Christmas and New Years has gone by and a new year has started. This means that it is also more than a year since we saw many of you. Time is really flying by so we thought we should sit down and think through what we have done this last year and then share it all with you.
So, last year started down in Lund at Maria’s New Years party. I’m not sure if everyone that was there can remember what happened that night but it definitely was a lot of fun! Below you can see Maria as the chess queen ans Judith and I am wearing Burger King hats, the theme for the party was Kings and Queens.
2nd of January Hans turned 30, a very big day of course! We celebrated the day by going over to Denmark with the train. Here you can see the two (yes two, we should not forget that John has his birthday on the 1st of January) birthday boys happily opening gifts and having birthday cakes.
In Copenhagen we all had a great day together before we had to split up in the evening when the German group started their trip back. Hans, I, Rachel and Rob had the pleasure to stay with Jacob for a couple of days. As always it´s great to stay at Jacobs, lots of good wine for the evenings and good danish bread for brakfast.
Back in Stockholm me and a friend, Patrik, had a party for our birthdays at our place. Below Johan, Patrik, Fredrik and I.
During the remaining winter and early spring it was pretty much business as usual. Me working eight days at Botniabanan up in northern Sweden (between Kramfors and Örnsköldsvik) and then having six days off. Sofie working "normal" office hours and then spending most of her spear time in a gym hall in Bredäng (just south of Stockholm) practicing bugg and lindy hop (dancing).
I did go through a bit of a hard time when my vision got worse though. The problem was something called XXXXXX and what happens is that the thin layer that exist on top of the yellow spot in the eye started to crumple. The way you notice this is that all straight lines look crocked and things get less sharp, it can make you quite dizzy actually. When "anti-inflamatoriska" eyedrops did not help and it continued getting worse (it even got so bad that I was not allowed to drive anymore) we had to start considering operation. If you operate you can remove the thin layer that was getting crumpled and this would stabalize the sight but unfortunately operation is also quite a large risk when you only have one eye to start with. The end of this story is quite happy though. Even though the chance was not very big, things suddenly started to improve and by the beginning of the summer my sight was back to normal and the operation was never needed.
The current situation is that I see my ophtalmologist (eye doctor) every sixth week just to make sure that things stay stable, which also has been the case this far.
Even if the problems with Sofie's eye was going on we did actually have the opportunity to do some fun trips aswell.
In February we rented a cottage in Säfsen, a few hours northwest of Stockholm, together with Jenny, Colin, Andreas and Lotta for a weekend. The purpose was to go cross-country skiing.
Apart from the HUGE blister I had on my heal by the end of the weekend the trip was a sunny success.
At Easter we went to Amsterdam to visit Rachel and Rob. Here we are out on Boom Chicago's (comedy club where Rachel work) canal boat on a tour on the canals of Amsterdam.
It was a bit cold at moments but we also had some really sunny days. In the below picture Johanna (Hans' sister) has joined us and we are having picknick in the park only minutes away from where Rachel and Rob are renting a really great flat.
In June I got the opportunity to travel to Aachen (in Germany) with work for a week. Ericsson has a test lab there and I went there to assist the testers to troubleshoot and tune MIEP, the product I had been working with for the last year.
Over the weekend I did not have to work of course and then I thought it would be really fun to go down to Freiburg to visit Judith and Michael. It was great to see them and of course there was a big party on Friday night with lots of their friends in a local pub that serves cheap drinks and then on to a pub/club which we did not leave until the early hours on Saturday. I remember dancing and signing to german pop songs - in german! I do not think I would like to remember how that sounded though.
Saturday night Judith and I spent watching a video film taped in Adelaide (Australia) in the end of year 1999 before we all split up and started heading home after a year as exchange students. Ahhh, those lovely days and how cool it was to hear everyone speak with the real ozzy accent again. Adelaide people - on the next get-to-gether we have to watch this movie together!
On Sunday we drow over to France and spent the day in a this really pretty village that you see below.
The very much longed for summer vacation finnaly came and we started off with a midsummer party at my family's summer house in the archipelago outside Stockholm. As the tradition sais we began with "sillunch", i.e. hearing, potatoes, "nubbe" and "nubbe-songs".
After the "sillunch" everyone celebrating midsummer at our neighbours house came over and it was time for us to sing and dance around the midsummer pole, "Små grodorna, små grodorna..."
and then "lekledar"-Lasse arranged a competition between two teams. In the below picture you can see Tomas and Shamani compeeting in the classic game "hit-the-stick-with-the-ball-by-swinging-a-bottle-between-your-legs".
Midsummer then continued with everyone enjoing the sauna and a swim in the sea before we started preparing for dinner. Later in the evening we all "forced the doors" of our poor neighbours and we took over their dancefloor. Our neighbours young generation had left for another party but the older generation was pretty good at "rocking" to. I think we heard some complaints about sore muscels the day after from some of the men...
