Sunday, March 30, 2014

London: Day 1 - Wimbledon & Shopping, Day 2 - Bike Tour & The Tower of London

Day 1 - Wimbledon & Shopping
We knew we wanted to go to London at some point while we were living in Stockholm.  I had been there once before about 12 years ago on a high school trip but we were only there for about a day and a half. Three years ago Jake was in London for about 24 hours on his way home from a work trip in Germany.  It was fun to go back and see things together that we both saw on our separate trips.

We flew to London on Saturday, March 22nd at 7:00 am.  Our early flight wasn't much fun to get up for but it meant we had an almost full day in London which was great.  We did have to plan when we were going to leave for the airport a little more than we usually would since the metro doesn't run as often that early in the morning.  And even after we planned Jake forgot something and had to run back to get it which meant we missed the first metro and had to wait for the second one but we caught the Flygbussarna (Airport Buses) in enough time before it left.  Recently we have been taking the Flygbussarna to get to the airport.  It is about a 10 minute metro ride to the Flygbuss stop and then a 40 minute bus ride to the airport.  The bus is about $15 per person and it has free wifi if you want to surf the web and don't have internet on your phone.

From the time our bus dropped us off we had about an hour until our flight left which was plenty of time since we packed in backpacks for this trip and didn't have to check any bags!  I have a feeling we will be packing in backpacks whenever it is possible because it is so easy to get around without having to drag luggage behind us.

Our first stop once we landed was to hop on a train to see Wimbledon.  Jake has always loved watching the major tennis matches and since we were so close to Wimbledon we thought we would take a tour.  It was a lot of fun walking around and seeing the tennis courts and behind the scenes of Wimbledon.  The tour was about an hour and a half and then we had time to visit the tennis museum.  There are 19 courts total including Number 1 Court and Center Court which is where they play the championship match during Wimbledon.  The facilities are actually called the All England Club Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club but they have the Wimbledon Championship there every year which is the oldest tennis tournament in the world.  There are about 500 members of the club that can play tennis there when the weather is nice enough to allow them to play outside but the main use for the facilities is the 2 week tennis tournament every June.
Apparently you are supposed to eat strawberries and cream at Wimbledon so we had some for lunch :).
After the tour we headed all the way into London to check into our hotel and then do a little exploring and shopping.  We walked by Abbey Road Studios and saw lots of people trying to get hit by cars getting their pictures taken across that famous crosswalk.
We decided to just take a picture of other people and then Jake took a picture of me walking across.
We took a public double decker bus downtown while we watched all the red buses zooming around and of course we stopped to take a cheesy picture in a red telephone booth :). 

We grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant all so I could enjoy some chips and queso!  While we were walking around we stumbled upon the Icebar London which is run by the same company that started the Ice Hotel that we stayed at last month.  We did a little bit of shopping on Saturday night.  I was really excited because London has a Uniqlo store which is the same store I found lots of great things at in Taiwan.  Unfortunately, I didn't find much this time but it was still fun.  It was strange walking around seeing stores that I'm used to shopping at in Olathe (Gap, Banana Republic) right next to stores I'm used to seeing now when I shop in Stockholm (Gant, H&M).  I will say London has many more choices than Stockholm but I was really only interested in going to Uniqlo and finding some Hunter boot cleaning spray to bring back to clean my rain boots.  We walked through Piccadilly Circus which I remember from my trip to London 12 years ago.

On our first night we stayed at a Marriott, in maybe not the best part of town.  I felt safe in the hotel but walking around at night made me a little nervous.  We stayed there because we could earn one night free in a Marriott for every two nights we stay at a different Marriott so we decided to stay in one our first night even though it was a little bit further away from the city.  (I feel like we sound cheap but with all of the traveling we are hoping to do this year on a mostly one income budget we just have to be practical.)

