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An Australian in Uppsala
30th December 2002


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The Night Before New Years

Well I am starting to really understand this winter thing. I am not sure if I am ready to ditch a summer country completely for it, but is definitely is cool! It is minus 22 today and the sun is shinning. Sure it is mid-day and the sun is just above the trees and about to go below them in a couple of hours but it is shinning. I have taken those skis that have been sitting in the kitchen mocking me for the last three months and put them to good use. I went out with Paula and her parents twice now cross country skiing which is a lot of fun. The first time we went out and did 3.5km and the second time we went out and did 10km. Not bad I thought on the second try. That was three days ago and I think the pain might go away soon.


We did 10km or a Swedish mile and it took us 2 hours. It was all uphill on the way there and all downhill on the way back. One and a quarter hours there and 25 minutes back. Cross-country skiing is a very athletic sport. I had my thermals on (thank you Anthony they have been a God-send or in this case and Anthony-send) along with a t-shirt, my jacket, a beanie and my new Gore-Tex gloves (they are magnificent) and this proved to be a little warm. A little while after we started I unzipped my jacket and then I had to stop half way and take off my thermal top. So I am standing there in the middle of the trail gloves off, jacket off, t-shirt off, thermal top off in minus 5 degrees when this other dude comes along the trail. I got out of the way and he continues on his way pissing himself (in a very quiet, Swedish way). Paula and her mum were just as perturbed but found it less humorous and were more worried about my health. Apparently I was supposed to just sweat and let the clothing soak it up. It is a very difficult thing for someone from a hot climate to do but maybe Ill get used to it.


I also had a go on the snow mobile. Now that is a lot of fun but seems to be more unstable than a motorbike and on a motorbike you can see what is on the ground while you never really know what is under the snow.


We had a nice Christmas here but the food is just a little weird. There is a very nice sausage preservative type thing which is meat suspended in a jelly with some very nice herbs in it. It tastes great but looks disturbingly like ocean platter cat food, you know with those chunks of meat suspended in jelly. Hmmm. Other than that the food is good though it is very different especially on the special days when the old traditional foods come out. I am yet to have a go at the surströmming which is fermented herring in a can. You can't eat it inside because the smell will possess the house for the next few weeks if not months, and they make fun of our Vegemite, the nerve!


It is the night before New Years Eve or nyårsafton in Swedish and I have just had a fantastic meal of älg or moose. It is quite tasty and is quite like cow but with a little more flavour. I told Paula and her family about us eating Skippy and they found it quite amusing.


We went shopping for the New Years food today and we bought fireworks at the same time. It is not illegal to buy fireworks here but the only people you can buy alcohol off is the government. It seems that it is OK to lose and eye but as long as you aren't drunk while you do it it is fine. I will put some pictures as well as a story on about New Years. We are going to have it at Paula's parents house and it should be a lot of fun.

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