Saturday, March 25, 2006


In the three weeks that I've been at Grimsö, the daylight hours have changed from the equivalent of a Brisbane winter to a Brisbane summer.

It snowed heavily on Wednesday evening, the first time in over a week. "Snowing heavily" doesn't seem quite right to me, because regardless of the volume of snow in the air, it flutters down and lands lightly. It doesn't really compare to the downpours we call heavy rain in Brisbane.

As a result of the 'heavy snow', all my footprints around the cabin had been erased on Thursday morning. But there was another set of prints: a hare had come to visit in the early morning. And I recognised its tracks. Lame twitching victory for an urban girl.
So what do the hip young things of Grimsö do on a Friday night? If the last two are anything to go by, they settle in for tea, cake, whiskey and a few highly competitive games of Settlers.

The object of the game is to build the most houses, cities and roads. Rolls of the dice give players the raw materials (bricks, wood, wool, grain and ore) that are required to build, and players can trade raw materials with each other. I'm wandering into game-geek territory, but I'm still a looong way from painting Warhammer figures, I swear.

As the night goes on, people lapse into trading in Swedish more frequently. I surprised everyone, including myself, when Örjan muttered something about 'skog' and I immediately responded "Yes! I'll trade for forest." It seems that remaining competitive in a board game is the only incentive for me to learn any Swedish at all.

Lost and found in translation

Conversation has been enjoyable for the language as much as the content. A direct translation of the local town names includes New Hammer, Old Nest/Living/Home, and Copper Mountain (it's a mineral-rich area). People also frequently use words that are correct but not usually used in the present context by a native Engligh speaker. For example, last week Johan brightly announced, "There is a new cock in our henhouse!" I suppressed a smirk until Anna began laughing uncontrollably.

Other conversations have degenerated into games of Taboo, in which the other person desperately talks around the English word they don't know and I try to guess what they're thinking of.

'warm fridge' = pantry

'almond' + [drinking motion] = amaretto

'glacier' + [cake context] = icing

'Norwegian wood cat' = ????

Other things, which have a specific name in Swedish, don't seem to have one at all in English.

Johan: "What to you call it when your muscles are sore, like from going to the gym?"
... I don't go to the gym. If I did I'd call it 'hell', and after that I'd probably just call it 'sore muscles'.

Johanna: "Cindy, what is the name of the food when you bake breads again, to eat with jam at morning fika?"
... I don't think people do that in Australia. Ever.
[Edit: I am not talking about toast. This is stale bread, oven-baked into dry crustiness, cooled to room temperature and put into a little gingham-lined basket for morning tea.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"I would rather analyse my shit than look at your equations."
- Sabrina.

Yes, quite. Sabrina is here to do tests on moose scats in case you were wondering.

I was going to keep this blog G-rated but I thought that line was just too good to omit. So I'm rampin' it up to PG, folks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random photos

This is the way out of Grimsö:

Eggs from Johan and Johanna's hen house. Dated for my eating convenience:

I don't need to understand Swedish to know what's in here:

This photo was taken while walking from my cabin to the other buildings in the evening. On the left is Anna's house and the manor is on the right.

The manor again, this time in the morning:

My favourite snack: knäckebröd with vegemite. Gourmets call this melding of cultures fusion, right?

I've filled in my older posts with all of my noteworthy photos. The good news is that I've resuscitated my camera. The bad news is that it broke (or in Canon's words "battery pack performance was reduced" [to zero]) because it can't cope with cold weather. So my ability to take pics of snow and snow-related activities is limited.