As if there is only a month left is 2017?! Seriously, where has November gone?
Let’s take a look.
Throughout the month of November, our building was under construction as they were doing something to the water pipes in the kitchen (don’t ask, that’s all I know). To prepare for this, at the end of October, we had to move almost everything from the kitchen and cover the floors, fridge and doorway with plastic. We were prepared for epic destruction and a dustpocalypse.
But it never came.
Turns out, the pipes were closer to the unit next door so they had to do next to no work in our unit. On the one hand, this was great because our lives weren’t impacted too much. But, on the other hand, it was super annoying because we moved everything and had to wash dishes in a bucket.
It was still a disruption, just not one of epic proportions.
Thankfully, today is the last day and our lives will be back to normal! No more bucket sink.
You know you’re an adult when you’re excited about doing the dishes.
This month I graduated from the A1-1 class to A1-2. I know guys, break out the champagne.
It’s been eight weeks since I started taking Swedish lessons and in that time I’ve definitely noticed an improvement in my knowledge and comprehension. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m still very confused and apologising all the time, but I have been able to fumble my way through an interaction or two.
The highlight so far has been when I was able to understand when the grocery store cashier asked me if I wanted a bag. Granted, my brain realised what she was saying as I was in the process of apologising and switching to English, but the point is that I understood at some point.
It’s all about the little wins!
One of the biggest highlights this month was getting back into yoga.
I’ve been practising yoga on and off for several years now. It’s an activity I really enjoy and have missed a lot since we moved abroad.
As the days started to get shorter I found my body began to crave yoga more and more. I just wanted to move!
Unfortunately, joining a studio here in Stockholm is quite an expensive commitment and one I just couldn’t justify on my budding entrepreneurs’ salary.
Thankfully, through the wonderful Slow Travels Stockholm blog, I was introduced to a studio that offers a program where you can exchange your time for classes.
I couldn’t sign-up fast enough.
In late-October I learned I’d been accepted (hooray!) and had my training shift just a short few days later. Since then, I’ve been volunteering three hours a week (there’s a minimum commitment of nine three-hour shifts over three months) and averaging about two classes a week.
To say it’s been fantastic is an understatement. Everyone I’ve met through the studio has been amazing, and the classes are great. I leave each one feeling strong, refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Distance Travelled: 0km
Let’s just go ahead and use the same old map as last month, shall we?
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Follow my adventures in real time on Instagram: @PetiteAdventures.
What I Read
Last spring, I suffered the unexpected loss of my beloved KOBO e-reader. It came as quite the shock when one day, out of nowhere, I couldn’t upload books to it. Try as I might, I just couldn’t fix it. So, I did what any non-tech-savvy person would do: I put it down and hoped it would miraculously fix itself.
Shocking to no one, that didn’t fix the problem. So, I said goodbye and have been mourning the loss ever since.
Not having an e-reader wasn’t an issue when I lived in Leeds because I had access to a library and could satiate my bookworm-ways with paperback novels. Such is not the case here in Stockholm.
There is a library about a five-minute walk from our flat, and I’m pretty sure it has English books, the only problem is I’m not allowed to join. After nearly three months of living in Stockholm, I still don’t have my personal number, which is the golden ticket for accessing services like the library, the gym, any store membership program… It’s pretty obnoxious and impacted my ability to read a lot for those first two months.
*Cut to Kate, standing outside the window staring longingly and awkwardly at the books*
That is until now.
After an embarrassingly long period of trial and error, I finally figured out how to download ebooks from the library onto my dinosaur of an iPhone4 (yes, they do still exist) so I could read via the Overdrive app (also available for iPad).
It’s been magical, and thanks to my 30-minute commute to and from town, I’ve been able to make up for lost reading time.
I wanted to ease myself back into reading with a book I knew I’d like, so I turned to Liane Moriarty. I’ve read several of her books (Big Little Lies, The Husband’s Secret, Truly Madly Guilty, and other gems) and they didn’t disappoint. They are easy to read, entertaining and they always just suck me right in.
And, What Alice Forgot was no exception.
One Friday afternoon, Alice wakes up on the floor of her usual spinning class with no recollection of how she got there, or the last ten years of her life. The book follows Alice as she tries to figure out what has happened and just what happened to make her life change so drastically from what she last remembered.
