Welcome to my blog!

Here I've written about some of what's happened at this unique folk school in the woods. Thanks for stopping by!


Sat 4 Jun

I wrote the following haiku a couple of weeks ago during a class exercise suggested by my friend Robert. It summarizes the experience of having to move on repeatedly after seemingly brief chapters in our lives, however long they may have been. Well, what is time, but an illusion? Thanks, Robert, for the opportunity to be creative.

Nu har jag kommit
Plötsligt blåser tiden snabbt
Igen jag åker

The journey continues...

Fri 3 Jun

Avslutning speech by Håkan, a short sermon by präst Peter, 2 songs by the choir, church hymn 199, and 2 piano pieces by Sofia (1 of her own and then Summer Day (?) by a Japanese composer. I spent the remaining hour before lunch wrapping things up at Katrinagården. We then had our last meal "together" and said our goodbyes. "That was fast," I admitted.

I'm not fond of big changes, especially those leading to unknowns. After 2 semesters at Geijerskolan, I had become accustomed to my routines and to the relative simplicity of living in a rural area. But just as we must turn the pages of a book to find out what happens next, so must we push ourselves into new situations to discover the further details of our own story.

Thurs 2 Jun

"T-Man goes classic" was the announcement for the lunch musik, 12.40. Guitar instructor Tommy Linell and 3 of his students (Johannes, Lukas and Julius) performed for us 4 classical guitar quartets: La Antika; Reflections; Snowflakes; Filipin.

Wednesday 1st of June

"Geijerstock" — Performances from 1pm all the way to 8, with a break for supper of course. I had lots of work to do so I was unable to attend for more than a few minutes. It was better though to take care of business so I could make my move on time. Also, my friend Alex stopped by and we chatted for a little while. I am very glad I got to see him before leaving Värmland. :)

Tue 31 May

Went to Karlstad to say farewell to Mikael and others at the gaming shop and played 3 rounds of Modern with WG hatebears. A fun evening. It's been a while since I've "lost" myself in something for hours.

Mon 30 May

Last jazz concert with Afro-line ensemble students. Final number featured just about everyone from both bands, plus Carita on piano and Henke singing instead of playing bass (his usual instrument). The song was "How Many Miles." The a capella lyrics with audience clapping offered an even more intimate vibe in the already small classroom 34: "How far do I have to go, to get to you?"

Sat & Sun 28-29 May

I moved hastily down allévägen when suddenly my 07.41 bus from Ransäter to Karlstad escaped like the wind. I paused for a moment (gosh durnit)...then I turned about, walked over to the main building and grabbed a piece of scrap paper from the recycle bin. So I missed my bus—that wasn't stopping me from getting to Oslo. I made this sign and headed south down the road. I trotted about a mile, holding up my sign for oncoming vehicles—of which there were not many (route 62)—when a maroon Volvo wagon came to a stop ahead of me and began to back up just a tad. I ran, got in and met Leo (Lars Eric), a fellow of 79 who had spent a number of years (9 or so) in Thailand. There he had taught English and started a few businesses: a Swedish radio station, a travel agency, and a salon for hairstyling and massage. Leo had the aura of someone half his age and told me he feels like he's "29 plus." :-) His energy and resilience were admirable, for Leo mentioned he had dealt with cancer twice (tumors in kidney and throat), but said "it hasn't got me yet!" He steered the ~16 year old Volvo with his left hand, holding his container of snus in his right. Leo dropped me off in Forshaga along the same road just after he made his turn toward his destination, a rally/race where he would be commentating.

I thanked Leo and continued hiking, displaying my sign with a modest smile to every car I could catch. Traffic had become slightly more dense, making it difficult for someone to stop. Eventually I decided to stay put at the second bus pull-over lane, in or around Kil. It began to drizzle, but I decided not to take out my small umbrella, as I thought it might hinder my appeal. Before too long, and just as the rain stepped it up a notch, a smaller silver sedan halted in the bus lane and honked. I moved quickly and hopped in, saying Hej to Eric, who was on his way to pick up his wife (originally from China by the way). A guy probably in his 50s, Eric had a more stern character; he told me he spent a summer as a young man at the Wolf Point reservation in Montana and visited his brother on a fishing boat off the coast of Alaska. Eric now works as a machine engineer. He said he travels on business rather often and explained one such project where a company had needed a machine to assemble the "bar" around which the chain revolves on a chain saw—a part that appears very simple but which contains bearings, washers, etc.—in only 5 seconds! I was amazed by the thought of this. I thanked Eric for the ride as he dropped me by the bus station. I had arrived in Karlstad at 09.35 with the help of 2 open and generous Swedes. With time to spare, I boarded my train to Oslo at 10.41.

