Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Words of wisdom: It's important to remember.

A conversation that took place one day at 305:

Grandma: I like to look at my photos every now and then.
Tattarn: Oh, we know that!
Grandma: Well, you know, it's important to remember.
Iron: Yeah, otherwise, it's so easy to forget.

We are a couple of bright headed ladies, we know. And while we're talking about it, let's look at some photos to remember. Just so we do not forget! Do you remember...

...the epic night in G-town?

...the long day in thrones at Busboys?

...the amazing Thanksgiving in Snickersville?


Friday, May 25, 2012

Harris Teeter or Shoppers before ICA or Coop.

I have this weird fascination with grocery stores. When I travel, that's one of the first things I check out. Maybe it's connected to my overall love of food, I don't know, but not only is food enjoyable to eat, it's also fun to look at. Grocery stores are often full of colors, shapes, forms, design. After all, the store consists of products produced to appeal and sell. It's kind of like art – right?

After living in the US and taking trips to Harris Teeter or Shoppers for fun, coming back to the Swedish market is highly disappointing and what I already miss the most is:

– Bars! In Sweden, the selection is slim and the few to choose from are ridiculously expensive. $5.00 for a two-pack? Not okay. I miss my favorite, Sunbelt's fudge dipped coconut bars.
– The cereal aisle in general and "Wheeties – Breakfast of Champions" in particular. Shopping for cereal at Harris Teeter is always such an adventure. What will I bring home?
– The great variety of cheap Ben & Jerry's. Actually, a well sorted Swedish ICA can offer many flavors, but they are way too expensive for it to be okay to stock up with a whole bunch.
– The fact that the cashier packs the bag for you. No words needed.

If I had to choose, I would pick Harris Teeter or Shoppers before ICA or Coop any day. Because bars, cereal and Ben & Jerry's are all crucial products in a well balanced diet and the stores themselves are so colorful and fun to visit.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A new chapter of this blog. Let's call it Post DC Depression.

That thing about not crying when leaving DC worked out a little bit so-so. Almost a whole hour into the flight I just stared out through the window while sobbing, yet trying to be brave. The remaining six or so hours, I watched a few movies and my eyes filled up a little too easy during all the cheesy "I love you"-moments.

Oh well. Some 24 hours after departure from American soil, I landed in my hometown and was greeted by one of my brothers, with the cutest baby in the world on his arm, a mustache on his upper lip and a welcome home sign in his hand.

Thank God for good reunions when you just had a heartbreaking farewell.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Grandma says...

I've closed the 305 door one last time. At this very moment, I'm surfing on Starbucks' free AT&T wifi, waiting to board a plane to Sweden. The awkward feelings have reached their climax and left to do is nothing but to accept and keep my head up high. Crying my eyes out at the airport restroom just didn't get me anywhere. I almost impulsively bought all of the souvenirs from one of the ridiculously expensive shops just to be able to keep DC alive in my heart wherever I go, but soon realized that was not necessary.

I don't need no miniature monuments to keep DC alive. I've got it all easily accessible if I just close my eyes. And before boarding that cross Atlantic flight, I would like to send a message to the wonderful women who have been dancing by my side during this absolutely amazing year in the US. When we said goodbye on Saturday, none of us could talk, yet all of us knew. But sweethearts, let me remind you:

This is not the end. This is only the beginning of a lovely lifelong friendship and that's what's best of this year. Härligt!

So long from 305, but the 305 girls spirit will live on for a long time!

The sun keeps shining. The planes keep flying.

The Super Shuttle will be here any minute and my bags and I are ready to go. Well, as ready as one can be, leaving a place that has become a little bit too much like a home (too quiet and not enough board games). But you know what, that plane will take me to another home. To other loved ones. The sun keeps shining and there is always a silver lining to be discovered. Oftentimes right in front of you.

So long. See you later.

Run in the rain.

Arlington is offering gloomy weather and rain today. A little bit like how I feel. I've taken down the flag. The running shoes are waiting for me and I'll head out in the neighborhood in spite of the rain. Oh dear. This is all so surreal.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

We don't want to call it what it was...

..because it was the last DC day. Two girls who know how to enjoy life, know how to deal with that kind of situation. We put on a show. It started on Nellie's Sports Bar on U Street with an all you can eat and one free mimosa drag show brunch. Yes, I did just say that. If you want a brunch and a half, that's the place to go! But don't forget your $1 bills, because the ladies do put on a show and want your appreciation.

The rest of the afternoon, we walked from one part of town to another, wrote down what we want to do before we die, went for a quickie to the National Archives, sat in silence in front of the Capitol, walked up to Chinatown for dinner, searched for Obama outside of his White House and walked to Foggy Bottom to take the metro back to Crystal City.

We will always have DC. 

On a river boat.

We don't think much. We don't do much. We don't write much. We mostly hang out and simply are. Saying goodbye and wrapping up is not an amiable activity. But cruising on the Potomac is. Voilà!

And all of a sudden, Gunvald shows up on our TV screen.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Running on The Mall – check!

