Running so far

I just realized in titling this post, that it could be taken in two ways: 1) Running, so far… and 2) Running soooooo far!

Although the correct interpretation of this is the first one, a rundown of my running adventures, so far, and not in any way bragging about how far I can run (which isn’t far yet), I still feel really…successful, I guess!  I’m following the program as best as I can, and doing yoga on the days in between.  I spent the majority of last week being really sore, and had pretty miserable headaches all day after I would run.  Friday, I decided to try eating all day to stave off the headache, and guess what!  It totally worked!  So, not only do I know how to not get headaches, I also get to snack all day…

Yesterday, I started in on the second week, and I woke up feeling sort of “bleh.”  I had a carrot, drank my orange juice, and laced up my shoes, glancing at the ominous clouds.  As soon as I headed out the door, it started to sprinkle, and by the time I got to the park, it was full-out raining, but strangely enough, that run was my best yet.  The rain kept me cool, I ran more than I had the week before, and I couldn’t wipe the smile off of my face.  Even on my cool-down walk back home, I felt like I had some energy left over to run a bit more, and I came home dripping and grinning.

I am still pretty excited about it, so I will even show you this red-faced post-run photo:

That’s how excited I am about how this is going.

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Photo-a-Day July Digest #2

So, I’m not doing the *best* about keeping up with my photo-a-day…I slipped a lot when I had my visitor, and I’m still working to catch up, but I’m having lots of fun, and I’ve been working on some other things lately!  10. Your Favorite Color

11. Letter

12. Texture

13. Open

14. Building

15. Finger

16. Sign17. Your Addiction

18. Plate

 

 

Breakfast for dinner and what ensued

Every week, while I meal-plan I try to include one meal we don’t make regularly, and see if it turns into something I can regularly put into our rotation.  Inspired by The Hemborg Wife, last week I chose to do breakfast for dinner!

We had banana waffles, sausages, and fruit salad, and I still had some maple syrup squirreled away.  My veggie sausages that I was trying for the first time tasted surprisingly delicious, and brought me back to the time of Lil’ Smokies (without the grizzle).  My Danish family, though was not so impressed by the combination of sweet and savory, and when they agreed that they didn’t like the waffles with the sausages, my lip started to tremble.

At first, I didn’t realize exactly why.  After all, this was not the first time that my American tastes differed from their Danish ones.  But suddenly, tears actually started to stream down my face, as I realized that I was suddenly, astonishingly homesick.  I wanted to sit at a table with someone who grew up with and liked the same things I liked.  I wanted them to agree with me that this was such an awesome dinner, and reminded them so much of when they were little.  And as I took another bite, I was struck by a sudden vivid memory and nostalgia overtook me.  Between bites and sobs, I told them the story:

I went to elementary school in a tiny town out in the country, called Maple Grove, named for the grove of maple trees it was built in the middle of.  Every year, the first grade class would learn about tapping trees, and making maple syrup.  They’d host a “pancake breakfast” which their parents and family attended, and put on a variety show, after which everyone would sit down and eat pancakes, Lil’ Smokies, fruit salad, and most importantly, eat it all with the maple syrup that had been made from the sap of the trees that the children had tapped themselves.    When I was in first grade, I could not have been more excited about the Pancake Breakfast.  My parents, having seven children, didn’t get to come to every parent-teacher conference, but they were coming to the pancake breakfast, and I couldn’t wait to have them in school, eat the maple syrup that “I made,” and read the poem I wrote about spring and tapping trees.  The night before, I had laid out my blue dress on the chair beside my bed, and went to sleep, no doubt dreaming in maple-syrup hues.  When I woke up, I hurried to put on the dress that I’d laid out the day before, but it wasn’t there!  Instead, was a new blue-and-white checked dress with a print of cherries on it that my mom had laid in its place.  I think this was the…well, cherry on top that put me over the edge.  When I was at school, I got an awful stomachache.  My teacher sent me to the secretary to call my parents, and on my way down the hallway, I started to cry, thinking I would miss the pancake breakfast, the day I’d been looking forward to for weeks!  Luckily, before I made it to the office, I let out a loud belch and suddenly felt all better.  Probably thanking the maple god, I headed back to my classroom, believing in miracles, and the day went off without a hitch.  We ate pancakes with maple syrup, I showed my parents my poem and my picture on the wall, I wore my dress with cherries on it, and I was a very, very happy little girl.

It’s a silly story, really, but I hadn’t thought about it in a long time, and with such a wave of nostalgia, it made me really homesick.  I miss Wisconsin in the summer.  I miss picking snap-peas and eating the peas out and replacing them with currents.  I miss enormous hollow-sounding watermelons, and counting mosquito bites.  I miss sitting inside, all the lights in the house turned off to keep it from getting too warm.  I even nostalgically miss everyone sitting around the kitchen table snapping beans to freeze for the winter, or sitting in a circle on the deck with an enormous mound of peas in the middle to pod, begging my older brothers and sisters to play “fortunately/unfortunately” (one person starts to tell a story, and the next person has to lead with “fortunately…(insert good thing)” the next leading with “unfortunately…(insert bad thing)” etc.).