Day 2 - Bike Tour and the Tower of London
We packed up our backpacks and grabbed some breakfast at Raffles on our way to our next hotel.  The next hotel was The Blakemore at Hyde Park.  It was a cute little hotel in a better part of town that had free breakfast and free wifi.  What more could you ask for?  We dropped off our backpacks and headed to our bike tour.

I have really enjoyed taking Segway tours in new cities because they are fun, you get to see a lot in a short amount of time and you learn more than you would just walking around on your own.  I was sad to learn that London doesn't allow Segways so we opted for a bicycle tour.  It was a great tour.  Our guide was funny and really nice.  There were 8 people on the tour plus the guide.  We saw most of the major landmarks in the city and a few other places.
We started our tour in a graffiti tunnel where local artists can legally display their work.  The tunnel was covered in hot pink a few weeks ago for International Women's Day but has since been painted over.  On Saturdays you can get graffiti lessons here.

The London Eye.  We thought about going on this but it was pretty expensive for a 30 minute ride.  Each one of those capsules holds about 25 people and there is a VIP one that is orange that you can reserve for 500 pounds or $830 for 30 minutes.  There are 32 capsules for the 32 boroughs in London.
Houses of Parliament

Big Ben with a red double decker bus on the bridge.  Ben is actually the name of the bell in the tower.

Westminster Abbey
Looking super cool in our bike helmets in front of Westminster Abbey. The picture on the right is of a building next to Westminster that has a sign that says "Not the Sanctuary."  I thought it was funny that they would need a sign to let people know that but I guess it could be confusing that the small building next to Westminster could be the sanctuary :).
We didn't go inside Westminster Abbey on the bike tour but we were already planning on going there either later that afternoon or the next day.

Buckingham Palace
When I was in London 12 years ago we went to Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guards.  We thought about trying to see that again this time but decided to pass.
We stopped by Benjamin Franklin's house and a fancy hotel.  The hotel had lots of security and barriers in front of it so our guide asked if someone famous was stopping by to see if we should wait.  When he came back we found out that the Mum of the Year awards were taking place at that hotel so we decided to continue on with the tour :).

About halfway through the tour we stopped for a 45 minute break.  We had some really good muffins at Muffinski's and watched some street performers.  Then we stopped by a wig shop that also makes all the royal robes.  We went through Gough Square to see the house of Samuel Johnson, who wrote one of the first English dictionaries. He apparently had a cat that he loved and fed oysters to so there was a statue in the square honoring him with a cat sitting on a dictionary with an oyster shell on top. (Gough is the last name of one of my friends who was in London with me 12 years ago so I took a picture of the sign.)

St. Paul's Cathedral
Our next stop was St. Paul's Cathedral which is where Prince Charles and Princess Diana were married.

Our last stop was the Millennium Bridge.
The bridge was supposed to be open during the new millennium and technically it was but after 3 days of being open they closed it to make it sturdier because it wobbled while people were walking on it.  It didn't reopen until February of 2002 which was about a month before I went to London for the first time.  I remember people being really excited about this bridge and we drove by it then but I don't think we walked on it.  It was also the bridge that was destroyed in one of the Harry Potter movies.
Jake recorded our bike tour on his Garmin watch.  Here is the track but if you would like to see more info click here.
After the tour we grabbed some lunch at the King's Arms.  We had a traditional Sunday roast which was really good.

We decided since it was sunny and not raining we would go see the Tower of London since it has several parts to see outside and it was such a nice day.  Jake went to the Tower of London a few years ago but I hadn't been there.

The Tower of London has been a royal palace, prison, zoo, armory, home of the Royal Mint and where the Crown Jewels are currently housed.  There are 20 towers making up the Tower of London.  We went on a tour with one of the Yeomen Warders who lives at the Tower of London with his family.  At the end of the tour we were in the chapel and I noticed there were several other Yeomen Warders there watching our guide speak.  After he finished speaking we found out that it was his last tour he would ever give because he was retiring.  His boss spoke and he said a few words as well.  It was really touching to be a part of his last tour.

