Friday, October 31, 2014

Tangled up in cream

Purl Soho's Petite Popover |  Tangled up in cream on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

When I heard that one of R's Swedish cousins was expecting a baby I (naturally) wanted to knit up something cozy for his or hers early winter arrival. Since Purl Soho always has such sweet things I checked their patterns first and this Petite Popover popped out at me immediately—I couldn't get over its adorableness (prodded on by the baby modeling it who's all chubby cheeks and wide, wondering eyes). Plus, it looked easy enough to knit without being too boring or ho-hum. I added a matching pair of booties to round out the set and now fingers crossed that this little popover (or, dickie) will fit!

Purl Soho's Petite Popover |  Tangled up in cream on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

And since I was so smitten with Selina's little lady mittens I made a longer one for myself, sans the ribbed cuffs and flower embellishment and plus a little thumb wrap, based on Purl Soho's Seed Stitch Hand Warmers. Just the thing for the proper autumn we're having in Stockholm.

Purl Soho's Seed Stitch Hand Warmers  |  Tangled up in cream on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

But now after all these months of knitting from my stash of creamy yarn (the only hue I brought over with me in my suitcases in the hope that no matter what I felt like making, cream would work), I hope never to see non-saturated skeins again.

(Or at least for a good long while because seven months of monochromatic handcrafts is just way too many months ).

One year ago: A toast to changes

Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning to speak Swedish

Gamla Stan  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I began learning Swedish at the beginning of this summer with nary a speck of familiarity and definitely no inroads, as it's not a Latin-based language. Apart from God Jul and tack, I knew no other Swedish words, much less had any idea of how to pronounce any that I came across. Unlike Italian, which I already had a head start in thanks to studying Spanish and the general presence of Italian in American culture, I came at Swedish from a completely different angle. That's probably why Day 1 and Day 2 of SFI (Svenska för Invandrare, Swedish for Immigrants, the foreign languages classes the Swedish government offers to newcomers for free), was so shocking.

But after a few weeks I started to piece bits of the language together and feel somewhat comfortable—or at least not completely uncomfortable. At least on paper. I advanced a level in SFI after one month, and then again to the final level about 6 weeks later. During the majority of the summer, though, I struggled with trying to keep three languages (including my own native one) straight, and then of course 10 days in Spain threw everything for a loop, but when we returned I focused so I could take the last exam to finish SFI the first week of October.

With the second week of October came good news and bad news.

Fall walk in Stockholm  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

The good news was that I passed the exam and "graduated" from SFI. The bad news was that the rumblings we heard of the end of the very nice tax-free bonus of 12 000 SEK (~$1,650) to immigrants that completed the language course within 12 months of moving to Sweden was true and had ceased on July 31st of this year.

But since I was officially done with SFI, which is considered to be elementary school level Swedish, I could register myself for SAS  / SVA (Svenska som Andraspråk, Swedish as a Second Language), the next level, which is middle and high-school level Swedish and therefore Adult Education, so it's handled by a different department and comes with its own (still valid) set of benefits.

SAS, like SFI, is free (as is all education in Sweden), but even better, as a Swedish permanent resident I qualify for benefits from CSN (Centrala studiestödsnämnden, the Central Study Assistance Committee), which comes in the form of a monthly bidrag (subsidy) and a lön (loan). I applied for just the former, and while it won't be anything like an income, it will cover personal study costs (i.e., my textbook and the copying fee the school charges), as well as quite a few fikas.

Kungsholmen Polismyndighet  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

When I looked into registering myself for SAS Grund 1 (SAS Basic 1) at the Komvux (Adult Education) center I found out that the last term of 2014 had begun the day before. I really didn't want to wait until January, when the next term begins, so I signed up for a "flexible" class, meaning you work independently and meet with a teacher 1-2 times a week for individualized help.

On the one hand, perfect! I could make up the week I had missed (since it takes a week to register I couldn't begin until the following week) and work independently, which I love. But on the other hand, the problem I'm having with Swedish is that I still don't speak it, despite having advanced out of SFI, so working independently wouldn't help at all with my verbal use of the language.

The thing is, I know myself and exactly how my mind works. While I was That Kid who asked for homework in third grade and loved to study, I'm also That Kid (adult) who tests well. Picking up context clues and figuring out what something means or logically determining which answer is right on an exam is something that usually comes easily for me, meaning that my reading and writing ability of Swedish far exceeds my speaking and listening ability, since with the former I can see how the words and grammar fit together. That's why reading a basic Facebook status, Instagram post or group chat message and writing a quick (super simple) email is manageable. But, if I put on Swedish news, I can only pick out a few words and not always the context. If I listen to a conversation on the subway I can maybe figure out the general topic, but nothing more.

