Showing posts from August, 2019

kalendar: calendar: some thoughts on keeping the date and time straight

It's another Friday night. For those of you heading into a long Labor Day weekend, enjoy! No such holiday here, but plenty of others. We're adjusting to the Swedish calendar, dates, and time-- definitely a different way of tracking the movement of time. For example, did you know that this is V. 35 (the 35th week of the year)? This is how calendars are tracked here. The dates are also opposite. Every time I see a poster, I have to stop and figure out the date: something listed as 5/9 refers to the 5th of September. Time is tracked in 24 hours calendars; it's actually 21:26 as I write this. We have no idea what happens later in October when daylight savings hits the U.S. We had a full week of school & work this week- a lot to process, so we'll post more this weekend. World Water Week from Sunday- Friday for me, Chris reporting into work at Stockholm University (where the idea that you'd just pick up a sandwich and keep working is completely odd, and 3 coffee b

Vatten: water. Climate change = water change.

Vatten: water. This week is World Water Week . 3,500 of my closest friends from around the world are here to discuss water: flood, drought, sanitation, drinking water, inclusion, governance, engaging with stakeholders, restoring instream flows, climate change. A changing climate is showing up as changing water regimes: hotter air holds more moisture... more floods, but also more droughts as weather patterns become stuck. In the last few years, mega cities like Sao Paulo, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; and Chennai, India have come close to or literally have run out of water. Climate change is water change. What's the new normal? Nothing like what the past has looked like. It makes for challenging times. Curious to know more? Look at Circle of Blue: . And yet there is a lot of discussion of hope, of solutions, of people coming together to find solutions, of the financial world waking up and taking notice. I've pulled together a panel for lat

Ö is for island

Ö = island Onomatopoeia is a wonderful thing, but how many words in English look like the thing they represent (bed comes to mind but not many others)? The Swedish Ö is particularly apt because, at least where we went today, the sea is full of islands with wonderful granite swimming destinations just a few meters off shore. This is, I imagine, why the Swedes decided to put the umlaut on top of their letter/word. In case you hadn't guessed it, we took advantage of another beautiful summer day to go explore the Stockholm archipelago. Somewhere between 24,000 to 30,000 islands, depending how you count them. Many served by regular ferry service from Stockholm, we were out all day and only scratched the barest surface of what was there. The ferry ride starts in Stockholm and the first forty or so minutes are striking for the continued density of residential buildings well out from the city. Kilometer after kilometer the shore is lined with 5-10 story buildings, maintaining a den

Regn: rain and random reflections on a Friday night

Regn: rain and and a few random reflections on a Friday night Friday night is apparently taco night in Sweden- eat tacos and watch a movie. It's a rainy day and the end of the week- a good night to do so. Except that if you go shopping for tortillas and salsa, they don't sell the beans anywhere near. And we're not quite sure what qualifies for tacos in Sweden. Anyway, we gave it a try. We watched "The boy who harnessed the wind," a film about a real kid in Malawi who figured out how to build a windmill to drive the pump for the local well and ensure that the crops actually grew when the rain didn't come. Well worth watching.  Worth noting that we watched it with Swedish subtitles which was irrelevant for the 50% of the movie in English and involved a lot of guesswork for the 50% in Chichewa (a language spoken in Malawi). What to say about this week? We figured out how to get the kids to and from school on the metro bus. It helps to not lock a backpack

Skola: school. The first day of school according to Elizabeth & Stephen

Today was the first day of school. Elizabeth's perspective:        My teacher's name is Mr. Peterson and it was his first day at school too.  My teacher is from New Jersey, I think.........                I met somebody during the first 5 seconds out in the front of the school and my Librarian,  Swedish teacher, Gym teacher, Music teacher, my art teacher and my ELA teacher.              We played Dodge ball during break and it was only a half day so we didn't have much time at school. School where we  learn things starts on Monday (Mondag) (this is Swedish for Monday).       Overall, I wasn't really that nervous which was surprising.            I hope people who are starting school soon have good luck in starting whatever grade you're going into or teaching. Tomorrow will be an exciting day.        (Stephen and I are sharing a blog so I am going to pass it to him). Stephen's perspective:            School was very interesting. It was also odd,

