Sunday, December 29, 2013
Here we are with a quick preview of Paris! Nick and I were fortunate enough to have a view of the Eiffel tower from our hotel room, so here we go! At night it lights up and sparkles for about five minutes every hour, on the hour. Beautiful sight to see!
Thursday, December 26, 2013
|The view from our hotel room of the Eiffel Tower|
|photo from First Hotel Paris|
When Nick and I visited Paris for Christmas this past year, we did our research on the web and stayed at First Hotel Paris- Tour Eiffel. Neither of us had ever been to Paris before, so we weren't sure exactly where the best place to stay is. We decided that we wanted to be near the Eiffel Tower, as that and the Christmas Markets were the main attraction for us in Paris.
Upon arriving at First Hotel, the concierge, Antoine, was incredibly helpful to both of us. He found our reservation, and was even able to upgrade us to a corner room on the fourth floor with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It was incredible to have a view of the Eiffel Tower at all times of our stay! After we had dropped off our luggage in the room, he provided us with a map of the city and directions to the Eiffel Tower, as well as umbrellas (a little bit rainy in Paris that weekend!)
Our room was very nice, and I would say a standard to large size for European hotels. The hotel had a very modern feel to it, and was relatively newly renovated. The only complaint that Nick and I had from the hotel was that with the black walls, it was often very dark unless you turned every light in the room on.
The location of First Hotel Paris- Tour Eiffel was perfect. For those using the metro, it is right outside a metro stop that is only 3 stops until the Eiffel Tower. For those looking to walk, like Nick and I, it was only about a ten minute walk to the Eiffel Tower and other sites, including the shopping. Around the hotel, there were plenty of cafes, bakeries, and restaurants for us to choose from within just a couple of blocks. Overall, I would recommend First Hotel Paris to anybody looking to go to Paris. We had a great stay, and would definitely return for our next trip to Paris!
One note that we had no problem with was the potential noise from the subway. If you sleep with the window open, it can get a little noisy at times- as long as you close the windows, the noise was never a problem for us!
|Entrance to Tivoli|
Last weekend, Nick and I headed to Copenhagen for the night to stroll around the Tivoli Christmas Market. Of course, after the train ride there we were both starving- so we opted to stop in at the Hard Rock Cafe for some classic American food! It was delicious, and the customer service was so refreshing-- definitely one of the things I miss the most about the USA!
Once we made it inside Tivoli, we were able to have a lot of fun experimenting with our new camera and the different settings on it. Plus, of course, I wanted to get a TON of pictures from Tivoli! The entrance was beautiful- pictures don't do it justice- and right as we walked in I spotted the first great photo op! After this, it was time to grab some Glühwein- Nick's favorite, a spiced German wine- and start our stroll! Tivoli has an amusement park inside it- complete with a rollercoaster, swan ride, and arcade games. In addition to the amusement park, there are various themed areas of the park- an Indian village being one.
One of my favorite parts about Tivoli was the "love" theme of it. As we walked, we saw three giant blue hearts (picture time!), a tree filled with heart Christmas lights, and later the giant hearts had turned red!
After a cup of Glühwein, we stopped by the arcade area to play Robin Hood and attempt to hit some targets with our arrows. Of course, shooting with a plastic bow and plastic arrows, between the ten arrows we got I think two hit the target!
Overall, Tivoli was a very nice Christmas market and a great first stop on our Christmas vacation! Nick said Tivoli was much more like the Christmas markets he has experienced in Germany. We left the market slightly before it closed at 11 and headed home to warm up and rest up before heading off to Paris the next day! For you readers, what are some of the best Christmas markets or Christmas traditions you have?
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
As we walked along, there were TONS of opportunities for great photos! Bubbetorp is a very pretty area in the winter, with the snow falling everywhere, a few rolling hills, classic Swedish-style red buildings, and a cute little creek running through. One of the attractions I had heard about at Bubbetorp were the alpacas- apparently, some of them were even for sale! I really wanted to pet one, but after hearing that they aren't very nice and will sometimes bite you, and probably spit at you- I passed on my opportunity!
Right after the alpacas is when the rain really started coming down, so we ducked into the food tent. The highlight to me was definitely the "frosting-like" creations! You can see all of the different creations there were-- hippos, snakes, pigs, mushrooms, carrots, and unidentifiable elf creatures! As we checked out the food tent, Nick and I each had a glass of glögg- somewhat disappointed that it was non-alcoholic, but it helped to warm us up nonetheless! Glögg is something Nick has made back in the US for me- it is a type of spiced, warm red wine; occasionally mixed with rum or brandy; usually served with raisins and nuts inside. Absolutely delicious!
Afterwards the food tent, we explored the rest of Bubbetorp, bought some chocolates, and headed home! Personally, I think Bubbetorp was a cute, quaint little Christmas Market- although not exactly what Nick has described to me! However, I will be experiencing both Tivoli (Copenhagen) and Paris Christmas Markets this weekend! Stay tuned for those posts :)
Saturday, November 30, 2013
For Thanksgiving this year, Nick and I were lucky enough to have 2 friends visiting us from Minnesota. Everything about our Thanksgiving day was perfect- even the fact that it was held a day late! KHK had a big game (and win!) on Thursday, so we postponed our celebration until Friday. Thanksgiving this year was a mix of old friends and new. With representatives from the US, Sweden, France, Finland, and Denmark- I think made a good showing! We had all of the traditional Thanksgiving foods- turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, apple pie, the whole nine yards. The only thing missing for me was homemade lefse! Perhaps next year we will add that to the list...
