Thursday, June 14, 2012

Emelia Returns from Sweden

A chronicle, from Växjö to Minnesota. 

  • My suitcase doesn't roll so much anymore. It's more of a slooow drag.
  • Nearly flipped my suitcase onto a stroller getting off bus in town.  My apologies, family. 
  • Swedes don't open doors for you.  I'm normally fine with this.  However, I'm not when I have three overstuffed bags and a heavy coat.  Hjälp mig [help me]. 
  • Husband-hunting en route to Copenhagen.  Several good options afoot. 
  • Did a double-take at a guy with a tan scarf. He noticed.  Whoops. 
  • Oh my God, am actually leaving. 
  • Must listen to upbeat American country music to quell building feelings of impending leaving.
  • I momentarily have the whole train car to myself.  Wanting it utilize it to perform "If My Heart Had Wings."
  • Sir, you have walked through here like eight times.  Park yourself. 
  • Just attempted to leap into my seat.  It was flipped up.  I leave you to imagine the results. 
  • Why is my nail polish chipped exactly the same on both thumbs? 
  • Accidentally flung my iPod on the floor.  Guy next to me is unimpressed.  You could judge if you weren't wearing navy blue socks and brown Velcro sandals, buddy.
  • Elton weighed in at 18.5 kilograms, with a limit of 23.  That was the most beautiful moment of the trip.  So in went the coat with the fur and other randoms. 
  • Had excellent conversation with cashier at WHSmith.  Shared my odyssey and she gave me extra napkins.  Ours is the best friendship that never was. 
  • Husband-hunting in airport.  Hello, young pilot with Danish features. 
  • My arms hurt from schlepping my bags across Scandinavia. 
  • The airport's a-bustlin' and it's not even 5:00!  
  • Plane time.
  • Had mad dash through the Oslo airport.  The security guards are on strike, meaning I had to go all the way through security again and sprint through a whole terminal.  (Well, sprint/power-walk while panicking and dreading falling.)  Then I hit passport control, where some moron angrily chatted up the guard for 573 decades.  He finally got through and the guard decided to take a break and swap with another guy, who told me not to worry about making my flight, because it was still there.  Yet the panic was not quelled, since it was 11:00 and the departure time was 11:05.  And there is nothing more stressful than seeing BOARDING CLOSING on the departure screen (though departing from Gate 53 and needing to get there quickly from Gate 30 does come close).  I tossed my passport and boarding card at the people at my gate and MIRACLE OF MIRACLES, the plane was actually still there!   So I proclaimed "God bless Norway!" and flew down the gangplank, where I was greeted by the world's nicest people.  A flight attendant whose name may have been Helen gave me a glass of water and the pilot called me love.  I'm pretty sure I was flustered enough to merit concern.  I traipsed through the plane and felt the need to inform everyone "Don't worry, I'm not in first class."  Then I found my seat (window, naturally) and stared, shell shocked, at beautiful Norway.
  • Now I have passport stamps from all of Scandinavia!
  • I smell like an airplane mixed with terror. 
  • If the wine is free, I'm chuggin' it.
  • Seven hours is too long to spend on a plane in the daytime.
  • Fifty Shades of Gray is apparently seriously the new thing, at least in the Newark airport.  Ooookay.
  • English magazines as far as the eye can see! 
  • CNN's headlines have been "Mom: Doll Called Me A Crazy B****,"  "Seat Belt: Gas Can or Child?"  and something about Obama and Call Me Maybe.  It's nice to be back. 
  • Listening to a girl explain her trip home from Morocco.  She's got henna on her arms and ethic-print harem pants.  I just have riding boots and a purple Swedish scarf.  
So that's how I got here. Photos coming soon. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Chillin' in Copenhagen, waiting for it to be morning so I can fly across the ocean!

...and there goes the internet.

The Consummation of Packing

My suitcase is most definitely overweight. I'll figure this issue out later.

Time to hit the train tracks.

Farewell, Sweden! 

Vlog Eleven: Packing, Cleaning, and Hey, I Wear Glasses!

Packing: Day Four, Part Two

So it's really Day Five of Packing, but I'm still awake from Day Four.

Stop it, caps.

ANYHOW (they're not stopping), my suitcase is heavy. How heavy? Pfft. We're not gonna find that out until tomorrow, boys and girls. Then we're gonna downsize (sayanora, snowboots) and hang out overnight in the Kastrup Lufthavn (that's the airport).

I'm attempting to re-acclimate to Central Time, which runs seven hours behind. I'm not sure if it's working.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Packing: Day Four, Part One

Have I ever mentioned that cleaning isn't my favorite thing? I wouldn't be going all OCD with it if there weren't stories of  huge fines for not, I don't know, properly dusting the inside of the radiator. Unnecessary. 

Also, my map of the city fell down this morning.  That's a sign it's time to go!

Packing: Day Three

I cleaned my sink and shower drains tonight.

Tonight was disgusting.

Hopefully sweeping tomorrow goes much more nicely.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Packing: Day Two, Part Two

Unanswered questions: 

How much does my suitcase weigh?

Does the establishment I live in have brooms?

