Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tweet, tweet. Now I'm there too.

After som notorious nagging from my dear roommate (okay, it probably took me less than 30 seconds to be convinced) I am now an official tweeter: @malinbergstroem

Milon, Grandma, Malin, do you really need another platform for writing whatever comes to your mind? Isn't this blog and the Swedish one enough? Do you really need to be fed with more information than you already are? How about all the Facebook subscriptions and the various Web sites you've got bookmarked?

Well, as I see it, I have no other choice. As a matter of fact, this is the choice. All this is what I want to do, what I want to work with. I should be out there, tweeting away all my nonsense and follow what others might say that will probably be of greater importance.

I'm already hooked. Tweet, tweet. As mentioned: @malinbergstroem

Wow-factor and I want to stay here [insert several exclamation points].

The Washington Post tour was fascinating. We got to sit in on a budget meeting and it felt so surreal – the way they talked about what I read in the paper every morning. It all actually exists and these are the people who decide what I'm gonna know and learn when I go online or go through the print.

"We've got so-and-so covering Cain today, Romney is being accompanied by so-and-so and we've got our team following the development in Britain." Wow.

Another wow is the fact that I was just contacted, within the short period of ten minutes, for two more internship opportunities. Of course, I have already signed my contract and I'm thrilled with my placement, but I still got some feeling of excitement.

Can't they just please, please leave me as a post-it on the wall and let me come back to them when my spring internship ends? I really want to stay here! I need good advice on how to proceed with this. I think I will consult with my father. He is wise.

A tour in the real world.

No journalism class today. Instead, we will leave the classroom and go out into the real world. One of our professors has arranged a tour at the Washington Post – after lots of nagging from especially B1 and B2.

I'm excited and I think – at least I hope – the tour can give me that extra energy I need to get through these last weeks. I can't wait to leave the classroom for good and continue my studying out in the real world.

But until then. A big cup of coffee and just hang in there!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

To all the parents out there.

If you are anything like me, you will like this column, written by Ruth Marcus for the Washington Post. She is discussing the issue of the First Amendment and how it conflicts with the so often tough online communication climate. Where does one person's freedom of speech end and another one's begin? When is it freedom of speech and when is it simply an assault?

It is quite complicated, isn't it? Whatever your answer may be, my respons to this column is simple: dear parents, please have your beloved children understand that what goes around, will eventually come around.

And when it does come around for Miss Sullivan, I hope Mrs. Sullivan will be there holding her hand. Because not even the bad ones should be offended in public.

So not okay.

Dear Santa,

A massage is all I want. Preferably before Christmas. How about – now?! Is that something we can arrange? I know I usually say that "pain is temporary, glory lasts forever," but I can't see any glory coming out of this one. This one only hurts when I breathe. So not okay.

Please give me a buzz and we'll arrange for an exact time and a convenient place.



PAT countdown.

Pack Ass Tuesdays left: 2,5

When we entered campus this morning we thought that we only had two PA Tuesdays left, but then our dear professor JC decided to keep us in her yet another week, making us land on a higher number than we started with. But hey, we are still quite close to the end.

There is not much left of this semester and certainly not many PA Tuesdays left. At least not if we compare it to how many we have, in fact, survived.

Now it's time to get all the assets together and walk down to the evening class. In a few hours we will be down on the number we started with today – only two more Pack Ass Tuesdays to go.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Halloween is so last month!

I'm supposed to work a little bit on a Halloween story I wrote two weeks ago. But how do I find the right mood when the 305 apartment is full of Christmas?

This evening, baking gingerbread cookies seemed much more logical than thinking about people in superhero costumes. Said and done – we did. The dough was tasty, the baking process was tricky, the cookies were delicious and we all laughed until we almost fell off our chairs when Iron Ass realized that her skull was burning. Yes, her gingerbread skull, of course.

And now what? Study? Write? Revise? Halloween? What's that? I only know gum in hair, Christmas decorating and OnePiece. Halloween is so last month.

K Monday turned into laughing feast.

I woke up this morning with a big aggressive F-word. Bobster asked me "Grandma, are you angry stressed and in a hurry?" and when my immediate answer was "yes" I just had to laugh a bit. Talk about Litte Miss Not Sunshine.

The day proceeded in somewhat the same mood – until I realized I still had gum in my hair. I thought it was reasonable to notify the person who put the gum there in the first place and the respons was a great advice: How to Get Gum out of Your Hair. Little Miss Not Sunshine started laughing.

The workout was fun too and people seemed to be in the same weird Monday mood as me. At one point I got directions in some kind of fake Russian accent. Little Miss Not Sunshine laughed even more.

