Tag Archives: Christmas

So, did everybody survive the holidays?

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I know I did! Though they’re not really over yet, so I guess I should hold wood and not scream too loud ;).

But the real, BIG holidays are over – and it was all good. After my hi-tech science Christmas Eve, I made it home, though “are you kidding me?” flashed through my mind when the pilot announced the following 10 minutes after boarding was complete.

Dear passengers, we are currently unable to refill the fuel tank of the airplane. We have tried two tank trucks so far, but there seems to be a problem. We are trying to find out whether the problem is the tank trucks or the plane, we are working on it and will keep you posted.

After everything that could’ve gone wrong (no trains, delayed trains, hand luggage too big/heavy (it really was – fortunately for me, they didn’t check), delayed flights, cancelled flights), you can’t fill up the tank?? But they solved it, we left, I came home to a freshly-made quiche (I really don’t get what the big fuss over in-laws is, mine are just great), we played games, I slept, we went to my parents’, confused hell out of my one grandmother who met T for the first time and doesn’t seem to get that she is my girlfriend and not my girl friend (I refuse to have that talk with her and my mum has just passed the stage of being able to pronounce Ts name, no help there), celebrate New Year’s Eve with friends and didn’t even get out of the couch for the countdown (ooooooooooold…), celebrated New Years’ at both grandmas and my parents, got tired of repeating the same stuff about Sweden over and over again, got tired of talking about baby-stuff, went to a birthday party, got crazy from all the small kids running around there (really, I don’t know where my nesting syndrome comes from), had a misunderstanding with T about shopping together leaving me home alone all day, … . So basically, nothing particularly blog-worthy happened ;).
Next up: shopping with my sis, meeting with some friends, celebrating Ts birthday, count down the days and get my ass back to Sweden. 4 days of holidays left … .

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Christmas Eve the scientist way

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I spent Christmas Eve at the lab. How geeky can you get?

:D

No, seriously, I did spend Christmas Eve in the lab, but it wasn’t (really) by choice. As has been the case since last Friday, my internet connection at home is still broken, and thus the lab is the only place to connect to the world. I could’ve of course stayed home and watched a movie or so, but we decided to make full use of modern-day technology and I ended up spending Christmas Eve at Ts place. Via Skype.

Webcams on on both sides, they actually put the computer at the dinner table so I could join in the conversation, and later dragged ‘me’ along to the salon for the gift exchange ritual. We always (well… the tradition started last year…) do a Secret Santa thing with the whole family (2 parents, 5 kids and 3 gf/bf make it a big enough group to make it fun). The catch is you’re not allowed to buy a present, you have to make it. Since all of them attended hippie school they are pretty good with crafts and the like (they can sing and each play 15 instruments or sth), so I always feel a bit daunted when I see their presents. Last year for example, I knitted a hat for SE – which I was very proud of, since I had never knitted 4 needles before. This year, NE made a tea hat for her sister, including holes for the pout and the handle, with wool she had made herself. Like in, take what comes from the sheep, clean it, turn it into threads, then knit.

This year, my target was YE, the boyfriend of Ts middle sister. He works at customs in the harbor of Antwerp. And he likes to cycle. That’s about all I know about him. Oh, and he doesn’t like sweets, so baking cookies (always the easy way out ;) ) was out of the question. Finally, I came up with this:

I bought the cheapest water bottle I could find and painted it. Maybe not the most masculine gift ever, but I was pretty pleased with the way it came out, especially when he said that he never drinks enough when he goes cycling – so it will be actually useful. Of course, it’s not a candle shaped like St. Francis or a wooden candle holder, or a mosaic mirror. But I tried :).

And then, as the evening drew to a close, I was silly enough to check the Brussels Airlines site to see if there was any news about my flight tomorrow morning. There was :

This is nót what you want to see on Christmas Eve. I completely freaked out and Ts dad almost jumped in the car to come and get me (which, under good weather conditions, would probably take at least 10 hours. however, there is a reason many flights are delayed: the weather sucks). A refresh of the page 5 minutes later showed the “on schedule” icon, but I’m still pretty shaky. The flight is at 11:40 am, and the train to the airport takes half an hour, so normally I would leave around 10 am, but since a colleague of mine had a train delay of 2 hours, I will be getting up at seven to be on the safe side. T will also be getting up since I can’t check tomorrow morning whether my flight is still leaving (how did people live before the internet??) and if it is even worth it going to the airport at all. Meanwhile, we have decided I will be leaving my christmas presents here and travel with hand luggage only, because there are huge delays in Brussels in the luggage delivery and if there is trouble, I will be more mobile with just a backpack.

This does have the advantage I won’t have to pack too much :D.

Fingers crossed!

Merry Christmas!

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Sunday I’ll be going to Copenhagen with some friends to visit a certain museum (the fact that I don’t even remember which one only shows how eager I am to visit museums) (It’s not like I don’t wanna go. I do. I feel I have to work on my general culture/knowledge. But that’s really the only reason I’m going. That and my friends :).) and as we were making arrangements, one of them suggested we’d go a bit early so we could taste a bit of the “Christmas atmosphere”.

Is it Christmas already?

The thing is: she’s right. It is perfectly possible to go to a Christmas market mid-november. I was in Copenhagen last weekend. I was in Göteborg the day before when there was the grand inauguration of the first part of the walk of light (3,4kms in length) and the christmas market at Liseberg. And you know what? It ruins Christmas.

Seriously.

I like Christmas, I really do. I like the tree and the presents and the lights and the candy and the christmas market and everything else surrounding it. I even like the family dinners, uncomfortable as they are. And the cities are simply beautiful in the evening, with christmas carols playing and lights everywhere.

But it’s too much too early – Sinterklaas hasn’t even come yet! (the fact that Sinterklaas (the ‘real’ Santa Claus) doesn’t come to Sweden or almost any other country is thereby completely irrelevant.) And really, I get cranky from all this Christmas stuff. Christmas means holidays, so I get all happy and holiday-ish – until reality strikes: I got to work another 5 weeks. It’s depressing. But at least they’ve gotten rid of the “X-mas” thing that seemed to dominate decorations the past few years … .
Christmas lasts one day, but it’s celebrated for almost 3 months: once Halloween has passed, the Christmas decorations quickly take their place (when I was shopping for my Pippi-costume on October 30th, the boxes with Christmas cards and stuff were already standing in the store, ready to be unpacked and placed in the racks) and they won’t disappear before end of January (or if they do, they are replaced with Valentine stuff. which is worse.). So basically, we celebrate Christmas 25% of the time.

I suggest we bring this percentage down. Drastically. And thus I present: my personal Christmas-celebration-manual.

Tivoli, Copenhagen

First of all, I like the lights in the city – it’s a bit depressing and all, this whole winter- and early dark-thing – so they can stay. But I don’t want to see any Christmas market, fake smiling Santa’s, toy commercials, decorated trees, Christmas cards, … before December 6th. December 15 (my mother’s birthday) you’re allowed to set up the tree: this gives you 10 days of counting down. 10 days is a nice number to be counting down from, and then you can actually look forward, because it’s REALLY coming closer. Next, there is a week of holidays between Christmas and New Year – yey! The tree and everything else can then stay another week or so, but by January 6 (Epiphany) all decorations should go back in the box, until next Christmas.

It will be a great month.

Rudolf, employee of (next) month