It’s funny, what little things can spark such an emotional reaction.  I hope next year, we can make it to Wisconsin to visit in the summer, and I can eat cheese curds and drink root beer floats.

Purchases

Our line-up of shoes in the hallway has a new addition, can you spot it?

That’s right!  I finally found running shoes! While I was out shopping with my sister-in-law, I remembered there was a discount sports shop I’d been meaning to check out, and when we got there, it turns out they were going out of business and offering everything at 60% off of their already clearance prices!  I have to mention here, that whenever I go shopping with Rebekka, she’s like a lucky charm and I always find some stupendous deal or she’ll pick something out for me that I never knew I wanted, but that I then wear every week, the day after I do the laundry.  She was a good sport, pawing around in a clutter of tangled, mismatched shoes, and standing in the line for the check-out with me for a half an hour, and our streak of lucky shopping continues, unbroken!

Yesterday, I decided to do my first run!  I’m following the C25K program (couch to five kilometers) which means that this week, I’m running for a minute, then walking for a minute and a half, and continue the cycle for about a half an hour.  It went well yesterday, but was definitely still hard, seeing as I haven’t run in…let’s just say “forever.”  I only have to run three days a week, so I’m doing my at-home yoga on the in-between days for recovery, and even though my quadriceps are still burning, I’m excited for tomorrow morning’s run!

When Rebekka was here, we also made our way over to Malmö’s game shop, and I bought a game I’ve been wanting for the past year, Battle Line!

In college, one of my best friends bought this game, and we learned to play together.  Throughout the years, we played a lot, and whenever I asked him if he wanted to come over and help me eat my food (and really, when wouldn’t he?) he’d usually come, game-in-hand.  My husband and I both love to play games, but now that it’s just us two we can’t play Settlers of Catan nearly as often as we’d like.  I only have a couple other games (Bananagrams being one, but Andreas isn’t a big fan of word games) but not really any that are fit for two players, so I knew I had to get this one.  It was a hit with Rebekka and Andreas, and I’m so happy to have a game we can play together when we have no visitors to play Catan with!

Oh, and one last thing: we got a package from Amazon that we ordered a bit ago, and among other things, I finally have an SD card for my camera!  Before, I could take between 4-10 pictures before the internal memory was full, and I’d have to stop, hook up the camera to the computer, transfer the pictures, empty the memory, and then I could continue taking pictures.  Now I can take eight hundred and forty four pictures without emptying my camera, which means I can now take it on adventures around town, and do complete food photo shoots without having to stop six times.  Hooray!

More to Come

It’s been a little while since my last post, and since usually I’m a pretty keep-’em-coming blogger, it’s seemed like a long silence.  My sister-in-law has been visiting for the week, so I haven’t had as much time on my hands as I usually do to sit and ponder at the keyboard.  I did manage to jot down a few of the ideas I’ve had rolling around in my skull, though, and I’m looking forward to catching up on them over the next few days (not to mention photos!)

 

Housewifing

I used to think that I would fit in well in the fifties.  First, let me say a few words about feminism.

I consider myself a feminist, through and through.  I think that the core of feminism is that we should be treated equally, and we should be allowed and encouraged to pursue a career if that’s what we want to do.  The whole thing is that we should be able to choose whatever we want to do, and that every door should be open to us.  I absolutely do not believe that a woman’s role is to take care of the home, feed the family, etc.  I do, however believe that the whole feminist movement is about freedom of choice, and that if that’s what you want to do, then we should encourage that, too.

So no, I don’t have a fifties mindset, exactly, but I always thought that I would like to be a housewife.  Something about maintaining an orderly home, greeting my husband with a smile when he came through the door,with dinner already in the oven appealed to me.  It was always something I thought I’d like, but figured I’d never get the chance to try, seeing as almost nobody these days is a housewife in that sense, and in most cases, it just doesn’t make sense.

I probably should’ve been a bit more careful about what I wished for, because ta-da!  As a love refugee in Sweden, here I am, being a housewife.

There are definitely things I love about it.  I love to cook, and I even (sometimes) love to clean.  I like the satisfying feeling of “I did something today.”  I like to plan our meals and make sure we’re eating enough vegetables, and I love to greet Andreas with a smile when he gets home from work.

