January 11, 2008

Holiday in Göteborg

For the holidays I had 11 days off so I spent most of the time hanging out with Paul over on the other side of Sweden. Even though Göteborg (pronounced yur-teh-boor-ay) is the Sweden's second largest city, it's really quite small and compact. I was really starting to miss Stockholm's metro system after the entire week of waiting for trams and buses in the miserable rain.

I did the typical tourist run of the city exploring the Old Town, city centre, and various museums. I was quite disappointed with the two art museums: the fine art museum only had one exhibit of mish-mashed works by a local art collective and its Hasselblad Centre featured a photographer whose works weren't enthralling to me, and the Röhsska Museum was a design and decorative arts museum but the temporary exhibit featuring a video and sound installation was the only thing that stood out for me. The Museum of World Culture was a surprisingly fantastic however, and the building itself was a gorgeous work of architecture. I spent over an hour in one of the feature exhibits called Trafficking, about the human trafficking of women and children mainly for prostitution. It was so appalling reading and watching videos of horrible stories that have taken place in all parts of the world.

Göteborg is the birthplace of Volvo so of course I had to visit the Volvo museum. Unfortunately Paul and I didn't realize how far it was from the city centre so our trip took about an hour. Since we also slept in super late that day we arrived to the museum at 3:30... and the museum was closing at 4. Amazingly there was another pair of visitors that arrived at the same time as us and the museum employees told us to take our time to explore. We didn't realize how big the museum actually was and ended up taking 2 hours to watch an intro film and to walk through all the exhibits. Although I'm not a big car person, I love looking at old-fashioned cars and I'm such a big sucker for the whimsical designs and colours from the 50's. They also had a section for experimental prototypes that was really neat. It featured environmentally friendly concept models including one that actually cleaned the air when being driven!

On my second last day in Gothenburg, the rain finally stopped and we saw sunlight for the very first time! We took advantage of the weather and took a nice ferry ride out to the archipelago to visit one of the islands. We took a quick walk around and admired the quaint traditional Swedish houses, which are mostly wooden and colourfully painted. I love them... I couldn't stop snapping away!

Since Paul's a dancer at the Opera Company I had the pleasure of watching him perform in Askungen, a fun and colourful adaptation of Cinderella. The performance was great... I think that was my first time watching a modern dance performance rather than a ballet so it was quite different and interesting for me.

Posted by mich at 11:57 AM | dreams [1]

January 3, 2008

Gott Nytt År!

That's happy new year in Swedish. I hope everyone had a great holiday. Although I went through some tough moments experiencing my first Christmas far away from my family and friends, spending it with a close family friend on the other side of Sweden made all the difference. New Years in Gothenburg was a bit unusual though, as the main fireworks show went off at 5pm (spectacular though), and the "countdown" to new years involved counting up to 12... ?!?! It was quite anti-climactic as Paul and I were watching the event on TV because the counting totally threw us off and then we couldn't figure out whether midnight had already struck. That night we were housesitting the most fabulous apartment for Paul's friends — they're a gay couple and they have the such great style and taste! I loved it, it looked like those places that would be featured in Wallpaper* or something. So Paul and I made the most of our night there and prepared ourselves a delicious homecooked meal, enjoyed dessert of ostkaka with jam (literally translates to cheesecake but unlike typical cheesecake it feels more custardy), and drank some glögg, while watching a Sex and the City marathon. Ahh, what a wonderful evening it was.

Reading back on last year's year in review I realize I finally achieved what I had dreamed of doing for so many years: living in Europe. Even though it's what I've always wanted, the reality is that it hasn't been a magical ride as I had though. It was a bit of a struggle to adjust but now as I'm slowly meeting people, learning to accept the lifestyle differences, and traveling as much as I can, I'm looking forward to see where this adventure takes me this year. I've learned from my past mistakes of letting opportunities pass me by, and although I might question some decisions I've made over others to get to where I am now, there's no point in looking back or having regrets. I'm a true believer that everything happens reason.

Once again, here's a list of the things that stood out most for me for 2007:

Showed my photography at the You Are Here exhibit · my first opera Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk · finally figuring out how to do an S-curve in snowboarding · Nuit Blanche in Montreal Christian, Vanessa and Jeremy and getting into a random snowball fight with hooligans · being the proud owner of my very own Hasselblad · shopping frenzy in HK · visiting mainland China for the first time with Christian, but ending up in the hospital · my first photography showing at the CONTACT festival · photographing Siren Sounds benefit concert featuring local bands, Melissa O'Neil, and Fefe Dobson · family road trip to New England and Montreal · watching the live match of the final Argentina vs Czech Republic FIFA U-20 game · getting my first pair of rollerblades and bladed 3 hours along the lakeshore from the west end to the east and all the way back (and nearly collapsing in the end) · attending the awesome Daft Punk concert · watching a hilarious yet brilliant interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream in High Park · going to the CNE for the first time in over a decade and having a blast · racing and winning medals with Banana Boat dragonboat team · Eyal and Julie's wedding · road trip to Bruce Peninsula · staying out until sunrise for Toronto's Nuit Blanche · watching Cirque du Soleil's Kooza from the front row · making a fabulous Thanksgiving meal completely on my own · 1500km 3-day road trip (I drove the entire way!) to Pennsylvania, seeing Fallingwater House and doing mad shopping in Grove City (and randomly bumping into 3 groups of friends we knew all in the same store) · kicking butt in floor hockey with my beloved team · ate my way through all my favourite restaurants in Toronto for the last time · starting a new life on my own in Stockholm · reuniting with Jason for a weekend in Paris · seeing the amazing Christmas market in Frankfurt · experiencing Swedish Christmas · spending Christmas and New Years with Paul in Gothenburg

I hope you all can look back on the past year with wonderful memories and that any not-so-good experiences has made you a stronger person. I wish everyone all the best for an exciting, happy, and prosperous new year!

Posted by mich at 12:32 PM | dreams [0]