Monday, January 9, 2012

Bonne Année!

Or should I say "Gott Nytt år!"

I just got back from 9 days of skiing in the Swedish mountains over New Years with the family of the AFS student we had in Maine a few years back.  It's tricky going from "I think I'm starting to finally get the language and exchange rate down" to having to hear a totally new language and see everything cost a seemingly-ridiculous amount of money before conversion into the US dollar.  The division by 7 to go from Swedish kronor to to dollars was easier than the understanding Swedish, but I am now a self-proclaimed expert on Swedish numbers and saying "I like ice cream" (Jag gillar glass), and apparently say 'hej' convincingly enough that someone on the plane thought I was Scandinavian.

The skiing in Sweden was really nice, with, in general, great views of Norway and Sweden, not too freezing temperatures (with the exception of one day at  -18˚ C or just under 0˚ F), and plenty of snow.  Being the spoiled American skiier that I am, I had a hard time riding all the T-bars up the mountain and liked to ski as much as possible near the couple of chair lifts.  By the end of the trip, as I started to be less out-of-shape, I was able to go on more of the T-bars without complaint from my legs.  We ventured one day into Norway, which was fun for many reasons– the higher mountains, longer slopes, more snow, novelty of being in a new country, and the getting to see the extremely low-key border between Sweden and Norway.  The only thing that alerted me to the fact that I was in a new country was the line on the GPS and the fact that the signs changed color (the Swedes could see that they were in a different language, but I am not that skilled).  Norway didn't even have a sign.

It was a New Years a lot like what I think New Years is like in the Maine ski mountains, although I was told that shellfish is the traditional dish, and I'm not sure that's true in Maine.  The biggest indicator that I was in Sweden was the blasting of ABBA's "Happy New Year" during the fireworks.  (And all the Volvos driving around.)

Unfortunately, it's now back to school, getting up early, and perpetually drizzly weather instead of snow.  As much as I love Belgium, it could stand to be a little more ski-friendly.

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