Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sådääär.....vintern är här

Here are some reviews of the week, written last Wednesday:

Today I realized I have hopelessly fallen in love.....with Sweden. This is going to be a tough break up, I already know. But we've got some good dates planned out for us for the time remaining. What can I say? I just can't help myself! If you were here, you would be swooned as well. It must be the Nordic light, that's why everyone here is so beautiful anyways, right? If the people are beautiful, the country has got to be even better, and it IS!!!

I only have a week left in Uppsala (actually, a little less than a week) and my aching heart is already breaking. I cannot believe I am leaving already. I am just started to feel comfortable and settled, I'm picking up Swedish, learning the ins and out of Uppsala, and then BAM! I'm uprooted. I had pea soup for lunch today, no pancakes, had those for breakfast. While I ate my soup I sat and wrote a letter. When was the last time in the states that I had time to sit down and enjoy a bowl of soup on a winter day and write a Christmas card? I turned in my final paper yesterday, so today was my first official day of holiday until January 16th. Oh I soaked it up today, I really did. I woke up to the sun rising at about 8:20 and lazely made my coffee to sip while reading my book in front of the window to stare out into the winter wonderland that is Sweden. It was quiet and peaceful, and the snow was a bright, majestic pink. After finishing my coffee I decided it was time for breakfast in which I made some good old American pancakes. Boy were they yummy. With a little bit of apple cinnamon yogurt on top sprinkled with frozen berries, you've got yourself a delicious breakfast! After enjoying every last bite, with my full stomach, I got ready for the day and mozied on out to town where I grabbed my bowl of soup and enjoyed writing. I've made this list of things to do for myself and I am trying to check off every last one. So day was the Evolution museum. A place I have been DYING to visit all semester, but again, it's one of those places that is so close you never go until you absolutely have to, and then you realize it has so much to offer that you should have gone earlier. It was spectacular! I spent two hours in there looking at all the animals they had collected from all over the world! Some, I didn't even know existed. And who knew a moose is TALLER THAN A HUMAN!!! I mean, I knew they were big, but I never knew they were THAT big!! I wish I would have just gone earlier so I could see the entire museum in parts, rather than having to feel rushed to see the whole thing in one afternoon, and even then, I didn't end up having time to see all of the exhibits because it was closing. So I walked down the stairs of the Zoologisk Institution (a really fine building, very academic feeling with it's majestic white marble stars, old wooden doors, and the echoes of even the drop of a pin resonating throughout the hall) and peek out the window to notice the most deliciously beautiful sunset I think I have ever laid my eyes on. The sky was seeping with color and the moon was low on the horizon, almost full, and bright yellow against the rich nordic turquoise sky. Oh it was amazing. The sunset light was casting a pink glow over the city and I could see the moon just above the castle overlooking the botanical gardens, with the cathedral towers peeking behind. The ground was white, the air was chilly, and the trees were lit. It's almost too good to be true. Who wouldn't want to leave such beauty? Uppsala's got it all!

Here's an idea of what it looked like as I didn't have my camera. But these are from the spectacular sunset the day before, when I was able to enjoy it from our roof top! (Keep in mind this is about 2:35 in the afternoon)

I just love this <3

A little Christmas tree across the street from my building :)

frozen droplets

Yesterday, Avery and I also enjoyed the afternoon in Cafe Linné and she worked on her paper while I wrote more Christmas cards after turning in my paper. It's so cozy, especially with snow on the ground. Snow somehow brings out the best in everything during Christmastime. The bells ring with more grandeur, the coffee brings more comfort, the world is more peaceful, the chairs in the cafe are much bigger and oversized than they were the day before and your body melts into them as their warmth wraps around you like you are being embraced by someone you dearly love, and the Christmas carols are much more jolly. The world is not only peaceful, it's deliciously, wonderfully cozy. The season bleeds with coziness, the very reason I absolutely love Christmas. Not to mention all of the magical traditions associated with it that differ from family to family and culture to culture. It's the time of year centered around the home and the homines of home, and outside of the home, the coziness of family nearby, warmth from the fire, and the twinkle from the lights and decorations. It's cookies, it's peppermint, it's hot chocolate and whipped cream, it's giving, it's evergreen, it's candles and lights, it's coats and scarves, it's red, it's glögg and lucia, it's a pine scented jingle bell jolly carol time of year. It really is....the MOST wonderful time of the year.
And the fact that I am in Sweden where all of the Christmases of my childhood are right here right now. Everything we loved and savored is here. You don't have to go to the special store to buy the special stuff. Julmust is at the market, pepparkakor comes in every size, shape, and brand, lussekatter is in every window of every cafe display, the aroma of warm saffran slowly seeps out of the bakery and into the street, tomtar are on every decoration in every store, Lucia is in the cathedral, and her choir sings you to tears. This is my Christmas. This is everything we ever imagined at Christmastime from the Jenny Lind cards and the Swea Julmarknad. I feel so incredibly at home here, it's almost as if I feel more at home here than if I was actually at home. Julmust is so readily available, I could have it every day if I wanted! With that first tssssssssssssss after the cap was unscrewed of my first bottle of Julmust came an avalanche of childhood memories. Three twinkly eyed, blond headed children patiently awaiting the ok from our parents to FINALLY get our hands, and mouths, on that Julmust, that one night a year, on Christmas eve. We got to drink one bottle of Julmust with our Christmas smörgåsbord and that was it. Here, I've got a 1.2 liter bottle of it sitting in my room and pepparkakor sitting on my shelf. I made Lussekatter with my corridor mates, and again with Amy and Avery while we sipped warm glögg and nibbled on pepparkakor with bleu cheese. Everything that was so magical about Christmas that could only be found inside the wonderland of our house, is everywhere here! It's just so.....comforting. I wouldn't trade anything for a Christmas in Sweden. A real Jul. 
Next week I get to go to a real Jul bord as a goodbye dinner with the CIEE students and this weekend Avery and I are going to a Lucia gasque at our nation, both should be equally as traditional and equally as amazing.

Ingrid makes a pepparkakor domkyrka!
Adrian is making some Swedish "cookie" but I don't know the name

Best pumpkin bread from a box EVER

Frederik makes pepparkakor from scratch!

Elin and I made lussekatter! :)

Ikea Jul

Our bike ride back from Ikea (Avery and I went on Monday) at 2:35pm....sun's starting to set

SNOW!! view from my window

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