It seems we only got about 2 months of winter this year… January and February were cold and snowy, just like they should be, but now it’s warm again. It’s been above freezing for over a week, and most of the snow has turned to slush and ice again. This is just wrong.
Took this a few weeks ago, on one of the few nice days this winter.
I know I talk about the weather a lot, but I’m afraid you’ll have to live with it. Thing is, the weather isn’t just smalltalk to me, it’s actually really important.
First thing in the morning, after putting on my glasses, I look out the window to check what mother nature is serving today. Partially because the climate dictates what clothes I can wear, which roads will be safe or unsafe to drive, and which paths in the forest will be walkable, but also because it’s important to me to feel connected to nature and the changing of the seasons.
Me and dad
My mum is an urban soul who dream about life in a big city, but my father and my grandparents are/were outdoorsy people who made sure I was taught to love and respect nature.
One of my earliest memories of life is of me in a small sledge that my dad, on skis, is pulling behind him through a wintry landscape. As a child, every weekend and every holiday they took me cross-country skiing, fishing, berrypicking, or just simply hiking. We would go out into the forest just to “check up on it” as my grandfather would put it.
Basically, to me, keeping tabs on the state of nature is just as important as reading the newspapers. And if the seasons are off beat it creates a sense of unbalance, and I don’t like it.
I just realised I sound like such a hippie.
I do get mocked about it sometimes. Apparently caring about nature isn’t just a hippie thing, it’s also an “old people” thing. Mum says as long as I don’t start a weather journal and begin writing down the daily temperatures like dad, it’s ok. I’ve promised not to do that until I’m at least 60.
Does anyone else care a lot about the weather and the seasons? Or is it just smalltalk to you?
WARNING: This post may contain romantic drivel. Don’t read if heartbroken or otherwise have an aversion to lovey-dovey crap.
Friday was Valentine’s Day, but it’s not really celebrated here, so never mind that. Today, however, is much more special – it’s mine and Markus’ engagement day! On this day, two years ago, I asked him to marry me, and got a “yes” in return.
In honor of this day I’m going to tell you how we met:
In the spring of 2006 I had, on little more than a whim, applied for an education program called “Interactive Media Design”. It wasn’t university, just some post-secondary program, but it sounded interesting enough in the brochure. Mostly I just needed something to do with my life, and when you live in a country with free education you might as well take advantage of it. So I applied, and got accepted, and in August that same year I found myself in a classroom at the local campus.
When I arrived on this first day the classroom door stood open, so I walked in and took a seat. I was the first to arrive, which allowed me to study my new classmates as they came dropping in.
Most of them seemed like perfectly normal, mainstream people, only a few distinguished themselves from the rest. One of the girls looked like a proper model, tall and thin with a stunning wide smile and long blonde hair. Another girl had bright red hair and a cute bag with an anime print on it. Two guys talked to each other with a Finnish accent.
One of the last people to walk in was a guy who, when I saw him, made me give off a little sigh of relief. He was wearing a washed out Helloween t-shirt, trashed jeans with chains hanging from the belt, broad leather cuff bracelets around his wrists… clearly a metalhead. Which meant there was at least one person in the room I obviously had something in common with!
First day was just information and a tour around campus, so nobody got to talk much, but the day after it was time for introductions. Everyone was supposed to stand up in front of the class and tell a little about themselves. I bloody hate that… I have lots of hobbies and interests, but the second you ask me to “tell a little about yourself” I immediately forget everything I’ve ever said or done in my entire life. I was also sitting by the first desk on the first row, so I figured the teacher would probably ask me to go first. Didn’t I learn already in elementary school to always sit in the back?
But then the metalhead got up from his seat (unlike me he was smart enough to sit in the far back) and said that he could start, if that’s ok with everyone?
Of course it was.