We walked through a few of the tours and saw the Crown Jewels before we left.  One of my favorite things to see while we were there was the Tower Bridge.  I couldn't take enough pictures of it.  Maybe it was the cloudy sky and the sunset that contributed but I loved looking at the Tower Bridge.
Our tour guide from our bike tour that morning told us about taking a Thames Clipper boat to Greenwich to see the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude line) and to enjoy the boat ride down the River Thames.  We just barely missed the first boat and waited about 20 minutes before the next one.  We left at sunset and it was a really pretty 30 minute boat ride to Greenwich.

Unfortunately, once we got there it was getting pretty dark and by the time we figured out how to get to the Greenwich Meridian it was dark and the area they have marked was closed.  We still walked through the park and up the hill to the line even though the park was closing in less than 10 minutes and I was paranoid about being locked in overnight.  They had a green laser beam marking the line in the sky.
We walked down the hill and out of the park before they closed the gates and then headed to dinner.  It was hard to find a place that was open late on a Sunday night but we ended up at a Japanese restaurant that actually got great reviews on Trip Advisor. (We always download the Trip Advisor app for each city we visit because you can use it to find great places to eat and visit without using data.)  It was a very small, hole in the wall place and we didn't have a reservation but they had one two person table left in the hallway between the kitchen and the bathroom so we took it.  The table was decorated with fake flowers and a white table cloth which was nice but we could see into the back of the kitchen and into the rest of the restaurant.  We were also sitting next to stacks of pop but it work and we were thankful for a place to eat.

We took the ferry back to downtown London before taking the tube to our hotel.  We decided to take the ferry as far as we could so we could see London at night and it was beautiful.
So I might have a small obsession with the Tower Bridge but look at it.
Top Picture: Tower of London and the Tower Bridge, Bottom left: St. Paul's Cathedral, Bottom Right: The London Eye

Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

If you have been reading this blog long enough you know I love public transportation.  Strange I know, but have you met me?  Here are a few pictures of the tube and the ferry we took to Greenwich.  I liked that on the tube platforms they had this nice list of stops.  We have that in Stockholm as well but it isn't on the wall of the metro like this one was.   London also has several more tube lines than Stockholm.  They have 13 lines and Stockholm has 3.
When we got back to our hotel we picked up our backpacks that they held for us since our room wasn't ready when we checked in that morning and then we got our room keys.  We found out we were upgraded to a nicer room which was awesome.  There was a TV in the shower.  We didn't end up using it but we both took a bath since we don't have a bathtub in our apartment in Stockholm and after a long day of walking and being cold it was so nice to warm up before heading to bed.

If you want to read about our last two days in London which includes our tour of The Making of Harry Potter which was awesome click here!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Working Out in Stockholm

I knew that one of the first things I would need to find when we moved to Stockholm was a gym.  For the first five weeks we lived in an extended stay hotel that had a small workout room in the basement.  It was perfect.  They had three cardio machines: a treadmill, a bike and an elliptical.  They also had free weights, an exercise ball and an exercise mat.  There was also a TV in the room that I could watch while I worked out.  I worked out about four days a week and only once during those five weeks was there someone else in the workout room with me.  It was the perfect set up since it was in the building where we lived and it was free.

The closer we were to finding an apartment the more I started looking at gyms.  I've belonged to a gym before but for the past 3 years I had been working out at home using my treadmill and workout DVDs.  I was excited to start working out at a gym again and I was hopeful that I could meet some people through classes or just while working out.

The most popular gym in Stockholm is called SATS.  They have several gyms throughout the city.  They have different plans where you can belong to just one gym, two gyms or there is a plan where you can have access to all of the gyms.  The price ranges from $70 a month for access to just one or two centers during the daytime only (you can't be there past 4:00 pm) to $92 a month for access to all of the SATS centers at any time during the day.  I toured one of their centers and I enjoyed it but I had to sign a one year contract and I just wasn't sure I wanted to spend that much money each month on a gym membership.

