Sunday, February 28, 2010

Amsterdam 4 Stars

And just when I was getting cocky with how perfect my life is :)

Here I am again at the Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, crashing in an airport hotel due to a flight cancellation. This time is a little bit different than before (in December I had to stay the night in a less than desirable airport hotel due to a flight cancellation to Göteborg because of weather conditions).

This occasion is thanks to the good ol' French and their lovely strikes. Oh Air France. At least they hooked me up with a complimentary stay at a 4 star hotel, dinner and breakfast and cable television. La chance!

Oh and p.s. I am 24 now. Let the mid-twenties begin!

Back to France now for trips to Remy, Compiègne, Aix and closing up shop in le Nord, then finally back to Sweden.....for good?

Bisous to all!

Braving the Swedish snow!

Semla time in Göteborg

Friday, February 19, 2010

Cloud 9, or an overdose of euphoria?

For no particular reason I have been completely and blissfully happy this past week. Looking at my life right now there are actually a lot of major stresses circling around me--a lot of unanswered questions and various elements that I must sit and wait for--things that have the ability to drastically change my life for better or worse.

But, despite all of that, I have been looking back on the past three years of my life and realizing just how lucky I am. Yes, here it comes, a bunch of mushy, gooshy thank God kind of stuff. But truly, in my so-called adult life I have been doing everything I have ever dreamed of and more.

Travel, love. It makes my heart sing to know that in my opinion right now, I have it all.

I know by now that this feeling isn't going to last forever. So, despite from the hideous snow storm that is going on right now, I am going to love this day and everything about life right now ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Alla hjärtans dag

A few days delayed, I know, but definitely wanted to post about this year's Valentine's Day. To be honest, I can't remember the last time I had a Valentine on Valentine's Day. It was probably in 2007 when Jonatan and I were living in Aix-en-Provence. So it was a big treat this year to be with my Valentine again.

I was first surprised by a candle-lit breakfast in bed, followed by a romantic walk in the snow over Keillers Park (there was sun!! there is sun here almost everyday!) and then a dinner for two at Pizza Hut. Yes, Pizza Hut. Here, Pizza Hut is a little more swanky than in America. It is one of those sit-down places where the waitress actually comes to take your order. And they serve wine. Who woulda thought? And we weren't the only ones there on a Valentine Date. I think I had even seen a couple who had dressed up for the occasion.

And to complete a perfect day of love, I found out that Sweden was also in love with my best friend Bea. They even had a pizza named after her. Just more reasons why I am loving Sweden more and more. Puss Puss everyone!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Swedish Tradition is Going Straight to my Hips

Today is Mardi Gras, and while many of my friends are celebrating and participating in the various shenanigans around the world (I'm getting updates from New Orleans, U.S.A., Porto, Portugal, Venice, Italy and all over Spain), I am resting cozy in my apartment up in Sweden, watching the snow gently fall outside, enjoying a nice big, cream-filled semla.

In Sweden, fat Tuesday isn't celebrated by flashing boobs and shiny, plastic beads. Come on! It's -8 celsius. It's too cold for that! Instead, up here we indulge in an oversized, and overly decadent, pastry called the semla.

A semla is a traditional pastry eaten on Shrove Tuesday in Sweden as well as in Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Denmark.

The word "semla" comes from the latin word semilia, which was the name used for the finest quality wheat flour.

The most traditional version of the semla was a plain bread bun, eaten in a bowl of warm milk.

Today, a typical semla is made of a cardamom-spiced wheat bun which has its top cut off and insides scooped out, and is then filled with a mix of the scooped-out bread crumbs, milk and almond paste, and then topped with a heaping amount of thick whipped cream.

Yes, while some prefer to drink themselves silly before jumping into the 40 days of lent, I am much more content with this Northern tradition. I mean take a look at these things. WHo could resist!

Now the questions is: what exactly am I going to give up for this next month and a half?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Les vacances, encore

going back home tomorrow <3 (well almost home)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Divine Idylle

our soundtrack for the moment

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paris Je T'aime

I admit, I have been having some difficulty this year with my second experience in France. Le Nord is the polar opposite of Le Sud, and Valenciennes does not even compare to the dream life I lived in Aix-en-Provence.

But nothing is as we expect it to be, is it not?

France has tested me a lot these past 4 months. It has been pushing me-mind, body and soul- just to see how much I really do love it and how, despite all the troubles and heartaches, I will forever except it for what it is and cherish it in my heart.

Yes, France is like any romantic relationship. It is passionate and exciting, yet it is real and flawed beyond belief. But that is the greatest thing. Because despite its flaws, you can come to truly love it--to see past those bumps and sharp turns it may throw your way. You will love it no matter what, and it will love you right back.

That is what Paris reminded me this past weekend. There is nowhere like Paris, and each time I go my heart is filled yet again with my childish hopes and aspirations--and it is just so refreshing!

My other assistant friends and I rented a studio apartment in the Marais during our short sejour (something I highly recommend as apartments come fully equipped with towels, linens, kitchen supplies and the like). We spent our days strolling the Champs, shopping in Passy, tasting the best hot chocolate in the world (no joke) at Angelina, climbing Montmartre, attempting to visit the Eiffel Tower in a rain and wind storm, dining at Chez Fernand and sampling some truly delicious boeuf bourguignon, consuming copious amounts of wine and cheese and dancing the night away in Bastille, Saint Germain des Pres and the Quartier Latin.

All in all it was the perfect Parisien weekend, and to top it off I was able to have a mini Aix reunion with my friend Jennifer who is living in Neuilly-sur-Seine just outside of Paris. She is working in probably one of the best boulangeries I have been to in my life and stuffed us silly with macaroons, chocolate mousse, quiche and pain au chocolat. Merci beaucoup!

Chez nous pour le week-end


Jen et moi