First snowstorm this winter

After an unusually nice autumn with decent temperatures and not too much rainfall winter suddenly arrived. The temperature dropped well below zero in just a few days and it started snowing heavily. It usually comes more gradually with the cold arriving first and the snow much later. I’m used to a cold autumn and start of the winter with low temperatures without any snow for a long time, sometimes not until well into January or February even.

This winter started with a lot of snow very early for the season. It’s been snowing almost constantly for several days now and it doesn’t look like it will stop any time soon. There’s a lot of news about how the snow is affecting people, busses stop going, trains get delayed, people fall and get injured and many cars run off the roads or are in other types of accidents.

I’m not a big fan of the winter season in general because of the cold and wet weather, but I have to admit I do like snowfall. Snow makes this otherwise dark season a little brighter and softens up the bleak and boring landscape. It’s also nice for all the kids (and people who do skiing etc) with a lot of snow so early, it’s a lot of fun playing in the snow, too bad we’re a little too old for that now!

Snowstorm hits the main shopping street

Snowstorm hits the main shopping street

Since the snow came so early this year I really do hope it stays like this at least over christmas. Snow on christmas is a little special since it’s unusual nowadays, as far as I remember it was more common when I was a kid. A white christmas with lights in and on the houses are so nice!

Another reason I hope the snow stays and the temperature stays below zero is that I really don’t like when the snow melts and the ground become wet and splashy, or worse, freeze to ice again after melting! That’s the worst kind of weather here, and the main reason why winter is not my favorite season. Fingers crossed for a winter where the snow doesn’t melt until spring arrives so we don’t have to bother with the spashly streets.

Snowstorm clothes dec2012

Todays snowstorm was not very fun though, the wind was blowing at more than 10 m/s and it’s snowing quite a lot. Only snowfall is quite nice and only wind is also ok, but when you combine the two it’s a different deal. Most people who could probably stayed indoors today as much as possible. I had to go out to go to university and do some shopping.

It was not easy to see where you put your feet since you can’t look straight forward because it’s snowing almost horizontally. To protect the face from the cold winds and snow I wore my scarf wrapped around my face, like in the picture here on the right. This is not my usual style of course but what to do when the weather is like this? 🙂 It was the best way I could figure out so that I could still see the ground even though I had to keep my head down. Perhaps glasses would help, but I guess it would look a bit odd to walk around wearing skiing goggles in the city, hehe. Maybe
there’s a slimmer style to wear in a snowstorm..?

Do you have Swedish ancestors?

If you are an American there’s a chance that you have Swedish ancestors, because one fifth of Swedens population emigrated to the US, around 1,3 million people left to start a new life when life got too difficult here during years of starvation and drought.

A new season of a tv show called ‘Allt för Sverige’, which mean Everything for Sweden, started yesterday. The programme is about 10 Americans with Swedish ancestors who come here to find their roots. They are competing for the chance to meet with their living relatives here, but all of them get the story of their ancestors, information about who they were, pictures of them, and if they stay in the programme long enough they get to see the place their family is from. They visit the village or city and often see the very house their ancestors lived in before leaving Sweden.

The participants get to visit different parts of Sweden, learn about our culture, try Swedish food, learn a few words in Swedish and much more. It’s really moving to see how they react to coming here and what they think about the experience. They all say they feel like a part of their history is missing and want to find the missing pieces.

If you have Swedish ancestors (even if you don’t know who they are) you might want to check out this programme. I don’t know if they air it in the US as well but I really hope they do. I’m not sure if you can view this programme from another country but I hope it works! In case it doesn’t work and you want to see it, try using a VPN tunnel and connect so you get a Swedish IP address, that should solve the problem.

This is the first of eight programmes to come (season 2). The programme is only available for 30 days after it is aired, so don’t wait too long if you’re interested!
http://www.svtplay.se/video/383519/del-1-av-8

Seasons changing, autumn is here

Autumn is here now in Sweden, days are getting shorter, the weather is colder and all the leafs of the trees start to change colour. The start of a new season here in Sweden is determined by the weather and not on a specific date in the calendar. The definition is that the average temperature of the day/night is getting lower and is between 0 and 10 degrees Celsius. This means that the autumn season will start in the north and move down south as it’s getting colder. There can be up to two months difference between when the autumn starts.