I really enjoyed this book and could barely put it down. I just had to know what happened!
Perhaps it was life imitating art, but TWICE while reading this book I managed to bump my head. Once was on the corner of our medicine cabinet door which left a small but very painful lump. I’m not sure if these blows to the head helped me relate to the character more, but it happened and since this is my blog, I’m sharing.
Today Will Be Different follows a day in the life of Eleanor Flood, an artist-turned-stay-at-home mom who just wants to make it through the day in one piece. But, when she starts to believe that her husband is cheating, she sets out on a wild chase to uncover the truth.
I absolutely loved Where’d You Go, Bernadette, so I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, Today Will Be Different fell short, way short. Mid-way through the book, I found myself thinking What is the point, which is the kiss of death for a book. I stuck it out, but incredibly disappointed, especially with the ending.
A young woman’s fate hinges on a small decision she makes at the end of the night, after meeting up with an old flame. The book plays out in concurrent storylines, where protagonist Hannah lives out the aftermath of each choice raising questions about fate, true love and destiny.
This book sucked me in with it’s comparisons to the 1990s Gwyneth Paltrow film Sliding Doors (if you haven’t seen it, go watch it!). I love the idea of seeing how one small decision can have such an impact, setting you on completely different paths.
Unfortunately, I didn’t like this book as much as I wanted to. The main character was charming at first, but over the course of the novel, she became quite obnoxious, unbelievable and pious. It became harder and harder to root for her happy ending with each page turned. The end also wasn’t what I was hoping for, leaving me with a few questions and feeling unsatisfied.
Scrappy Little Nobody is a collection of essays written by Academy Award-nominated actress Anna Kendrick, you may know her from Up in the Air and the Pitch Perfect series. The book follows her rise to fame – from Broadway child star to struggling actress to Academy Award nominee.
Scrappy Little Nobody was an interesting read that pulled back the veil on celebrity life – it’s not all champagne, glamour and Louboutins!
Overall, I enjoyed this book.
If you’re a fan of Gilmore Girls you’re probably going to like this book. As I read it, I couldn’t help but feel like I was out for coffee, chatting away with Lorelei Gilmore herself.
Talking As Fast As I Can is another collection of essays from an actress (this didn’t happen on purpose, they just happened to both be available at the same time, I swear), this time TV veteran Lauren Graham. Best known for her roles on Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, Graham shares stories from her childhood, her days as a struggling actress, right through to when she was filming last fall’s reboot of the Gilmore Girls.
I didn’t mind this book. At times, I felt it might have glossed over some of the details (can one person really be that nice and happy and love everyone?!). But what it lacked in salacious gossip, it totally made up for in well-written stories and insightful observations about life, love and working as a woman in Hollywood.
There’s a lot to look forward to this month as December is full of family visits, Christmas Markets and my first trip to Norway! Lots of festive fun, which I am very excited about.
Around The Web
In addition to writing Petite Adventures, I also share my knowledge, wisdom, experiences, tips and tricks with readers in other corners of the internet. Here are a few of my favourites from the last few weeks:
Eight Days, Four Cities, One Carry-On
In March 2016, I travelled through four cities in eight days, carrying everything I needed in a 25L bag. It wasn’t easy, but by following four strategies I was able to make the most out of just a little bit of space.
To Learn Swedish Or Not To Learn Swedish
In the first few weeks that I lived in Stockholm, I started every conversation the same way: with a perplexed look while uttering the phrase I’m sorry, I don’t speak Swedish.
From sales clerks to receptionists, I have apologized to pretty much everyone in the city.
After my one-millionth apology in a three-week span (a record for even the most apologetic of Canadians), I sat down and asked myself the question any newbie in Sweden will inevitably ask themselves: To learn Swedish or not to learn Swedish?
Kate Slean: Freelance Writer & Graphic Designer
Yes, this is 100% a shameless plug and I regret nothing!
Are you looking to add fresh and exciting content to your blog or website? I can help. Visit kateslean.com to learn more about my experience and the services I offer.
That’s it for me.
Tell me, what do you have planned for December?
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