Värmland locates in the middle of Sweden. The name Värmland mean warm land. Ironically, it’s very cold. When I was there, I experienced minus 25 degrees. No kidding, freaking cold. I guess it was those people from Kiruna, the North Pole coming down to this piece of land and went like: OMG, this is so warm! Let’s name it Warmland! Seriously, I would have just called it Coldland….
You see, how unhappy a Chinese can get when it’s that cold? Especially she had to carry the equipment for photo-shooting.
Despite the cold temperature, it’s actually a very cozy and lovely place.
Karlagatan is where I lived.
There’s one thing I have to mention about Värmland is that there’s free internet onboard of the local train, up to 3GB per month. That’s awesome!
I spent this Christmas in Värmland with a Swedish family. The Swedish Christmas eve starts with the Disney Cartoon on TV. I don’t know where the tradition comes from, but it seems like the Cartoon clips have been the same for at least the last four years.
Followed is the Christmas dinner. This is the Christmas table we had:
Traditional food is usually Christmas ham (yummm!!), meatball, pickled sill etc. Hungry Carmen did not have time to take photos of food, but drinks!
Glögg and Snaps are the traditional Christmas drink. However, I remember Swedes also have Snaps for mid-summer. Glögg is warm and served with nuts and raisins. Snaps is raw and spicy, very strong alcohol. The word is pronounced “Shnaps”, pretty cute.
After dinner, everyone sits in the living room and wait for Santa Claus to come. Unlike the American tradition which we know pretty well from TV shows and movies, the Swedish Santa named Tomte comes at the Christmas eve in front of everyone. Of course it’s the father who plays the role. He usually has an excuse of being in need of newspaper and has to buy one. At his absence comes the Tomte. When Tomte is gone, comes back the father with old newspaper. Well, when kids no longer buy the story, then you have this lousy Pipi Tomte:
Ebba and grandpa
Special thanks to: Kerstin, Ola, Gunnel, Per, Anders, Kristina, Ebba, Kim, Lars, Patrik and everyone else. Thank you all for sharing the Christmas with me!
Want to learn more about studying in Halmstad University? Check out this video:
It’s an interview with some teachers and students in Halmstad.
To read more about the student interviews, please go to:
“Borta bra, hemma bäst” is en expression equivalent to “Home, sweet home”, which described my feelings quite well when I came back from Göteborg on Friday.
Roky Erickson had a concert in Göteborg on Thursday, so was the reason why I went there. Unlike Halmstad with white lovely snow everywhere, The whole Göteborg was covered with ice thanks to the rain they had that morning. Almost everyone walked in a funny way with their arms stretching out to keep balance. It was insanely slippery. I still have a big bruise on the left knee. T.T
When I got back to Halmstad, treading on the snow, making the creaking sound, the sentence popped into my mind, “borta bra, hemma bäst”… It was so good to be back.
Near the end of the semester, we are extremely busy. While working with a classmate on some school assignment last night, I felt asleep for a while with my laptop on the top of my lap in the fauteuil. Lucia’s music on TV woke me up in a few minutes. Until then I did not know it was Lucia again.
Last Lucia I had home-baked Lussekatt. Too bad we don’t have time to bake it again this year…
It’s not hard to find information on Lucia. Högskolan also organizes some events for international students. The most well-known tradition is that girls dressed in long white robe walk around with candles on their head.
I have heard a story from a teacher.
A Swedish couple who lived in Beijing wanted to celebrate Lucia on that day. The mother dressed the two girls and herself in the traditional Lucia clothes and decided to visit and introduce the Swedish tradition to an old couple who in the neighborhood were always friendly. They held candles and knocked on the neighbors’ door. The old couple totally freaked out when seeing them.
The thing is, in old Chinese tradition, white color is for funeral, and in the mythologies, female ghosts are always in long white dress. The poor old couple thought they must be seeing ghosts…
One of the biggest attraction in Sweden is Gekås, Ullared. It locates in the city of Falkenberg. But what is it? It is a big store. A lot of people in Sweden travel hundreds of kilometers to go there. Why? I don’t really know either…
Usually before the store opens, there are already people lining up to enter. It was no exception that day I went.
This might be one of the place with the highest density of Swedish population in the world. The strange thing is this store has only one avenue in whole Sweden. Unlike other big brand of stores, it did not adopt the chain strategy. But they have a high growth of revenue each year. Interesting!