Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Watching the Melodifestivalen final, travelling to Germany and sampling Swedish Hospital care

Well hello there!
So last week I had the pleasure of travelling to Germany with work, to attend a 3 day meeting. Now normally I don't write that much about all my business trips, as they are not that interesting really...but this one was...but not for all the right reasons.
Firstly, is everyone else aware that Germany are light years behind when it comes to accepting credit cards?? In Sweden, you can pretty much do anything you want without cash. Even down to getting your haircut..yes, barber shops accept cards! But Germany was like stepping back in time! We got there, got a taxi...nope, no cards. Went for dinner...nope, no cards! Supermarket, 'of course we accept cards. What, you are foreign?? No, we only accept German cards' It was certainly an experience...and I won't forget to take cash next time!
However, I was in Wallau which is a really pretty part of Germany. We also went for dinner in Mainz one night, which is quite lovely! The restaurant was called "Heilig Geist" (Holy Ghost for those of you not fluent in German) and it is located in an old church. It is gorgeous inside, as they have done it all up and made it very pretty. If you want, you can check it out here. I had the schnitzel, and can highly recommend it!

So, after a week away, Saturday came round, and it was the final of Melodifestivalen. As I said in the previous post, the qualifying rounds have been very 'interesting' (pretty crap songs) but the final was a very pleasant surprise! There were probably 5 or 6 songs I would actually buy in there! Now maybe I am becoming too Swedish already, but I really do think the winner has a good chance to win Eurovision! If you want to check out the songs, just look for Melodifestivalen 2012 in YouTube. But if you want to narrow it down to the pretty good ones, look for: David Lindgren "Shout it out", Lisa Miskovsky"Why Start a Fire", Loreen "Euphoria" (the eventual winner), Ulrik Munther "Soldiers", Molly Sanden "Why am I crying" and Danny Saucedo "Amazing"
Maybe not really worth the 15 minutes of your life, but some good songs! Sarah and I were with the same group of friends, and we actually agreed on the top 3 (Loreen, Danny and David) so were quite happy.
Oh, and Lisa Miskovsky has actually been part of the Swedish Snowboarding team...talk about talented!

I also had an unplanned visit to a Swedish hospital recently, and with the current standing of Sweden being the best place for health care in Europe I thought it would be worth talking about.
To start, my friend doesn't have a Swedish Personnummer, and so needed to be treated under the European health insurance card thing. (for those that don't know, it lets European people get health care in Europe without having to pay the usual costs) So straight off we were asked if we wanted to pay right away, or pay by invoice. Yep, that's right, you can pay by invoice! (pay attention Germany!) The fee was 350 SEK (about 35 English Pounds, 39.50 Euro) and this is for anything that is needed while there! (I am sure there are limits, but we had a lot done for this)
All the staff spoke very good English, and were very helpful and communicative. Unfortunately, my friend has had an operation in England within the last 12 months, and so we had to be put into isolation as they might have carried the MRSA bug. Now we know that they don't, as the UK is very good at testing everyone in hospitals for it, but I don't mind them being over protective. The room was really clean, the equipment was all pretty new, and we really had no complaints at all! I think the number 1 spot is deserved to be honest...

Things I have learnt this week:
Germany do not like foreign cards
There are actually some good songs in the Eurovision song contest (at least 1)
The Swedish health care system is really good!

P.S. Never be sorry for wanting to be sure about your health. It is far better to know what is going on than to wait for it to get worse!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Catching up with friends, and watching melodifestivalen