The laughing climax came when Iron Ass played her old favorite song. I encourage all Swedish speaking people to listen to it: Cool Guys in Hats. Iron Ass is the DJ. And this K Monday turned into a laughing feast.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homemade glögg.

We're working hard to get into Christmas mood here at 305. And we're doing quite a good job. We're baking and I'm making my roommates pick up leaves and branches from the woods to make small decorations and installations. It's all about creating the right atmosphere this time of the year.

Four, five weeks ago, Bobster started the glögg preparations and tonight we had the first cup. It really tasted like glögg! Kind of a strong one. It will be a great Christmas party, we believe.

Cheers, says Santa from his little Greek villa (that we just found on the street!).

Advent Sunday.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent and back home, everybody is lighting the first candle. We in 305 like that tradition and made our own adventsljusstake out of a few things we found in the woods.

So, the first candle is burning (on our new favorite shelf) and we officially welcome Christmas.

Hello! Ho, ho, ho!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Okay, there are a few people I would like to invite for a huge dinner party.

I felt like an elephant when I was out running earlier. Some days are just heavier than others. Days after Thanksgiving seem to be of that kind. However, that delicious dinner was so worth being fat for.

Apart from running and baking (because we need more holiday food), I haven't done anything productive today. I just don't seem to be able to get myself together. My head is already on a Christmas break, I believe.

Instead of writing, I'm updating myself on what's going on with friends and family far away, reading people's blogs, checking out their Facebook pictures. Remember how I stated that I don't go around missing people? Well, I don't actively do that, but sometimes it all just jumps on me. It's inevitable, I guess.

My beloved family with all the in-laws and the four adorable nephews, my dear friends from way back when, my team mates, the wonderful girls I used to coach, classmates throughout the years, people who made my Gothenburg time all worth it and other special someones who unfortunately have drifted away.

Oh, how I would love to arrange an enormous dinner party and gather them all. Just to catch up and have a nice time.

I want to be a full-time Housewife...

...but only around Christmas!

Is quark and ricotta the same thing? Well, cheese, schmeese. 

Crucial tool! 

Some traditions should live on, wherever in the world you may be.

The Gold!

First batch.

Project: Saffron Buns.

Never have I done so little for such a long time. Well, I have, but it was some time ago. However, yesterday was simply one long day of doing nothing. That kind of activity always stresses me out, ironically enough. Yesterday, I decided to just accept it and be okay with lying on the couch talking to my roommates.

No more lying around doing nothing today, though. After a nice wake up, I will now start project Saffron Buns. Because you know what, dear reader, it's Christmas time! 

Let's all be friends.

Friday, November 25, 2011

10 out of 10 American flags for my first Thanksgiving.

Wow. Where do I start? I believe by thanking the lovely Carr family for making my first Thanksgiving an absolutely amazing experience. It had everything you can imagine and sure set the bar really high for years to come.

An unbelievable house (including a waterfall, yes indeed), food for the whole Commonwealth of Virginia (everything from turkey that had been bred on the farm to python and kangaroo), warm and lovely people, an outdoor fire pit, a creek, 28 sheep, guinea fowl and small pieces of art wherever your eyes happened to go.

I am so thankful for the hospitality and I feel so lucky for being surrounded by so much warmth. Life is good. It sure is. I have everything I could ever ask for and for that I am so very thankful.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Think and be thankful. I will -- out on a farm.

My vey first Thanksgiving has started off great. And I believe it will only get better. This afternoon, me and my roommates will be picked up and taken out to a farm in Virginia. It couldn't be more real.

So, a crash course in Thanksgiving history. Pilgrims came to the country on their Mayflower in the 1620's. Within the first year, two thirds of them died (NB: numbers and data provided by Cramer), since they basically didn't know how survive. As the story goes, the Indians taught the Pilgrims how to grown corn and as fall came they had a big harvest feast.

In 1863, president Lincoln declared the final Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day, to a great extent influenced by lobbying by writer Sarah Josepha Hale -- giving all housewives around the nation a long holiday. Years later, in 1941, with the motive to give people a reason to spend money in time of economic crisis, Franklin D. Roosevelt agreed to make Thanksgiving Day a national holiday the fourth Thursday of November.

This fourth Thursday is here and all we're waiting for is our ride out to the Virginia farm. Happy Thanksgiving to you all. Now I will take a moment to think about what I am thankful for. Believe me. It is a lot. I will get back to you on that one.

Happy Thanksgiving -- it starts with a parade!

I am completely sold on this so American holiday! According to the rules, I'm starting this Thanksgiving Day by watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Snuggled up in a comfortable chair, still in my pajamas, I'm watching the big balloons flying down the streets of New York City (so far, no Underdog got away) and I feel like a child.