He walked up to the whiteboard and scribbled a cartoony figure on it – then turned to the class, pointed at the figure and said “This is Markus”. Next he drew a golf club and a ping pong racket while saying “Markus likes to play sports, especially golf and table tennis”…
The guy spent the next 5 minutes drawing a comic of his life on the board, describing his hobbies and family and such. He was also insanely funny and made everyone laugh. Real laughs too, not just polite snickers. I really wish I had a video or some photos of it because it was seriously awesome to watch! It is to this day one of the best and most memorable presentations I’ve ever seen – of anything, ever.
Every presentation after that was pretty much useless, I can’t remember what anyone else said or did, including me.
After that first day Markus pretty much took on the role of “class clown”. Not in the annoying high school kind of way, but in the sense of always having a smile on his face and making people laugh. True to my introverted personality I didn’t took on any role, I just sat in class doing my work and trying to remember to at least pretend to be social.
Yes, I know it’s the second time in a short while I’ve quoted Doctor Who. Shut up. That quote describes exactly how I fell for Markus, so it’s valid.
It wasn’t love at first sight, to be perfectly honest it wasn’t even attraction at first sight. I was dating someone else at the time and even though Markus’ first impression was rather striking, I didn’t see him as anything other than just a really nice guy. He didn’t think much of me either at first, we were just classmates. But that slowly changed over the course of our first school year together.
In the beginning I thought his niceness was just, you know, him being nice. They say everyone is nice for 5 minutes and I think that’s true. People tend to put on their best behaviour when introduced to someone new, and then the more you get to know them the more the facade cracks and you learn who they really are. Slowly you get to see their faults and weaknesses, some worse than others. But over time I realized that Markus really was a genuinely amazing person.
I also noticed his great personality came with other perks as well. Like his sense of humour, and that he liked metal and video games and nerdy fantasy stuff just like me. And… wasn’t he kinda cute after all? How did I miss that before? Slowly but steadily, my cold cynical heart melted.
For some reason he liked me too. I still don’t understand how I managed to win his heart, but apparently I did.
We officially became a couple at Sweden Rock Festival in June 2007. I had planned on going with my then boyfriend, but we had broken up a couple of months earlier and when I learned that Markus was going there with some of his friends it was decided that I would go with them. Just as friends. Or something. Yeah.
Apparently you can’t spend a week in a tent, at a festival full of sunshine, and beer, and music, and not end up confessing your love for each other.
Now it’s been almost 7 years, 2 of which engaged, and I couldn’t be happier. We’re humans, which means we’re not perfect, and our relationship isn’t perfect, but we have a good thing going here.
He’s the guy who remembers what food you like or what music you listen to and will ask you about it the next time you meet. He always notice if someone has got a haircut or is wearing new shoes. He is always warm and generous and attentive, and he care so much about the people around him. And I’m not just talking about how he treats me, he is this way with everybody.
He’s the best person I’ve ever met, and I believe having him in my life has made me a better person too.
We just need to get our lazy asses off the wagon and deal with this wedding thing, haha!
TL;DR – We met in school, took 2 semesters to figure out we liked each other, went to a festival as “just friends” and came back a couple. Great success!
As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’ve always dreamt of having my own library. Imagine having a whole room with walls clad in bookcases, where the scent of paper fills your lungs as soon as you enter, and all the books are yours.
It’s a beautiful dream, but in reality I don’t actually have room for a library.
All I got is one cluttered bookcase with books crammed together and on top of each other.
Too bad I suck at borrowing from the library… I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but every time (every. single. time.) I borrow something form the library I end up completely forgetting about it until like 3 months later. By then it’s not only embarrassing to return it, I also have to pay an overdue fee.
But I still want to read, and this Christmas I was handed a solution: my very first e-reader!
It’s a Kindle Paperwhite, and I got it from Markus. (Last time we moved he cursed loudly and fully over the heavy book boxes, he’s very much in favour of the idea of digital books…)
We don’t officially have Amazon in Sweden, but you can still order a Kindle and set up an account. What surprised me was that when I logged in I was automatically sent to the US Amazon site, with the US range of books and US prices. I thought I would get UK Amazon because I’m in Europe, but apparently you get US Amazon by default if you’re in an “outsider” country.