This week we have finally been able to get out on Friday for my workplaces 'afterwork' (beers after work on a Friday) and it was really nice to see lots of friends that we haven't met up with for months. Its really nice to know you have friends that you don't see for ages, and yet when you do meet up it is like you saw each other last week.
There was a good turn out this week, I think about 25...but I didn't actually count. Some new faces too (well...they probably aren't new anymore, we have just been away for so long we hadn't met them) which is always good. I am quite a sociable person (when I want to be) and meeting new people is always good.
So after a few drinks we went for dinner at a local Thai/Chinese place called Big Buddha. Now normally I would say this is one of the tastiest places to eat in Helsingborg, but apparently they do not cope very well on Swedish pay day, as it was crazy busy and it took nearly an hour for them to bring the food. There were 9 of us, but still...an hour?? And when it did arrive, the food wasn't even all hot...so very disappointed indeed. However, it was still really tasty, and certainly didn't put me off going again...I will just not take 7 friends with us next time!
Then on Saturday, Sarah and I decided that it was about time that we cleaned out our storage area in the basement of our apartment block. I am quite ashamed to say that I still had the cardboard boxes that I used to move to Sweden with (yes...three years ago) so these were the first things to be thrown! In the end, we had to do 2 trips to the dump (refuse disposal, tip) as we had so much rubbish to get rid of!
Then on Saturday night we went round to a friends apartment for dinner and to watch the 'Melodifestivalen'. Now for those of you not in Sweden, this needs explaining. It is actually the qualifying rounds for the Swedish entry to the Eurovision Song Contest. If you have never seen Eurovision, you really need to search for it on YouTube or something similar. The main contest is European countries entering 1 song each, and voting for who they think is best. It is absolutely appalling, and is only really worth watching to laugh at.
So you can imagine the quality of the qualifying entries...! What I hadn't realised is that it is such a big deal in Sweden! Imagine the X-Factor level of attention...but for absolute trash. It is also not a 1 off thing...there are 4 heats, 4 semi finals, a second chance final, and then the final. So yes, it goes on for a few weeks...
This Saturday was quite an eye opener. There were 3 OK songs (in my opinion, which is often made fun of) and some absolute rubbish too. Unfortunately, to prove how bad my taste is, 1 of my favourites got voted out completely! However, the other 2 did make it straight to the final. One of them is absolute cheese... do a search for 'Danny Saucedo amazing melodifestivalen 2012' in the search engine of your choice and prepare to be amazed. He has a tracksuit with Christmas fairy lights on. No, really...it is. And that was one of the winners.
After the show, we amused ourselves for the rest of the evening playing on the Wii, which is soooo much more fun with other people than on your own.
What an evening :)
Oh, and I nearly forgot my favourite part of the night! My friend has purchased a steering wheel with pedals for his PlayStation! The feedback is really good, and it really makes playing racing games a lot more fun. If only I had the money to get one at home...oh well, guess I will just be going round to his house more often.

What I have learned this week:
Melodifestivalen is interesting...
Good friends are really worth keeping hold of
I want a force feedback steering wheel and pedals for my PS3.

PS, doing boring things with the right person makes them so much more fun :)

Monday, 13 February 2012

Driving back to Sweden, the Harwich to Esbjerg way

Ok, lets just gloss over the absence of a blog for...some time, and move on. Agreed? Good.

So now that is out of the way, I will get back to what this blog was supposed to be about, an English view on Sweden.