Seriously, how much does my suitcase weigh?

Why does the stopper on my sink suddenly not function?

Will Googling How much does my suitcase weigh give me an answer?

How do I know all the words to "You're So Vain" even though I haven't heard all of it for at least three years?

Does anybody have a guess at how much my suitcase weighs?  Here, lift it.

Packing: Day Two, Part One

(Because there are gonna be more Parts. The day is young.)

The process is limping along. I just remembered that I have a drawer FILLED with crap and I'm really scared to open it and see what it contains.

I'm gonna do it. I'll be back.

Did it.  Totally not as scary as I thought it would be.  It has my dead computer cord, my contacts, a bunch of orientation stuff, MY CELL PHONE, and a bunch of odds and ends that will be thrown away within in the next three days.

I leave you with this accidentally-taken picture. This is not a day for glamour...or good hair.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Packing: Day One's going sort of well.  I mean, it's going.  I need to do laundry before it goes any further.  And I need to throw things away.  And I need to eat a sandwich.  (Not necessarily in that order.)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hungarian Picture Things

Warning: if you've browsed these on Facebook, the words won't tell you much that you didn't already know. But read 'em anyway. 

Hello, Budapest! 

Nyugati train station.

Parliament is behind me. 

And Parliament is behind me again! 

While strolling through the city, I found this building. It's a music school. I thought, Why not pop inside? I did and listened at doorways and concluded that it probably wasn't open for tourists. 

Hungarian State Opera House! 

Ticket to Verdi's Macbeth!  Cue joy. 


My shoes weren't totally right for the occasion.

The company. 

I look at  my pictures of the interior now and think, These all look totally the same. What was my deal? Thrill. THAT was my deal. 



On Wednesday, I got on a bus to the old section of the city. "Old" apparently means "Communistic." It was really interesting and a tiny bit terrifying. 

I found my way back to this. 


Callas, a cafe right across the street from the opera house. I ate here before seeing....

...The Karamazovs! It was a ballet and it was gorgeous. 

Greetings again, house of opera (and other fine arts). 

 Stage! See this view? It was worth 4000 forints...or $17.00. God bless Hungary.

Reclining during intermission. (Those are indeed jeans I'm wearing. This is the last time I will ever not pack a dress.)

More people! 

The Budapest airport's surroundings. A teeeeeny bit intimidating. 

On the train back to Vaxjo, I found my sitting-in-vehicles soulmate. Honestly, look at his posture and tell me we're not meant to be.
...then I saw his wedding ring. Oh well. You win some, you lose some. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Things Gleaned and Retrospective Advice

  1. When a scuzzy-looking non-Swede approaches you (and subsequently everyone else) while you wait for the airport bus in Malmö and asks for assistance because he needs insulin and his friend abandoned him, just say no. What he was lookin' to shoot up was not medicinal. 
  2. There is no such thing as too much handwashing in an airport.
  3. It's always funny when someone opens a carbonated beverage and it explodes.  Always.
  4. In line to check in to your flight, there will be two middle-aged American backpackers in front of you.  They will speak of cheap airlines and mention something about jets not being up to code.  As you are flying a cheap airline, ignore this conversation. 
  5. Also in this line, you will have a moment of complete panic because your purse is gone.  Rest assured, it's not.  It's just inside your other bag.  Relish the relief. 
  6. If the very clueless guy who has to go through the metal detector numerous times and eventually gets thoroughly patted down is truly a terrorist, the terrorists need to be more selective.
  7. The opportune time to liberally spritz yourself with six perfumes from the duty-free shop is not right before boarding a two-hour flight. This is a lesson you will learn but never apply.
  8. If you douse your scarf with Youth Dew by Estée Lauder, you will smell like your mother.  This in combination with the airport smelling like every last day of elementary school will send you into a weird mental place.  You're not old enough to be going to Budapest alone! Except you are. 
  9. Combovers fool no one, sir. And three strands do not a combover make. 
  10. Thinking If you recline your seat, I'll kill you enough times actually is effective on the rambunctious men in the row ahead of you on the plane.
  11. Thinking This feels like crashing as your pilot swoops downward to land actually is not effective on anyone.
  12. There apparently is no passport control for European arrivals at the Budapest airport. This makes you feel like you're entering the country illegally. 
  13. There will be a terrifying elevator promising to take you down from the overpass to the train tracks. Trust your instincts and take the stairs. 
  14. Do not judge anywhere by its outskirts, as if you do, your thoughts while waiting for the train to Nyugati Station will be I'm in the Holocaust oh Lord this is not a vacation destination oh God. 
  15. If you jaywalk, you may almost get run over by a car and motorcycle tag team. 
  16. When you wander onto a street where a very odd man is staring into a garbage bin, the time to about-face is when he very methodically sticks his hand in it, because you're sure you don't want to know.
  17. The amount of chagrin one feels when they realize they will be underdressed for the opera cannot overshadow excitement. 
  18. Using your camera's zoom to try to look at someone's engagement ring is creepy.
  19. The best moment to take a flash photo at the opera is not the instant after the don't-take-pictures announcement has concluded. 
  20. Since Macbeth is in Italian, subtitles are provided on a screen above the stage.  They are in Hungarian and thus unhelpful.
  21. The fire leaping from a curtain offstage during the performance is actually carried controlledly on a torch, so fear not. 
  22. When ordering food in Hungary, just leave out "Hungarian" (as in "Hungarian goulash"). You're in the country.  It's implied.
  23. Taking a random bus may catapult you right into somewhere that looks a whole lot like Communism hasn't left yet. 
  24. When you read a recommendation for a ballet that goes  "If you like Russian intensity, The Karamazovs is worth seeing," you don't think twice before buying your ticket. 
  25. Jeans to the ballet?  Why not?  Make a mental note never to let these fashion mishaps happen again.
  26. When you go to restaurants alone and you get bread before your meal, you are totally in control of it. None of that "Do you mind if I eat the last wheat piece?" or worrying that you're overdoing it with the butter.  This is a beautiful freedom. 
  27. If you follow the people with suitcases at Nyugati Station, they will lead you right to the airport train.  You can also lead yourself to it by  boarding one of the many marked "Hungarian Hungarian AIRPORT." 
  28. By all accounts, security at Ferihegy takes nine years and you need to get there way ahead of time to even have a prayer of making your flight.  Get there obscenely early and wait.  Good uses of your time include reading, eating, making sure you still have your passport, staring at the blonde woman six seats away from you who is a dead ringer for Kate Winslet from the mouth up, and listening to a mother lecture her child in Hungarian.
  29. Check in, go through security, spray a different scarf with too much perfume, and find your boarding gate in under twenty minutes.  Resolve again to start taking the internet's advice with a couple dozen grains of salt. 
Pictures (and video!) coming soon. (Actually, pictures are already on Facebook, so click on over.)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Good Morning, Budapest