I got to capital of Norway at around 13.30 and took my time walking over to Anker hostel, as the check-in time was not until 15.00. But I arrived early anyway and it didn't seem to matter. They gave me the key card to my room plus linens and I headed up 2 short flights of stairs to the 2nd floor. Yes, the ground floor is zero, which also makes sense. I dumped my rucksack and made my bed. After finding a cafe on Yelp, I took a stroll down Torggata, passing a small food festival on the right, and soon found Fragrance of the Heart, which was next to a department store and overpriced indeed. However, the staff were friendly and helpful. I thought Agnes particularly cute after chatting for a few minutes as they were closing up shop, and she had such a lovely British accent when speaking in English that I swore she was from the UK. The girls sent me home with a piece of blueberry pie which I saved for the returning train ride. On the way back, I surveyed the various food vendors and heard about a couple of other vegetarian options for later. Lunch on Sunday was at Funky Fresh, a cafe inside the DogA building, coincidentally very close to the hostel. The guy who took my order was a tall half Norwegian - half American guy who grew up in Philly. When I asked him whether he preferred Norway to the U.S. he responded "I love it here."

I barely scratched the surface of the city, but it was nice to walk around in an environment different from the one I saw every day. At the hostel by the way, in the 8-bed room in which I stayed (4 bunk beds), I met a guy from Ireland, a girl from New York named Georgia (or was she from Georgia and named...nah), and 2 brothers from France on their way to the Arctic Circle. I turned in rather early Sunday night so I could make my departure at 06.02. The train ride back to Karlstad was interesting. Vagn (car) number 4 was full of Japanese tourists plus a group of 4 from Malaysia who sat on the other side of the aisle from me. Lau, Chan and Ng taught English while Foong's subject was math. They were so friendly. Lau and Chan were incredibly talkative, offering all kinds of tips for my trip to Malaysia. "You live like king," Chan kept saying, while Lau touched on the exchange rate to Norwegian kronor. "10 Malaysian ringet is a whole meal for me," she said, "but in Norway it's 1 pee in the toilet." Behind me sat an older but very kind Japanese woman named Youko, who generously gave me a momento, a set of little happy dolls connected together by strings, which I attached to my rucksack. I felt a bit sad when I had to step off the train as everyone else went on to Stockholm, but was very thankful for the company, conversation, and souvenir. By 11.20 or so, I was back to Geijerskolan, in time for the last 20 minutes of litteratur.

Fri 27 May

Didn't know there would be one more logen fest. I got up on stage as a guest singer for one Beatles tune, "She Loves You." I made a few mistakes, but am doing my best to remember that most likely no one thought it was that big of a deal, if they noticed at all. I must remember successes and forget errors. I'm sure if I had been able to rehearse with the others, more than just the initial "intro" practice session, it would have gone more smoothly. But not a problem. Anyway, thanks to Felicia and the band (Christoffer, Nicklas, Lukas, Måns, and Anton).

Thurs 26 May

Another field trip with the other litteratur students. This time we saw Filipstad, the home of poet and entertainer Nils Ferlin (1898-1961), found his bronze statue and went to the museum, on which the second floor displayed all sorts of pictures, clothing and props of or relating to Nils. We also took a walk over to the monument dedicated to John Ericsson (1803-1889), credited with the invention of the propeller. Then it was back on the bus and over to Karlstad, where poet Gustav Fröding (1860-1911) spent most of his years. The expressive young woman at the museum spoke of Mr. Fröding and read for us several poems.

Wed 25 May

My friend Robert, who assists in a teaching role here at the school, reminded me that today is Ralph Waldo Emerson's birthday (b. 1803, Boston). Robert is a poet and has quoted Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and others during our talks between and after classes.

