Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Answer is Yes.

The answer is yes.  It's true.  I did in fact get the chance to try (and enjoy) authentic Swedish meatballs.  That was a big concern when I left home for Sweden...would I get the opportunity to try real Swedish meatballs? Mission accomplished.  Going along with the Swedish theme--after all, that is where I am--I was also invited to try the Swedish treat known as a kanelbulle or a cinnamon bun.  However, these vary slightly from the cinnamon buns we are familiar with in America.  The main difference is the lack of extreme amounts of icing...or really any icing at all for that matter.  These treats are often eaten during the Swedish fika (if you recall from my last post, fika=a delightfully wonderful break in the day).  May I add that there was even fika served at the basketball practice I attended with my Swedish contact family yesterday afternoon.  There was a small cart set up in the corner of the gym with tea, coffee, water, juice, and kanelbulle.  It was great!  There is always ALWAYS a time and place for fika :) 

I could go on and on about my love of fika, but for the sake of finishing this blog and starting on my lesson plans, I will try and continue with another topic (*sigh*).  This weekend in Jönköping was exciting, educational, exhausting, but most of all AWESOME (side note: had to use that word...awesome is a very 'American' word according to my mentor teacher, Sören).  Beginning on Saturday afternoon, I spent the day with my "Swedish family", the Carlquist's.  They are a family of five--Karin, Göran, Maja (15), Lisa (11), & Alfred (11)--that the University matched me up with.  It acts as a way for me to get a peek into Swedish life and also get some home cooked meals and some family love, since my own family is so very far away :/  Both of the parents have spent a good deal of time in the United States, but the kids are still working on their English.  But, I could not have asked for a better contact family.  Granted, I have only spent one day with them, but they were more welcoming than I could have ever wished for!  They fed me not one, but TWO meals (As both a college student and an international traveller with a limited $$$ supply, you accept all the free food you can get).  And yes, this is where I got my first taste of real Swedish meatballs (delicious!), among other tasty treats! 

The Swedish meal took place at lunch, but the dinner was very similar to a typical American cookout--hot dogs and chips, ketchup and mustard.  Only difference from a cookout at home?  The ketchup wasn't Heinz--I know Sam would be disappointed had he been there!  And, you've heard the phrase, "as American as apple pie"...well, I am considering personally altering that catchphrase because Karin (the mom) made some homemade apple pie (they have an apple tree in their backyard) that was to die for! If I was a baking pro, I would surely steal the recipe :) In addition, the family showed me around their beautiful house (with a great view of the lake and valley).  I also got to shoot around at the kid's basketball practice (I still have some of my old bball skills) and meet a few other Swedish families.  The family also has a ping-pong table.  We played a game that consists of running around the table and trading paddles...very active and very fun! 

Now, onto Sunday.  I know, busy weekend with lots to tell! Gary (my PSU travel buddy) and I were invited to go on a history tour of the areas surrounding Jönköping with my mentor teachers--Sören and Stefan.  Apparently they do this with all the PSU students who make their way to Sweden.  We got the opportunity to tour old churches/cathedrals, burial grounds, a monastery, "judgement rings", as well as the beautiful Swedish countryside.  Plus, we really lucked out...the weather was mid-70's (or mid 20's if you're feeling brave and want to use the celsius scale), and wonderfully sunny!  Just a measure of how many great sights we saw--I took over 200 pictures.  I do admit, this may have been a tad excessive, but hey, that's what digital cameras are for, right?!  Well, over the course of the day, Gary and I learned SO much about the history of the area, as well as the importance of fika (of course).  We stopped twice for fika and once for a fantastic lunch, with an even better view.  It was a tiring, but great day!  I will include some pictures below because words don't do some of these sights justice.  

My name tag at school :) 

Playing round-the-table-ping pong
(with some of my "swedish family" and some neighbors)

Near one of the ancient burial sights 

Varnhem Abbey

Skara Cathedral

Machine in make donations even easier HA HA :)
Now, this was a quite lengthy post...I assume that both my lesson planning and my sleep will suffer because of this, so I hope you all enjoy the pictures and the details :) Yay to PSU for the Saturday win...good omen for the game against Alabama?!!! Hope so! 

Love to all, 

1 comment:

  1. So glad you have a family to hang out with and learn the ins and outs of everyday family life in Sweden. And the homecooked meals are a real plus! Keep taking pictures, we'll want to see them all!