jump to navigation

The End, Farewell September 3, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

To everything there is a season,
a time for every purpose under the sun.
a time to be born and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
a time to kill and a time to heal …
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance …
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to lose and a time to seek;
a time to rend and a time to sew;
a time to keep silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It has been quite a journey. I want to thank you for coming along with me. My life has moved on, past many things, and past my unforgettable year in Sweden. When I started this blog I wanted it to be a way for those at home to come along with me through my eyes thousands of miles away. Blogging has been a great joy but the purposes of this blog have been fulfilled.

In many ways, coming home has forced me to rediscover who I am. It is a continuing process. As I close this chapter and move to the next one, some of you will stay with me. Others of you will not. That is just life. But I hope most of you will.

Change is the only constant, right? Resisting is, well, futile. Those who can not mold with change and deal with disappointment dwell forever on the past and waste their lives. All of us die but not all of us truly live.

I love to write, so there may well be a time that I create a new blog, but it will not be this blog. If you care, send me an email and I will let you know when that happens.

A few parting words: 1. Never lose sight of Jesus Christ, He is our every purpose. 2. Love, no matter how much it hurts. 3. Go confidently toward your every goal and dream, no matter how many critics you have or what they say. 4. Take your own path, blaze your own trail, take risks and never look back. 5. Live with Passion.

Life is short. A year in Sweden was so short. We truly are dust in the wind.

May He who sustains the universe, hears every prayer, redeems a fallen world and is soon coming again bless you in this moment and in all the rest to come.

Sincerely with love, your big Swede,

Michael Larson


A lesson learned, and music on monday August 27, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Some things in life you can only learn by experience. Do you remember growing up, how good the taste of candy was? I know I did. Pure and unadulterated were those days. But after a while you get a stomach ache, or perhaps a tooth cavity, and you begin to realize that something which could taste so good might not actually be so great for you after all. One of the greatest gifts in life is that God does not give us all the things that we want. Think about that for a moment. In His sovereign love He sees what we cannot…that what we selfishly desire is not best for us, in the long run. Have you ever wanted something so bad you’d do anything for it, only to realize sometime later that which you so longed for would have made you miserable down the road? That which you were so blinded into believing was the best, was actually the worst in disguise. This is such an important lesson, one that only can be learned through heartache and disappointment. Sometimes we can be such fools. Thankfully, in the end, God has His best in store for each and every one of us, no matter how hard we try to screw things up and run away from Him. Have a great week.

Untitled August 24, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
add a comment

And when you stop to listen
What is it you hear and see?
A poem and a marble grave
Of love that will never be

Speak softly through the mist
In the language of the trees
Tell of days gone by, of lies
Of kisses and the gentle autumn breeze

Does it make you stop and wonder?
Through tears it’s hard to breathe
A dream which can’t be spoken
A treasure lost at sea

It’s a pain which can’t be felt
Yet it brings you to your knees
It’s the greatest thing of all
And it murders you and me

We thought it might be easy
It caught us by surprise
The rain it falls, it’s no ones fault
A wretched severed tie

Through the darkness nothing flies
There is only joy on the other side
Take my hand, I dare you to try
Let me be your humble guide



A Trader in Our Midst…Music Monday – 5 pack August 20, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

Hi. About three weeks ago I officially traded in my life of freedom for something a little more…steady. I’ve been working at a local specialty food retailer named Trader Joes, in Bellevue. This has given me the opportunity to begin paying back money that I owe from an amazing, yet expensive, year in Sweden. It also helps immensely with rent which I will start paying once Mark and I move in together on the 4th of September. I can’t wait! The above picture is myself with two good co-working friends, Adam and Annette. I love my fellow traders. Come on in and I’ll give you a 10% discount or a free sample, I promise.

I went through about two dozen great songs this week and could have easily posted any 10 of them today. So much good music, way too few Mondays. Lets get started.

Normally I hate songs that get too much play on radio and MTV. It just isn’t me. But this first selection sort of falls into this category. Personally I think its a fluke that a majority has recognized a good song, but in this case it has happened. Good lyrics, a heart-felt voice, and a creative video that reminds me in some ways of my time in Sweden. You might have to listen a few times to fully get it.

“A thousand miles seems pretty far, But they’ve got planes and trains and cars, I’d walk to you if I had no other way, Our friends would all make fun of us, And we’ll just laugh along because, We know that none of them have felt this way, Delilah I can promise you, That by the time that we get through, The world will never ever be the same, And you’re to blame.”

I wish I had written this song.

A look now to a band that was completely unknown to me before a few months ago. Placebo has apparently been around forever, somewhat under the radar, at least in the States. This is not a band for everyone. Iconoclastic, mysterious and epic in their creativity, Placebo’s songs frequently exude love loss, depression, suicide, drug use and other lovely themes. Since Placebo will be new to some of you, I want to play two great songs that have been in my head this week. “Twenty Years” is first.

