partner and I were walking near the royal palace in Stockholm.

I truly miss the views of the Swedish countryside during winter. Even though winter has not officially begun here, I’m longing for snow. One of the most beautiful scenes that I saw in Sweden was from a train, looking out on a gently sloping, treeless field covered in half a meter of snow, with red buildings appearing as dots on a distant hill. If only I could have packed the countryside’s serenity in my suitcase… Boston could use a more intense winter (and more rural areas)!

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Dansbands Kampen

November 23rd, 2010 by Linnéa

My new favorite Swedish television show is Dansbands Kampen! (Although to be entirely honest, I’m not sure that I had a set favorite Swedish television show before now.) I’ve never been one to like American reality television programming, so my love of Dansbands Kampen comes as a bit of a surprise. My favorite band on the show is Willez–here is a video clip of them singing Sag Inte Nej, Sag Kanske.

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An Old Post

November 18th, 2010 by Linnéa

In the whirlwind that is graduate school, I completely forgot about this blog following my trip to Sweden. I logged in again, to find this unpublished draft entry, composed before I traveled to Sverige:

In just over one month, I’ll be in Sweden for the first time! I’m incredibly excited, but I am, however, consciously trying to lower my expectations of how amazing Sweden will be. I hope that that doesn’t sound pessimistic. I just don’t want utopian thinking–and the inevitable disillusionment that accompanies it–to prevent me from falling in love with Sweden as it truly is.

Even though Sweden was incredibly cold in mid-March, it was still the most beautiful country that I have ever visited. I honestly felt at home there: Everyone knew how to pronounce my name! The country was so orderly and everyone that I met was so very polite and respectful. Moreover, it was so clean! And I absolutely loved the way that I didn’t look like a foreigner there–people randomly would come up to me and ask me a question in Swedish, only to be surprised to discover that I was an American.

The food was–of course–wonderful. But most wonderful was the way that I felt like I’d returned home in some sense. Obviously, I’m American and I love (love) my country. But culturally, I realized that a lot of my personality is still very Swedish. My great-grandmother must have retained a great deal of Swedish culture from her immigrant parents, because everything–the neatness, the punctuality, the emotional distance out of respect–made me feel like I found an entire nation that shares my values. I love that America is a melting pot, but in some ways the homogeneity of Sweden made me feel like I had finally, culturally, come home.

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In the Beginning…

February 6th, 2010 by Linnéa

Overcoming the sheer density of the blank space is the hardest part to starting a new blog, in my opinion.  Should I just launch right in to writing commentary on my studies of Swedish? Should I devote an initial post to introducing myself? Is an explanation of why this blog exists necessary? I think that an introduction is only proper, given that I’m opening up this page to the perusal of the public.

My name is Linnea.  I am a graduate student in the humanities living in America. Since I was seven years old, it has been my dream to learn Swedish and to one day visit Sweden, owing to the fact that my grandfather’s grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Sweden in 1903. Both fortunately and unfortunately, this dream was a bit delayed by my having studied numerous other languages in the meantime. Finally, though, my life has come full circle and I am able to academically justify my beginning Swedish language studies to my professors, who were initially quite a bit skeptical about how Swedish Studies relates to the study of the Middle East.

I’ll be journeying to Sweden this spring for a little more than a week, and I absolutely cannot wait! I’m also hoping to spend the summer either in Sweden, studying Swedish, or in the Middle East, studying my Middle Eastern languages. Only time will tell which–if either–option I will end up with, as funding decisions are the key determinant in dictating my travel plans. But in the meantime, no amount of waiting for the decisions of others can strip me of my optimism–and so I persist in dreaming of spending the summer abroad!

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