Futuraskolan: the kids' first day at school

A new kind of waiting for the bus to school   1st day of school at Futuraskolan Int'l School of Stockholm- along with kids from at least 70+ countries. A lot of people knew each other. A lot of people didn't. Stephen is entering 7th grade, Elizabeth 4th grade.   A video to share the sound & scale of the schoolyard chaos- it was actually more orderly than this looks.  Post school ice cream at the gelato store-- Stikki Nikki- in what will be our new apartment building starting on 1 Sept. Good ice cream! Even better is the kids' school is a super easy walk or bike ride to/from our soon to be apartment (and we have to go past a horse barn to get there). 

Östersjön: the Baltic Sea

Östersjön: the Baltic Sea On a more serious note, today marked the return to the "show up and look like an adult" work world. The Baltic Sea Science Center is hosting the 12th Baltic Sea Science Congress  at Stockholm University, a scant 1.7 kilometers from where we are staying right now. Anyway, I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out the dynamics of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed for the last 7 years: how to address and manage runoff of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment from various rivers and streams into the Bay. Nitrogen and phosphorous are important nutrients for plant growth: put too much in a waterway and they promote the growth of algae. It's a lot like giving a kid too much sugar: they bounce off the walls, then collapse. In this case, the algae die and as it decomposes, the decomposition process uses up the oxygen in the water, which in turn leads to "dead zones" without much or any plant/animal life. Sometimes the variety of alg

Likrits: licorice

Likrits = licorice. Turns out salted licorice is a national obsession and that we are temporarily living 2 blocks from the best licorice store in Stockholm. Chris would like to show you what he thinks of the salted licorice picked out by the kids. Stephen decided he likes salted licorice. Elizabeth decided she didn't like licorice at all.

Lösenord: password

Lösenord: password Navigating the online world is challenging enough in English. We are learning how to live in a country that seems to exist in the electronic world. Many establishments are credit card only (don't come to Sweden without a chip based credit card); even renting a bike or scooter is by app. We are the proud users of about 6 new apps on our phones and computers. We also have new sim cards in our phones, which should let us access a Swedish phone number (and keep our old phone numbers via a google voice app). All of this is to say that we're swimming in systems that depend on passwords, which may (or most likely aren't) cooperating...

Vargen äter renen: "the wolf eats the reindeer"

Vargen äter renen: the wolf eats the reindeer We've been studying Swedish as best we can using a program called Duo Lingo. We learned the phrase "the wolf eats the reindeer" far sooner than we learned to ask basics like "where is the bathroom." Fortunately for us in the near term, the Swedes almost all speak great English. In the longer term, we'll have to work to actually learn Swedish. Of phrases we've learned, however, we didn't think this particular one would serve us well for a long time (if at all). However, a visit to Skansen, a site in Stockholm that includes a gathering of historic buildings and various Nordic animals, including wolves and reindeer, proved us wrong. It was actually helpful to be able to see the signs for wolves, moose, and reindeer and know what they were talking about. Prior to our visit at the zoo, we spent a bit of time at the local amusement park- the density of the rides was impressive, perhaps demanded by limited

A trip to the amusement park and the zoo

My Swedish word of the day: COCO-SNOT -Means: COCONUT           I learned the word COCO-SNOT at the grocery store yesterday and think it sounds funny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We went to an amusement park today. Stephen and I went on the equivalent to of a crazy mouse except scarier, a huge yo-yo that went up and a few other rides. It was fun, I wish you (my friends and my teachers) were there.  We then went to a zoo with reindeer, pigs, horses, geese, good cotton candy, cows, bison, lynx (the babies were pouncing on each other, it was so cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!), bears, moose, wolves, old buildings(there were lots of them), owls, cat (house cat, in a zoo? It's so weird-it had its own pen even and a sign that explains what things zoo signs tell you about animals!!!!!!!!!!), goats and birds. After that, we went to a bus stop and came home !  E L I Z A B E T H   F O W L E R .  P.S - we could have gone to the grocery store too but we were too tired  älg (moose) at Skans