2010.01.03 - Back in Sweden

Sweden Diary - January 3rd 2010

Back home ...

On December 27th we returned to Sweden after nearly 3 years in South Korea. It was a date long awaited by the both of us. Paula was looking forward to the cold temperatures and I was dreading the same!

We had returned to Ulsan on the evening of the 25th and on the 26th we had to drive to the airport in Busan to get a health certificate for our cat Peo. We had received different information regarding the necessity of this certificate, but we'd rather be on the safe side, so we had decided to go for it. It took a while to explain what we wanted and needed to the veterinarian but in the end we succeeded. We got exactly what we paid for ... a certificate - not a check! The only time they saw Peo was when they checked the microchip! Anyway - the parents left a little more assured that they had all the papers they needed!

In the evening we were invited over to Jamie and Colin's for Colin's birthday. This was going to be the last time for a while that we were going be together with them - can't believe that it was actually our time to say goodbye, after having seen so many good friends leave us over the last three years! But ... J&C have decided to come see us in Sweden in February, so it was more of an auf wiedersehen than a goodbye.

Colin still in the working clothes ... it's very important that he can be seen inside the office !!

Jamie making the final touches to the birthday cake

Happy Birthday to you .... Happy Birthday to you ....

Happy Birthday dear Colin ....

Weird Singaporean custom - instead of giving presents they gift wrap the birthday'er !!!

... and themselves !

JENGA !!!!!

Steady now ....

And this is our last (and lasting) impression of Jamie and Colin!!!

Need I say that the food was spectacular and the company of the same caliber?!?!

The flight back to normality happened in three stages. First there was the short flight up to Seoul and the inconvenient change of airport. It's only about 40 minutes in the bus but still a hassle because we have to check in once more and wait two to three hours in the airport for departure. And the airport isn't all that exciting ... Peo behaved really well on this stretch even though she was a little scared. Paula also did unexpectedly well - she was maybe even more nervous than Peo!

Peo was a real superstar at the airport!

Traveling in style.

While we were waiting in Incheon airport (Seoul) it started to snow. Paula said that this was the best farewell present Korea could give her. I think she might have changed her mind later when we were one hour delayed due to the de-icing of the plane!

Incheon airport dressed in white.

The second stage from Seoul to Frankfurt felt really long. It's only a 11 or 12 hours but with the cat to worry about it felt twice that. And with the extra hour de-icing the wings .... Again Peo behaved like a lady. She only had to go to the bathroom once ! Frankfurt was the place where we had to present the import papers for Peo, so we were basically running through the airport to avoid losing our connection in case there should be any complications in the customs. There wasn't .... They had a quick look at her papers and let us through. It took less than 2 minutes! I like to think that it was because we had prepared ourselves so well. The other way of looking at it is that we had just wasted months of worries and investigations!!!

Last stretch went like a breeze and when we touched ground in Copenhagen we had been on our way almost 24 hours. We grabbed a cab home - too tired to worry about the cost (how far do you get for 100 British pounds in a taxi in Korea!?). How good to finally walk through the door and be at home. With our "baby"!!

We hadn't been home for very long before we received a phone call from my parents, asking if they could come see us. What a nice surprise !!! (well, we had tried to persuade them for weeks, but had given up on the idea at this point). Our apartment had been standing empty for a while but was furnished and ready to move into. There was even room for visitors, if these visitors didn't have too high expectations!

We had at this point already had a few trips to the local supermarkets - the shock was profound !!! I guess Korea wasn't all that expensive after all!

On Tuesday we all drove up to Kullaberg, about one hour north of Malmö. Kullaberg is a national park and a bit of an appetizer for what the northwest has to offer. It's a great place to scubadive and I have been on many summer trips there. But this day it was bitterly cold - icy and windy. We managed a short walk, after which we were all ready for a nice hot tea and a lunch!

Mölle behind the falling snow.

Mölle as seen from Kullaberg

Warm and ready for lunch.

Wednesday my parents accompanied us first to Möllatorget to buy some cheap vegetables (still in the freezing cold) and then to Ikea and Ilva to shop for some new furniture. We were on the hunt for a new sofa and dining table. My parents are not impulsive in their shopping manner (and neither am I), so they were very surprised when we managed to buy both in one day! It wasn't all bliss - for that Paula and I have too different taste - but after a bit of haggling we managed to buy things that we both liked. We even managed to rent a trailer, drive the goods home, return the trailer and arm the sofa before ending a very long day with a game of hearts! If we don't give the jet lag the time of day, maybe it wont waste time on us either!

My mom and dad in our new sofa.

Outside our apartment

Thursday morning we got the table up and standing in time for breakfast. We had planned to leave for Copenhagen with my parents, as we were invited for a New Years party at my cousin's place, but Paula wasn't feeling too hot, so we had to cancel. Rhis is normal New Years routine for us ... Over half our New Years Eves together have been spent caring for some kind of illness or ill-being! Paula was in bed by 11 and I celebrated the entry of 2010 in the company of Peo, the TV and a cup of tea! Some party!

Friday and Saturday was spent cleaning up in the basement. We have soooo many things coming from Korea that we don't know what to do with them. So first we have to make sure that all unnecessary things here are out of the way. All this messing around in old stuff has set off my allergy and left me sleeping pretty short hours. But it has to be done.

We have had time to see some of our friends also. Ana Ruth makes her daily rounds here, as she is always in the neighborhood. Together we went to Shirley's jewelery shop. She has had it for over a year now, but this was the first time that we have seen it. It was really nice - all the designs and work is done by herself. You can check out her web site here.

Shirley, Paula and Ana Ruth in Shirleys shop.

Today we hooked up with Sean and Heini for lunch at our house. It was good to see them again and to see that their family soon will be 50% bigger!!! Ana Ruth also came around to chat with Paula (and me), but I was busy sorting out this web site. Google has decided to change the hosting of the page, so now it's all in a mess! It will take me a few weeks to set things straight again.... one change rarely comes alone .... tomorrow is my first day at my new work place (same company, different job).

Winter scenery from Malmö

Heini and Sean for lunch on Sunday.