|The cats, loving the summer sun on the catproof balcony|
|A portion of our skating school kids, waiting to head out for the show! (My skaters are the ones dressed like hyenas.)|
|Melina and I – an awesome coach and friend who, as this picture shows, always keeps us laughing|
Quite soon after that, Anita and I were off to Tallinn for a weekend. Over the winter, I'd found tickets on the boat roundtrip for the two of us for 800kr (less than $100) on Groupon and grabbed them for us. I then set a Kayak app alert on my phone to monitor for cheap flights because really, one way on the boat is enough for me. So, when one that was within range appeared, we bought those too. This had us departing Stockholm on a Friday evening, arriving in Tallinn at 10am Saturday morning, and then (instead of leaving back on the boat that night), departing Tallinn's airport on Sunday evening. That extra day and night was well worth it. We managed to cram in a bunch -- a night out, video games, and lunch with Eva's parents, which is always something I really enjoy.
|Don't fail to notice the American treat picked up in Stockholm for the Doritos-loving Estonians!|
|Walking around Old Town at night|
|An interesting little section of Tallinn's airport... a library?|
|And then I spotted the explanation -- how awesome!|
And then we boarded my smallest commercial flight thus far. As we walked to the plane, and realized what we were getting into, we started to laugh. Behind us was a still-drunk bachelor party group of Swedes that could barely handle it. I sat in the second to last row at the back of the plane, and this was my view:
No one on board could stop from laughing. I think everyone was nearly in tears by the time the pilot squeezed down the aisle and asked the Swedes to please keep it down, explaining that the ruckus behavior could be bothersome to those around them. Upon hearing that, one of the boys behind us leaned over the seat and asked if we were bothered (being 2 of the 5 people on the plane not involved in their celebrations), to which we replied no way, and to have fun. So they did. It was the usual quick, 45 minute flight -- a little bumpier than normal in the small plane, but made up for it by how silly the whole thing was. I don't think the pilot spoke Swedish (or at least the guys from the bachelor party assumed he didn't) and so there were a lot of very funny jokes echoing throughout the cabin the whole time.
Thankfully, I managed to get a picture of our tiny toy plane as we disembarked in Stockholm. Everyone had one last laugh when the checked luggage cart came around to get the 10 suitcases under the plane and those whose bags were about to be taken off for the luggage carousel inside simply asked, "Can't we just take them ourselves now?" and so they did.
|The lovely Kungsträdgården cherry blossoms and crafts with the kids|
Soon after this trip, life got a bit crazy for a while. Just before that trip, I was hired by a British/South African small business looking for someone to manage everything to do with their online presence, essentially. From website updates, graphic design work to managing their social media outreach, I slowly started to take over from my predecessors. It was quite stressful at times, getting back into the swing of things and as I was doing so all remotely, trying to figure things out for myself rather than bothering my boss with too many questions along the way. It's been 5 months now, the dust has settled, and I am still surprised I managed to land such a great position working for some really awesome people. Most thankful of all (as my similarly-aged expat friends can attest), the pay is in US Dollars and so, even if the Swedish Krona fluctuates (as it has, big time, in the last year), my income is stable in terms of the student loan bills I pay to the US each month (as fun as that is).
This reminds me of another non-travel real life event that happened around that time: my husband and I had to renew our permits to live and work in Sweden for another two years, which we did, and were granted permission to stay. It wasn't expected to go poorly or be rejected, but with somethings so important as getting thrown out of the country, it was a small worry in the back of my mind until complete.
On the day we had to go in to leave our fingerprints and pictures for our renewed IDs, I booked the appointment well ahead of when I had to pickup the youngest of the kids I nanny for (I had no idea how long it could take and pictured an American DMV-style situation). Of course, we arrived a couple minutes early, were seen immediately, and were out of there before our actual booking time even began. So then I had way too much time before getting to work and not quite enough time to go home first. Thankfully, it was a beautiful day out, and so I went and sat at the Karlaplan fountain for an hour or so. While there, I listened to music and having spent enough time that day already on the subway catching up on social media and whatnot on my phone, I was generally bored. A while after being there, some white shirts caught my eye and I looked up to see two, young Mormon missionaries walking around, trying to get someone to talk to them. Knowing they had a 95% chance of being American, I debated waving them over and chatting with them simply for a way to pass time time for a bit... but then I realized I could be getting into a lot more than I wanted if they weren't willing to chat without trying to preach, so I did the Swedish thing and remained completely antisocial.
Okay, I think that's enough for one post – to be continued in the next!