The first parade was held in the 1920's when European immigrants wanted to show their appreciation to their new country. Some Macy's employees marched down the streets with animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo and it was such a success, Macy's decided to make it an annual event.

And here I am, enjoying this Emmy Award winning tradition along with approximately three million people on location and another 50 million in front of their televisions. There is a feeling of festivity in the air and I am so very thankful for being able to enjoy this from the bottom of my heart.

A regular Wednesday night at 305: Tattarn and Grandma have small projects.

I couldn't resist any longer. I officially opened up my Christmas Spotify list. Now it's all about Christmas carols until our ears fall off. Because that's how to do it. All in.

While listening to these very much longed-for tunes, Tattarn and I prepared the dishes we will bring to tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner. She made, I think we estimated it to around five litres, of rödbetssallad ("beet sallad") while I prepared approximately 135 meatballs -- Swedish meatballs, of course.

A regular night at 305. Tattarn and Grandma starting small projects in the kitchen.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Student wants to become The Intern.

We are officially on Thanksgiving break, but really, we still have a few things to work with. As the diligent student that I am, I am sitting at my favorite spot for studying with all my books. Well, I've read the chapters I have to read for Monday and now, most of all, I want to keep on reading. But nothing school related.

I just want to explore and check out Web sites that I will be constantly visiting when I start my internship. This one. And this one. For example. I'm just so excited!

Can you believe it? Part of my job will be keeping up with news in various ways. Oh, this will so be a job to love. I can feel it. I would start it now if I could.

Speaking of Christmas...

...I'm so going to go HERE for the Downtown Holiday Market. Yey!

Decorations around the block.

I know it's a little early, but I just can't helpt but get excited when I see the already Christmas decorated houses. I've heard that the right way to do it is to wait until after Thanksgiving, but I can't blame these guys for getting it all up there ahead of time. It's so cozy!

Christmas is right around the corner, for sure. We're just going to celebrate Thanksgiving first and, to be honest, I am as excited as I usually am the night before Christmas Eve (which is the day of celebration for us Swedes).

The Holiday season is all around the block.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let people push your buttons and pull yourself up.

Certain people just know what buttons to push. Whether it be the emotional ones, the physical ones or the intellectual ones. Life definitely becomes much more interesting when all these buttons are being pushed every now and then. Preferably in a somewhat random pattern and if possible by many different people.

I am glad to say that I have a bunch of people in my life that can push all my different buttons. And the best part is, that sometimes it's completely unexpected. Like today, for example.

I was up on the treadmill, lacking energy and with very tired legs. I pushed myself through the 26 minutes, but I didn't enjoy it. That's not a good start for a workout. But let me tell you, that almost two hours later, I walked out of the gym feeling great, with extremely tired arms. But for a good reason -- because of fun weight lifting.

This morning, the stars told me that I should know that people are watching my special way of conducting my business. That's why I laughed for myself when I was told, when doing one-arm pull ups:

"You know, they pretend that they're just talking over there. But in fact, they're watching to see if you're going to do it."

So I did it, I pulled myself up.

A little something to think about.

"Now that it's all over, what did you really do yesterday that's worth mentioning?"

- Coleman Cox.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Life is perfect and I don't miss a thing -- almost.

When I travel, I don't go around missing what is left behind -- and that goes for traveling in its literary as well as its figuratively sense. There is no point in missing people, places or something that no longer is. What good could ever come out of living in the past? It will only make you lag behind. Even though it's really hard for an emotional person like me, I try to live that way -- here and now, nothing else.

Of course, I do miss my family and other loved ones when we are apart, but it's not as much missing them as in "I-want-to-go-home" than it is thinking about them and wishing I could share my experiences with them. Oh, how I would love to show my family and friends the beauty that is Washington DC and its surroundings.

I am so happy with my life here. I am almost to say that it's perfect. I have everything I need to have a great time. Almost. There is, in fact, one thing that could make my days even better. One small detail that I actually do miss, even though I try not to care. But I have to admit it, be true to myself to be able to move on.

And so much faster I would be able to move around here, had I only owned a car. Dear reader (preferably Santa), I really miss driving and I sometimes think about how great it would be to own a car!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Important Announcement.

I have an important announcement to make: Sweden, it's such a shame we don't celebrate Thanksgiving. It is a totally brilliant holiday and I love it before it even started for real. Tonight, it started a little bit and now we are just counting the days, hours, minutes until we will do it for real out on a farm in Virginia.

Thank you America for Thanksgiving. It is absolutely awesome.

[Over and Out]

National Archives - so worth a visit!

Read, read, read. Write, write, write. Go out because it's Friday and do something fun because it's Saturday. Yet, set alarm and get up early in the morning to spend the whole day at a café - reading, reading, reading, writing, writing, writing. There has been a lot of that business the last few weeks and weekends, therefore, yesterday, I took a legitimate day off.