There were a few other popular gyms in Stockholm that I looked into including: Friskis & Svettis, Fitness 24 Seven, and Puls and Träning.  I didn't visit a Puls and Träning center because there weren't any locations that were convenient.  I looked at Friskis & Svettis and Fitness 24 Seven.  I liked both of them and they had better prices than SATS.  I ended up picking Fitness 24 Seven because they had better locations for what I needed.

Fitness 24 Seven has two different monthly plans.  You can sign up for a daytime only plan where you can work out from 6 am to 4 pm or you can choose the regular plan where you can work out at any hour.  I started doing the regular plan because I wasn't sure if I would be able to finish my workouts by 4 pm but after a few months I decided to change to the daytime plan.  But once I started subbing I wasn't able to always be done by 4 so I switched back.  It is a good thing they are flexible :).

The regular plan is $30 a month and the daytime plan is only $15 a month.  Other than cell phone plans this is the one other thing that we've found to be cheaper in Stockholm than in the United States.  It would be very hard to find a gym in the US where I can go to any of their centers at anytime during the day for $30 a month.

So far I really like the gym.  There is a women's only gym at the center I go to and it is great.  Women can still use the main gym or they can use the women's only part.  In the women's gym they have 4 treadmills, 3 elliptical and 3 bikes.  They also have free weights, kettle bells, weight machines, mats and exercise balls.  I almost always work out in the women's gym.  The main reason . . . it doesn't smell like sweaty boys.  Wow.  I forgot what gyms smell like and I am so thankful for the women's gym.  There have been a few times that all the treadmills are taken and then I'll use one in the main gym but that area typically doesn't smell as bad as the weights area does.  Thankfully I have never been desperate enough to use the free weight area with the stinky boys :).

It realized right off the bat that the hand weights were in kilograms but it took me a few times before I realized the weight machines were also in kilograms (to  my credit the units were labeled).  I couldn't figure out why I was only able to lift about half of what I used to be able to lift and then I figure it out :).  It is a good thing I enjoy math since I have to convert kilograms to pounds when I lift and kilometers per hour to miles per hour when I run.
When you get to the gym you have to take off your outside shoes before you cross a certain point.  They have shoe racks where you can leave your shoes or you can put on some sweet blue shoe covers to walk to the locker room.  I always put on the shoe covers.  I don't want to walk in socks through the gym and I get paranoid about people taking my shoes if I leave them on the racks.

After I put on the shoe covers I swipe my card at the counter and then again to get into the locker room.  The locker room is pretty small compared to other gyms I've belonged to.  There are about 25-30 lockers, one bathroom, a sink with a mirror, a hair dryer and a shower area with three showers.  I always change once I get there if I've been volunteering or subbing that day.  If I go to the gym on a day off I usually wear my workout top but change into shorts once I get to the gym.

After I change I head to the women's only gym.  An interesting side note about workout apparel.  All of the girls wear tight, black running pants to workout in.  Well almost all of them, except for me.  (Have the workout clothes in US gyms changed to tight, black running pants without me realizing?  I know I wasn't the only one in shorts when I used to work out at the Y.)  For a while I was the only girl I ever saw in shorts.  In the last five months I've seen two other girls in shorts besides me.  I just don't understand.  How can you sweat in tight pants and not be instantly annoyed?  I'm annoyed just thinking about it.  I feel like I get strange looks but I just can't bring myself to wear long pants while I workout.  I got some running pants when I was home at Christmas.  I've worn them under my snow pants when I was cross country skiing and when I went alpine skiing but if I am inside I cannot imagine wearing them.  I have also noticed that girls wear their tight, black workout pants all the time here, not just when they are working out.  I used to think everyone must just be working out all the time but then I realized they were wearing cute tops with their workout pants and running shoes.  Now I think they are trying to start a new fashion statement to wear workout pants with tennis shoes and then a cute top.  I don't get it.
One day I forgot to pack my shorts.  I thought about not working out but then decided I could power through.  I lasted about 30 seconds into my workout before I rolled up my pants.  #IGotMoreStrangeLooksThanWhenIWearShorts
I typically work out four times a week.  I usually run two days and do a combination of weights and cardio the other two days.  I really like the Nike Training Center app and I use that a lot on my non running days.  I've also found a few other apps to help mix up my weight training.
Nike Training Center app.  If you haven't tried it you should download it and give it a try!  It is free and I've really enjoyed it.
I work out for about 30-45 minutes.  After I finish stretching, I head back to the locker room. I put on loose workout pants, because going home in my shorts would be a bit too chilly most of the time, and change back into my outside shoes before heading home.  I've thought about showering at the gym but there is only a single curtain separating the showers from the changing area.  There are three shower heads separated by a wall but there isn't a curtain to close for each shower.  This modest girl can't get over the thought of showering when others might see :) so I go home in my sweaty workout clothes and shower once I get home.