Tue 24 May

Poetry reading after supper, 7pm. Tova read a few of her poems, and Gedeón one of his. Gedeón also co-read/performed a long piece of writing with one of the students from the Skapaverkstad line (creative workshop).

Unfortunately there were many unfamiliar words (and/or sounds) so I didn't understand much of anything. But the last number was a piece of music that one of the music students had composed "to" one of Tova's poems—a musical interpretation utilizing piano, clarinet, flute and violin—and that I did understand, and really enjoyed. It could have been a track to a film score. I am told it will be performed again next week. I hope so.

Sun 22 May

Back to the gym after two weeks off. It is recommended that one take a 2-week break after every 12 weeks of weight training. Surprisingly, and thankfully, I did not seem to lose any weight during this time. I'm hoping to regain lost weight and return to 90kg. It's challenging as a vegetarian. I'm thinking extra glutamine may be helpful in preventing muscle catabolism.

I had returned from the gym and was eating my yogurt and oatmeal with raspberries when someone walked into the kitchen. I looked up and—lo and behold—it was Rodi! He'd come back! Great to finally see him again. :-)

Sat 21 May

Went to Göteborg (Gothenburg) for part of the day with Rasta Daniel. We met Yolanda, a former Geijer student, and participated in the March Against Monsanto. We sounded off statements like we were a flight marching to the commands of a drill instructor. Common folk took notice. I felt empowered. When we arrived at the square at the end of our route, several people read and spoke of their experiences and of the history of the movement against global control of our food supply. I felt inspired to share a few words and did so.

Yolanda kindly shared her home-made vegan lasagne and hummus sandwiches with us. :)

Wed 18 May

Hit the sauna for the first time in a couple of months. Very relaxing, yet, with my essential spearmint oil, also slightly invigorating. Nice.

Tue 17 May

Rock concert featuring Group 2, plus Behemian Rhapsody at the end with back-up singers. Good piano and guitar playing, respectively, by Markus and Nicklas.

Mon 16 May

Bus ride to Mårbacka, first to church and then to Selma Lagerlöfs former home. She is a well-known Swedish author (1858-1940) who won Sweden's first Nobel prize with her novel Gösta Berlings Saga.

On the way back we stopped at Lovisa's house which is really cozy. The wood stove was cranking! She had made apple crisp, 3 different versions in fact (including GF & LF) for us with vanilla cream (best I've tasted yet). Lovisa is amazing. She has 3 young boys and works multiple jobs, and still had time to prepare a fika treat for 20+ plus people. Stor tack!

This weeks concert came right away, well 8pm, and featured various rejects—I mean very talented folks (haha). A pleasant assortment of tunes, such as "Act of War" (?), Stevie Wonder's "Lonely," "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," "Blue" (Da dada dee dada dum da dada dee dada), and finally "Seasons of Love" (525,600 minutes). :-)

Sun 15 May

Had a late lunch / fika with our teacher Henric and his wife at their house in Ransäter. Red lentils with a curry of veggies and beans with coconut milk of course. For dessert they had made little saffron bullar, on which we put butter and jam. Very nice. Henric and I took a walk down the road. The sun had come out after a cloudy covering around midday. We noticed the many botanical reintroductions. Henric said this time of the year is termed "mellan hägg och syren" (between bird cherry and lilac" as they bloom in succession. When we parted ways it was almost 6. There was an evening service at the church featuring a couple of the students (or maybe they just perform at the school on occasion) so I listened. Jonas (organ/piano) and Tobias (voice) are very skilled. Bravo! Additionally the choir sang, and we all sang a few hymns.

Fri 13 May

Didn't even realize it was Fri the 13th, and a fine day it was. Went to Karlstad directly after lunch to get a haircut. Tried a new place called Elias Salong. Not far from centrum and only 200 kronor. The guy who cut my hair was (is) from Turkey, a personable fellow. Not the absolute best job, but good enough I think. Maybe they're not as skilled when it comes to longer hair. For those wanting a regular men's cut, the price is quite good, as most hair salons in Karlstad want from 320 to 540.

