Challenges

This year is coming to an end … twelve days left now. This WordPress challenge was a great idea and it has meant a lot on many levels. I’ve connected with people I wouldn’t have met without it. It’s been tough, at times, to come up with topics, hence there have been many crappy posts here.

As I’ve written about before here, December 31st will be my last post in this blog. January 1 I’ll go back to Blogger and my newly set up blog Colder Weather. I will not take part in Post-a-Day 2012. I will go on posting the same way as I’ve done here, but without the pressure of posting once a day.

I will probably lose readers, and that’s sad, but I really like it over there.

This post is inspired by Marge, over at Inside Out Café. She wrote today about a few other challenges that are out there, and a few more appear in the comments section. There’s a lot of fun stuff to take part in if you’re up for it.

The year before this WP-challenge, I took part in Photo-a-Day, and failed miserably … twice, even, so I doubt I’ll do any challenge at all next year. I’ll just keep purring along to the beat of my own drum.

A friend back home has started to take daily walks around town …basically to feel better, I think. Anyway, he sent me those lovely pictures of my town and I’m sharing them here with his permission.

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Where Streets have no Name

namnlosagrand

No, this is not about the U2 song. This is a street sign in my hometown of Härnösand, Sweden.

NAMELESS ALLEY.

I honestly have no idea about the history behind this choice of name but at least it’s kind of … original.

Namnlösa Gränd is in an area that actually was saved from the tearing-down mania that seemed to rage  through Sweden, and probably other countries in Europe during the 60’s.

One little part of our beautiful town was saved. Many other parts, that I do remember, were torn down to make place for rather dull, stereotyped buildings. Even the old hotel, which was really beautiful.

I left Härnösand a little more than six years ago, and before I left I didn’t own a digital camera. Besides, I didn’t have any great interest in photography. We did get a digital camera at work, which I borrowed a few times and shot pictures of my cat.

Now … with my newly won interest for photography, and also because I’m not there anymore … I often think of all the buildings and streets I would have loved to shoot.

The other day, I heard that U2 song, which led me to think about Namnlösa Gränd. I googled it but didn’t get any good hits – I’m not really sure if it is an official street name that is approved by the city council but that doesn’t really matter. It has been there for as long as I can remember.

Got this bright idea, that I could ask my friend, Elisabeth, who now is on my Facebook list, to go there and shoot a picture of the sign and the little alley itself. Elisabeth is a friend, with whom I’ve sort of renewed contact with … her being on Facebook has made my whole FB experience much more positive. I wasn’t much into it before.

She didn’t even know about Namnlösa Gränd, so this was a win-win situation LOL. Now she knows and I got the pictures!

 

namnlosagrand2

 

This whole area where this alley is located, is called Östanbäcken. It’s a small area, with a few, likewise small, streets in it. As I google it right now, I’m surprised that not more is written online about it because it’s of great, historic interest.

These old, wooden houses, date back to  after 1727. That was the year when a big fire devastated the city. One of the streets … Telegraph Alley can actually be found in an old map from 1699.

This area is in the very center of town, and it’s a quite amazing feeling to just walk around a corner from the busy street life in town, and enter Östanbäcken … you feel like you’re taken aback to a different world … a different life.

The name … Östanbäcken would translate to Easterbrook. There’s a subterranean brook in Härnösand, hence the name … it’s located east of this brook.

 

 

1:st of Advent

Härnösands Domkyrka

This is the Sunday, when the churches in — otherwise very secularized — Sweden, are filled to the last seat! It’s become a tradition, I think, moreso than a religious/spiritual experience. I’m waiting for Swedish television to put out the broadcast from my own church back home in Härnösand. It has undergone a total renovation and today’s the ‘grand opening’, which was being aired on national TV. Not in real time, though.

Most people will light the first of four candles this morning. After the service, they will most likely have coffee and saffron buns. There are certain candle holders for this. I don’t have one here, but I made one in Photoshop back in 2006.

 

 

If you were to drive around in residential areas in Sweden today, there wouldn’t be many windows without a star hanging there … like this [not my photo]!

Personally, I think that people just like this feeling of recognition … it’s always been this way, the same psalms in the church that we know by heart … and so on. I know people who openly state that they don’t believe in anything at all, but still …. they do these decorations, and many of them probably go to church … and that is alright too!

 

 

old mill

this is a picture of where my Mom was born.  My grandpa had this mill. My mother had one brother … my uncle Arne … and four half siblings. She would have had one more brother, but he drowned in that stream. He was three.

I don’t know for how long they lived there. I do know that they moved a couple of times, but I have no idea where, when or how.

This is why I wish I could persuade all young people to pay attention and remember what the older people in their family are telling them because there will come a day when they’ll be interested … even though they don’t believe it! In my case, it’s too late — no one left to ask.

The church in this village is right behind this place. I walked around on the cemetary, looked at my grandparents’ grave, where also my uncle rests. There were so many names on tomb stones that I recognized vaguely, but couldn’t remember the stories … because I never paid attention.

The day was overcast and totally calm. We went down to the lake, below the church, where I learned to swim … remembered how they used to scare me for dragonflies [for some reason that’s beyond me]. They said that they could get in to your ears! Silly things they used to tell kids back then — I still feel a little uncomfortable around dragonflies.

it’s intriguing…

 

While I was travelling now, for four weeks, I often thought of all these people who have to travel! In their jobs! All around the world, all the time … some of them I’m sure have close to two hundred days of travelling a year!

