Friends and Family Life in Sweden

A Social Life

Nicklas enjoying his birthday celebrations.

If you’re wondering why my blog has been abandoned recently it’s because I have rediscovered my social life over the past few weekends. One of the things that I have particularly enjoyed since being in Sweden is the luxury of staying at home at the weekends and relaxing after a busy week. This sedentary lifestyle is due to a number of factors: firstly my commute adds an extra 4 hours to my day which is 20 hours a working week. Although I can do some work or read on the train this is essentially a large chunk out of my week which is when I would usually be relaxing after a busy day. When I get home I have just enough time to eat and shower before going to bed to get enough sleep before the 5am wake-up call. By the time the weekend arrives I just need some ‘me-time’, time to write on my blog, read, watch Glee and prepare for the week ahead.

The second factor is Nicklas’ work schedule. It would be impossible for us to have a more directly opposite working schedule. He works all weekend, I work all week. I have early mornings and get back late, he works late evening. We can go a week when the only time we are in the same room is when one of us is asleep, so come the weekend we have one precious evening when we can actually spend any time together.

The third reason for my weekend solitude is the fact that I am trying desperately to add to my travel fund – no easy feat in Sweden! I am happy to forego expensive nights out for the promise of a year of dancing on the beach instead. Also my three years in Vietnam seriously depleted the value of eating out as I could afford to eat out at top restaurants every night if I chose. I didn’t chose to – is it wrong that I enjoy my own Spaghetti Bolognese more than any pasta dish I have ever eaten in an Italian restaurant? I do still enjoy eating out but I’m happy to restrict it to once a month, unless you count Chinese or Indian which are impossible to make properly at home!

Finally, I am enjoying spending time watching British TV again – Top Gear right now – which is quite prominent on Swedish TV channels, and relaxing on a comfortable oversized sofa whilst the snow falls outside. My house in Vietnam was an amazing house but with the temperature in the lounge often topping 30°C and no a/c unit to cool us down, it was pretty uncomfortable to spend any time there during the day. Most weekends I was forced outside because of the weather. Here the reverse is true: as the temperature is expected to drop to -13° C this weekend I am forced inside because of the weather. I have hot chocolate and biscuits on standby.

Freya, Ryan and Nick - some of my IES buddies

Last weekend offered a break from the norm, it was Nicklas’ birthday and to celebrate we threw a small party which also served as a housewarming party. My friends came from Stockholm earlier in the day and we headed through the snow into Västerås for a chinese-buffet lunch, and then Nicklas’ friends came from Eskilstuna later in the evening. Good music, Glögg, fun, laughter, and naming the dominatrix girls in the kitchen contributed to a great evening. It was a far cry from our Vietnamese housewarming where 30 people congregated on our rooftop terrace for a party on a balmy tropical evening, the only people heading outside last Saturday were fully kitted out in thermal gear and woolly hats. Unfortunately Nicklas had to work on Sunday afternoon so he headed off feeling very sorry for himself while I got down to the fun task on the post-party clean up. Wow, I miss Thuy and Trang.

People getting down to the serious business of Christmas trivia

Yesterday’s social event started with a party at the bunker – a secret underground room at school which looks like some kind of nuclear fallout shelter. I can only imagine that its original purpose was for teachers to shelter in should the students begin to riot. Every now and then we will head down there after school for a social event. The Year 8 team was responsible for this month’s event which took the form of a Pub Quiz – an idea of mine whilst away in the Baltics. Ryan provided the questions and I provided the Movie Stills picture round and marked the papers (marking at a party: an all-time low!). The event seemed to be well appreciated by all who took part, a success all round. We then headed off to Helenes Krog, a fancy restaurant in Stockholm to celebrate Simon’s 30th birthday. We were a big party and unfortunately the birthday boy was 40 mins late so I only managed a starter before I had to head back to Västerås for my train (saved myself a week of Asia-accommodation though so it’s not all bad) but I had a pretty huge starter and don’t think I could have managed a main course anyway, and I got home in time to watch a movie with Nicklas whose face I was beginning to forget after not seeing him since last Sunday afternoon.

My weekend walk through the park

This weekend I am confined to the house due to lack of money. In truth I have money – I was paid on Thursday but I left my purse in a shop changing room yesterday and when I went back 20 minutes later to ask if they had it I was told that they did but that the shop assistant had cut up my card! Who does that??!! So my weekend plans consist of making soup, cheese scones and a gingerbread house and then getting down to some serious Rosetta Stone action. It’s snowing really heavily right now so I might walk over to the lake and take some Winter Wonderland pictures – I wonder how long it will be before the lake freezes over. Rhoda is visiting next weekend so we will be heading into Stockholm in search of Viking history and Christmas markets so I am more than happy to chill out this weekend.

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