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A New Appriciation October 23, 2006

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Greetings my faithful flock…wait…that came out wrong…never mind. Hows everyone doing? I hope your day is going better then mine! You see, I have a massive test coming up on friday and, well, I’m not so ready to be all I can be just yet. Stressed? Yeah, thats an understatement. Its this whole thing of studying (only) language you see. For the last 3+ years of my life there has not been a quarter of college gone by where I have not had at least 2 sciences classes going on at the same time. Yes, I am going through serious withdrawls but more importantly I’m realizing how much of a passion I actually do have for the sciences – which is an irreplacebly good (somewhat validating) feeling. All that too say, languages are not my forte nor my calling. I don’t think I’ll work in the linguistics field after graduation or any time soon; but I still love Swedish. They don’t call me The Big Swede for my good looks you know…wait…or do they?

I knew that homesickness would come; its a granted. I mean, its home after all. But wow lately I’ve come to the realization that I’ve taken something grossly for granted. What I have never realized is what an absolutely amazing place Seattle and the Pacific NW of the USA actually are. For all you folks that live there, I have a homework assignment for you: go out and kiss the ground, then hug a pine tree. You think I’m kidding? Get to work! You just don’t even know what an incredible, diverse, geographically glorious, rich rich place Seattle really is. If you did you would hug a tree everyday, and I fully plan on doing this upon my return. I can honestly say, without the slightest hesitation that I never want to live another place in my entire life. Well ok…maybe go somewhere for the winters in retirement, but you get the idea. All the millions of ladies reading this blog, thats right, if you don’t want to live in Seattle any time soon, you’ve fallen in love with the wrong swede. Look elsewhere; its not the worst thing that could happen right?

As I’m writing this I’m suddenly realizing that I promised pictures of Uppsala in its full Autumnal splender. Wow, I suck. Instead I give you (up top) a stolen (!) picture I found of Sweden…in Autumn. It is really beautiful here, but extremely wet, like its been raining every day, all day lately. You don’t want pictures of muddy, wet, dreary Autumn scenes so I’ll wait for a break in the weather to play Mr. Photo again. Yesterday I went to a great pipe organ concert at the Domkyrka (cathedral) in town and wow, talk about heaven on earth. No joke, when you put me in a stucture that immense, with that much history and beauty and you play soul-stirring music on the king of insturments I have an out of body experience, straight to heaven. Or as close to heaven as I’ll get this side of eternity.

One last thing before I wrap it up for the night. You really owe it to yourself, no matter who you are or what you believe, to listen to a specific sermon which I downloaded recently from marshillchurch.org on the topic of idolatry. I know, not the most cheery of topics but this sermon has literally changed my perspective of the Christian faith. In my humble oppinion it is one of the best sermons Pastor Mark Driscoll has ever preached, and he has preached a few good ones my friends. I’ve never said this before but this sermon is one that every human being needs to hear; Christian and non-Christian alike. Here is the link for the download : http://www.marshillchurch.org/audio/060618_1Cor_10_16k.mp3

The thought of you my friends/family brings a smile to my face. Live with passion and dedication, life is so short. Your messages and emails mean the world to me, keep ‘um coming. Till next time, stand firm.

-Mike

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The sound of music, and Autumn comes. October 15, 2006

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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Hejsan alla. I’m not much in the mood to go into details tonight but things are going well in swederland. Many of you know I play the piano and especially like the music of Bach. Well, I couldn’t fathom a year abroad without his music so I naturally brought a few music books with me to Sweden. Only recently however had I found a place to practice – in my student nation Snerikies! They have a marvelous, castle looking building and inside are a few pianos which can be accessed by student members. The picture above is the one I was able to use, a little stand up piano that worked great. I can’t quite describe how good it felt to play after a 5-6 week absence; lets just say its something I can’t live without. Ryan came up yesterday to hang out and we went to a traditional english dinner at Eklundshoff dorm, put on by Francis, Jodie and “Stor Brittania” friends so thanks alot guys for a very very fun night. If you have never tried the english dessert “spotted dick” before you have missed out – its delicious. Karl and I went to a Mozart concert today, put on by the Uppsala cathedral boys choir. It was very meditative and a treat for the ears.

A few days ago it very suddenly, without warning, became cold outside. Literally, one day it was sunny and somewhat warm, the next I could clearly see my breath. How the heck does that work?! Autumn is finally here and the trees are changing color all around the campus. I will have photos of them for you in the next update – trust me they will be worth the wait. Thats it for today, I need to get up early and do some laundry…sigh. Until next time my friends, to thine own self be true.