Later, as we had been invited earlier in the week, Jerico Daniel and myself went to our language teacher's house for supper that we all helped to prepare. Another student, Isa (a young guy from Afghanistan who always says "hej" at school), joined us too. I took care of the greek salad and baked eggplant slices. Others prepared roasted root veggies (potato, sweet potato, carrot, red beet, onion) and some chicken and burgers. We heated some halloumi cheese in the oven as well. Daniel made a really tasty pepper cream sauce * which went well with everything.

* Sautéed red bell pepper and yellow onion, feta cheese, a little milk, and 1 hot chili pepper were the ingredients I noted (pureed in food processor).

Wed 11 May

Gospel music concert at Ransäter's church, featuring student choir with solists plus accompanying band (Marcus R. on keys, Josef B. on drums, David on 6-string bass). The sweet Ingela Johansson conducted. Many uplifting songs and voices. Before the concert I felt so-so, but afterward pretty good. When Marcus M. sang In The Ghetto and belted his high note, I got chills.

Tue 10 May

The happenings of this fine day have also escaped my mind.

Mon 9 May

Visited TraffikVerket to find out...gotta start from scratch to get a D/L. The reason must be that the US makes it so damn easy for anyone to get a license that it's practically meaningless to all other countries. C'est la vie!

Later the fotog class went over to a small river in Munkfors for a walk. Some took a dip in the cool water too. No sense in wading in, just gotta dunk your whole person. Easy for me to say; I kept ashore.

Sun 8 May

Is mom's day the same in Sweden?

Fotografi workshop at Staffan's studio in Munkfors. Was introduced to the pin-holed coffee canister (camera)...insert the photosensitive paper (in the darkroom of course!), then reveal the pin-hole (covered with black tape) to take your picture...actually not quite. This first step produced negatives. We made a few outside since there was a good amount of sunshine. For the positives, we employed the light projector (again in the darkroom) with a fresh piece of the photo paper placed underneath the negative. Both the negatives and positives had to developed - yup, the old-fashioned way: 1 minute in the basic solution, 30 sec in the acidic solution, and about 5 minutes in the fixer solution (removes unused photocrystals), then into water to rinse.

Fri 6 May

Amazing weather, like the day previous. Took a walk with Jerico Daniel. Rodi is still absent.
:( Normally he'd be the one to ask us if we'd like to go along. Come back, kompis!

Tue 3 May

All svensk songs concert. One song by Håkan ? sounded a lot like Desperado by The Eagles. Ironically, I heard Johannes and Lukas playing Desperado downstairs the following evening.

Monday 2nd of May

At the end of the day of class, I suddenly felt apart and could help shedding more tears. Twice in 2 weeks. What a mess I've been lately. A mix of grief, sorrow, shame, fear and anxiety. Why must this life be so god-damn hard?

Good though, was that Rasta Daniel moved upstairs to our kitchen (area). Much better than the previous resident (sorry Evelinda). Daniel likes to cook food and stay informed about national and global issues. Glad to be neighbors. Wish the switch had occurred sooner!

Apr-May

Been busy looking into options as the semester comes to a close (already??). Can I stay longer or will I have to return to the US? I wish I knew. Uncertainty is agonizing. And browsing job listings online feels like such a waste of time. I hope the other side is brighter. I try to remind myself all will be well. Allt ska bli bra. (deep breaths)

Sat 30 Apr

Final logen. What the heck, why not. The played out "Don't believe you're just..." by I'm not sure, but did a pretty good job. They must love that song. I didn't stay for too long. It got late quickly and I was trapped in my head anyway. Most folks were drunk and disconnected. I could have been alone on a mountaintop and felt better. lol

Wed 27 Apr

Jazz konsert: Jan #1, Jan #2, och Jansson(?) Incredible musicians! (trumpet, double bass, and guitar/violin, respectively). With slides ( projected images from a laptop) of Swedish jazz musicians, bands and other historical scenes, narrated with the occasional joke (which I did not understand) by Jan #1. I don't typically like this kind of jazz (no tonal center), but some tunes were quite groovy.

25 Apr

Met Björn at Almnäs. Fick en stor ostbit (gruyere). No vegetables grown there though...discrepancy with website?