Sure, they must get used to it and not become totally exhausted like I do, but still?! On top of it all, they have to be really fit and spruced up the morning after, in order to make some speech, fix huge server networks or whatever — they must be really alert!

I had deliberately chosen this flight via Iceland, in order both to avoid the hustle and bustle of the world’s major airports AND to hopefully get a glimpse of Iceland [which I did], but I was still extremely tired. I’d seen to that I wouldn’t have to RUN to any connecting flight, which I’ve done before … I want plenty of time to hang around and do some people-watching.  Either way, I hope all these work travelling people of the world have their blood pressure checked regularly! 🙂

The picture today is just a little lake, outside of my home town … out in the middle of nowhere. There, it was peaceful — a «deafening silence», to use an oxymoron, and the lake was like a mirror. All the time I was there, the weather was really co-operating! Only one night there was this rain storm, but that was at night and didn’t affect me in any way.

In blogs to come, I guess there will be little snippets from this trip, as I’m slowly digesting it.

 

My Apologies

To those of you who have subscribed to this blog: I’m sorry! 😮 Last night, I imported the other blog to this, so that I’d have all posts in the WP-challenge in one place. This meant that I filled up your mail boxes with 100+ emails. Didn’t think of that, but there was no other way to do it. The night before, when I attempted to do the same thing, all the hundred posts went to Twitter in one fell swoop …. people must have thought I was an imbecile *hanging head in shame*.

I walked uptown yesterday again … two days in a row now. It feels funny to say ‘uptown’ because in my case it’s downhill all the way, but here in Saint John the downtown area is referred to as ‘uptown’. There’s even a big sign across the street, where it says «Welcome to Uptown Saint John».

Turned a book back in, and picked up a new. Both of them being Nicholas Sparks novels. I was thinking to myself, that perhaps I should take something else in order to make the Nicholas Sparks novels last longer so to speak. Told my friend and librarian, Gerda in Holland, about that later online, and she gave me two excellent links with «if you like Nicholas Sparks you might also like ……..» Extremely cool! I saw several right away that looked tempting.

I’ve written about reading books before in my blog, but I’ll say it again: I read basically for some sort of entertainment … to fall asleep easier, escape from reality or whatever. I don’t want it to be too depressing or heavy. Guess I’ve found my favorite author all time.  He makes me want to go and see the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s funny, nowadays, when you can find your favourite author, for example, on both Twitter and Facebook.

After the library visit, I went and had a Frapuccino at Starbucks. It’s always fun to do some people watching, and it was during lunch hour, so there were lots of people … some really important-looking and full of themselves … others more laid-back.

It’s a foggy morning and it’s supposed to rain, both today and tomorrow. I’d been planning to go out and take some pictures today, but I think the rain is imminent   Just realized it’s May 4th and that means that it has been seven years already since I left my native Sweden. I remember the day very well … how scared I was to miss my connecting flight at LHR, because my flight from Stockholm was delayed. Had to run like a maniac through LHR, thankfully it was the same terminal. And how the lady in the Immigrations at Dorval Airport, Montreal [now Trudeau], asked me where I was going and I said Lac-Beauport. The thing was I pronounced it Lake Beauport, she corrected me and pronounced it the French way and said «well … this was your first French lesson» 😳

Bluetooth ~ Blåtand ~ Names

These two guys have nothing to do with this post 🙂

Harald Blåtand [Bluetooth in English] was a medieval, Danish king. He also gave name to the bluetooth technology when two guys at Ericsson developed it.

In Sweden, they had funnier family names in old times, like Blåtand, Ladulås [meaning barn pad-lock!] and so on.

At some point it changed and they went for patronyms. If a guy named Karl got a son, the son’s name became Karlsson [Karl’s son]. This is deeply rooted and has been going on for such a long time that now, about every third Swede has a name ending with -son. Sweden has close to 10 million citizens, so it’s a small country. According to Statistics Sweden  there were 261,922 Johansson on 31st of December 2009. Johansson is supposedly the most common name in Sweden. Imagine all the others … Andersson, Karlsson, Svensson and so on. I’ve heard that Maria is the most common girls name so for a girl named Maria Johansson it would be difficult to stick out from the crowd 🙂 Edit: It isn’t Maria — it’s Alice

Many people try to be a little different, so they spell it with one S … I’ve even seen extremes like Johanzon.

In older times it was the rule that a daughter got the name Karlsdotter but that isn’t common now and the names don’t change anymore when a child is born. If the couple isn’t married, the child gets the mother’s family name unless the couple don’t do anything about it.

It’s rather easy to change name but there are certain rules and regulations around that. That wasn’t the case in the early 1900’s apparently because in that case my father’s name would have been Solomonson. That wasn’t the case, but I won’t go into that here.

If you have a -son name like for example Johansson you can apply for a change. Most commonly the whole family change at the same time, but not necessarily… you can do it all by yourself. You can go for a name that has been in the family recently — for example your grandma’s maiden name or so. Had I wanted to change my family name, I could have gone for my great grandma’s name Hoeckert. That’s very unusual, but now I live in North America and my son-name isn’t all that common … me and Scarlett LOL. OR you can make up a brand new name for yourself!  They even help you with it, if you can’t dream up something, but then you have to go to Swedish Patent & Registration Office. If you like eagles and water you could perhaps go for Örnsjö — Eagle Lake! If it’s available, that is.