“Centrefolds” is filled with dazzling dissonance, haunting vocals and dark beauty. You know a band is good when their live set is better then the recorded one.

If you liked either of these, you owe it to yourself to check out two more excellent songs by Placebo, on your own time:

Enough of that.

On to a local Seattle band which is very unknown but gaining some cred. This is Band of Horses with “The Funeral”.

If I played in a rock band, I would want it to be Muse. They are melodically rich, lyrically complex and super passionate. Oh, and they know how to rock. I cannot wait to see them in September in Seattle, they are going to bring the roof down. Enjoy this great selection from their latest offering, Black Holes and Revelations. Crank up the volume. This is “Starlight”.

Abandon all your hopes and expectations. They are black holes and revelations. Close your eyes and just breathe. Its time to move on.

Monday, musically… August 13, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

Hejsan alla. Two songs today. These songs arn’t super new to some of you…and I don’t have much time to talk about them, got to get to work in a few. The first is by an artist that means a great deal to me: Tiger Lou. He is my favorite Swedish artist by far, and slowly gaining some popularity in other places. Spread the word! The concept of the video is well, quite artistic in my opinion. Enjoy.

The next is from another personal favorite, Damien Rice and his more or less recent album “O”. I guess you sort of have to be in the right mood to appreciate Rice, but his music is indisputably magical…in some way.

Off to the grind. May love surround you, whatever you find yourself doing this week.

New Music Monday August 6, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

Hej guys. Life lately has been chaotic, sad, stressful, happy, sore, sour and triumphant. One thing I get a kick out of is introducing people to great music. I have a “nack” for doing this with scary consistency. Personally, I would rather not live then live without music: listening to it, seeing it, creating it. Each Monday I’m going to bring you a new song, something new, fresh, relevant with the hope that you might like it and look up more of the band. Naturally with so many different musical tastes this is difficult, but I’ll try to mix it up as much as possible. Enjoy today’s selection.

Believe in death. Believe even stronger in the life everlasting. May your week be warm and your thoughts optimistic.

Washing Windows, Medical Schools! ..I want Sweden back :( July 24, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
1 comment so far

Song of the Day: Bo Kaspers Orkester – En Dag Att Bli Kär På

Mark and I have had the pleasure of washing windows lately. It turns out that windows get really dirty, and that rich people will pay through the teeth to get them clean again. Thus, the Mark and Mike Window Wash Co. was born. It works out just great. Not only do we get payed respectable, tax-free money from private clients but we also get to teach each other German and Swedish while on the job, since, well, window washing is pretty mind-numbing. So far we have had several clients and those satisfied souls seem to be telling all their friends about us. Word travels fast. Need a good wash? Don’t hesitate to call!

After months of deliberation, hours of research and a little luck I have finished my final list of med schools to which I will apply for the entering class of 2008-2009. I have some reach schools, some easier schools and of course my main target, the University of Washington. Go Huskies! The part which is giving me the most trouble, on my application, is that of the personal statement. Not that you can tell from this blog (haha…) but I actually don’t much like writing about myself; selling myself, in a sense, to the admissions committee. I know its all part of the game, etc but actually coming up with real reasons WHY I want to be a doctor and then backing all that up with evidence is harder then it sounds. Hmm, maybe I’ll just join the navy, that would be an easy way out!

I’ve showed countless friends my countless collection of photos from Sweden from this last year, and each and every time I go through them it deepens my desire to be back there. I choke up on certain photos and the memories associated to them. Its all quite embarrassing, but impossible to control. Oh, Sweden, how I miss thee, but more importantly..all of you who I left behind.

Have a nice day.

Portland July 16, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
add a comment

Song of the day: National Ave

Greetings. I’m very busy at the moment so I’ll keep this short. I had the distinct honor and privilege of visiting my grandma and grandpa McCord (mom’s side) in Portland, Oregon this past weekend. We enjoyed sharing stories, looking at pictures from Sweden and watching baseball. Go Mariners! Strange sport but hej…its America’s pastime, I’m not to blame here. Dad flew down to visit for part of Saturday and we had a great time flying around in the Cessna a bit; made me realize just how excited I am to get my private pilots license. The second picture is mom, dad and grandpa at the airport. The weather has been nothing but HOT the last week, even reaching up into the high 90 degree (Fahrenheit) range…yikes! Very atypical for my part of the world, but hey, it makes a great excuse to swim everyday. Hope you have a great week wherever you are.

