Thursday, May 30, 2013

Short but sweet

My week in Sweden was intense but fantastic. In short:

Thursday: Greeted by Sofia at the airport. Went to my apartment to pick up some summer items and chat with my tenant before heading to Sofia and Martin's place for tea and sleep.

Friday: Met with colleagues at the University of Gothenburg, speed dated a couple of friends downtown and joined Sofia and Martin for cocktails in the sunshine before relaxing with dinner and a movie.

Saturday: Breakfast bliss with Sofia and Martin. Picked up by my sister and family and driven to Halmstad, where my mother's 60th birthday was celebrated with a lovely garden party in the sun. Friends and family, all gathered in my mum's honor; eating, drinking, and singing until midnight.

Sunday: Running by the sea. Meeting up with the girls for updates, gossip, laughter, and cuddling with Diana's precious little boy. And mud cake! Hilariously flat but delicious.

Monday: Running errands and meeting up with Diana and the baby for a stroll and some fika at the public library. Evening jog at Galgberget with my mother.

Tuesday: Another run by the sea before reluctantly saying goodbye to my parents, boarding a bus back to Gothenburg. Barbecue dinner and game night at Smedjegatan, making plans and dreaming about summer in Seattle.

Wednesday: Morning goodbyes and travelling to the airport.

Next time I go to Sweden, I hope that I can stay an extra couple of days... Too much fun, too little time! Especially when it comes to hanging around with guys like this.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Up, up and away!

This gal is spreading her wings and flying off to Sweden for a week. Back and forth, like a bolt of lightning!

My heart aches every time I realize that this it all I will see of Swedish spring and summer this year, but if summertime in Seattle is nearly half as lovely as I've been told - well, then I guess I won't be that miserable. And should I still feel blue, then memories of sailing with my parents last June might help me smile again.


Au revoir, friends! I'll see you soon.

Monday, May 20, 2013

The next best thing

I'm sure the guys in Depeche Mode were arguing for a long, long time before deciding to sing about the J-guy instead of something more tropical. Reach out and touch fruit.

This is the official ranking from now on:

1. Personal Jesus
2. Personal watermelon

with the second runner-up

3. Personal shopper.

(If anyone out there knows what makes a watermelon personal, please enlighten me. I'm dying to know.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Elvis

Ok, this is clearly not a food blog. Still, every now and then I like to share some eating-related experiences, and yesterday I decided to try something I've been curious about for many years.

I remember seeing a documentary about Elvis Presley when I was a kid, which taught me that one of his favorite treats was toasted bread topped with peanut butter and banana. The sandwich is called The Elvis sandwich, or simply The Elvis, and might also incorporate bacon (but doesn't necessarily have to).

At the time, the combination sounded completely inedible to me, but I've since then grown very fond of the creamy, nutty spread, especially on toast. For some reason I've never taken the step to combine it with banana - another favorite of mine. Until yesterday, that is.

(Dramatic pause.)

It might not look that amazing, but I can assure you that I will do this again. Soon.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

On two wheels

Alas! I completely forgot that May 16th is National Sea-Monkey Day. Oh, the shame! I let myself down, I let my family down, but worst of all: I let my country down.

Ah, well.

May 17th, on the other hand, did not go unrecognized as I enthusiastically celebrated Bike to Work Day, a national event that promotes bicycle commuting to work. Living just above 3 km from FHCRC, biking there and back is really no big deal. To properly observe the holiday I therefore decided to take a small detour on my way to work on Friday morning.

Isaac picked me up at 6:50 am and we started our ride by crossing the Fremont Bridge and then followed the South Ship Canal trail towards the Ballard Locks. From there we went on to Golden Gardens where we turned back South. Unfortunately, in that very turn Isaac managed to get a flat tire and we had to take a 30 min break in the morning drizzle to patch his tube. A bummer, but I guess that's a part of bike commuting as well... After fixing his flat we pedalled on swiftly, making sure to stop at all the commute stations set up along the way, collecting free stuff like energy bars, cookies, patch kits (much needed, obviously), stickers, and various coupons. The whole ride ended up being around 21 km. Not too bad, eh?

Once arrived at FHCRC, we were greeted with bagels and coffee by the center's transportation department. As if that wasn't enough, Velo Bike Shop and ViaBike arranged a Bike to Work Day after party with free food, beer, and raffles in their new shop downtown. A cool store with some really beautiful bicycles that I'm pretty sure that some of you road bike enthusiasts would drool shamelessly over...

Cute invitation.

One law-abiding commuter wearing a helmet, and another not-so-law-abiding commuter wearing a ”helmet”.

Isaac getting his hands dirty at Golden Gardens.

Some of my hard earned goodies. My favorite? Probably the sweet little black patch kit with a heart-shaped chain. Adorable!

Don't worry sea-monkeys, next year it'll be all about you!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

This one's for the mothers

In the United States, the second Sunday in May is all about mothers, motherhood, and maternal bonds. Swedes normally celebrate the holiday on the last Sunday in May, but when in Rome... This blog post is therefore devoted to all you ladies out there: new mothers, old mothers, self-appointed mothers, and mothers-to-be. Kick-ass women of the world, you're all incredible!

From me to you: my favorite flower, forget-me-nots. I stumbled upon these on my way to a baby shower yesterday, and had to stop and take a picture despite running late. Small and modest, bluest blue. No, I shan't forget you...

And of course: extra love and gratitude overseas, to the most important mother in my life. I'll see you very soon, mamma!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Grant application signed and submitted: Bam! Just like that.

The past month has been frantic in every sense and I've been veering from despair to hope more or less on a daily basis. It's been positively exhausting... But now I'm done.


So my friends, although my fate clearly lies in the hands of others, please help me with crossing fingers, holding thumbs, and praying to whatever entities might help me get funded for another year in Seattle.

Because I ain't done with this city yet. Period.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hot, hot, HOT!

Holy Moly! The Emerald City is burning, boiling, sizzling... 30 degrees Celsius today! Yikes. But let's go back a couple of days to see what I've been up to lately, before whining about the heat.

After fighting my way through a mad work week, I was joined last Thursday by Anders who managed to time his first-time visit here pretty darn well. Summer heat and clear skies: that's May in Seattle for ya! Right...?

On Friday my guest did what all Swedish visitors have done so far on their first days here, i.e. shopped 'til he dropped (it seems more or less inevitable). He then joined me at Fred Hutch where we checked off beer hour before moving on to a gym session, dinner, and socializing in Fremont. Not too bad for a jet lagged traveller and a weary worker, eh?

Saturday was marvellous, starting with a 15K run in the sun around Green Lake, then lunch in Fremont and a quick peek at Pike Place Market while waiting to board the water taxi to West Seattle and Alki beach, where we met up with Isaac and his BFF Brad (who was later, clearly, on a boat!). After chillin for a while we headed back towards Fremont for a swift touch-up before going to Belltown for dinner and drinks with David. And after that...? Capitol Hill, of course! Barca, von Trapp's, Tavern Law, Neighbours... We did some serious barhopping, to say the least.


Also fun: Sunday. The day started with brunch at Portage Bay Café and a visit to the Ballard Locks, and ended with picnic and sunset in Gas Works Park, not to mention a short but sweet sojourn at a rooftop party next to my place.

Anders and me by the locks.

The view from Gas Works Park; kites flying over Lake Union.

The sun setting behind Aurora Bridge.

A surreal but wonderful evening; a bit of summer in the middle of spring.

And what happens now? Besides melting, I'm working. (And working. And working...) And Anders is out and about, having fun with my friends.