In the beginning of July I went to Västervik to visit an old friend of mine, Lovisa.We went to school together (grade 10 - 12) and were also flatmates for a few years. Now she has moved to a smaller town on the eastcoast in the south of Sweden where she is working as a doctor. And, now about one and a half year ago, she and Andreas got a son, Love! It was really great to spend a few days with them, to catch up with Lovisa and to get to know Love a bit.
In the beginning of July Sofie and I went on a sailing course in the Stockholm archipelago. We had great weather and the course started off with an unplanned life saving drill when Sofie fell over board only a few hours after we left the harbour.(The real life saving drill was planned for the 2nd or 3rd day.)
Honestly, it wasn't my fault! I can't help that the rope I was leaning against broke (the rope I'm holding on to in the picture below), it is meant to lean on... Anyway, it did go well, and after failing to catch me after the first circle with the boat I could climp up on the boat on my own at the second attempt. I do recomend though that you do not pass out if you intend to fall off a boat, it didn't look too comforable for the guy they demonstrated the "winch upp" method on later in the evening.
"Winch upp" method...
We were four boats on the course, all having the same people on during the whole week and all sailing independently during the days but meeting up for lunch and dinner. One of the guys on our boat worked in Germany so he brought a lot of wine, some champange and some dirty jokes. Having a good time after sailing we still managed to learn a lot. Actually we learned enough to rent a boat on our own in the end of summer.
In the picture below you could wonder what draws everyones attention. Could it be the flashy spinnaker or maybe it is the ...
... handsome man controlling it that catches everyone's eyes.
Next in the calendar this summer was the arrival of Jacob and Rachel. We had a few days in Stockholm when we among other things went cayaking around one of the islands of Stockholm.
Then we went out to the summer house in the archipelago where we practiced very advanced acrobatic numbers (ehhh) in the water and then got warm again by drinking beer in the sauna.
We also picked blueberries, ate Rachel's blueberry pancakes for breakfast and went on a boat cruise to Möja, a very pitoresque Swedish island in the archipelago.
Then Jacob unfortunately had to go home but instead Rob (Rachel's boyfriend) came up from Amsterdam. The four of us plus several of Hans' childhood friends went to the Swedish westcoast to visit Hans' granddad. Here we all got to meet Danne and Veronica's newborn dauther Hanna for the first time.
And then we all squeezed in around the kitchen table together with Hans' granddad and Stina.
The cliffs on the west coast are great! Here we are out on Valön, a national reserve in walking distance from Hans' granddad's house. The water is great too as long as the jellyfish stay away.
Klara, daughter of Björn and Mia, here 10 months was not as keen on swimming in the sea so instead she got to swim in "the bucket"!
The last really hot weekend this summer Hans and I decided to rent a boat on our own to practise what we had learnt. We had three beautiful days where we felt that we can actually do this (sail that is) on our own and next time you should definitely come with us! Below is a picture of me and the boat we rented.
One of the highlights of the year was when Paul Kelly came to a small pub in Stockholm to play. Watching him and drinking cold beer, doesn't get any better.
In the fall I worked with MMS for a while and got to travel to Montreal, Canada, twice through work which was really fun. Montreal is a really cool place with really hot summers and REALLY really cold winters, which is why most of the central of the city is located under ground. It is like a huge maze of shops and restaurants under ground. I also took the opportunity to go out and dance Lindy Hop in a different part of the world. Some of the people I met had even been to Sweden and Herräng, a world famous dance camp that occurs every summer in this small swedish village.
1st of November it was time for me to change jobs. At this new job (still within Ericsson) I'm a systems manager and work with Presence in IMS. Presence is like the service you have in MSN Messanger which shows if you're logged on, busy, available on phone etc. This is my second job after I finished my degree and it was quite sad to leave my work colleagues at the old job but this new job is really interesting, fun and full of action and I actually only have to walk to the other side of the building to visit my old office.
When the Swedish autumn got to cold and miserable Sofie and I escaped for a weekend to Malta. At Malta we just spent our time relaxing, eating good and caught a bit of sunshine. Below Sofie beating me in tennis and me trying to forget it.
For the whole year I have been working for my company building railway tunnels in the northern part of Sweden. I work for eight days and then I get six days of to go home to Sofie. Me and four others are renting a house in a village called Sidensjö. I recon it is almost as remote as Cooper Pedy...not really but close. I enjoy the work and I get to practice my cross country skiing and hockey, nothing else to do in the evenings, except for the occasional poker game. I'll be working up there for at least one more year so everybody is more than welcome to come and visit, it's a really nice part of Sweden.
We spent a not very white Christmas 2004 in Stockholm with many of our relatives. Luckily Santa came also this year and hopfylly he will not the big hug he got from Marie (my sister) and come back next year as well.
Our non-existing plans for new years turned out in a dinner for 13 at Hasse's place (one of Hans' friends). It happened that there were quite many of us that did not have any plans.
Happy New Year!
Hans and Sofie:
Well it’s been another good year for us, hope to see you all some time in 2005!