Mon eve - Sun 24 Apr

Family visited!
We all went to Mora on Tuesday to see the folk high school there, specifically the annex which has an organic farming program.
Mor och moster gave small concert for us in Ljushallen on Thursday. I sang a little too and played guitar for one song. But they surprised me with their cover of "Love" (Lennon & Maisy) which drew out my tears. Such a beautiful song (see the link on the right of this page closer to the top).
Friday we visited Karlstad...ate at Nappoli (så där).
Saturday we went to Sunne...plus loppis!
Finally, on Sunday, we drove to Lidköping to meet a mass of relatives! :)
Thank you for coming, my dear family!

Mon 18 Apr

Another musikcafé after lunch today and Tuesday.

Sun 17 Apr

Great performance of Hair, a play about the hippie era, put on by the theatre group. Lots of silly/funny scenes and lovely music, all in Swedish. I understood a bit more this time, though the nonverbal communication, props and context of each scene were helpful.

Thurs 14 Apr

Musikcafé directly after lunch. See, what did I tell you.

Tue 12 Apr

Something noteworthy happened today but for the life of me I can't remember what.

Mon 11 Apr

Musikcafé! More to come this week and next.

Sat 9 Apr

Went back to Koriander (a bar in Karlstad). Haven't bothered to go anywhere else yet because I like it there. Posh decor, not too loud, and the staff are friendly. More importantly, the patrons are easy to talk to. Maybe it's Sweden! How nice it would be to stick around a bit longer. :)

Fri 8 Apr

2 of the rock bands performed out in Karlstad at Bull Bar. Both played a total of about 16 songs and there were lots of good ones, such as "It's Only Love" (Brian Adams and Tina Turner). Joar has a great voice and one can tell he enjoys himself amongst the crew on stage. His GF Emilia also sings quite well. Additional praise to Henke, who plays bass so well it looks effortless; Patrick, who shredded his Strat to give us a number of impressive solos; and Lukas who finessed his Tele to add licks and solos to the songs his band played. Emil and Stefan handled the sound board, with the house engineer, a British chap, there to back them up.

A enjoyable night out...followed by a silly ride home as Johannes and I did our best Southern hillbillies accent. It all began at Bull Bar when he rattled off the first couple of lines of "Devil Went Down to Georgia." Thanks to Clara as chauffeur.

Thurs 7 Apr

If you've lived in Scandinavia or Europe, or maybe any other continent, you might have had issues trying to order online. In Sweden, one generally cannot purchase goods or services over the internet from a Swedish company with a debit/credit card from a country outside the EU. The only exception so far has been train tickets. But when I've tried to top up mobile phone service or restock nutritional supplements, my cards have been rejected.

I believe the reason is this. There is an additional security measure in the form of a handheld device that takes a short string of numbers and spits out an encrypted code which then must be entered at the time of purchase online to complete the transaction. But this only seems to apply to Swedish accounts, so without a local account, there's no way to utilize this security feature and therefore one cannot finalize payment.

Thankfully, my friend Tova came through and helped me place an order, so shout out to Tova!

Mon 4 Apr

Rock concert in the evening, which coincided with a lecture about integration by Samina, a student here, originally from Pakistan. I opted for the concert, though only about 4 songs out of 15 or 18 were to my liking, 2 of which featured Carita (one of the music teachers) under the name Becka & The Busdrivers. It was so nice to see her perform again, such a great singer!

28 March - 3 April (Påsklov)

Another break in Spring a few weeks after the first one—not bad! Spent some time in Karlstad sprinkled over several days. Attempted to chat with folks in the afternoon. Having a little extra sunlight was a plus. Some were friendly and talkative while others were very shy or even afraid of exchanging a few words with a stranger from elsewhere. A good exercise, in any event.

Sat 26 March

Vi sprang fram en timme (time to reset the clocks again). When are we just going to keep the daylight in the afternoon? I believe that is where most people would like it. How silly it is to keep changing the clocks, making it more difficult for ourselves physically, chemically, psychologically. Not that gaining an hour isn't nice...but I think we can all agree that losing an hour in the fall, as my former coworker Ron Bulanadi likes to say, sucks! :-)

Wed 23 March

Påsk (Easter) lunch, our last actual meal in the cafeteria until after the break, since the long weekend began after Thursday's half day.