-Mike

Du kan känna dig trygg i Hans kärlek October 7, 2006

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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My cell phone stopped working today. Not sure why, not sure how, but it died. That just about sums up my mood as of late, and the mood of the wet, wet weather here in Uppsala. Nah, I shouldn’t say that, things are going well. Yesterday Karl and I decided to do some real man shopping in Stockholm. How do I say this; unless you’ve been to Stockholm you can’t really appriciate the heavy subconscious pressure to look wholly fashionable at all times. Accordingly there are limitless posibilities, a veritable shopping nirvana for those who subscribe to a material world. In another lifetime I want to study sociology, and figure out why certain societies demand more or less of the outside appearence for acceptence in to the said society. Enough rant. I purchased a snygg (good/cute) jacket from H&M, an awsome, thinner jacket from Stadium and some other assorted goods I felt like I needed. When you go to Stockholm someday, my friends, its important that you pay a visit to NK (Nordiska Kompaniet). Never have I ever set foot in such a posh, posh, expensive, posh department store – and odds are neither have you. If money wasn’t an issue I guarentee you would buy every single stick of clothing in your closet from NK or one of the classy brands they carry – yes, it is that nice.

I received a nice letter from Ingamar Jonsson a couple days ago. This is one of the few living relatives I have in Sweden and I plan to visit with him soon south of Linköping where he lives. Odds are I can kill two birds with one stone and visit my much beloved and missed swedish teacher Ia Dubois as well, who is currently writing a book in that city. Not sure what else there is to do there but once I visit I’ll report back to you dear reader!

As always, I leave you with a picture, which is at the top of this post. Check out that car! I saw it in Stockholm with Ryan and had to snap a shot. I will have a special reward for anyone who can tell me what the heck that is (maker/model/year/whatever). ‘Til next time.

En Stor (big) Update – Gamla Uppsala October 4, 2006

Posted by thebigswede in Uncategorized.
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megamlauppsala

Whoa! What happened. It seems that life has been so busy around Uppsala that I have failed to get out an update in the last few days. Fret not thebigswede faithful, it shall not happen often! Where to begin. On friday, Sept 29th my good bud Ryan Avery asked my other good friend Meg Kreuger for her hand in marrige. And she said…. yes of course! Congradulations to the both of them and I’m looking foward to being a part of that wedding. Meg leaves for Seattle today and she will be starting a new position at Nordstrom; grats again Meg! That will leave Ryan quite ensam (alone) but we have some plans to hang out often in Uppsala when he is not busting his butt finishing the Ph.D. On saturday Ryan, Meg came up to Uppsala and together with Karl we went and visited Gamla Uppsala just north of the city’s centre. The museum there is a must see for anyone visiting Sweden and had a great deal of information about Sweden throughout the ages and specific history relating to Uppsala – a major cult and trade center for hundreds of years. The church which dominates this old area dates from the twelfth century and it was very moving to walk through a place where so much history has taken place. The foundations of the church are actually built on what used to be a massive temple to the pagan gods Odin, Thor and Frey which was described by Adam of Bremen in 1070. Many sites in Gamla Uppsala point to old cult which the vikings followed over a thousand years ago. Every nine years the leaders of the tribes in Sweden gathered at Uppsala for a massive feast and to offer human and animal sacrifices to their gods. They hung the corpses of these sacrifices in the trees of a sacred grove which was described by Adam of Bremen and also by Snorri Sturluson. Many old kings and tribal leaders were also buried under large mounds in Gamla Uppsala. Often important chiefs were buried in large viking style ships with their armor, swords, food, etc so that they would be ready to battle and lead even in the afterlife. The idea is not all that different from the Egyptian pharaohs. Up top you see a picture of me by some of the burial mounds. Below here are Ryan, Meg and I in a small replica of a viking long boat outside the museum.

gamlauppsalaboat

We really had a great time and ended the night by playing some kings cup then getting some much needed sleep. Oh! I almost forgot. The day before (friday) some international friends from hotel Uppsala invited a bunch of us out to celebrate a birthday and we went to a bar called Birger Jarls. The bar was so-so and we ended up going to Snerikies instead (which was a blast) but not before I took a great shot of the lady friends – looking nice!

hoteluppsala ladies

I think that is enough of an update for now. Stay tuned for more in a couple days.

Mike