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Thursday, December 27, 2007


The Christmas holiday was a trying time, and most of it is best forgotten. I didn't feel well, mainly because of a marvelous headache. I had a slight fever also and my brain was fuzzy. It must have been some sort of flu, because nothing I ate agreed with me. It's very difficult to be nice and sociable under these circumstances. Now, I have never had any extensive social skills (I hate small talk and I can't pretend), so I'm not sure anyone really noticed any difference.

The more positive thing about Christmas is of course the presents, and they were plenty. Especially the three kids (my nephew and his two cousins) got lots of it. My nephew ended up with many fascinating toys; three fire trucks, an ambulance and a play mat with roads and houses printed on it. The most unexpected present I got was a donation in my name for a goat to a poor family in Mozambique, Africa. I thought that was a great idea. We definitely have everything we need (and more) so getting a present like that was very nice. Particularly since the money is given to a specific project where the aim is to make the poor people self-supporting. I did get some other presents also, like a frying pan, bars of fine soap, and a necklace.

It was a fairly busy day at work today, at least for me. We have a backlog due to the systems upgrade, and we were only two people working in the stacks.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Last week before Christmas

It has been a slow work week. Our database was down for upgrading for four days, so the students could only with much difficulty order books from the stacks. We didn't have a lot to do here, so I convinced a maintenance guy to drive me and eight carts to a remote storage to load some books and bring them back to the main library. These books need new call numbers, and that can only be done at the main library. At the same time we weeded a supply of office materials no one uses anymore. Today the database started working again, and to our surprise it is working quite well. Some previous up-grades are still fresh in our memory, especially the one where the entire thing stopped working after a few hours.

This is the party week at work, or so it seems, at least. Every department has had coffee breakes de luxe, with Christmas cookies and glögg. This Tuesday we were treated to a Christmas lunch, with roasted ham, meatballs, herring, and all the traditional food. My department head has also given us lots of chocolate, candy and fruit. This year's present consisted of two bags of assorted nuts and a modern style nutcracker.

I have received Christmas cards and letters from many of my overseas relatives, and for this I thank you. It is always interesting to know what you are all doing, to learn about new family members and to hear that you try to keep up the Swedish traditions.

I'm travelling to my sister's place on Saturday morning, for a five day stay. I might not be able to write any messages here until late next week.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Shopping in Malmö

Yesterday I went on a short shopping trip to Malmö. I ended up at IKEA. I should have known better than to go there so close to Christmas. All the cash registers were open, so it wasn't very bad, but it was still pretty crowded. I have been a little disappointed with the supply of Christmas ornaments this year. It has been difficult to get the more traditional kind. It seems like the fashion today is more towards big and very glittery (and even black), and I don't care for that. I have had better luck at the second hand stores.

I have purchased all the Christmas presents now and that's a big relief. It's the same problem every year. My family members have very short or non-existing wish-lists. They say they don't really need anything. It's the same with me. I go shopping a lot (it's one of my favorite pastimes), so if there is anything I want, I have already bought it.

I have sent out my annual Christmas letter to most of my relatives and friends in other countries now. If anyone feels neglected, contact me.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


Today was the Swedish Lucia Day. Old hymns and carols were sung by a group of singers from the Music College in Malmö. They walked into the main reading room, wearing white dresses, with lit candles in their hair. Very traditional. The program was very good. There is a clip on Youtube from a Lucia celebration somewhere in Sweden, if you have never seen one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mk0FyZqNp5Q

It's a week and a half until Christmas, but the real holiday spirit isn't that obvious. This is mainly due to the weather. There is no snow. But we try to do the best of the situation, there are many ligths in the trees downtown, the shops are displaying every Christmas decoration they have, and we have already started to eat the traditional food. We have had ginger snaps (cookies) every day at work this week, for instance.

Yesterday I received a package in the mail. It was three large bags with tea. My sister had entered my name in a competition, and I had won first prize. Now, I don't drink tea, but I can give it to someone that does. My mother, perhaps.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas party

The biggest event of the week was the Christmas party on Friday. All the people working at the libraries at the university were invited, but this year only about 30 of them showed up for it. It was held at a restaurant. There was the traditional seasonal food; sausages, meatballs, Jansson's temptation, roasted ham, several kinds of pickled herring and red beet salad. Very tasty. We had a competition where we got baby pictures of our colleagues, and we were to guess who they were. It was difficult, no one got all the answers right. I managed, by pure luck, to get second prize. The reward was a book (what else?).

Yesterday my mother and her boyfriend came to visit me. They were just going to drop some things off, but ended up staying a large part of the day. They had brought dinner with them. My mother gave me some more Christmas ornaments, so now there is enough tinsel in the tree and a top ornament (a tinsel star). My mother had also picked up the package of candy I had won earlier at a grocery store competition. It was quite a lot of chocolate, three books and gift certificates for a movie. Very nice.

Today was the usual laundry/cooking/cleaning Sunday. Boring, but necessary.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Trip to the mall

It wasn't that rainy last Sunday, so I went to the mall then instead. Since I don't have a car, I had to take the bus. There are only two departures on weekends and they are almost always full. Especially now, when people are doing their Christmas shopping. I managed to find what I have needed for quite some time - new shoes! I bought two pairs of the same kind, but different colors. I have really big feet and it's a problem finding good shoes. The other thing I was looking for was tinsel, but I gave up after a while. There were tinsel of all colors; red, green and even black, but ordinary silver color was nowhere to be found. I will ask my mother if she has any to give to me, since she doesn't have a tree this year. The large number of black Christmas ornaments surprised me a little, I have never seen that before. It seems to be a new fashion.

On Monday evening I discovered that there was a new grocery store in the center of Kävlinge. It's called Netto and is originally a Danish chain. I knew it was going to open, but not exactly what date and I hadn't seen any ads for it. They had pretty cheap groceries.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas decorations

I thought I would go to the mall today, but when I woke up it was raining, so I didn't. Instead I decided to get the Christmas decorations in place. I exchanged the curtains in all the windows, decorated the tree, put ornaments everywhere and cleaned the floor. It was hard work, mainly because the curtains were too long and I had to shorten them. While I had the sewing machine up, I mended a blouse and a pair of jeans also. After having finished everything, I came to the conclusion that I didn't have enough tinsel, no top ornament, and the illumination cord wasn't long enough. But it still looked fabulously. I can say this because there is nothing to compare it to. I have never had a Christmas tree in my apartment before.

Yesterday there were riots in Lund. Well, sort of. Every year on November 30, the neo-nazis commemorate the death of the Swedish warrior king Karl XII. They have permission for the march to a memorial stone, and they were guarded by many police officers. What makes it problematic, is the amount of violent anti-fascists that try to stop them. This year, the incident didn't even make it to the national news, so it wasn't so bad. There were only eight arrests made and some vandalization had taken place. When I was waiting for the train home, I noticed six nazis being chased by four police officers across the tracks.