We (my wife and I...yep, I am now married to the lovely Sarah!) recently drove back to Sweden after a long (4 months) stay in the UK. We haven't actually ever done it by car before, for the last 3 and a half years we have flown all the time, and so it was a bit of an adventure. And of course, the weekend we decided to come back, it decided to snow. Now for those of you in Sweden (or most or Europe actually) this isn't a big thing...for those of you in England, or those of you who have ever been in England during snow, you will know that this is a MASSIVE thing! Well luckily we had had winter tyres fitted to the car about 4 days earlier (as they are a legal requirement in Sweden this time of year) so I wasn't too worried about the snow, but the whole country basically ground to a halt!
With the winter tyres we didn't really have an issue in getting down from near Sheffield to Harwich, it was quite fun passing all the cars with 'summer' tyres on actually! But due to the snow, we left early...2 hours early. And of course, with winter tyres we had no problem, and got to the ferry early... 2 hours early!
Now, a bit of advice for those of you who will ever get the Ferry from Harwich to Esbjerg.. do not get there early! There is nothing to do at all! The website says 'make sure you get there at least 90 minutes before departure time', and we were there 3 and a half hours before departure time...and so spent 3 and a half hours in the car waiting! (ok, exaggeration...we went to the toilet for 5 minutes) But really, the gates open for the check in and security bit 90 minutes before departure, but after that you sit in your car for about an hour anyway.
So, we did eventually get on the ferry, and it was actually ok. Nothing special, but certainly not something you have to avoid. The ferry goes overnight, so be set off at 1710 ish (British time, GMT winter time etc...) and got to Esbjerg at 1300 the next day (Danish time, CET, Swedish time etc...)
Oh, and a not of warning...food is expensive on the ferry! 500 Danish for the 2 of us... that's about 55 of the Queens English Pounds, 550 SEK!Oh well, we will know to take food next time, you live and learn.
So we get off the ferry, and of course there is snow. Everywhere. And guess what...not a single problem. Roads are fine, all the cars are fine, no queues or anything!
And then we drive home, to Helsingborg. For those wondering if its worth the extra time...yes is the answer! Its beautiful through Denmark and Sweden, we even saw deer (only 2, but still!) And actually, the overall cost was very similar to 2 people flying, if you miss the low low cost flights. And for those of you who like bridges, there are 2 very nice ones to cross. This one and this one. (Both toll)

So we are back in Sweden now, and I am back working in the office again. I never thought I would say it...but I am glad to be back in an office! 4 months working 'from home' is actually pretty tough, its nice to have a separation of work and home.

We have also got to catch up with quite a few friends, not as many as we hoped to yet, but we are getting there. So, if you know me and haven't seen me and Sarah for a while, and want to come visit, just let me know :)

I will update you on more later, but that will do for my first foray back into this blogging world.

Things I have learnt since last time:
The drive from Esbjerg to Helsingborg is beautiful
I REALLY like being in Sweden at this point in my life
I have missed our Swedish friends more than I thought!

P.S. Guess what?? Got ya! :)

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

...not blogging!

Well hello there! How are you? Long time no...anything! (well, apart from those of you that I have seen/spoken to recently, as then its not so long, but it is since you read this...hmmm)

Anywho, what do you mean its been 7 months since I last blogged? It hasn't...I was trapped inside a vortex filled with Swedish winterness which rips all sort of public-ness from you, and makes you want to be a hermit. Fact.

But really, I honestly didn't realise just how long/dark/cold/hard the winters are here! Of course everyone had told me 'oh wait until winter, then you wont enjoy it so much' and I didn't believe them. I still don't actually...! It has been long, and dark and VERY snowy, but I have loved it. Almost all of it in fact. I love snow, its much better then Manchester rain at least. And I have had a nice winter full of skiing, friends, going on vacation to Gran Canaria (I never get why its not the biggest canary island...or why you don't see canaries, but that might be a question for another day...or some helpful person to comment on at least)

During my blog absence quite a few people have moved closer to my place up in the North (posh apparently) side of Helsingborg, and so I have been able to pop round for more beers and the such, which is always good. In fact, another guy I used to (kind of) work with in the UK has moved in about 2 doors down the road. You know, the one were you turn right out my door and down towards the park? yeah, down there. I think it has red windows. He is called Rich (but he isn't) and I have been spending quite a bit of time with him (not in a gay way, even if Sarah does keep saying we go on gay dates) and its nice to have someone that close on a similar mental wave...we are really childish when we are together...both our girlfriends just laugh and avoid us...