Kronbergsparken and Bergsgatan  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I had the exact same process with Italian, so I know how this goes. I'm by no means fluent, but I do feel completely comfortable speaking Italian and don't (usually) have panic attacks when put in a situation where English isn't an option. And learning Italian was nothing like learning Swedish. I only went to three weeks of a summer school (in Sicily) and then picked the rest up by studying on my own (in the U.S.) and from R. and his family. What's the same, though, is that once I had a pretty basic understanding of the language, I still didn't speak in Italian for at least a year or two afterwards, even though by then I understand 95% of the daily conversations I heard.

I hope it won't take as long with Swedish, but given where I am now in my understanding, I'm already way ahead of where I was with Italian after the same number of months, so that's a plus.

A minus though, is that I'm a native English speaker learning Swedish in Sweden where Swedes have already perfected their English. I've been asked by a few people (Swedes), why I want to learn Swedish when almost everyone here (at least in Stockholm) speaks English perfectly (with American colloquialisms!). I understand their point, since when I squeeze out a few words of Swedish more often than not I receive a response in English. I think the Swedish way of thinking is, why muddle through a difficult, awkward exchange when I can put this poor girl at ease by speaking her mother tongue?

Vasastan  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Another minus of my own doing (since despite people thinking there's no reason to learn Swedish, I could never live in a country long-term without at least attempting to be marginally capable of handling daily activities in the local language), is that I'm not taking advantage of actually living in Sweden and speaking to Swedes I know in Swedish. Or of easily being able to watch Swedish television—though to be fair, there's not many Swedish-language programs. Apart from the news (way too fast), sports (eh), and a few DIY and cooking shows, the rest is American programming in English (Swedes don't dub).

There have been a few optimistic happenings recently, though.

This past weekend after dinner with my mother-in-law and her partner we watched Skavlan, a Norwegian-Swedish evening talk show program that's a bit of news, culture and human interest all blended together, and which I was able to follow pretty well, so there's that. And this weekend over dinner with family and friends where the entire evening was in Swedish I was shocked (SHOCKED!) to find myself following along just fine while the conversation ran for three hours and my understanding hovered around 70%. Granted it was over a congenial dinner so we (they) were talking about common, rather than complex, topics and of course the few times I piped in, I did so in English.

But still.

Kungsholmen streetscape  |  Learning to speak Swedish on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

While I work on mustering up my ability to speak the Swedish I know, I'm really loving my new school program. I attended SFI at Folkuniversitet in the city near Odenplan, but now I'll be checking in with my SAS teacher in Kungsholmen. While it's not as convenient to my favorite place for a fika, it is close to another "third place"of mine.

We're working from a textbook that I'm completely enamored with (no surprise at all that I asked for homework on the first day of third grade is it?). SFI was built around weekly themes, like home, apartment, work, etc., whereas SAS takes an entirely different tack.

We get to read interesting passages about historical events and then work with different exercises that help us learn—really learn, not just memorize—new vocabulary by testing us in multiple ways. Like filling in the blank from a list of words, filling in the blank without any prompts, pairing opposites and synonyms together, writing short answers, etc. And the entire book is digitized, so everything can also be done online where all the passages, instructions and exercises are recorded to help with pronunciation and listening skills. I feel like I've learned so much in just one week, which is always a nice feeling.

What's a slightly scary feeling, though, is that the curriculum also required us to purchase a paperback. An actual novel that we have to read (how, I have no idea) by the end of the term (i.e., Christmas). My class is reading För eller senare exploderar jag ("Sooner or later I'll explode"), better known to English speakers as The Fault in Our Stars.

I have a feeling that sooner or later in my attempt to read it I'll explode, too. TBD.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona

Jerez  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Our last two afternoon drives while on our Spanish road trip were to Jerez, on the way to our last home base after Conil de la Frontera in Sevilla, and Carmona, a small town east of Sevilla on the road to Cordoba.

After leaving the beach we drove for less than an hour and pulled off in Jerez to have a wander around the old town, the cathedral grounds, and one of the central plazas—where of course a sherry was in order. The day was so bright (nothing like the week of gloom we're having in Stockholm right now) and I couldn't stop staring at the blue, blue sky framing all the lovely cream and white buildings.