This of course means my Kindle interface is in English too, but I don’t mind that.
So far I’ve only purchased one book. I wanted to read the new Bridget Jones book, Mad About the Boy, by Helen Fielding* and decided it would make a good test case for the Kindle. And it worked perfectly! A little too perfectly almost… It was so easy to just click “buy” and download I’m afraid I’ll end up spending way more money than intended on books.
Well, better books than makeup and candy and other mindless junk, I guess.
* Not very good to be honest. I love the previous Bridget Jones books, but this wasn’t anywhere near as funny or clever. The character works better as a confused early 30s singleton, Bridget as a 50+ single mother was mostly just… saddening. Unfortunately.
The actual reading was really nice. I’ve tried reading books on the iPad previously, and it hasn’t been gentle on the eyes, but the Kindle screen was comfortable to look at even for long periods of time. It took me a while to get used to the flickering though. At first I thought it was something wrong with it, because when flipping a page the whole screen would turn inverted (black background, white text) for half a second before showing the new page, but apparently that’s just how e-ink works. It needs to “wipe” the screen clean before “printing” a new page.
After just a short while I completely forgot about it though and didn’t even notice it, the flicker is not really that intrusive.
One downside I’ve noticed is that because we don’t have Amazon here, there aren’t many Swedish books to download, but I don’t mind that much. The number of Swedish authors I’m interested in is so small compared to the massive list of English-speaking authors, so it’s not the end of the world. And I’m still keeping up with my resolution to read books in English if that’s their original language, so having an endless supply of English books just a click away is very helpful!
In conclusion: I love it!
How do you read books? Do you have digital or physical libraries?
Seems pretty obligatory if you look around the blogosphere right now.
2012 was one of the most exciting years in my life: I started a new job, got engaged, and moved from an apartment to a house. After a year like that I guess 2013 was destined to be kinda… less epic. Not that it didn’t had some exciting events:
I turned 30
Yep, the big 3-0. It made absolutely zero difference in my life, and I’m far from having a 30 year crisis, but I confess I do have the occasional “oh god I’m getting old” moment. But how old I feel is mostly dependent on who I’m talking to.
Most of the people at work are a bit older than me, and married with kids, so when talking to them I feel pretty young. Apparently it’s also considered “young” (Or maybe it’s “immature”? ) to listen to metal and be into fantasy and video games, so when talking to someone without these interests I often feel like a teenager. On the other hand, seeing my 18 year old cousin and remembering how I used to babysit her when she was 3 makes me feel absolutely ancient.
Life lesson learned: time is just wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff* and age doesn’t really mean anything.
(*2013 was also the year I started watching Doctor Who.)
I went to London
I’ve had a bit of a love affair with the United Kingdom for many years now. From its long history to its pretty landscapes to its television and movies, I’m just really intrigued by it all. And last April I finally got to spend a weekend in London! It was cold and rainy for the most part, and with a bit more planning we would probably have had time to see more, but I loved it. Walking along The Thames and seeing all those famous buildings rise around me was like walking through a movie.
Conclusion: 10/10, would allow England to rain on me again.
In July when we took the train down to spend a few days in Stockholm. I had been there a few times before, but always on a schedule and never more than a couple of hours. This time I went as a tourist and for the first time got a chance to actually explore the city. Much fun was had!
Opinion: We should visit Stockholm more often. It’s a beautiful old city and it’s not THAT far!
In August I finally got around to get a tattoo after a lifetime of wanting one. Of course it was inspired by Tolkien, what else!? I still get a little rush of happiness sometimes when I look down and see the little dragon on my forearm. The pain wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had feared, and what little there was was well worth it.
Side effect: I want more tattoos! They really are addictive!
My name is Karin and I'm a Swedish scatterbrain who loves all things artsy, especially pixel art and traditional drawings. I also have a burning passion for strange animals, fantasy books and heavy metal. This is my blog and creative dumping ground. Hope you enjoy your stay!