Talking of Sarah, its still going very well! We have seen lots of each other during the vortex time (she must have a key to get in and out) and she was on the Gran Canaria trip with me. Oh, and her mum and dad, sister and sisters fiance. It was a very fun week...on the first night ( I think) Sarah's dad managed to dislocate his toe (ouch), later in the week Sarah's sister fainted at the pool and I am sure something else happened too of a similar ilk (is that how you say it?) but I can't remember too well...it was at least 30 sleeps ago!
Oh, and Sarah has a new car...well, a truck (not a lorry truck, more like a pickup truck (Ute i think for Aus)) Its a Nissan Navara (other pickups are available) and I can't wait to have a drive! Its top of the range thing with seat heating, cruise control, 2 one climate control etc... so I think I might enjoy it :)
But it is massive! Doesn't really fit in a space at Tesco so well...so not ideal for Sarah, but still fun to drive!

What else has happened...hmmm. Oh yes, Christmas happened, so merry Christmas to all I didn't say it to at the time...sorry for the delay. I suppose I better get in a happy new year and Happy Easter (is that what you say at Easter?) while I am at it. I had a good one, 12 whole days at home in the UK, seeing lots of friends and the what not.

Most recently (this weekend) I had my 5 year old nephew to visit, and he also brought is parents, which was nice. We had a really nice weekend doing not a lot, but manager a trip to the beach (at least a 5 minute walk!) and we went to tropicariat. What that I hear you say? Well, I will tell you! Its like a mini zoo type thing, here in Helsingborg. It has an aquarium bit with mini sharks (well, I think they are full size for the type, but not like a great white or anything) and other fish. Then you go upstairs to some monkeys and crocodiles (not together) and lizards and things, and then up to the lemur section. Oh...did I forget to mention that the monkeys and lemurs are free and walking around their sections that you can walk through??!?! We were really impressed...I don't know anywhere in the UK where you can do that!
Of course, to a 5 year old it wasn't so impressive, so James was most impressed by the ants. There is a big ants nest in the building, and tubes running all over the places with ants running through them. I guess it is good, but I was not that amazed. Guess I must be older than 5...
Oh, and then we went to get a drink and next to where we were sitting were giant tortoises and meerkats! Simples! (will make sense to the UK crowd, probably not many others...google it...compare the meerkat) So was a very good weekend!

Can't really think of much else...but I am sure I will do soon. I will try and make it quicker than 7 months...but I am not promising!

So, what have I learnt this...ummm...time length:
Its very easy to get out of the habit of doing something, even if you keep thinking about doing it.
Good friends are fantastic, especially during ling dark winters.
I want to live somewhere I can ski often when I grow up.

PS. Things don't always go as smoothly as you want them to, but its worth putting the effort and trust into something you really want to work. And never forget...guess what?

Sunday, 2 August 2009

...Living the Swedish Sumer, Living as a couple and Malmo


Wow, a full month without blogging...this isn't exactly how I envisaged this going! But yet again, I have been caught up in everything that has been going on. Not that I have really been anywhere to stop me blogging, its just that I have been busy :)

So what have I done? Well, to start with I had another visit back to the UK to see Sarah for a long weekend, and it was another really hectic one! We seemed to be busy the whole weekend, but in a good way, and it was fun.

We had a night out in Doncaster for Sarah's sisters birthday, and it was certainly an experience. Lots of 'cougars' as I have been taught that they are called. Basically, older women dressed far too young, chasing something young.

Oh, and of course I had to make a fool of myself, and spray the tap all over my top when I went to the bathroom....just very glad it dried quick!

Then on the Sunday Sarah and I went to Wigan to have dinner with my brother and his wife. I worked out it should take somewhere between an hour and a half to two hours, and I pretty much knew the way...up the M1 and across the M62...I've done the drive lots in my old job.
So we set off, and were having a good laugh and good conversation and Sarah asks 'Where is Scotch Corner?' as the sign says we are on the way there....I suddenly realise I am driving to Gateshead and not Leeds/Manchester...oh bum!
So we come off at the next exit, and put on TomTom (don't ask why I didn’t do this to start with, I just knew I knew the way...ok!) TomTom then tells me I have basically driven as far north so that we were basically the same time away as we were when we set off...after about 45 minutes of driving! Oooops.
But anyway, we got there in the end, and had a very nice Chinese meal and a nice evening at Gregg and Julie's house, and I got to see their new A4 too, although they didn't let me drive!