But this role isn’t something I’m choosing, and even though this set-up makes the most sense for us right now, sometimes I still find myself feeling that it’s unfair.  The thing is that it isn’t unfair.  Andreas gets up at “shit o’clock in the morning” as they say in Danish, takes a couple trains to work, works all day, and takes a couple trains back, getting home just in time for dinner, the news, and organizing all the visa stuff we’re still working on.  He’s stressed out and tired. I, on the other hand, can sleep until whenever I want, watch multiple hours of television a day, even with the housework and cooking, and still manage to feel under-appreciated.  It’s not until now, as I write this, that I realize it’s most likely because I’m notchoosing this.

I’ve been feeling lately like Andreas and I are in two different worlds, and I’m lonely in mine.  His is full and busy and stressful, and sometimes I can even feel like I can’t really wedge myself into it, and at the same time, I feel like I don’t have the right to complain about anything because I can sleep in and pursue my hobbies. This isn’t easy, folks.

I’ve always dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom, and it’s still something I think about, but I’m definitely opening myself up to the idea that I might not like it.  It might not be for me.  We’ll see when the time comes, and it’s not like I’m trying to make a decision right now, but if it’s anything like this, my dreams might be edited a little bit.

So in conclusion, I would not fit well into the fifties.  Except I would probably look really cute in those dresses….

Candy and Yarn Exchange

My mother-in-law (I refuse to use the acronym of MIL because that is far too close to another acronym) sent me a link to a group on Ravelry that she thought would be a perfect fit for me.  As usual, she was right.  It’s an international candy and yarn exchange group, and every few months, they organize an exchange that you can sign up for.  They try to match up people from the states with people abroad, and I got paired with a woman from Oregon.  My love of candy and my love of knitting were combined, and I was excited!

I was especially excited because my exchange partner loves licorice!  There is so much more variety in licorice here in Scandinavia (which makes sense, given their extreme love for the stuff), and even though I don’t really like it, it’s fun to be able to buy it for other people.  I would always stock up when I visited, and bring some home for my mom who loves licorice, but since I don’t have a trip to the US planned anytime soon, it was nice to do it for someone else.

***This paragraph is slightly off-topic, but isn’t extensive enough to warrant a post of its own: I’ve started to like licorice.  I know, I know, who AM I?  But it all started with these strawberry-and-licorice medallions that my husband popped into our “loose candy” bag.  He wasn’t sure it was licorice, so he had me take a bite.  It was licorice, but it was extremely mild and sweet, and you know what?  I liked it.  Next time he picked one up, and asked if I wanted to share it, I said yes.  I said “yes” to licorice, albeit what we’re calling “gateway” licorice.  We’ll see how long it takes me to get into the “hard licorice,” aka salted licorice. ***

Anyway, it was a lot of fun to pick out candy and yarn, and even though the postage cost almost as much as the contents of the package, we sent it off to the US.
I included some “normal” candy bars (center), some “fancy” candy bars (salted almond and licorice), some gummi-mix, Dumle (which are sort of like chocolate-covered toffee candies), Bilar (marshmallow-y car-shaped candies, and assorted hard candies.

When I got mine, I was thrilled!
Skittles!  My exchange partner asked me if there was anything I especially missed from the states, and I do miss Skittles the most, but I didn’t say so, since I wanted a complete surprise package.  I guess she’s good at mind-reading, though!  The little chocolate bars decorated like mail are not only adorable, but really, really good, and the yarn is exactly something that I would have chosen for myself.  I’m really excited to find something to make with it, it’s a deliciously soft Merino wool.

I’m savoring the candy and have only eaten a teeny bit of it (so far).  It was such a fun thing to do, that I’ll definitely try to do another cycle of it in the future.  Not only was it fun to pick out candy for my partner, but I, like every other person on the planet, love getting packages in the mail, so it was really just a solidly fun thing to do.

July Photo-a-Day Digest #1

I decided to do photo-a-day again for July!  I took a break for June because I fell too far behind in May, but I missed taking pictures, and found I took far less pictures of other things when I wasn’t doing photo-a-day, so it’s back!

1. Self-portrait
2. Busy
3. Best Part of Your Day
4. Fun

Sooooo, I forgot to bring my camera to knitting group which was to be the subject of this picture, so I don’t have one.  However, I will say that during knitting group, we talked about visas, childbirth, stolen bicycles, weddings, yoga, childbirth (some more, one of the girls who comes regularly is pregnant), a tribe somewhere who believes that babies are actually made up of an accumulation of sperm inside the mother’s uterus (believe it or not we have talked about this every single time I’ve been to knitting group, except for one), and…….oh, yes: knitting.  Briefly.

5. On the Floor
6. Chair
7. Garden
8. Lunch

Anniversary Post Part 2

Yesterday I did a sort of look-back-over-the-year anniversary post, and while those were things I definitely wanted to say, I also wanted to do something a little more light-hearted!  I also wanted to share some pictures from the wedding last year, and a bit about what we did to celebrate.