Home July 9, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

Wouldn’t you believe my luck. Travel, in theory, seems like an easy enough endeavor. You take your things, board a plane and it takes you from point A to point B. In reality this is never the case. Why do bad things have to happen to good travelers? Sigh. Not one, not two, but all three of my flights from Stockholm, London and Vancouver respectively were delayed. I got no sleep during my 16 hour layover in Heathrow. Only one of my bags made it out of London. The other bag is still sitting somewhere thousands of miles away as I write this, so the nice people at British Air tell me. I had the distinct pleasure and honor of sitting next to a 400 lb Samoan beast who seemed to think the seats beside him were reserved for his massive, b.o. reeking arms. I almost prayed for a mid-air collision or something to end the suffering, after 9 hours in the air. The nice people at the Vancouver customs office decided to detain my bottle of Mintu because apparently Finish peppermint liqueur is a threat to national security. Whatever. Oh, and we had a flat tire on the runway leaving from Vancouver, just minutes before takeoff. That tacked on an additional 3 hour delay to the hour we were delayed already. The cargo I shipped out of Stockholm is finally on its way to Seattle today, 5 days later then what the company promised. I could go on but you get the point. That said, it feels so good to be home. It is, however, quite shocking. Americans are a breed all their own. Loud, proud and conservative, the culture of America is a free-for-all melting pot that can’t help but ruffle anyone with European sensibilities. Not to mention folks here have no concept of how to dress themselves! Wouldn’t survive 5 minutes in Stockholm. I guess this isn’t exactly shocking news to anyone, but still its shocking to see on a day-to-day basis. People around here smile when they walk down the street. They may even wave to you in passing or even say hello and strike up a conversation. Coming from a repressive regime of unspoken social “dos and don’ts” in Sweden, this sudden freedom and friendliness is almost overwhelming. Every once in a while I pinch myself just to make sure this isn’t all a dream.

The last few days have been filled with reunion after reunion. Friends who I just assumed would forget about me are calling to get together and catch up. I had this picture in my head of how different things would be when I got home and how much things would change. It turns out that nothing has changed at all. Sure the house they are building next door obstructs my view of the lake (fy fan!) and yes a few people have moved around but Seattle is more or less how I left it nearly a year ago. I love this city so much. The weather is clear, warm, sunny and when you set your eyes on Mt. Rainer, or on the city-scape from Gasworks Park, it simply sends chills down your spine. Starbucks is back, good Asian food is back, my piano is back, the lake is back and nearly everything feels right in the universe. Medical school applications are hanging over my head like a 10-ton gorilla threatening to crush me into oblivion. They are my first order of business. However I am also actively seeking out a new apartment, a part-time job and involvement in my beloved church. Sweden, while worth every penny, was a very expensive year and its time to replenish the coffers. More on that to come. I should get going and back to work straightening out my life but rest assured more updates are on the way. I leave you with a picture of my best two buds, Mark and Joe, with whom I have spent many of these last days with.

Hej då Uppsala och Stockholm. Jag saknar dig. July 4, 2007

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.

Just a short update while I’m waiting at Stockholm/Arlanda airport and enjoying my last real cup of unbeatable Swedish coffee. First, I will say that my short trip to Ireland with Meg and Ryan was simply the best, a perfect way to close out a nearly perfect year in Northern Europe. Thanks for making my time so special guys, I will travel with you any time and I look forward to the travels to come. The days that have followed my most recent blog update have been filled with goodbyes, packing, stress, paying way too much for Swedish taxis, shipping boxes, traveling, and well..not sleeping much. Have I been lazy with my blog entries? Yes, that would be an understatement. Will I faithfully finish the updates I promised when I return home? TheBigSwede will not let you down. Furthermore the question has arisen as to whether or not this blog will continue to exist and be updated once ‘real life’ has resumed in Seattle. I have given it a great deal of thought and, of course, I will continue to write and post. Now all you wonderful people abroad can keep tabs of your favorite Swede from your respective German speaking countries. Lucky you!

This past year has been…you know what, I can’t come up with the words. Indescribable perhaps. It is with a heavy heart that I say farewell to you Stockholm, and you Uppsala, and all of Sweden which I so dearly love. You have changed me. I came as an American and left a Swede. Stop laughing, I’m serious. Its a shift of perception, really, and of custom of course. You understand. I know this isn’t goodbye forever, Sweden, for surely I shall grace your beauty again, hopefully before long. What I am feeling right now is much better then I could have ever hoped for when I first conceived that crazy notion to study abroad. Thats all it was really. Me sitting under a cherry-blossom tree on campus, dreaming and schemeing and having wild visions of studying half the way around the world. And you know what? Dreams can come true, no matter how crazy. Go for your dreams. Find a tree, find some paper and a pen, take a few hours by yourself and make some plans. Shoot high, aim for the moon, try to remember just what you dreamed of when you were growing up. Make some goals and get about the business of making them happen. It CAN happen. I’m so glad I chased after one of my wild ideas, it changed my life. Im confident it will for you too.

Time to pass security and get on my way. Woohoo, a 2 hour flight to London followed by 15 hours of layover until a loooong trip to Vancouver and finally on to Seattle. Good thing I brought a good book! Can’t wait to see all your smiling faces at home. Check back often, more updates to come (with pretty pictures!). Until then, ha det så bra, sköt om dig och vi ses snart. Jag älskar dig Sverige och ska för alla tid. Hej då.