This is a story that says so much about some aspects of life here. It is funny and can start endless discussions from animal rights, laws, psychology, and on and on. The comments are interesting too. The power of a squirrel.
After a more than delightful and more than delicious dinner with friends.... Pasta with Crayfish-tails in a delectable sauce with fragrance of garlic, home made Pesto, wonderful cheese and fabulous red wine, all of this highlighted with great conversation............ This morning we're up and at it at the crack of dawn.
Up and out of bed, gulped a cup of joe, jumped into jeans. Jacket on. In to the car with dog and tripod. Down the road in the dark. To wait for the sun to rise! No sun appeared. Too much soup. Maybe next time.
Before returning home a walk in Viken by the sea, a visit to Conditori Öresund where tösabiten (the young dedicated owner) has baked her treasures. Home ........ a cup of steaming tea and treats.
SFI is a government organization that teaches swedish to foreigners. They also try to help guide the immigrants to prepare for and find jobs. It is a difficult task.
I decided that if I was to look for a job, or start my own business, and to better cope with swedish society, I must get serious and learn the language. I officially became an immigrant again today.
Wading through swedish society with all its different nooks and crannies is difficult at best and depressing at worst for newcomers here. It is not specific to Sweden. It is the age old culture X meets culture Y clash.
Agneta and I, even with our many advantages, find it extremely difficult assimilating into society. Maybe that is not the right word to us since it implies a long term blending of cultures. But, rather learning to live with all the differences that are foreign to us is a better description.
Moving to a different country is like walking out a long pier and taking a leap of faith. You may think you are prepared but it is not until you are neck high in the culture that you begin to tread water and then hopefully begin to swim.
I realize looking around the classroom and talking with some of the students that Neta and I have it so much easier. My classmates include people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania, Vietnam, Philippines, Holland, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Jordan, Kosovo Eritrea, and Poland. They range in age from 21 to 52. I am the oldest there and I am from the USA. These people will have it much harder than Agneta and I ever will. It also has a lot to do with expectations as to how easy a person can accept the new culture. One of the students in class was complaining about not having free coffee. Another student was just happy to be out of a war zone. Expectations.
Funny, isn't it, how one thing leads to another........
Walking Ralle by the harbor in Jonstorp we are reminded by a sign that the Fish Stand on the wharf in Arild is open between 10AM and 3PM. Since it is Friday we decide fish for dinner would be super so off we go! We get to the fish stand and it is closed. The hours have been changed. Now it's open from 3PM until 6Pm. They just forgot to change the sign in Jonstorp! So typical! So annoying! Oh well...... The Mölle Fish market is open! A side of fresh salmon is ON SALE! Whooot.....
Part of it goes into the freezer as future Salmon Steaks perfect for grilling. Four fillets becomes Friday nights dinner. Dressed up as Poached Salmon with Sparkling Wine Sauce and Rice with fresh Chives. Delish, to speak like Rachel Ray!
The remaining and biggest part of the Salmon Side is prepared as "Gravlax" a raw cured spiced salmon. This particular day I cure it with salt, sugar, black cracked pepper, grated fresh ginger as well as some dry regular ginger. Into the fridge it goes for 48 hours being turned over often. Hard to wait to taste it!
But Oh No! You just can not have salmon/lax/lox without cream cheese, onions and BAGELS!!!
There are no bagels in Sweden! Or at least not in this region. Nor must there be enough Jewish people living here demanding this exceptional and special delicacy. So I must remedy that by making my own....... What a process! Make dough and let it rise for 2 hours. Kneed! Rest! Shape into bagels. Rise again. Boil! Bake for 25 minutes. It took so long I missed the Autumn Concert at Brunnby church. Darn it!
Can only say it was well worth the effort and yes an effort it was. Wonderful chewy texture with taste of heaven. Best bagel I ever tasted. With sliced salmon, cream cheese and chives. Can't wait to have some more. Can't wait to bake/make some more. Aaaah....
Maybe THAT is what I should do in our storage room? Turn it into a Bagel Bakery?
We had a friend of mine from California visit us for ten days and yesterday morning, very early, shortly after five AM or so we brought her to the train station in Helsingborg for her return trip to California via Copenhagen airport. David and I both had developed a cold so we were "snorting" and "hacking" and David had a fever. Had to regretfully also cancel a dinner invitation with our neighbors across the field! So the train made for a faster and shorter trip than we could have provided by car. The price of the ticket was also amazing, perhaps due to the early departure. It was way, way less than it would have cost to drive since gas is upward of eight dollars per gallon here. Our visit was good and hopefully our guest has learned a lot about Sweden.
In just a few days we have actually lived here for three years!
You have NO idea how MUCH we have learned! Yet we know so little.
During these last three years we have gone from euphoria to despair. From love to hate. From delight to disgust and back again!
Having had a visitor was great. Being a tour guide allows us to rediscover just how very special this place truly is. It really IS special! Fabulously clean, green, roads with no pot holes, flowers everywhere, clean air, parks and green spaces like no where else. We can walk any where we want, as we have what is called "Allemans Rätt" here, something uniquely Swedish. A rule, a law, where all people can walk and/or have the right to go anywhere! The list for the good things could get very long.
When I have my "grumpy" days some of those things are hard to see.
Today was one of those days when I was so happy to live here.
Morning walk on the hill behind our house with our dog in the mist like in Brigadoon!
Quiet foot steps on walkways and paths covered with newly fallen damp leaves. Smells of mushrooms, molten leaves and dry damp grass. It is so quiet!
And those spider webs! Hundreds and hundreds of spider webs suddenly become visible in the mist. Showing off the amazing, various intricate patterns of the spiders fanciful art work, otherwise invisible. If it was not for the tiny drops of mist hanging on to those gossamer threads, you would not know those webs had been spun.
We can hear distant sounds of farm equipment loading sugar beets on to trucks via conveyor belts,
Then in to town for a quick shopping visit. "Art In The City" is on! A nine days tribute to ART in many of its forms. The weather has been spectacular (after the fog lifts) and today was no exception.
The city was at it's very best. Among other things a scaffolding had been erected around Magnus Stenbocks statue at the square right below the Kärnan Tower. Inviting us to climb up on one side and down the other. What a neat experience it was to pet this awesome beautiful horse and to see the square from THAT perspective.
Giving City Hall an entirely "new look". Then viewing a band of marching Marine Club Members down below on the sidewalk from a different vantage point. All of it very special.
Every Saturday at one o'clock in the afternoon the bells in the tower in City Hall chimes and plays music. There is of course a person playing those bells, they don't play by themselves. Classical music, folk songs as well as popular tunes. It is a delightful sound to my ears. The church bells also produce a delightful feeling for me. There are so many churches here, chiming the time of day as well as chiming for those who are being buried.
So starting the day with fog horns and ending it with delightful chimes, who can argue that perfection?
Then as an additional sinful pleasure, splitting a banana split with my husband "for lunch", made the day even better. What a great way to get some fruit and dairy (for the bones you know) into our diet! Yum! Have not had one of those in forty two years!