All in all, my first Thanksgiving away from home and without my family was a success. I was able to call and Skype with them, so it almost felt like I was there. Hosting all of our friends over for dinner was great as well. I even managed to get a picture of some of the group later in the evening! To me, Thanksgiving has always been about spending time with family and friends- and I was so thankful to do that this year!
Friday, November 15, 2013
Sometimes, moving to a new country is really hard. From the little things, to the big things. The first few weeks that I was here, it was hard for me to adjust to little, seemingly every day things. Back home in the US, I felt like a fully competent adult- I could cook, clean, go to work, and have fun; all on my own. All of a sudden in a new country, these seemingly simple, every day tasks became difficult. I remember the first week here, I wanted to go to the grocery store and get some things to make dinner for Nick and I. Nothing crazy, just a simple chicken parmesan. Well, boy was I ever wrong. It is quite difficult to grocery shop in a country where you don’t speak the language; and therefor can’t even grocery shop on your own because you don’t understand the food labels.
Eventually, grocery shopping became easier. As did doing the laundry (I still have no idea which cycle I am using on the washer, but it is the same one Nick told me to use 3 months ago so I work off the assumption it is correct!). At first, it was really hard for me to adjust to the fact that these seemingly easy, every day tasks were no longer that- and each one required thought and preparation. I felt like a lost, incompetent child. Eventually, however, that got easier.
Now, I can grocery shop (mostly!) on my own. I can do the laundry on my own. Every day things have become easier. Yet it is the bigger, and much more important things in life, that are difficult. Like making friends. Language is such a barrier, because I do not speak Swedish. Yes, I am learning it. Right now, if you speak slowly, I can maybe talk about lunch, or what we both work as, or the weather (if you use the same 4 things I have learned about in Rosetta Stone). So if I am in a group setting and Swedish is being spoken, I may understand a random word- if I am lucky, a sentence- but I do not understand. When a group of people laughs, I have no idea why. And I have learned what a huge difference there is between being invited, and being included.
Fortunately for me, I came to Sweden with Nick now. In the world of iPhones, where I can iMessage- for free!- with the majority of my friends and family back home. In the world of Skype, and Facebook, so I can remain connected. In the world where soon I will start an online MBA, and be able to occupy myself with that. I am not jealous of Nick for coming here and experiencing all the things I am now, ten years ago before all these things. I am fortunate to have my family and friends here to talk to, and even for this blog as a place to relay my feelings.
I am also fortunate to be able to look on the bright side of things. I know this experience is making me a better, stronger person- and that it will improve me in the future. I know I am lucky to be living in another country, supporting the man I love. I know I am lucky to be able to look forward to so many great things over the next few months, that I am able to do simply because of being here. Having friends and family visit, traveling all throughout Europe, playing hockey in Europe, supporting my husband, taking a 3 week honeymoon, learning another language, starting an MBA, I could go on for days. Sometimes, living in a new country is wonderful (and I won’t let myself forget that!) However, sometimes it is hard to be here. Tonight, my remedy will be a nice tall glass of wine and some Friends (the TV show!).
Monday, November 11, 2013
I haven’t been posting on here as much lately, and this is due to several reasons. I can certainly make excuses- I’ve been busy, it was Nick’s birthday, I’m trying to transition the blog to a new site- but the only true reason is that I have been busy just living the normal, everyday life I have gotten used to over here. Along with this, over the past several months (even years, to be honest) I have seen an abundance of posts circling the internet on “10 things you need to do to be happy right now”, “25 things every 20-something should know”, “20 things to make you happy in 5 years”, and the list goes on. I’m sure you’ve all seen posts like this.
Well, lets be honest- if we all spent our entire lives reading these posts, how are we ever supposed to be happy? Because there will always be somebody out there, telling us we need to do this or stop doing that in order to be happy.
You know what makes me happy? Having the freedom to do what I please, and not being told constantly I need to change what I’m doing. I will admit, I’ve read a fair amount of these articles circling the internet. The message I receive from all of them is to focus your time on doing what you love, spending time with the people you love, and just plain focusing on being happy.
So lately, I’ve been doing just that. I have spent an extraordinary amount of time curled up on the couch with Nick. I’ve been reading (and re-reading) some of my favorite books, in preparation for their movies to be coming out in the next several weeks. If I haven’t felt like doing something, I simply haven’t. Which may be why I haven’t posted here as much- I do enjoy posting on my blog. But truth be told, not much new or exciting (that I can tell the entire world about!) has happened in the last week.
With that being said, off I go! I promise I will post, as soon as I have something relevant to say. In the meanwhile, I’m just going to focus on making myself happy by just living life, plain and simple.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
I’d like to throw out a very happy birthday to the best (and worst!) older brother ever! For the great majority of my life, he’s been a pretty damn good brother. Of course, recently this past year I did find proof that at times he was a big buthaed.
Really though, my older brother has been a guy who’s been there for me. All throughout growing up, family trips, college and living on the same block together in our respective fraternity and sorority, to now when he is taking care of my sweet baby kitty while I’m abroad. At my wedding this past month, he gave the most amazing speech (I have videos and a copy of it, so I know this!) Maybe the only person who can call the bride a stalker in a wedding speech and pull it off.
With that being said, happy birthday older brother! I hope you have a fabulous day!! Here’s to the good times and the bad times, and all the times ahead of us!
Your little sister,