For the most part I've enjoyed belonging to a gym again.  I like having access to machines that I haven't been able to use in a while since I had been working out at home.  I also enjoy learning new exercises from watching other people work out and it helps me push myself to try new things.  I don't enjoy how much extra time it takes up.  I miss being able to change at home, workout and then shower right after without traveling to and from the gym.  I also miss being able to watch whatever show I'd like to while I run to help take my mind off of running.  There is a TV in the gym but most of the time it a Swedish program and I'm not very good at lip reading Swedish yet :).  My whole workout routine now takes about an hour and half including traveling to and from the gym plus the workout.  I was also hoping to meet some new friends in a workout class or just at the gym if I start seeing people consistently but that hasn't happened.  The classes are later than I want to work out and no one makes small talk here but at least a good workout makes me feel less guilty about eating chocolate :).

Friday, March 14, 2014

A Day in the Life

I love reading other "A Day in the Life" blog posts so I thought I would do one to remember what a typical day for us is like in Stockholm.  So here is a typical day:

I knew before going to sleep last night that I would be subbing today.  It is always nice to know that instead of waking up wondering whether I am going to get a sub call sometime around 7:30 or if I am going to volunteer that day.
I wake up and take a shower.
Breakfast - Honey Cheerios while I check my email and Facebook.

I dry and straighten my hair, get dressed and pack my school bag.  Jake is usually still in bed while I am doing my hair.  I feel bad doing my hair while he is still in bed because I have to do my hair in our bedroom. It is frustrating that there are no outlets in the bathroom and if you remember how small our bathroom is there isn't enough space in there for me to do my hair.  He does a good job of not complaining.  I'm not sure I would be as kind if he was turning on the light and making as much noise as I do in the mornings if I could sleep in as late as he does.  He usually wakes up around 7 but sometimes doesn't get out of bed until 7:30.  Some days I leave and he is still in bed (but I make up for that on the weekends).

I head out the door and to the metro.  I used to check the metro times in the morning to catch a specific one but now I just leave and catch whichever one is there when I get there.  They run every 1-3 minutes in the morning so I usually don't have to wait long.  As I am walking up to the station I can see the sign on the platform that says how many minutes until the next three trains arrive and I can also see the display inside the station (I have pretty good eyes:)).  If I am in a hurry I might jog to the station and up the stairs but if I see there is another train in one or two minutes I just walk.  This morning the trains going the direction I needed were in one minute, four minutes and seven minutes.  I didn't really want to wait four minutes so I jogged a little to make sure I would catch the train coming in one minute.

I used to listen to K-Love on my way to school in the car and thanks to the K-Love app I can listen to it on my way to school on the metro!  Also, this song is one of my favorites!

My metro ride is about 10 minutes and then I have about a 5 minute walk to school.