We only have a few days left here in our W-A-S-H-I-N-G-T-O-N baby D-C and we try to use our time wisely. As a last roomie get-together we jumped on the metro yesterday morning together with all the busy workers. While they got off and walked to Capitol Hill or other serious places, we ran off to The Mall and well, that's actually what we did.

After a run around The Mall – The Capitol, Washington Monument, World War II Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and all the way back – we headed back to Crystal City for a well deserved last breakfast together.

That's what life's about!

Dressed for success among all the suits. 

Close to completion and look at the finish line – The US Capitol!

Time for breakfast...

...what could be better than hand spun milkshake from Good Stuff Eatery?!

This is awkward.

These days are just weird and there are so many mixed feelings. The apartment is cleaner than it has been in weeks and all our belongings are now in suitcases, yet I still go to my drawer to look for things I need. Nothing there, it's empty!

The cleaning out and packing down part of life is so weird and awkward. I tried to pack down myself for a bit, but that was not helpful at all. It seems the best way to deal with this ending phase is to leave the apartment and go out and have fun.

Enjoy what you have when you have it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Five hours in Philly.

What can you do during five hours in Philly? Well, let me show you a few things:

You can eat Philly cheesesteak. Like cheese? Like meat?

You can see Liberty Bell without standing in a looong, long, line! Hello, people!

You can check out Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

You can stand in Independence Hall without going in.

You can say hi to George W.

You can walk downtown from the station, which we realized after a ride on the subway.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Going out of state – Pennsylvania next!

In a couple of hours, I'm leaving the nation's current capital for the city that served as the capital from 1790 to 1800, awaiting DC to be ready to go. I'm talking about walking the streets of Philadelphia.

It's only a three hour and not even $10.00 bus ride from where I live, which calls for a perfect day trip. We're laid-back travelers and like to tourist as we go, so we'll see what we end up doing. Although, I will probably come back with some pictures of Independence Hall and Liberty Bell and with a Philly cheesesteak in my tummy.

But other than that, the day will take us where the day will take us. To, apparently, the most Democratic city in the US.

Leaving DC for a day.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Protect The Environment.

Field trip: Baltimore.

Good morning Baltimore, we shouted yesterday. But as we are on vacation and don't really want to follow a strict time schedule, it was more afternoon when we actually got there. Nevertheless, we did get there (after such good metro flow – even on the red line – it was almost unbelievable!) and were happily surprised by a new atmosphere and a cute inner harbor.

Today's field trip advice if you're in the DC area and want a change of scenery is, naturally, Baltimore.

DC–Baltimore: $7.00 with MARC train from Union Station.

Jump more, you're in Baltimore!

They liked the view from Federal Hill and they like each other.

Mainly an industrial city, but today also with a growing service economy. 

American Visionary Art Museum, unfortunately closed...

...as was the Walter Art Museum.

Greatest in America? At least the largest in Maryland.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Turn the down side up when it's all upside down.

I sense a big change in the air. My world is turning upside down and I don't really know how to deal with it. I actually don't think I've grasped it yet – I might do tomorrow. Streets will change, views will be different, people will disappear. And that last part hurts my heart from the inside out. But then again, it's only a sign of absolute affection and those kind of feelings are never bad – in the end.

When these things happen, I do what I do best; I stay positive and turn every single bit around to try to find the good that can and will come out of the situation. When I start counting, it adds up to quite a lot and I won't stop until the good things have outnumbered the bad ones.

Because change is not bad. Upside down is not only negative. It's simply different. It's a change of perspective and if you just keep your eyes open, you will see all the fun it will bring.

Preparing for Gospel Brunch.

A reminder, people: Sunday should always be Fun Day!

This Fun Day started with a powerwalk in our cute, cute neighborhood. A much needed start, since the next activity on the agenda is All You Can Eat Gospel Brunch. You would think that that's enough for a Sunday Fun Day, but we close no doors and the day might just take us to other adventures as well. We'll see. Life is full of soft people and fun activities.

We know the Underground by heart.

Friday, May 4, 2012

"This is not a goodbye!" Yet I will miss you, dear gym.

There are certain things I need in life in order to stay on top of the game even when things get shaky. Family, friends and a good fitness center is definitely top three. So, understand how lucky I feel about having all those three factors incorporated in my life.

Let me show you my absolute favorite spot around here, with my favorite people, my DC family – the 305 girls. In this room, I have experienced every single emotion possible and it symbolizes my time here quite well. It has been a refuge, a place for fun, a place for hard work, a place for relaxing and sometimes just hanging out.

I was so close to tears when the girls and I walked out of there earlier today. It was the last workout. But we made sure to make the most out of it, really. And we promised that it's not a goodbye. It's simply a "moving on to different adventures." But I won't lie to you, I am going to miss this place and everything about it – like crazy. [Emotion explosion.]

Awkward Family photo no.1.

Awkward Family photo no.2. But see what a happy family!

Working out?

Awkward Family photo no.3 with Awkward Guy in the corner (no offense).
Thanks for being a good friend, taking care of this family and making the fitness center our home!