Friday, 27 May 2011

The Very Long Day

I began the yesterday with a challenge issued to Natalie via email:
 I say we should have a competition today over who can be the most productive. I'm sure it will be you, since I only just got up, but let's have at it nonetheless.
My mom and I took the bus in to Umeå. 

 Public transportion rocks.

After we stepped off the bus, I first bought a bus card; then we proceeded to walk over to the phone shop Telia, where my mother talked to an employee about switching over a portable modem into my father's name. You see, there are certain issues with living abroad. When I returned to Sweden a few years ago, I had to once again register myself as a "resident of Sweden," which means I was eligible to sign contracts in my name. Last summer, when the rest of my family returned, they could in no way sign for anything--therefore, I now have five phone numbers, a wireless router, and a portable modem registered to my name.

 Mom needed to return a book at the library. She scanned the book here,

 and it was trundled off on a conveyor belt into the mysterious machinations of the library system.
 We walked through the park to get to Kafé Station, a charming little coffee house and restaurant.

 A selection of cakes and sandwiches

 Free water and saft, or fruit cordial

 Västerbottens paj: a pie made from an especially sharp cheese from Västerbotten.


 Free sides from the buffet table. Cold sliced melon and grated carrots.

Mom had coffee ("Finally," she says, "real coffee." In other words, Americans make terrible coffee.) I had tea that tasted like watered-down Strepsils. My mother insists that is not true. 

After this we went to the bank to iron out some financial transactions and to the jewelry store to exchange a gold necklace for two silver ones.

 Off to the shoemakers to get new heels for my black shoes.


We went to Kicks, a beauty supplies store. I was trying to find day and night creams for my face because the dry air is making me peel. As I am a decisive person, I had no problems entangling myself from the clutches of the system. But I can imagine that the endeavour is rather treacherous for the indecisive. The sheer size of the selection must be daunting--Youth Code, Tri-Moisturize, Revitalift, and what have you--and this was only the moderately priced section.

 Mom and I arrived home for a short respite and a second wind before we went grocery shopping at Maxi Stormarknad.

I was to pick up supplies for my graduation party this Saturday. I wanted to buy something from this section, but rather than risk my mother's reputation, I decided for something much more sedate: Swedish flags, bendy straws, and streamers. I still have not quite understood why we should give up those things that we enjoy(ed) simply because we are to the rest of the world "grown up." Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I've always thought adulthood to be the conscious decision to live for others, rather than yourself.

 Demonstration in the fruit aisle

 The Sardine Master's Sprat, smoked, in a fine rapeseed oil

 King Gustaf Kippers. I like the packaging.

The number one reason you should come to Sweden

 I made fudge cake and chocolate chip cookies.

Sister Sofia arrived at nine thirty from Norway. She rejoiced in our sleeping set-up, which is really just an imitation of the bedroom we had as kids when we lived in a two-bedroom HDB flat on Havelock Road in Singapore.

P.S. I won,
  the Challenge

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