November 12, 2006 5:25pm
Well, it’s been a fun last 24 hours! Yesterday evening Erin and I met up to go hang out in Solna with Jas and Malin. We stopped first to grab a kebob pizza. It’s pretty popular here (the kebob pizza) and Erin really likes it. After hanging out for a bit at one house, we then went to Jenny’s house. Maddy, Martina, and Leila were there too… and it was really fun to just hang out off-the-court with everyone for a while. It’s funny… Erin and I were pretty much told all that we’d need to pack is sweats, so neither of us really brought any “going out” clothes. Compared to everyone else – all in their super, stylish euro-looking clothes – Erin and I looked like total Americans, or maybe just a little out of place : ) . haha. It’s really ok though, since it really doesn’t matter that much. Maddy did offer that I could borrow some of her clothes (or she’d even take me out shopping if I want… so maybe I’ll do that sometime). It’ll be fun to get all dressed up in certain styles I have never worn before… everybody hear wears skinny jeans inside boots (but I guess that may be picking-up popularity in certain parts of the U.S. too). Eventually we made it out to a bar… the one where Jas’s friend was supposed to be playing. Well we were too late to hear him, but it was still fun – good music and great people – how can you beat that?!
This morning I went to church at the same place as I went last week – New Life Church. I’m glad I went, though it wasn’t quite the same as last week. The church was having a conference all weekend, so the church service was probably a little less involved (or at least differently focused) because of the time, energy, and planning that went into the conference. The conference – called “Synergy” – was mostly for people “in the arts,” though everyone was welcome. From what I can tell, the idea was to provide support, encouragement, and respect for everyone who is in someway an artist, and for them to feel supported by God to pursue the natural talents He has given them. The service itself today had less traditional worship music because there were some musicians visiting from the U.S. who played. They were kinda rockin’ out – which is awesome for them cause I’m sure that’s how they like to praise God, but for me – well, I guess I just prefer some of the traditional music sometimes. The sermon, shorter than last time, focused on everyone’s desire for community and a place of belonging, and there was lots of “ministry” time… calling people forward if they felt a “pulling” on their heart. I totally respect all that and know it’s really important (obviously), but in a selfish way, I didn’t exactly feel like I was able to worship God as completely as I would have wanted to. Maybe I just didn’t come to church prepared to worship God, maybe I was distracted by other thoughts, or maybe I don’t know – I just wasn’t totally focused. There was a lot of time provided just to pray… so I took to writing down some prayers/journaling (so that was really good). I also met a woman, Lilly, who is here in Stockholm working for 6 months. She’s from Montreal and is working here for Ericsson (I think the phone company, right?). Anyway, we may meet up sometime this week for fika or something. She was really nice. I would like to meet more people in the church and when I can I will go back. It’s a great start in finding a church community, but I think I will also continue to look around just to see what else Stockholm has to offer in way of English-speaking Christian churches.
After church, I headed off to Det Goda Köket, the International Food and Beverage Show at Stockholmässen (Stockholm Fairgrounds). I picked up a train from T-centralan (hoped it was the right one; it was!) and headed to this massive convention building with huge halls, cafes, and lots of space to have fairs and shows.
This was the last day of the fair, but it seemed to be going as strong as ever. I wish my foody friends – you know who you are! – were all there to join me (and to experience the different tastes with me, and to explain different things to me too!). Even though I did go by myself, I had a really great time walking around, tasting all sorts of different foods, and trying to learn about the Swedish culinary scene. Of course, there were booths will pans, pots, kitchen tools, storage containers, and other goods like that. There were many, many wine stations… and for 60 kronor you could get a wine glass and some tickets for tasting. I decided not to do that – mostly because I didn’t have anyone to taste it with or to talk to about it, but it would have been fun to do that if I had someone to enjoy it with. However, I had lots of fun tasting a bunch of different cheeses (I still don’t really like cheese much at all, but at least I was trying it), meat, chocolate, cider drinks, and more. They had all sorts of different kinds of meat… the usual suspects (pork, beef) and then they also had deer, reindeer, elk, moose, and ostrich! Fish, too and some veggie-soy fake meat also. There were chocolates from Sweden, and from Belgium, Italy, and I’m sure other places too. It was an international fair, so generally there were wines, cheese, chocolate, and other products from all over the world. There were lots of cookbooks – they looked awesome – but everything was in Swedish, so I didn’t understand much and didn’t buy any either for the same reason. Everyone initially spoke to me in Swedish, except for one time… this guy, clear as day, asked me “hello miss, would you like to try some parmesan cheese?” I guess I looked clearly English-speaking to him, but everyone else only spoke English after I looked at them cluelessly as they tried to explain their product to me in Swedish. Interestingly, it seems as though many of the food products are not easily translated to English… certain berries, flowers, breads, drinks, and spreads are specific to Sweden. Many people had a harder time than I expected in trying to explain to me what their product was made of.
I met and talked with one woman who works for a company that delivers organic fruits, vegetables, and fish to your doorstep. She was telling me how “organic produce” is gaining popularity in Sweden, though this company – Arstiderna – has been serving Denmark for 7 years and now for the last year has been serving Sweden too. (you can go to www.arstierna.com for more info) An interesting connection, the woman (who’s name I do not know) has an 11-yr-old son who plays basketball at Fryshuset sometimes. Fun. What else? I ate a lot. lol. I like trying the different meats, the flavored honeys, and then new tastes – like, for instance, cloudberry? It was the flavor of a cider. See, alcoholic ciders (they’re served either in glass bottles or in a wine glass) are very popular here. They are sweet drinks that really hold the flavor of whatever fruit they were made from. Flowers are also used quite a bit for flavoring, drinks, sauces, and more. There were flavored honeys, many varieties of jams and mustards, and bulk spices that were available too. A giant pumpkin – I mean, really giant! It might have rivaled those at the Half Moon Bay Giant Pumpkin Festival – was cut open and I had some raw pumpkin. I like pumpkin pie better : ) , but it was cool, crisp, and refreshing! Anyway, it was a really fun afternoon and I left absolutely full of all sorts of food – mostly Swedish, but some from around Europe as well. I wish you could have been there to enjoy it with me; you would have loved it too!