As per usual, I made Andreas a little gift:

The short one’s me.

Even though our anniversary wasn’t until Monday, we decided to celebrate early and have a picnic in the park on Saturday.  We found a perfect little secluded corner, the weather was perfect, and we bathed in the sun (and sunscreen) for the first time this summer.  We also got to watch some fearless goose-families who surrounded us while grazing.

Our first wedding anniversary was celebrated in the same spirit as our wedding was a year ago–calm, laid-back, and not a huge deal (at least that’s how I remember it…)  I love going back and looking at all the pictures from that day, and I thought I’d share some (maybe a lot) here.  You might notice that my family isn’t in any of the pictures. Don’t worry, they haven’t shunned me for marrying a Dane!  My family is very spread out, and I knew from the beginning that no matter where we got married, most if not all of my family wouldn’t be able to come.  I wasn’t sad that nobody could make it, but I do remember feeling a bit sad that nobody there was there for only me.  Still, knowing I had my family’s support and love from far away meant a lot, and our wedding day was really perfect.

I didn’t pick necessarily the *best* photos to post here, but some of the ones that capture what I remember most about the day, or that mean the most to me.

Me playing Fruit Slice while the girls did my hair

Just after being pronounced husband and wife

My mother-in-law made the wedding cake, a friend of hers, a retired chef, made the dinner, I crocheted little flowers for the favors, my friends who came early helped pick out the flowers, candles, and tablecloths.  We spent time together folding the napkins, sorting bags of gummi bears into individual colors, and making cupcakes.  It felt intimate and cozy, and was practically stress-free.  In fact, I think that the moment that I felt the most anxiety that day was when Andreas and I were waiting together to come out for the ceremony, and we couldn’t tell if our entrance song or the “sitting-down-time” song was playing.  For the record, it was our entrance song, and we were a good 3 minutes late to our own ceremony.

It’s nice to remember how excited I was to have the words “my husband” roll off my tongue, and how giddy and happy I was to start our life together.  In the midst of the worry and stress of everyday (and not so everyday) life, it’s a good reminder of how very worth it this will be.

Anniversary Post Part 1

So, apparently it’s been 366 days since Andreas and I got married.  Like with everything else, it seems like it was a much shorter time ago…and much longer.  The past year has seen a series of highs and lows, and by the looks of things, the next year will be more difficult, if anything.

But despite all of the visa issues, the six big moves, two months spent apart, and more mood swings than I care to admit, we are more in love than we were a year ago.  I always thought that was just…something that people say, a cliché that you feel obliged to announce every few years, but suddenly, I get it.  I loved Andreas on our wedding day, as much as I could love him.  But now, after a year of tests, trials, and getting through them all together, I know that I can trust him to stand by me through times when almost nothing is easy.  I know we can find ways to comfort each other when things start to fall apart, and that while we wait for a home to call our own, wherever we are together is home for now.

Andreas and I had a long-distance relationship for almost three years, and people used to comment on how difficult that must be.  To tell the truth, it was difficult, but I wouldn’t say it was very difficult.  We both knew what we were holding out for, and since I was in school, I was so busy I hardly had time to miss Andreas.

The truth is that even though school was stressful, balancing classes, work, and a social life (yup, it’s true, I once had one of those!), the year after I graduated was far more stressful.   I am just so grateful that we could be together through everything, and so happy that we’ve learned even more about each other in the past year.  Andreas has witnessed me at my worst and still managed encouraging words.  I’ve learned how happy just doing small favors for someone else can make me.  We’ve learned together how important compromise is, and how to get through a thousand “we’ll see”s without losing all of our patience.

I wouldn’t wish an international relationship on anyone, really.  It’s been really difficult, scary at times, and the most frustrating thing I’ve dealt with.  However, I also know that the difficulties have made us more determined as a couple, and when we’ve gotten through them and finally get to be settled, we will appreciate it more and have a stronger relationship as a couple after everything we’ve been through together.

Even though we’re still in the middle of the up-hill road towards being a comfortably settled family, I try to remember that I have what I had wanted every day that we were apart.  I get to see Andreas at the end of every day, even if it is only a few hours after work before he has to go to bed.  I never sleep alone. As taxing as the waiting and guessing can be, I can always be sure that love is the one thing I’ll never be left waiting for.

This post is one of the most difficult things I’ve written, and is definitely not one of the best.  I’m finding it harder than I imagined to seek out the right words, the right phrases, to say everything I want to say without sounding too treacly.  I’ve learned so much in the past year, and despite many things being difficult, I’m glad I got to experience it, and wouldn’t want to do it with or for anyone but Andreas.  I know our challenging days are far from over, and I am just constantly grateful that I have Andreas to help me face them.