Soooo great!

Me and my buddy B2 took the opportunity to visit the National Archives in D.C. Saw a great exhibition about the history of food in the U.S. and took the obligatory tour in the Rotunda, looking at The Declaration of Independence, The Bill of Rights and The Constitution of the United States of America. Explored the many fascinating documents displayed in the Public Vaults and concluded with a tour in the gift shop, of course.

The National Archives - two thumps up. Definitely worth a visit and a great way to spend a day off.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where did they go and what's going on tonight?

Virginia, DC, it's Friday again! I am wonder the same thing as I did a week ago: where did the other days go? Still no clue. But it's Friday and it's not just any Friday. It's a Free Friday.

It's the first day of a weekend, in a long time, when we don't really have anything we have to do. There are always things to do - a journalism story and a communications class assignment for example - but nothing that has to be done this weekend. I could take two days off and not lag behind.

I like that. I like that a lot. But tell me now DC, what's going on tonight? Froyo - check. Powernap - in a minute. Friday night - what happens?

Why do we do it? Can anybody tell me? /Curious Linguist

"ABC, easy as 123." Well, sure, now that I know it. But I started thinking about this and I have a question: why do we start by teaching out kids CAPITAL letters when most of the text we ever encounter will be written in lower-case letters?

I have no numbers or data to back up my case, but just think about it: how often do you read a story written in capital letters? We see them in road signs, maybe in headlines or as book titles. But otherwise, most of the things we read (which is a lot) must, by far, be written in lower-case letters. Don't you think?

At one point in my life, I tried to learn Greek. For those of you who don't know it, the Greek alphabet is different from the Latin alphabet used in English (and Swedish, your writer's mother tongue). So, in my attempt to learn Greek, my boyfriend at the time started teaching me all the capital letters. When he thought I was ready, he encouraged me to start reading shorter texts -- on the milk carton, the juice box, the shampoo bottle. It was just one small problem -- the lower-case letters are totally different than the capital ones!

Does anybody have a good explanation to why we do this? And don't give me that the capital ones would be easier. They surely would not if we started the other way around. Please let me know if you have a good answer.

Not even road signs come in capital letters only.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Learn how to write fancy, then just... don't!

It's funny, this thing about learning how to write. We go to school for so many years. We read, study, practice and try to learn how to get it done. We increase our vocabulary and learn how to write in various ways. We rehearse rules and put them into practice.

And then -- when we know all these fancy words, when we have control over the rules -- we are encouraged to write as simple as possible and in some cases break all the rules we have ever learned, in an effort to catch some attention.

Is it annoying or is it just very interesting?

"Strike in the active voice. Aim straight for the enemy: imprecision, ambiguity, and those high words that bear semblance of worth, not substance. Offer no quarter to the tired phrase or overworn idiom. Empty your knapsack of all adjectives, adverbs, and clauses that slow your stride and weaken your pace. Travel light. Remember the most memorable sentences in the English language are also the shortest. 'The King is dead' and 'Jesus wept.'"
- Television journalist Bill Moyers.

U-turns ARE allowed.

Dear reader,

I would like to remind you of the fact that if you feel like you are heading the wrong way, you are always allowed to make a U-turn. Don't ride your bicycle where it's not supposed to be going. Nothing good will ever come out of that. Instead, take a look to the left, take a look to the right, ensure you will not put anybody's life in danger and once it's all clear - turn and pedal where your heart wants to go.

So often do we seem to forget, so I just want to remind you; U-turns are allowed.

Yours Sincerely,

Lady who bicycles her own way

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pumpkin success!

Oh yes, the pumpkin pie was a success! But really, come here and have some. We've got lots of it left. We can all eat it while listening to the Top 10 Pumpkin Songs. Of course, I made a list -- I was in pumpkin mood.

Okay, yes, I know, this thing about photographing food... But I wanted to give you all something.

Grandma's pumpkin piiiie.

Miles and miles away from home. New food, new traditions and I want to embrace it all and experience as much as I can. In fall, everything here comes in pumpkin flavor. We don't pay a lot of attention to the pumpkin back home in Sweden, so I was very curious to taste it when it started to pop up everywhere.

I started with a pumpkin cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory and after the first bite I realized it was my thing. More pumpkin to the world! Therefore, it was no question about what I was going to bake for the 305 girls' three-course dinner tonight.

My first ever pumpkin pie is in the oven and I am extremely excited to evaluate the outcome. However, the pre-made pie shell that I bought (I thought I might do it all the way the American way) was a bit too small for all the filling. I guess I just have to make two pies.

You are more than welcome to grab a bite!

Pumpkin cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory

What will become Grandma's Pumpkin Pie