So Monday came, and Sarah and I got ready to come back to Sweden. Yep, she was coming to visit for the whole summer, 6 weeks together! Was very excited!
As we were staying so long we didn't want to leave the car at the airport that long, so Sarah's mum brought us to the Airport...thanks Julie!
The journey was pretty standard, long and uneventful, but it just reminded me how much better travelling is when you are not alone.
So we have now had a few weeks of living together, and have tried to fill it with doing things so Sarah didn't get too bored while I was at work. We have been to see Harry Potter (pretty good, missed loads from the book, 4 stars) and we have been to the Helsingborg Festival. This was 4 evenings of stalls rides and music acts (no-one we had heard of) around Helsingborg, and it was pretty good. We didn't spend ore then a few hours there, as it was pretty much the same 6 stalls again and again, and we didn't fancy the rides.
I have managed to borrow a car for a few weekends too, so we have driven North and South along the coast, and seen quite a lot of very beautiful Sweden.
However, Sarah as also had to play nurse for a few days, as I got a pretty nasty cold and was pretty much house bound for 2 days. Not nice at all. But it was nice to get to spend the extra time together! Just rather it could have been with me not feeling so bad.

Oh, and I bought a bicycle! I have been thinking about it for a while, as it would really lower the time it takes to get to work and back. It would also allow me to ride around a bit more and see a little more of Sweden. So while we were shopping I saw one that was really good price! About a third of the other ones I had seen, and a pretty good make too, so I bought it. Who says I can't make quick decisions!?! And I like it, lots.
Sarah and I then went shopping for all the accessories and stuff...so I now have flashing lights for the back and a light for the front, pump and fix kit bag thing and a set of waterproofs...going to look soooooo cool in those when it rains! Not.

We have been talking about going up to Gothenburg for the weekend too, as there is a really good weekend deal thing that gives free access to museums and the theme park, as well as discounts for shops and restaurants, and this pass also includes a hotel room and breakfast.
But we haven't done it yet...we went to Malmo this Saturday instead. Its only about 45 minutes away on the train, and is very nice indeed in the main bits. Sarah was happy as the shopping is far superior to what is available in Helsingborg, and we came back with quite a lot more then we went with...!
So we still have Gothenburg on the plan, but not 100% sure when we will do it. We also plan to do a bit more sight seeing in the localish vicinity, so hopefully I should have some more pictures to show you just how lovely it is here.

I have also been acting manager for my full team over the last 4 weeks, as my manager has been on vacation, so I have had a busy/a little stressful few weeks. But I think I have done pretty well with it, and have definitely enjoyed it! I think it has shown me I am going in the right direction with my career, and also that the Swedish move has been really good for me so far!

What I have learned this month:
Having some one to travel with makes the journey much better
Its worth taking the time to visit other parts of where ever you go, small changes can be good! Extra responsibility is hard...but well worth it!

PS. Sometimes people get sidetracked, or something happens to make someone act a little differently to normal. This doesn’t always mean things have changed, just that their head is in a different place. Its worth talking it through and making the effort to change, as keeping what you have is much better then losing it!

Friday, 3 July 2009

...Tenerife, U21 Championships and good friends


Warning....this might be a rather long blog! Seeing as how I haven't posted anything for over a month!

And what a good month it has been! I guess I better go in order or no doubt I will miss things out...!

So first after my last post (so end of May..!) I went to Tenerife with my parents, my big sister, her husband and my nephew. Now it might sound like it wasn't set up to be a good holiday, but it really was! The weather was really good almost the whole week, and I really get on with my whole family so it was easy.

In order to get there from Sweden I ended up having to fly to Manchester from Copenhagen, and then get an Easy Jet flight to Tenerife. I haven't ever flown a 'low cost' airline so far before....and now I know why! I am used to SAS seats...with room to at least move your legs once sat down! That plus adverts over the tannoy thing at what felt like 2 minute intervals really made for a not pleasant flight.

