This past Monday Dr. Andrew Storer visited the Alnarp campus to give a guest lecture and meet with an ATLANTIS student he is supervising. Dr. Storer is not only a prestigious professor at MTU, but is also the Director of Graduate Student Programs. His guest lecture dealt with forest insect ecology. That evening the MTU ATLANTIS students were invited to join him for dinner to discuss the program and our current experiences. To add to the evening, another ATLANTIS student from NCSU plays professional trumpet and invited us to come watch him play with a local Swedish jazz ensemble!
This week I finally got a Jojo card, (which gives me discounts on transportation), and also rode the train for my first time in Sweden! The train system here is convenient and easy, if you know what you’re doing. All of the train lines are color coded, right down to the interiors, and all of the ticketing is done via machine – conveniently with an English option, unlike Finland. The schedules can get a litte confusing as trains of the same color do not always stop at the same stops every time, so carrying a train schedule is essential.
This Thursday (February 1st) was the Chinese New Year, the most important traditional holiday in China. Two of my fellow classmates are from China, and they brought candy to class as well as inviting us to their house over the lunch break to celebrate. We enjoyed jasmine green tea, coffee, chocolate, and gingerbread along with our lunches. This year is the year of the Rabbit (or Hare), which holds special meaning to me, as I am a Rabbit – the luckiest of all of the signs. Other famous ‘Rabbits’ include: Joseph Stalin, Fidel Castro, King Olav V of Norway, Queen Victoria, Michelangelo, Albert Einstein, David Rockefeller and David Frost.
This past weekend was very busy! On Friday we had yet another infamous ‘quiz’ on this week’s material: economics. Not exactly my favorite subject… On a brighter note, it was one of my fellow ATLANTIS student’s birthdays and she brought candy to class yum! To celebrate her birthday some of the students went to a local sauna (or bastu) called Bjerreds Saltsjöbad. It is located in a neighboring town called Lomma, right on/in the Sea! There was also a birthday party on Saturday to celebrate not only her birthday, but the birthday of Johan Ludvig Runeberg (1804-1877), as well. Runeberg is widely regarded as Finland’s greatest poet; although he was Finnish, he wrote in Swedish and exerted a great influence on Swedish literature as well. Runeberg’s birthday is recognized as a Finnish holiday: ‘J.L. Runebergin päivä’ in which “Runeberg’s tart”, a delicacy named after the poet, is served. My research dug up that in the 1800′s it was very common to name cakes after celebrity persons – “However it is said that the Runerberg Tart was created by a cafe in Porvoo, where Runeberg had a liking for a little dry bun which he ate together with a glass of punch. Later on the café keeper created Runeberg’s tart from that…(called Runebergin tortut), traditionally eaten on Runeberg’s Day“. What better place to be than in Sweden, with a great Finnish friend, eating homemade Runebergs tarts!
The party was especially fun because people were asked to bring a ‘traditional’ appetizer from their country of origin. I decided to bring deviled eggs, though I joked about making mini-hotdogs and bite-sized apple pies. I really enjoy that all of the other students are very open about different cultures, and that we can all joke about the stereotypes of our countries – it makes things very entertaining! In addition, I made my house mates homemade pizza this week – it was daring of me since one of my house mates is Italian and naturally a pizza critic, but the pizza ended up being a huge success. To my surprise, this was the first time my Italian house mate had had pineapple on pizza before!
As mentioned in my previous blog, my hometown team, the Green Bay Packers made it to the Super Bowl this year! Despite the time zone difference and lack of enthusiasm for American football in Sweden, I managed to stay up late on Sunday evening/Monday morning and watch the game on my computer. If I did not partake in this ‘holy’ day, I am sure that upon my return to the United Sates my Wisconsin residency would be rejected, and my family would disown me. While the first half looked too good to be true, the second half was almost as bad as the halftime show…
In addition, Sunday was one of my roommate’s birthdays, but she went out of town to celebrate, so we decided to decorate her room with balloons, streamers, signs and other delights for when she returns next week. We are also planning a homemade-sushi birthday dinner for her upon her return, with a homemade cake!
Exhausted and weary after a long week of economics, and an even longer weekend of balancing schoolwork and socializing, I am looking forward to writing about my winter travels through the infamous, Mother Russia!
Thinking of you Dad, Go Pack Go!