I get to school and grab a computer before I head to the English department.  When I get to the English department I see that there aren't really any sub plans.  Sub plans seem to be kind of optional sometimes :).  I think most departments will just cover for each other if you are gone or will make up some quick sub plans if the teacher is too sick to make their own plans which is the case for today.  Thankfully the head of the department made some grammar packets the day before just in case the teacher wasn't able to get any sub plans ready.  I write down my schedule with the time, room number and class then I grab my papers and head to my first class.
My first class is 4th grade English.  I subbed for this class yesterday.  I take attendance, explain the grammar packet and work on coming up with words to use in a Catchphrase game we will play at the end of class.  I walk around and help kids with words they don't know or grammar that they don't understand.  With about 20 minutes left of class I play Catchphrase with the kids that are finished with their work for the day.  Catchphrase is one of my favorite games and I loved playing it with my class back home.  I feel like it helps the kids practice describing words which is really good when you are learning a new language.

I have a 10 minute break to switch classes.  In this school the kids have a homeroom with their own desks and the teachers move from room to room.  The kids sometimes go to different rooms for math and science but most of the time they are in their home classroom.  Teachers have a desk in a department room that they share with other colleagues.  One of the junior school department rooms has math and science with 8 teachers in that room and the other department room has Swedish, English and Social Studies with 12 teachers in that office.  Each teacher has a desk and a bookshelf with cabinets and drawers to put their teaching supplies.  They also have a copy machine in each department room that the staff can print to from their computers and make copies for their lessons.

I have another 4th grade English lesson right after the ten minute break.  I didn't have this class yesterday so they are doing yesterday's lesson plan with spelling words and a grammar packet.  For the last 20 minutes we play Catchphrase with words they had on their grammar packet.

Next, I have an hour and a half break.  I put my things back in the department office before heading upstairs to ask the secretary a few questions.  Today I worked on a blog post and looked at hotels for our upcoming trip since I don't have any papers to grade or lessons to plan.  The life of a sub!  Isn't it glamorous?  And a little bit stressful because you don't always have plans but at least at this school you don't have papers to grade :).

After about 30 minutes I head to lunch.  Lunches at schools in Sweden are different than back home.  Everyone eats school lunch including the whole staff.  No one brings lunch from home.  The food is usually pretty good although this school just switched companies and the food, in my opinion, isn't as good as it was.  Today the main dish was fish with roasted potatoes.  I don't like fish.  They always have a vegetarian option but today it wasn't very good either.  So I had one and half roasted potatoes, a couple of bites of the fish, sliced carrots, knackbröd (crackers) and an apple.  You get a free lunch at school if you eat with the kids.  You can also eat with one adult but no more than two adults can sit together.  As a newbie that is awkward because I never know if someone who is sitting alone is waiting for someone or not.  If you take someone's place then they can't just join both of you because three adults sitting together is not allowed.

After a quick 20 minute lunch, I went back to the English department to get things ready for my next lesson.  I had two more 4th grade English lessons for the day.

I had outside duty for 15 minutes after my last lesson of the day.  Today was beautiful.  The sun was shining and it was about 40 degrees.  The kids get ten minute breaks between classes and then a longer break around lunch time.  The kids can either stay inside and talk in the halls or they can go outside and play soccer, innebandy or play on their phones.  They are not allowed to use their phones inside the building. If a teacher sees or hears a phone they will take it and give it to the office for the student to pick up at the end of the day.  I walked around and talked to kids for about 15 minutes during my outside duty.

After my duty was over I packed up my things, returned my computer and headed to the gym.  I have a bag of supplies I use for subbing and a pair of inside shoes that I have been leaving at school since I've been subbing almost every day.  It is nice to not have to take everything to and from school every day.

I missed the metro by about 30 seconds and the next one isn't for 5 minutes.  This stop doesn't have the times of the metros on the outside of the building like most stops do so I didn't know I needed to hurry.  This stop is several stops from the central part of the city so it doesn't have trains as often.