All four seasons have its charm and positive and negative aspects. I feel lucky to live in this kind of climate and country where we have so big changes in seasons over the year. We get to experience these kind of changes so often and see the beauty of each season. Winter with its snow, spring when all the colours come back, summer for the warmth and finally autumn with more colour changes, only with a different palette. Every year when a season is about to change it’s difficult to imagine what comes next. When it’s winter and all the trees are brown without leafs it’s difficult to imagine how it looks like when spring comes and everything turns green. Same thing with autumn when the leafs start to change colour and fall off.

Every time I’m thinking about which season is my favourite I notice that I can’t really decide. Spring is great because the long awaited warmth is starting to come back, summer for relaxing and autumn is nice because we get an excuse to stay indoors and do cosy things like lighting lots of candles and snuggle in the sofa.

Appereance wise though I must say I probably prefer autumn. This time of the year is when I miss living close to the ocean the most. I love how the storms in autumn makes the ocean look. It’s like two powerful forces that gets combined and should be shown respect. Both the strong winds of a storm and the forces of the water in the ocean. A storm really shows how powerful the ocean can be and it’s so beautiful with all the colour shifts.

I also used to enjoy going for a walk in the storms, especially down to the beach. Standing on the cliffs close to the water and watching the big waves come crashing on to land is just a wonderful feeling. The salty water splashing on your face and if you’re standing in the wrong (or right, depending on what you wanted) place you might get awashed by the waves. If the waves are big enough and you’re standing in the right place the wave can pass over your head and you just get a little wet on the top instead of drenched in water. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the autumn storms, perhaps I’ll take some next year if I’m down by the ocean at the right time of the year and the weather is right.

Although there are some nice things with darker evenings I soon get tired of it, especially combined with the cold. I start to long for more sunlight and look forward to the winter solstice so that the days will start to get longer again. Until then I’ll just enjoy the beauty of nature around me as long as possible, all leafs will soon be gone for this year so go outside and take walks, and don’t forget to notice the area around you. 🙂

Want to study in Sweden?

If you’re thinking about studying abroad and are considering coming to Sweden to study but not sure where to get the information, look no further. 🙂 Over some years I have gotten questions on how to come and study here from friends abroad and now that I have a blog to share information on I’d like to take that opportunity. So continue reading if you want to know the process and webpages to use when applying as well as some useful information.

You might have heard that studies in Sweden are free, and to some extent it still is. For Swedish people (and those with  residenceship without being a citizen) and for citizens living within the European Union it still is totally free. We Swedes even get some money from the government when we study and can take a student loan to survive during the years as a student, pretty sweet deal. It was only a few years ago that the government changed the rules about school fees for students coming from a non-EU country, it used to be free for them as well. Nowadays though all universities have fees which are set according to how much it actually costs for the university. If you are from a country outside EU then there’s still hope about coming to Sweden for studies, even if you don’t have much money, more on that later in the post but don’t give up reading yet.

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The beginning of our love story

Today it’s 2½ years since we first met so I thought it was a good time to share the story of how we met.

I had moved to the city E a couple of years back to study at the university. The program I wanted to study was in a city far from my home town, around 3½ hours by train or 5 hours by car, so I had to move from my parents home. Living alone in a city I never had been to far away from my family and adjusting to a completely new life and finding new friends felt both exciting and a bit scary or lonely. I had a lot of fun at the university, with new friends and activities but love was still missing from my life.

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Celebrating midsummer

We have just come home from visiting my home town and celebrating our swedish holiday midsummer. This holiday is one of the most popular ones we celebrate in Sweden and probably one of the oldest ones as well. Midsummer is celebrated around the summer solstice, in Sweden we always celebrate it on the closest friday (between 19 and 26 June) so people have the whole weekend off. It’s a very old holiday that has pre-christian origin, although the church chose to put their own holiday at the same time to try to integrate christianity more. That didn’t work so well in Sweden as we still celebrate midsummer as a non-christian holiday, for which at least I am quite happy. It’s nice to have our own festival and that it doesn’t have to do with religion, so everyone can join in the celebration of summer.

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