Cathedral of Jerez  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Tio Pepe in Jerez  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Jerez fountain  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Jerez church  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Later that day we arrived in Sevilla, our last stop of the trip. I have much to say about it (which hopefully I'll get around to very soon), but in a sentence, it was much like the Alhambra—intense, gorgeous, and all-consuming. So much so that during one day there we took a little drive in the afternoon to the very sleepy, sedate town of Carmona for lunch and to give our minds and eyes a rest from soaking in all the splendor.

After a few days staring at the gorgeous Giralda of Sevilla and photographing it from every angle it was so strange to see another beautiful example in Carmona—it hadn't occurred to me that most towns would of course have their own bell tower.

We weren't in Carmona for very long, just for enough time to have a lazy lunch in the shade and do one quick walk around the cathedral before heading back to Sevilla.

Tower of Carmona  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Cathedral of Carmona  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Carmona carnival  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com


Updated—other Andalucía posts:
After 9 years, 9 days in southern Spain
Postcard from Andalucía
Postcard from Andalucía: Málaga 
Postcard from Andalucía: Granada and La Alhambra
Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella
Postcard from Andalucía: Gibraltar + Tarifa
Postcard from Andalucía: Conil de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia
Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Sevilla   

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My first encounter with Swedish healthcare

Stadshuset and stadshusetparken in Stockholm  |  My first encounter with Swedish healthcare on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I finally got around to trying out this whole national healthcare thing when we recently visited R's family's husläkare (general practitioner). Even though we had our annual physicals before leaving New York, I wanted to get an analysis done here sooner rather than later to get ourselves in the system and see if I've been able to improve my Vitamin D levels over the last few months.

The system is very much like the U.S. in most regards. Before visiting a specialist or doing any tests, you see your general practitioner (ours has his office across the street from the city's gorgeous City Hall, pictured above). When we had a chat with him and explained our request all he had to do was order the blood samples and whatnot for us online, which we could stop by to do whenever we wanted.

The co-payment is the same, too. At the end of our visit we each paid 200kr. (~$25), which covered our appointment with him, as well as all the tests we'll have done. I don't know if that also covers the review of our results (I seem to remember having to pay for that in the U.S.), so that's TBD.

But here's where I was surprised: for such a technologically-advanced country (you can buy an apartment and pay your taxes by text message!), we were each handed a little paper booklet where every appointment is logged via a hand-written notation and a stamp to keep track of your co-pays. In the U.S. that's always tracked via your health insurance provider's website.

The tracking ensures that within a 12-month period you never pay more than 1,100 kr. (~$150), which is the maximum you'll be required to pay out of pocket. So as someone that's not currently working and therefore doesn't have insurance through my company (which doesn't exist here anyway), I will never have to pay more than that every 365 days for routine appointments, check-ups and analyses. That too is much different than in the U.S., where the monthly fee pulled directly from your paycheck before it reaches your bank would quickly surpass that, not to mention the addition of any co-pays.

Procedures require payment of course, though I'm not sure how much, but I'm fairly certain it'll be less than in the U.S. (and besides, things like massages and vacations to somewhere sunny can be prescribed and paid for through medical insurance!).

Another difference from the U.S.? Before we left his office our GP handed us each a plastic vial—you collect your own morning samples at home in the comfort of your bathroom and bring it with you to the lab when you have blood drawn. It seems like there would be lots of room for shenanigans with that kind of system, although I suppose if a drug test was needed for work or the military or something of that nature, rather than your own personal knowledge, you'd have to provide your contribution on the spot instead of toting it from home.

Last week we went to a lab (not the doctor's office), showed our ID, handed over our vials, had blood drawn and were back outside within 10 minutes. Another difference (for the better!) from the long periods I was used to spending in waiting rooms in NYC.

+ + +

More on Swedish healthcare, prenatal care and giving birth in Sweden:



One year ago: Autumnal things: walks and more knits

Monday, October 20, 2014

October on Djurgården

Flickorna Helin & Voltaire  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I'd had enough of brooding at home, so this weekend I spent an afternoon in the city with my friend Johanna and her darling daughter Selina. First we met at a bookstore where I picked up textbooks for my new Swedish class (more on that soon!) and then we took a long, brisk walk along the waterfront with a view of the harbor and all the boats being readied for their winter hibernation. When we reached the bridge to Djurgården we crossed over and switched from clickety-clacking along the city streets' cobblestones to crunching through the leaves blanketing the park.