Here is a picture of the Family

But anyway, I got there....I guess that’s all that really matters. We found out that the main pool was being serviced while we were there, so we could only use the little pool for most of the week....But this was fine, as James could touch the bottom in most of the little pool so it was more fun to be swimming with him anyway.

My Dad and I also got in a round of golf...one (if not THE) most beautiful rounds of golf I have ever had! My Dad got about 250 pictures! I didn't play particularly well, but I had a few good holes, so I was happy. :)

Then when I got back I had a very nice surprise visit from Sarah! :)
We had worked out with all the stuff in our calendars that we wouldn't get to see each other for 6 weeks if we didn't do it then, so she came over for 4 days and we had a really really good time. Was really hard leaving each other so quickly though...but on a good note next time we see each other it is going to be for about 6 weeks!

I would put a picture of Sarah up...but I will wait for permission first :)

And then on the day Sarah left some of my UK friends came to visit; Chris, Rick and Danny. Chris is getting married in August, so it was the first part of his stag tour...and Rick got special t-shirts made for us all! Very cool.

Here are the boys

And here is the t-shirts! Good work Rick!

The reason they were over was also for the Under 21 European Championships which were held in Sweden this year. We managed to attend 2 games as well seeing a few others on the TV. We went to Sweden v Italy in my local town (Helsingborg) which was pretty good...even if Sweden did lose. The match was actually on Midsummer’s Eve which is a massive day in Sweden. So after the match we went to a friends of mine and did part of the whole Midsummer thing. Mainly it involved a few beers, a few 'Snaps' and a BIG barbeque! All in all a very fun evening.

This is just one set of meat on the BBQ...

On the way home from the party thing we went to get the train...and I realised I had got the times wrong so we had an hour to wait! To be fair it wasn’t my fault...I had found out that the last train was at 39 minutes past the hour...so I assumed that the one before would be an hour before that....but no. It was an hour and 15 minutes earlier. So while we waited we invented a really fun game...'kick the plastic bottle into the bin'. Ok, maybe it was more fun at the time...but we actually spent about 50 minutes doing this! And Chris got it in just before the train came! Perfect timing.

Then we had a really good weekend of sitting in the sun, going out in Helsingborg (until 5am on the Saturday....not sure my friends are a good influence on me!) and generally enjoying the amazing weather.

Monday we went to see England v Germany...a big game for any Englishman! Unfortunately England had already qualified for the next round and so didn’t bother to put out their best team. We still got to see Theo Walcott though, so I was a bit happy at least. It ended 1-1 so not too disappointing.

The boys went home on Wednesday, and I suddenly realised how empty my house can be! But still, I had the semi finals to watch! Sweden v England was a really good game. Half time was 3-0 to England...and I was very happy (and a little scared) as I was watching it with about 200 Swedish people...! But then it got a little scary... 3-1...3-2...and then 3-3! Not good! I was starting to be really glad I hadn't celebrated the England goals too much! Then during extra time we had to walk up (very fast) to the local stadium to watch the other semi-final. So I was in Olympia stadium in Helsingborg for the penalties. Yep...me cheering England, and about 3000 Swedes, Germans and Italians. Strangely I was the only one celebrating the England victory!
The Germany v Italy match ended up 1-0, and was no where near as good as the England Sweden one!
And then we don't talk about the final. So no more to write on that.

And then I have just been working hard, cleaning the apartment (it was such a state after having 4 boys live here for a week!) and generally enjoying the Swedish summer. Its been about 23/24 degrees all week, and I've loved it!

Another UK friend Steve (who lives here in Helsingborg) is a VERY good chef...and has been kind enough to cook for me a few times. The latest time we were talking about how I ask a lot of questions while he cooks, and how it would make a great TV show....so we are going to start recording them and posting them online! Watch this space for more info and also for hints on upcoming recipes!

