I returned from Amsterdam on February 4th, and on the 5th my old high school friend Theresa arrived here in Uppsala. I had just moved the day before leaving for Amsterdam, to a place right in the city, and we have two living rooms and two extra mattresses, so we set up the quieter living room as her sleeping quarters and she spent a couple days with us. One day we had fika (coffee/snacks/chatting – very Swedish) twice and went to a student nation for their club night. It was actually Fettisdag, which literally means Fat Tuesday (as does Mardi Gras). One of my Swedish friends told us how, as a child, she always thought it was not fet + tisdag but fettis + dag, which would mean fatty day! We ate the traditional Swedish Fettisdag snack: semla! It’s this crazy bun with whipped cream and almost paste and it’s delicious!
A couple days later, my friend Sarina arrived in town for a visit. She stayed a bit over a week with us and we had quite a few adventures, but I’ll limit the descriptions somewhat. The photos in this post are all from her camera.
We made tandoori chicken, which I love and have never made myself (actually I didn’t make this myself, Sarina made it and I did some stirring and marinating and spice-addition, as well as lots of ‘supervision.’ We also made dal, and of course tonnes of rice.
I was happy, really!
Sarina brought with her some peanut butter (which, as a side-note, had anchovies and sardines in it… well, the oil from them anyways) from Canada so we could make the peanut butter cookies I’ve been making for years. I did all the ingredients stuff, then after a little bit of mixing I let (pressured?) Sarina into doing the rest of the mixing and most of the actual placing of cookies in the oven (I supervised from a chair hehe). They turned out pretty good, even though our oven is hotter at the back so the back row was always slightly burnt when the front row was almost perfect.
A few of you (who am I kidding, are there even a ‘few’ people reading this?) may recall my clinical trials of the effects of eating expired food items, including photos: http://photodiarist.com/2005/09/20/the-student-menu/
In keeping with my food adventures (which include drinking tap water all summer in Cameroon, for those of you who won’t even drink Vancouver’s tap water), I one night decided here in Uppsala that I should eat raw bacon. I mean, my whole life I’ve wanted to eat raw bacon, but I never have. It came up in conversation and so I took the initiative, grabbed an unopened package of bacon from my fridge and Greg, Emmanuel, and I each had a couple of strips. I then did so again during Sarina’s visit, because it tastes that good:
Also, Greg taught me how to make a really neat sandwich: take two pieces of bread and put a layer of cream cheese on each one. Fry up 4 pieces of bacon (if you like it crispy, you’ll need more bacon, because it gets smaller the longer you cook it of course) and put the bacon between the cream cheesed bread. Voilà! Cream cheese and bacon sandwhich, isn’t it amazing?!?
Leaving the topic of food, Sarina persuaded me that we HAD to go watch a Swedish Elite League hockey game so we got tickets to watch Djurgården IF play MODO (the team that Naslund, the Sedins, Forsberg, and others have played for). The 40 minute train from Uppsala to Stockholm is where I get my best naps, and this was no exception.
In Stockholm, we met up with Theresa (who stayed with me a week before) for food and convinced her to join us at the hockey game. Luckily there were still tickets left and we were actually all able to sit together because some seats were empty near us! We were in the very last row but it was a great view, since Hovet arena only seats 8000. Djurgården was the home team, so I cheered for them while Sarina cheered for MODO.
In the first intermission we walked around a bit and the girls met the Djurgården mascot, which seems to be some sort of mutant rabbit/mouse/American gladiator creature.
At the end of games in Sweden, the home team does something that (according to Sarina, the one who’s been to plenty of hockey games while I only watched them on TV) NHL teams only rarely do, and smaller teams sometimes do: they lined up at the end of the arena where the most vocal of their supporters were seating, and they gave a cheer / thank you to the crowd while banging their sticks in unison on the ice. I wish the NHL had a bit more of that kind of stuff, but I guess they don’t need it when GM Place is already selling out constantly and everyone wants to rush to the parking lot…
The next day in Uppsala we had quite the snowstorm, it was really hard to see for a while when we were walking, but it was great!
That night, we went out dancing with my classmates and flatmates and when we got home I found that my keys were no longer in my pocket. My flatmates had their keys so it was no problem to get inside, but my room was locked, so I had no way to get in! After some attempts to pick the lock with wires but no good tension wrench, I decided it was time to destroy things.
Doors in Sweden tend to open outward, so there was no way to kick the door in. So, I got the power drill from the storage room and used it as if it were a jigsaw, to cut into the door jamb around the strike plate. I then used a strong screwdriver to pry the strike plate off, allowing the door to open.
Sarina left a couple days later, and shortly thereafter I found my keys! They were on a shelf in our front hall, hidden by some gloves and a lei. I must have put them there while putting my gloves on before going out, so they were never in my pocket to begin with! I took the big strikeplate off the kitchen door jamb since there’s no door there anymore, and drilled new holes in my door jamb and stuck the new strike plate on and all is well again. So, no money lost!