I get to the gym, change clothes and run.  I usually run two days a week and lift weights and do some cardio the other two days.  
 Try not to be jealous of my awesome blue shoe covers :).  When you get to the gym you either have to take off your shoes and leave them on the rack, carry them to the locker room or put on the blue shoe covers.  In the winter it is totally necessary with all the snow and salt but the rest of the year it is kind of a pain.
I've been trying to get back into running but I just can't seem to get past my mental block.  Today I burned about 300 calories (it was flashing the number of calories when I took the picture and I must have missed it).  #IRunSoICanEatChocolate
Headed home.
Before I can relax I have to clean up the kitchen.  Just keepin' it real :).  I like to go to bed with the kitchen clean so when I get home from work the next day it doesn't look like this but that didn't happen last night.

I took a quick shower and then made a Nutella Latte.  I've been making Salted Caramel Mochas but I'm trying to cut down on the amount of sugar in my coffee so I decided to make a latte (espresso with milk) and add a tablespoon of nutella to it to give it some sugar.  It was pretty good!  I read some blogs, checked my email and Facebook while I enjoyed my latte.
About once a year I decide to track my calories through My Fitness Pal.  I like to see what I'm putting in and how much I'm burning to make sure I keep things balanced.  Counting calories is a lot harder in Sweden because they don't tell you the serving size on a package.  They tell you how many calories are in 100 grams but I don't always eat 100 grams of something and some of the time the package doesn't even have 100 grams in it so there is a lot of math involved!  But thankfully other people in Sweden use My Fitness Pal because several of the things I've searched for in the My Fitness Pal database have already been entered.

We won't be eating dinner until pretty late tonight so I had a snack.  Lots of kids at school eat rice cakes during snack time so I thought I'd give one a try.  This one was sour cream and onion.  It wasn't bad once you get over the styrofoam texture :).

Heading to SFI, Swedish for Immigrants, which is a free Swedish class.  Now I am the student instead of the teacher.  Being a student is so much harder but I am becoming a better teacher in the process.  (Also, I can't take selfies . . . so sorry they are awkward!)

Look at this cute boy I found on my way to class! 14 years after our first class together it is still fun to be in the same class.  Although . . . . we haven't played footsie in a while :).
We started taking SFI about 5 weeks ago.  I started in an intro class and Jake started one level above me.  Tonight I moved to his class.  I was scared but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  There are 9 vowels in Swedish: a, e, i, o, u, y, å, ä, ö.  The nice thing about the vowels is that each letter makes one sound instead of English vowels where they all make at least two sounds plus a few others depending on the word.  However, out of the 9 vowels 4 of them sound like the letter e.  Swedes hear a huge difference between e, i, y, and ä but everyone else hears e, e, e, e!  I always crack up when our teacher says all of the e sounds in a row.  Whenever I hear someone say the vowels I think back to first grade when my teacher used to quickly say a, e, i, o and u so fast that my head would spin and I remember thinking "I can't wait until one day when I can make all of those sounds as fast as she can."  Well, here I am, over 20 years later thinking the same thing!

On our way home Jake stops by the store to grab some milk, peanut butter and nutella while I head home to start dinner.

Dinner tonight includes tacos, edamame and two blurry pics of us :).  I like going to SFI but I don't like eating dinner so late.  Also, if you ever eat hard tacos at home you have to bake the shells first.  Oh. My. Goodness. So good!
Jake cleans up the dishes and then we both chill before heading to bed.

Remember my run?  I ran for this!  Also, since everything is listed in grams I have to weigh my food so I can enter it into My Fitness Pal.  It is a little crazy but after a few times of weighing my food I usually know how much I eat and I don't have to weigh it every time.

After I get ready for bed I write in this notebook.  I jot down a few little bits about my day that I might want to remember.  My awesome roommates gave it to me before we moved to Stockholm this summer.  Throughout the notebook they left me notes and it is so fun when I turn the page to find one!

I set my alarm for the next morning knowing I have another sub job which is always great to know before I fall asleep. 

Before I can fall asleep I hear the dishwasher and I know the cycle got stuck again.  I get up to clear it and remind Jake that I'd like for him to figure out what it means when it flashes the number 20 :).  He falls asleep in about .5 seconds and I follow him a few minutes later.

Hope you enjoyed a sneak peak into a typical day.
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