June 30, 2010
First time seeing many of my good friends from UofI again tonight. Let me tell you, Urbana is the place to be living; we had an arts & crafts night. We made masks. Things got very paint-y.
Listening to: My new Fever Ray vinyl — good morning, me.
June 26, 2010
Watched a disappointing US World Cup match this afternoon in a hereto unknown to me Mexican restaurant downtown. While the loss was, of course, a deserved disappointment (really, whatever the US did on the field today was not soccer), I took solace in the discovery of the most wonderful of restaurant decor.
It reads: “Authentic Mexican Food.” Win.
June 25, 2010
Here are a few things I’ve thought since my return:
Why are the streets built for machines here?
Why is there so much water in the bowl?
Why are liquor stores open so late?
Why can’t I buy beer at the library anymore?
What’s with all the corn?
Why can I now hear a Midwestern accent? Do I have this?
Why does Sweden suck so much at Mexican food?
Why can’t I find a sushi place on every corner, instead of a Starbucks?
Why does no one fika?
Why do people have to make and have plans?
Hulu works again, the question is: Why should I care?
Do people really drink that much water at restaurants?
Why can’t the States have a monarchy, too? Celebrities are boring.
June 25, 2010
So uh, I’ve spent the last few days in somewhat of a trance. The combination of jet lag and reverse culture shock? No. I’ve been hanging out with my good friend Kyle, and we’ve been doing what we do best: wasting time. Two days (ish) straight of AoE3 and buying beer at 11 p.m. Yep, this is America. Welcome home, me.
On the plus side: the square eyes created a damming of creative juices and when I finally broke away from colonial campaigning, there was a rush of those juices flowing: lots of writing between about 2 and 3 a.m. last night. And ew, juices flowing.
Here’s a song:
June 23, 2010
After six months in Sweden, I’m finally home. These first few days have been a trip to Uncanny Valley, almost as if I’d never left (with one major exception — USA no longer seems to be so atrocious at soccer). I do, however, seem to be experiencing some reverse culture shock. When I went to Sweden I was expecting the different, the new, and it wasn’t so shocking. Coming home after studying anthropology, I now find myself looking through an ethnological spyglass. Restaurants are loud with a push for turnover and toilets have more water. The streets are made for machines, not people. A whole city had been a walk away; now, going next door seems to necessitate use of a car. I look around, and it’s all the same. Perhaps only my eyes have changed, gotten wider. If not for the digital proof of photography, a vague record in the blogosphere, umpteen dozen new Facebook friends from across the globe, Sweden could have been but a dream. Sure, I picked up some tangible objects as souvenirs and memorabilia, but in today’s global market, they could have come from anywhere. Even my ukulele, to me the most iconic semblance of my time in Sweden, was made in China. Well, dream or not, I’ve got a few last photos to share from my time with my family in the Motherland. Maybe by posting I will get that final needed confirmation that yes it did all really happen, and, with any luck, make my brother look like a goon along the way.
Yep, that’s it folks. Sweden isn’t just a fairy tale. It’s for real. And it’s awesome.
Now, time to get me some proper Mexican food.
June 17, 2010
Arrived in Malmö yesterday. Hopped the train over to Köpenhamn today. More tourism, more photos. There are a few more from Ronneby, and I’ve gotten some really glorious distortions. Enjoy.
June 16, 2010
Although by now my family and I have already moved on to Malmö, we have just spent the last few days in Ronneby, Sweden. As my uncle has been telling everyone he meets, my great great grandfather, Henrik Madelung, was the Master Gardener for Brunnsparken in the late 18o0’s. Together with landscaper Henry Flindt, my great great grandfather laid out the park as it remains today. And what we saw, we had not expected to be so grand. Brunnsparken stretches out more like a forest reserve than a local park, garnering fame as the fourth best park in Europe, number one in Sweden. And its beauty is exquisite; a muted simplicity, stretching out over more trails than we could walk in a day. That simplicity calls out to the wandering spirit, begging every twist and turn be explored. If my family hadn’t pressed me to continue on, I may have stood dumbfounded for hours. Although I haven’t seen the fruits of my brother’s camerawork, I am skeptical of any photo’s ability to capture the sheer expanse of the park. Part of its beauty is in that expanse, the park worthy of a personal visit. That said, I do have a few more photos from the past few days. And if you would like to read more about Brunnsparken, Anna Jakobsson wrote a dissertation on experiencing landscapes, focusing on the park; it can be found here.