Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Lot of Nice Happenings

There has been a lot of nice happenings lately; birthday parties, sushi evenings, more birthday parties. The last great happening was a Johnny Cash tribute night at Magasinet in Falun. Magasinet is an old warehouse building by the Falun Central Railway Station and it is a great place for concerts. Kalli took a load of great photos that night, 548 to be exact, and the chosen ones can be seen here. The evening included many great acts and was ended by the most spellbounding performance by a guy calling himself “The Tallest Man on Earth”. If this guy was not particularily tall, he was totally, awesomely, darn good. Apparently he is set for a small US tour and he has had great reviews by Pitchfork Media. He has released a five song EP and a full length album titled Shallow Grave. Extracts can be heard here. Likening this guy to a young Bob Dylan quality wise, does in no way feel unseemly.

The Tallest Man on Earth at Magasinet, Falun, 27 July 2008

Ulf's Green Present or "Vad är det här?"

The theme of my brothers Ulf's birthday party was green. At the party Ulf was given a green present by his friends; a big green box filled with green things. The present seemed to have a similar effect on the children as that of the flute tunes of the Pied Piper of Hamlin.

Monday, July 21, 2008


It has now come to a point where everyone in this household needs a hair cut. Last time one of the boys had his hair cut it cost 450skr. Five people times 450skr means an expense of 2250skr. Too much! To save on the expense I am determined to talk them all into using crowd-sourced hairstyling. As demonstrated in the video below it works in a way that one sits down at a busy intersection down town, equipped with scissors (tied around ones neck), a comb and eye protection. Well there one just needs to prompt passersby to have a go at cutting.

I am not sure if we should go all five of us at the same time and sit together, or if we should spread out around town. Maybe we should go at different days. I am thinking that the square near the big outdoor café in the very centre would be a good place. This is probably the busiest place and there is no traffic.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Importing an Icelander

Yet again I have happened to neglect my blog. I don’t like that. I want my blog to be alive and I want to add to it big and small things regularly. I have something big to add now; I will do so and this with the intent of getting better at posting.

The big thing that shall be blogged is the supposed reason for me being too busy to post. I have become a cohabiter. After two and a half years of friendship, and one year of courtship, my Kalli has moved in with me here in Falun, and he has come all the way from Iceland to do so. It is brave and I am very lucky. Regarding the heading of this post, it refers to something young Fraser’s football trainer said to me on the phone “I hear you’re importing an Icelander”. I have now done just that.

At work the spring term this year ended with some disconcerting happenings; both my bosses left and that with a lot of commotion. I am doubtful about the way in which the situation has been resolved, but I intend to try and not think about it during my seven week holiday with intent to face reality when it hits me in August. I shall then also have to face the fact that the shelves above my work desk has fallen down. (I realized this when I went in to use the printer the other day).

Anyway, term ended and on the first day of my holiday I traveled to Reykjavik. The plan was for me to be there for two weeks after which me and Kalli would travel back to Falun together. We had two weeks of work and play; packing and sightseeing alternatively. Among other things we went to see the lovely house of Halldór Laxness. Unfortunately one was not allowed to photograph inside the house, but the interior was very interesting and it made one realize what fascinating people him and his wife had been. Outside was parked his white Jaguar 340 (née MkII) and in the garden there was a swimming pool. His house would come across as an oasis of intellectuality amid the rough terrain and simple farms of the surrounding area.

On my second night in Reykjavik Kalli held a goodbye party. It was staged at a place called Rex in central Reykjavik. It was a great evening and I got to meet many of Kalli’s friends and relatives that I had not yet met. Considering the outrageous drink prices we were very lucky that the place served two drinks for the price of one that particular night. It was a great night and one to be treasured.

The car had to be sold and Kalli went to great lengths to do it photographic justice.

It needed new hubcaps and getting them turned in to a bit of an adventure. Outside Reykjavík there lives a man who has dedicated his life to collecting hubcaps. Apparently he is a well known character, and there are plenty of stories circulating about his hub-cap adventures. We went to his house and there in his big barn, full to the brim with caps, he fished out four suitable ones for the car. Cheap they were, but did a great deal for the appearance.

Even though people would phone and show their interest in buying the car, it was not sold until our last day in Iceland. This was of course very handy as it gave us the opportunity to use it until the end.

(Here on our way past Þingvallavatn)

A great day was when we went to see the hot springs at Haukadalur. Here the famous Geysir is located. It was dormant but another spring, Stokkur, kept erupting every five or so minutes. Quite spectacular! (Thought we and around five busloads of tourists)

(Me next to Geysir)

After Haukadalur we went to se Gullfoss waterfalls. Incredibly beautiful it was and the power of the moving water was breathtaking.

We took a southern route on our way home and I was amazed at seeing clouds of steam emerge from the ground wherever I looked. We went passed an area where the resent earth quake had made itself known and one could see plenty of evidence of it through blocks of stone that had tumbled down the hillsides.

Another one of our outings took us to Hellisheiði geothermal powerplant area. Here steam is collected through drilled holes and turned into hot water and electricity. The bubble houses covering the drilled holes and their release valves, gave the place a very surreal appearance.

We also made a lot of trips to the rubbish tip. When all was sorted Kalli’s belongins were narrowed down to a pallet 152cm tall and the two suitcases we would bring on the plane. The furniture went to some Portuguese guest workers four days before our departure. Left to us was a small bedside table and two bar stools with which we managed just fine.

(Our simple abode)

(The pallet setting out on its three week journey to Sweden)

Our last meal was eaten at the Sægreifinn seafood restaurant. Quainter place would be hard to find. I can not think about that lobster soup without my mouth watering like mad. Following the soup we had skewers of lobster and whale. The previous night we had visited another fish restaurant, namely Icelandic Fish & Chips, together with Kalli’s mum. This meal was however a disappointment and I would not go there again. The chips were to be likened to small burnt matches, the portions of sauce were tiny and the service was poor.

(Delicious skewers of lobster and whale)

On the morning of Friday the 4th of July we flew to Sweden. It was so wonderful to not have to say goodbye at the end of a holiday, and to instead get on the plane together. We had over 15kg of surplus weight, but the charming girl at the check in let it pass. (Just one of the many things that has gone our way during this move.)

At arrival in Stockholm we went to see my dad and his wife and Kalli was introduced. We had a very nice afternoon there and when we left we went to friends Monica and Stefan’s place to drive with them to their summer house in Botkyrka where we were to spend our first night in Sweden. We had a fantastic evening there and as always those guys served the most fantastic meal; grilled lamb fillets this time with asparagus and a warm potato salad. The weather was lovely and we sat outside all evening. Thanks to the breeze we were not bothered by the otherwise in Sweden so troublesome mosquitoes.

(Monica and Stefan)

On the Saturday we sat out on our journey to Falun. It was nice to get home and we had a couple of hours to shower and get ready for the evenings party antics. It was time for Malin’s 30th birthday party and the party was held in the Gopa bystuga. It was a great party and one of the evening’s highlights was a Bellman recital performed by Malin’s flute teacher.

(Malin receiving some raspberry bushes from Ingemar)

On the Sunday we unpacked and on the Monday we went to do all the practical stuff an immigrant has to get on with; tax office, jobcentre etc. Kalli’s Swedish personal number should arrive any day now, and he will slowly get drawn in to the system.

All this to me is just like a wonderful fairy story. When I think back on how it all has happened; our long letters and IM conversations before we met for real and how we have formed the most rewarding friendship. I am so happy to finally have him near me at all times and the future is in my mind wrapped in a happy haze.