Friday, June 27, 2014

7QT: highest latitude swim, sweden/swedish,

1. On Monday I set a new personal record for the highest latitude at which I've swum. I consider being fully submerged in the water a 'swim' but the Swedes would refer to that as bathing. Anyhow. For the record:


2. I think my previous highest latitude swim took place at 59.7 degrees. I'm pretty happy with my almost-five-degree improvement. That was a year ago, and I can't quite decide which swim was colder. A river at 59 degrees versus a lake at 64 is a tough call…

3. I'm really pleased that so much of my summer holiday is being spent in various places in Sweden. I really like this country, so I think it is good for me to see more of it (even if the 'more' really just means dance floors in different places).

4. For my Swedish class we had an assignment to write about a musical artist and a song of theirs that we like. It was a fun and short thing to do, but then I felt a little vulnerable when the class listened to the song. It is an interesting thing to share musical preferences with people you don't know well, and I found it really interesting (and sometimes surprising) to hear what songs the others chose. Here is my contribution:

5. When I switched from the evening Swedish course to the daytime course, I also switched my normal seat. Now I am one place closer to the center and one place closer to the front. I always always like to sit on the very edges of the room, often no closer than the middle. But I think I read that it is supposed to be better for learning to sit in the center and toward the front. I'm not sure if it is having a big impact or not, but I like to pretend it does, mostly to justify putting myself in a place that is not my ordinary.

Let's pretend like I have a great plan for these seven takes and am not just rambling…

What else…

6. Have you ever made pinnbröd over a fire?! Apparently we call it twist bread in English, but the literal translation is 'stick bread.' I had never heard of this or seen it before, but it was super tasty. Here is the recipe, using Swedish units. 1 dl = 0.42 cups, and 1 tsk = 1 tsp.

5 dl flour
2 tsk salt
2 tsk baking powder
2 dl water

Mix the ingredients in the order listed, if it is too dry add a bit more water, too sticky a bit more flour. Then you pull off a piece, roll it into a long strip, wrap it around a stick, and roast it over a campfire until the outsides are brown/black. It tasted like one of those soft pretzels to me. yum.

7. Last night for dinner I made pinnbröd, and then wrapped it around hot dogs and put them in the oven for 12ish minutes on a 'hot' temperature. It was a super tasty dinner. On a similar but different topic, I've gotten so laid-back about oven temperatures. Most of the recipes I use have the temperature in F, but Sweden ovens are in C. You would think I'd just need to remember a few important conversions (350/375/400), but somehow I am always mixing them up. I often end up arbitrarily picking a temperature. I think I've written about this before actually… using my oven with the temperature knob set to 'straight down' but when I need a 'hot' temperature then it is a bit higher, maybe like 7 or 8 o'clock :)


The End & The Link-Up!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

How can I be an introvert who gets energized from going to a folk dance with a large group of people, many of whom I don't know?

I love reading about and thinking about introversion and extroversion. I've always known that I am a pretty extreme introvert. I definitely do not get energy from being in a large group of people. However, I've recently noticed that there is one huge counter-example to this generalization. When I go to an evening of folk dance, I leave with so much energy - far more than any other typical introvert activity (jag älskar hemmakväll) would give me.

How can this be?

I've been pondering this quite a bit lately. Maybe this is a sign that I'm sliding more toward the middle of the introvert/extrovert scale? But by any other measure, I'm still an extreme introvert. So, really, how can this be?

My initial thoughts are that folk dances are different from most activities involving a large group of people. Of course, they are different in so many ways, but specifically, I think that the important factor is that there is sort of a prescribed way of interacting with people.

If I get invited to a big party where I will not know too many people, I have to spend a lot of time mentally preparing myself to have lots of small talk with new people. I have to try super hard to not be incredibly awkward. Honestly, I am happiest sitting and primarily listening to conversations, while contributing minimally. Or perhaps I'll get into a more involved conversation with one or two people, and not really talk to anyone else the entire night. Maybe I make this sound harmless, but most people can get uncomfortable with this, thinking my silence means I am having an awful time.

Now, if I am being entirely honest (and Greg would confirm this), most of the time before I head to a dance, I actually get a bit anxious and have second thoughts about going. My heart is just shouting, "Are you crazy, don't voluntarily go to an event with a bunch of strangers, especially if no one is expecting you to be there!" Most of the time, I have to rely on my brain to be the voice of reason, to remind myself that afterwards I'll thank myself for going.

My heart is so quick to judge all large gatherings of people equally. I so easily forget that folk dances have this prescribed way of interacting with others, compared to any other generic gathering of many people. You go there, you ask a person if they want to dance, and you dance. It is simple. There is usually not a lot of time for conversation. There is no expectation to continue conversation while dancing, since most people become worse dancers while trying to talk and dance. And while you may be in a large crowd of people, you are primarily only interacting with this one person, who you don't even have to talk to. To me, it feels like such a healthy reminder that there are ways of connecting with people other than through conversation alone.

Thinking about a lot of my friends who are also folk dance enthusiasts, I'd say most of them are more introverted than extroverted. Perhaps folk dances are events more suited to the introvert - a gathering of people who are all just interacting with only one other person at a time? Perhaps.

As I said, these are just my initial thoughts. I'm curious to hear what others might think. Is there agreement? Disagreement? I've also been trying to think of other examples of situations that we would typically expect an extrovert to thrive in, but secretly the introverts are thriving. I'd love to hear any thoughts you might have!

Friday, June 13, 2014

7QT: bike names, allergies, dance, vals

1. I love the names of bicycles. Mine, for example, is the Viking Elegance 3. I actually saw another Viking bike just the other day, but the name was not quite as good as mine. The most favorite bike name I've seen is one that parks near me at the office. Are you ready for this? The Silver Apron. That's right. Do you have a bicycle? What is it called? I need to start a list of these.

2. Yesterday I went over to Greg's part of the building to water his plant. The first person I ran into saw me and said, "Greg's not here! You should know that!" It was pretty funny. I wish, instead of explaining my real reason for being there, I would have said, "Well I've been looking for him for five days now!" Next time…

3. I might have a cold, but I think it is more likely that I am being allergic to whatever it is that is spreading pollen right now. The pollen report says various grasses. Okay. Last year at this same time of year, I had been thinking I had a long-lasting cold. Eventually I started to realize that it could be allergies, and now it seems to be happening again.

4. Lots of dancing in a week = lots of joy in a week. That is how it has been going for me. I went to Ransäter for my second year in a row, and for now I'm still planning a post dedicated entirely to the event, so I won't write more just yet(:

5. Looking way into the future, I just found out that it will be possible for me to go to the next two Ransäterstämmans… stämmorna? Greg has been working on a proposal to host a science meeting in Uppsala in two years from now, which we just found out was accepted! The meeting takes place at the exact time of Ransäter, which is pretty convenient for me!

6. Now it is evening and I picked up some allergy medicine on my way home. I got a pill and a nasal spray. So far I've only tried the pill. We'll see what effect it has. Here's to hoping for positive results.

7. Right now I'm obsessed with this waltz. Why are waltzes just so lovely?!


The End & The Link-Up