This title will be applicable in about 36 hours, when I'm actually experiencing morning in Budapest.

I am mostly packed, even though I honestly cannot remember what's in my bag. A scarf...and...some gray tights. That's all. I'm sure I'll be nicely surprised with my wardrobe when I get there. I'll also be nicely surprised if I find my way to where I'm staying. Hit me, Hungarian public transportation!

...not literally.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Warning of Sorts

There are certain days when you wake up and just know you're going to be cranky. That happened to me today, and guess what? 

I am not a joy to be around right now. 

This is how bad it is: someone across the courtyard from me just opened their blinds.  I saw this through my open window and was thisclose to snapping "WHAT?!?!", I'll by lying low for the rest of today. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday Thoughts

Sunday is laundry and Downton Abbey day. This isn't a set-in-stone tradition or anything, but those two things usually always fall on Sunday. And I know this paragraph contains way too much excitement.

Wanna know something that is exciting?  I'm going to Budapest soon! In, like, eight days.  I think.

...I should probably check on the date for sure.

Also, I don't know what time my flight is.

Study abroad, kids.  It teaches you preparedness.

This week's agenda:

  • Dark Shadows.  I can't remember the last time I was this excited for a movie.  (Titanic doesn't count.)  It's a combination of everything I love: Helena Bonham Carter, the seventies, Johnny Depp...
  • Create a presentation for my pop culture class about some American piece of pop culture.  This field of options is far too broad.  I almost just want to go to class on Wednesday and wing it, but that might be a dumb idea. 
  • ...other things?
Now it's time for people to get out of the kitchen so I can nuke my pizza in peace. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Vlog Eight: RULES

April was a vlog-less month (a programming hiatus, shall we say), but it is now May and Titanic is most likely out of the theaters.  Still.  The concepts are the same.

Three episodes of No One Cares About Your Hair remain, and it's crunch time for our leading lady.  Will she meet, fall in love with, and marry a Scandinavian doctor in the next thirty days?  Will her plant survive the spring?  Will her neighbors form a coalition kill to her because 1:30 in the morning is an inopportune time to sing songs?  The answer to all but the last question is Probably not.  (The answer to the last question is an unadulterated YES.)  But keep your dials tuned to this station to find out.

(Also, the damask is back.)

Gotland Gazings

(What's a gazing? I don't know. It starts with G and made the alliteration happen. That's all that's important.)

We stayed in these. They were basically immovable trailers, but they were really new and really nice. 

Really really really vintage houses at the Bunge Museum.

I think that, once upon a time, my family lived here. This is backed up by mother's proclamation that she "feels like" our family resided in Gotland. Would've been handy to know of this feeling before I went there, but better late than never.  

....though who am I kidding? My family still kind of does live in this setting. 

The coastline at Fårö. Its Wikipedia page is here, and is worth a read. 
(Here is a good place to thank Wikipedia for its existence. It does a great job with explaining things I don't want to.) 

You bet this was taken with self-timer. 

Visby! Wanna know about it? Click this.
Don't wanna read that? Summary: well-preserved medieval things. Which you'll see if you continue scrolling.

I have pictures of pigeons from many places. Are there better things I could take pictures of? Yes. But pigeons have a special place in my heart. Wherever you go, there are pigeons. Just don't touch them. They're filthy. 

Crossing the Baltic Sea to the mainland.