Fall splendor  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Fall colors  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

There's a windy path from the entrance of the island (which is basically a nature reserve) to the castle-like Helin & Voltaire café where we were headed, which besides being special to R and me, is also quite special to their family, too. All that fresh air, those gorgeous colors and watching Selina playing her role of an autumnal sprite perfectly—running down the paths, picking up leaves, dancing under trees—was enough to make anyone suffering from even the slightest bit of seasonal blues feel lighthearted. Just look at her joy!

Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

We soon came upon the ever charming Helin & Voltaire, a place I've now visited in three out of the four seasons: in winter dusted with snow, on a drizzly spring day when the colors were unbelievably vibrant, and now in the fall with blazes of orange all around. I'll have to make sure to pop over next summer to finally enjoy (iced?) coffee and a baked treat on the terrace to complete the cycle.

Inside we indulged in coffee (for the ladies), fresh-pressed orange juice (for the little lady), blueberry pie with vanilla sauce, a macaroon, and two bewitching little chokladbiskvier (almond flour cookies dipped in chocolate) while we had a good, long catch-up.

Then we headed back out where I snapped a few pictures of this loving mama-daughter duo—their tender bond is too beautiful of a thing not to capture.

Johanna & Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Johanna & Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Johanna & Selina  |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

I snuck in a picture of us two, too. When we first met up earlier in the day my heart got all gooey and melty when I saw Selina was wearing something familiar on her little hands and her preciousness as she ran to a flowering bush to pick flowers for her mama and papa was too much for me to resist grabbing her for a squeeze and a smile.

J. & Selina |  October on Djurgården on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

One year ago: A wee shuffle

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera

Vejer de la Frontera Pubelo Blanco  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

(In the homestretch now with just a few more posts from Spain!)

Before heading to Medina-Sidonia for an after-dinner walk (and delicious alfajores), we had to actually have dinner first. In Andalucía the pretty roads makes a multi-stop evening a joy, rather than overwhelming or tedious, so after a day relaxing by the pool we left Conil de la Frontera late in the afternoon and drove up the hillsides to Vejer de la Frontera first, a town I had picked purely for its pretty name—and because I read it was surrounded by orange groves.

(Another thing that makes driving around Andalucía so enjoyable is that every so often you'll see a looming wooden bull figurine towering over the highway and the fields where actual cows and bulls are grazing. While we weren't technically following the Ruta del Toro (the bull route), it was always amusing to see his proud silhouette.)

Ruta del Toro in Andalucía  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
View from Vejer de la Frontera  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Vejer de la Frontera hillside  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

We arrived in Vejer de la Frontera and parked alongside the town's stone railing with a view overlooking the valley. Everything from the graphite and alabaster tiled sidewalk and wrought iron street lamps to the white buildings of the pueblo blanco tumbling down the hillside amidst orchards was completely, if not over-the-top, charming.

When we actually entered the town's winding and climbing streets hunting for El Central, a restaurant I found on Google Maps a few minutes prior while in the car, we realized there was even more charm within the town's walls. I was enamored at first glance with the restaurant's picturesque setup down a flight of stairs and between whitewashed buildings with pots of geraniums and bougainvillea spilling over from the balconies above, but R went down to check its menu first before he was sold on it: Alhambra beer, check. Grilled octopus, check. Let's eat!

Vejer de la Frontera  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
El Central Vejer de la Frontera  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
El Central Vejer de la Frontera  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

After diner we wandered around town and happened upon a tiled fountain in the Plaza de España. It was beautifully Moorish with vibrantly-hued tiles and a circle of palm trees guarding its tinkly waterworks. After a little pause there we kept wandering and eventually found Jesus. What we did not find was the car.

Somehow we ended up on the complete opposite side of town (I think), and turning on our little Wi-Fi router for GPS access was not one bit of help what with all the higgledy-piggledy streets, but luckily as we had already eaten the hangries didn't rear their head so we enjoyed the hike (mostly).

Plaza de España  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Plaza de España  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Jesus  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
View from Vejer de la Frontera  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Once back in the car we set off for Medina-Sidonia and our hard-earned pastries.

