Tag archives for Lund

The long-awaited SWEDISH SUMMER

Before we left for vacation, I was feeling very skeptical about the fantastic Swedish summer that had been promised to me.

All through the cold, hard winter, the words “Swedish summer” were whispered like an incantation, a sure reward for suffering through months of minimal sunlight and maximal wind exposure. Swedish summer, Swedish summer, Swedish summer. There’s nothing better in the whole world. 

In the last week of May, it seemed as though summer were just around the corner. The clouds cleared, ice cream shops opened, and old ladies draped themselves over park benches with their heads tilted up to the sky, already eager to scoop up any available rays.

And then winter came back. And then spring. And then it got cold again. And then people started telling me that once again, I just so happened to be here during “the rainiest June in Lund” since the 1920s or something like that. When we went to Italy on vacation, a cold front descended, making the much-heralded Swedish summer look a lot more like Swedish late fall.

It’s just not right, you know? We LIVE for this. But all is forgotten now because the weather has turned and we are finally experiencing SWEDISH SUMMER.

Here’s what my summer days have been looking like:  Read more » >>

Bring on the Spring!

Signs of the season: spring flowers, muddy sidewalks, balmy breezes and best of all—sun, glorious sun!

Two weeks ago, I was surprised to wake up one weekend morning because of sun shining into our bedroom, a first in this new apartment. Now the sun is up ahead of me even on weekdays, making it unnecessary for me to turn on the kitchen light as I groggily make my way towards the coffee pot in the morning.

And would you believe it, I’m finally down to wearing just one coat and one pair of socks instead of two of each.

Blooming flowers, sunny train stations, babbling brooks: Spring! Spring! Spring! Photos: Kate Reuterswärd

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My Big Fat Swedish Wedding

Love of planning and unhurried, deliberate journey to the altar be damned. The big day came and went, and my Swede and I tied the knot!

Since then, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the wedding: what it was like, what we did, and so on. It was a long, exciting, joyful day full of activities… and here’s what it looked like. Read more » >>

The Low Down on the Love Visa, Part 2

When I first told my family about the existence of the sambo visa, they were pretty amused and immediately started calling it “the loooooooove visa.” Of course, I cleared up any misunderstandings they might have by showing them this video.

Everyone who is granted a sambo visa is required to enroll immediately in samba lessons and travel in a roving samba-sambo pack. Obviously. Then you have to wrestle a drunken elk. (The winner gets to stay in Sweden.)

Now, I’m no immigration expert, but I get a lot of questions on my other blog, Transatlantic Sketches, about the visa process and what my experiences were. So here goes:

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Blackberry picking season

After what has felt like just weeks of cold, rainy weather, the sun is finally shining again. Perfect timing! It’s way nicer to go blackberry picking in the sunshine than in the rain.

Blackberries? Yes, please! Photo: Kate Wiseman

One thing that blew my mind the first couple of times I came to visit Sweden was how closely linked urban and natural environments are. I don’t live in the biggest of cities, but for Sweden, it’s a pretty respectable size, and the university is one cause of massive residential sprawl. Regardless, I can pretty much guarantee that from any point within Lund, you are within five minutes walking distance of nature at all times. That’s pretty impressive.

Accordingly, Swedish people (in general) tend to have a much more meaningful relationship with nature than most of the Americans I grew up with—and it’s not just the older generation. People my age, in their twenties, have grown up picking berries, hunting mushrooms in the forest, and making cordial from flowers and leaves cut from bushes.  I’m sure there are people in the US who do this, but certainly not to the extent that I see it here.

I was pretty skeptical of this whole “walk around and pick stuff off the plants” thing when I first moved here, but a year in and I’m totally enchanted. I feel like I’ve spent the whole summer examining the trees and bushes in my neighborhood. Is this edible? Is this? Is this?

Two mystery berries and one wild chestnut. Photo: Kate Wiseman

The fascination could be a little dangerous, of course, but I’m not putting anything in my mouth unless I’m completely sure it’s safe. There are so many varieties of fruit and berries here that I’ve never seen before—and so many nuts that I would never recognize on the tree—that it seems like just about everything has the possibility of becoming food.

For the last couple of days, the warm weather has prompted some serious blackberry picking, some apple scouting, and a long, meandering walk through Lund’s two biggest parks. Fingers crossed that the weather is terrible all next week and then clears up just in time for the weekend—we’ve got mushroom hunting plans, and I want everyone else to be discouraged from walking through the forest until we get there want the rain to help the mushrooms grow… ahem

Clear skies for now! Photo: Kate Wiseman