My Swedish lessons are coming on really well too. I am definitely able to understand much more..and can almost hold a full conversation.

So all in all I have had a REALLY good month since last time I blogged...so I hope you will forgive me.

What I have learned this month:
Following England in sports is both amazingly good...and heartbreaking!
Learning Swedish is really key to fitting in here and being able to socialise
Having friends to visit is really fun!

PS. It can be really fun doing things for other people, as long as seeing them happy makes you happy too! It doesn't matter what it is, everything is worth doing for the right person. :)

Saturday, 23 May 2009

...getting older!


Wow, its been ages since my last post! Time really has flown by! Well, since my last post I am now a year older...and of course so much wiser.....!

I had a really nice week back in the UK with my family and friends, did a lot of catching up with people and seeing people I hadn't seen for 5 months. As well as doing the family stuff on Sunday and Wednesday (and my Mum, Dad, Big sister, her husband and my nephew came to the airport to see Sarah and I off) I went out in Sheffield with Sarah's uni friends as it was one of their birthdays, went to the cinema 3 times (Angels and Demons : 3*, Star Trek : 4*, Fast and Furious : 2*) and spent Friday night with my uni friends. By the time I came back I was in need of a holiday! :)

Got some very nice birthday Pressies too...a very nice watch, an iPod, a very nice Ralph Lauren T-Shirt, some English Chocolates, an iPod docking speaker set thingy, a book on F1 circuits, money for iTunes just to name a few! Was a really really nice birthday, so thank you to everyone who contributed to making it special for me!

So coming back to Sweden last Saturday was a bit strange...that has been the longest time I have spent back in the UK since leaving, and while it was really nice, I was still kinda excited to get back to my house! And even more weirdly, I was looking forward to getting back to work...I had things I wanted to do, and catch up with, as well as having the last couple of days of my Personal Leadership training course to do. That was on the Monday and Tuesday of this week, and I really really enjoyed it! I think it has really encouraged me that I am aiming the right way in my career, and massively improved my confidence in my own abilities, as well as letting me reflect on what I can do to improve on my weaknesses.

So this last week has been spent with Sarah in Sweden, having lots of deep and meaningfuls, as well as a really nice week in the relatively warm sunshine. Sarah and I have also spent quite a lot of time with my Swedish friends (well...friends that live in Sweden, I don't think she has met my "Swedish" Swedish friends so much yet...) and that has been really nice too! Felt very couplie, and really nice to know that we can integrate into each others lives so easily :)

My friend Keri moved into a new apartment this week, and Sarah was free while I was at work so she helped Keri out...was quite scary knowing that my girlfriend was talking to one of my friends without me being there...who knows what horrible things they could have been discussing about me! But Sarah seemed quite happy with me after a day with Keri, so I guess she must have been singing my praises at least a little :)

So basically I have had a really really good 2 weeks! Amazing birthday, amazing times with Sarah, and really nice weather too!

This weekend is a long one for me too....Thursday was Assertion Day, so a "Red Day" here in Sweden, so I decided to take Friday as holiday which has given me 4 days with Sarah with nothing planned...a rarity when she comes to visit! We don't usually get the chance to spend so long together here, and I think it has been really good! We have had a few walks down by the seafront, and some days just sat in the sun, as well as some evenings in the bars and restaurants around Helsingborg. All in all, a really really nice time for us!

So what have I learned this week (or so) :
Birthdays can still be exciting and really fun, even at 28
I am getting used to Sweden being home, even if I do miss UK Home too
Helsingborg would be even lovelier if it wasn't for the wind that drops the temperature so much!

PS. Life sometimes throws curveballs at you, and how you deal with them defines you afterwards. Try and be as honest as you can with those you love, as it is easier to deal with things as they happen rather then when things are found out bit by bit. Thank you for everything that has made this birthday amazing, and for understanding and trusting me when I mess up.