Updated—other Andalucía posts:
After 9 years, 9 days in southern Spain
Postcard from Andalucía
Postcard from Andalucía: Málaga 
Postcard from Andalucía: Granada and La Alhambra
Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella
Postcard from Andalucía: Gibraltar + Tarifa
Postcard from Andalucía: Conil de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia
Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona
Postcard from Andalucía: Sevilla   

Friday, October 17, 2014

Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia

Medina-Sidonia plaza  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

On our first afternoon-into-evening drive from our home base in Conil de la Frontera we headed north to Cadíz, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in Spain and one of the oldest of Western Europe. We thought we'd be stepping into a grand ol' dame of a city, and to its credit, we did have a breathtaking view as we drove down the long skinny peninsula to reach the heart of the port town as the sun gleamed off of all the marble buildings, but...we didn't really enjoy Cadíz very much.

We also didn't spend very much time there—and how good of a judgment can you really make of a place after just one meal and an evening stroll? But, it felt like something was missing. Even after asking locals we still weren't able to find a good, welcoming restaurant with authentic local food for dinner, which I thought was odd. We did end up having a nice meal, but something was off.

Cadíz market  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Cadíz  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

We had better luck at our second stop of the next day's drive (more to come on our first, which warrants its own post!) when we visited Medina Sidonia based solely on my having come across the name of the Count of Medina Sidonia when reading about Queen Isabella I of Castille and realizing it wasn't too far away.

It also helped when I mentioned to R that this particular pueblo blanco (white town) is famous for their alfajores, a spiced honey and almond treat that reminded me of Middle Eastern and Indian delicacies and him of his native Sicilian ones. We visited after dinner in another town and so we took a walk admiring the architecture and realizing once again that nothing compares to sunset in a Southern European plaza (or piazza).

The first picture in this post was taken just a moment before all the toddlers jumped up from their families' tables at cafès ringing the plaza to begin zooming about on their scooters and in their little toy cars and before the little girls with pink ribbons woven through their braids began sauntering by boys still too young to notice them.

Beyond them were the grandparents perched on benches nodding along to each others' stories (when they weren't interrupting one another with proclamations of the new amazing thing their own grandchild did that day).

Meanwhile we ordered two espressos and dug into our bag of pastries.

Medina-Sidonia church  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Medina-Sidonia plaza  |  Postcard from Andalucía: Cadíz + Medina-Sidonia on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Updated—other Andalucía posts:
After 9 years, 9 days in southern Spain
Postcard from Andalucía
Postcard from Andalucía: Málaga 
Postcard from Andalucía: Granada and La Alhambra
Postcard from Andalucía: Nerja + Marbella
Postcard from Andalucía: Gibraltar + Tarifa
Postcard from Andalucía: Conil de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Vejer de la Frontera
Postcard from Andalucía: Jerez + Carmona  
Postcard from Andalucía: Sevilla   

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Gloomy gray Stockholm

Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Gloomy gray Stockholm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

Thank goodness for Sweden's penchant for bright paint—without it, these sunless autumn days would be a little less bearable. The skies outside match my mood quite well, though, so perhaps a sunny day would be even more unbearable. I'm a bit rumpled in spirit at the moment because I finished SFI last week (more on that later), and I can't yet start a new course so right now my days are a little empty and echo-y.

I'm also not working (yet), so you'd think that with all the hours I suddenly have on my hands I'd fill my time with studying on my own, baking all manner of good things, cooking multi-course dinners, getting out and seeing / doing things, finally writing the last Spanish posts (only a few more left, I promise!) or doing something else productive.

You'd think.

Instead I seem to be bent on re-watching Gilmore Girls, reading through the archives of other people's blogs, burning through an insane amount of 30-count boxes of candles, and knitting, ripping out, and re-knitting the same thing over and over again because I can't seem to make it look the way I want it to look.

And while I have a whole new slew of books to read, they're all of the e-book sort, and much as I love the variety and ease of being able to download any manner of book I want, it's not quite as comfy to cuddle up with a tablet, so they've been languishing, too. I also may have overdosed on my historical fiction / women rulers genre, so if you have any good recommendations please send them my way and maybe I'll knit my tablet a little cover to cozy up its cuddling abilities.

I have made it out for a few gloomy little bicycle rides though, so there's that (and these pictures), at least.

Hammarby Sjöstad  |  Gloomy gray Stockholm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
View to Stockholm city from Söder Mälarstrand  |  Gloomy gray Stockholm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
View to Stockholm city and Stadhuset from Söder Mälarstrand  |  Gloomy gray Stockholm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com
Finnboda Hamn, Nacka  |  Gloomy gray Stockholm on afeathery*nest  |  http://afeatherynest.com

One year ago: Autumnal oil concoction