Later that evening...Tribute concert to Bowie! RIP you masterful rocker!

Tunes played were:
Ziggy Stardust (John - voice, Johannes - guitar, Alex, Jonathan and )
Ashes to Ashes (Henrik - voice, Nils - piano)
Space Oddity (Philip, Anton, Henke, Josef)
Life on Mars (Lukas - voice and piano, Anton, et al.)

Some inconsistencies compared to the recordings—for example, no piano at the very end of Life on Mars—and some hiccups in the live sound, but nonetheless fun to sing along.

Tue 22 March

Skaparverksta kafé. Students from the creative workshop presented songs/jams such as: a collaboration of almost all of them with Joel on accordion plus a rap (nice one, Joel!)...Dylan's "Ain't No Use Wonderin' Why" (one my favorites) sung by Malin with Pernilla on acoustic...a Swedish punk song played by Dag (vocals too)...plus poetry by Sara and Katrina...and last but so amazing, a group chant (Om) - magical, wow, the layers of 70+ voices in ljushallen was so brilliant, I wish I could have captured it!

Thurs 17 March

Pianokonsert :-) with the following performers:
Daniel "tickled the ivories" to offer his own (inspired) piece
Wietse (piano) played "River Flows in You," Chopin's Prelude in C-minor, a Bach Solfegietto, and Beethoven's "Für Elise."
Ludvig (piano) provided his own "Klarälven," Frahm's You + Me, and Beethoven's Sonata in G-major (Safs 2?).
Inger played Rachmaninov's Vokalise on flute, accompanied by piano.
And Sanna blew us away, at least she did me, with Medelssohn's Rondo Capriccioso (Op. 14?). Wow, Sanna!

Thurs 10 March

Trip to Karlstad for the day. They rented a bus for a bunch of us to go to the university's open house. Some students from Geijer went to promote, some went to investigate options for later on. Tried to find Ren but it was a wild goose chase...oops! As usual could have spent more time, though stayed a little longer and took VT (public trans) home, back just in time for sup.

Tuesday 8 March

Erik Bergqvist and former Geijerskolan teacher Urban Nilsson put a nice little performance. Sounded a little like America, but with 2 guitarists and vocals. Really nice voice from Erik, who played acoustic guitar. Urban finessed the Telecaster to add tasty licks to the songs—great facial expressions too! A pleasure to have them visit us! Thanks, guys!

Mon 29 Feb (It's a LEAP /\ YEAR!) — Sun 6 Mar

Off to Stockholm for sportlovet to visit my dear cousins again. =)

Got a tip about Örtagubben from a little shop at T-Centralen. Then made it to A&S's place. Astrid was home so we hung out for a little while. When Stefan returned we had supper. Then I met up with Gede from skolan and we checked out Fotografiska (ett museum). The name of the featured utställning (exhibit) was Imagine: Created Reality by Swedish artist Erik Johansson who layers photographs digitally to give us photo-realistic representations of fantastic situations.

Went shopping (searching) for some things. Struck out at first, but then found Örtagubben. Cool little store with hälsoprodukter (foods, vitamins, essential oils, etc). Smelled nice too...it just "made scents" to be there. I met a psychic too. Not as in predicting the future, but rather special sensory perception. Right when we met, he said he could tell that I'm very sensitive...could be a cold read, but then he told me sketching was something I'd be doing. Interesting because I like to design logos. Well we exchanged contact info and met for coffee on Sunday and we talked for quite a while. He had told me to write down questions to bring. Then he was surprised I actually did. I wondered about what on earth to do about a job/career and about the mysteries of love. In sharing his perspectives and a couple of tips, I felt much clearer. He also mentioned things about friends I had as a lad, and about my parents. Whether or not you believe in extra senses doesn't really matter. I had made an awesome new friend.

...

Sun 28 Feb

Another fabulous clear day. Thank you! Walked stora blodis (big loop ~ 1 hr).

Also, happy b-day, Jiasie. ;)

Sat 27 Feb

We were lucky (and happy) to have several sunny days this week. Today was unbelievably gorgeous. Thank you Mother Nature!

Wed 24 Feb

Språkträff in the morning from 10:30 until noon. This was a series of group activities to which everyone was invited. We were split into 4 clusters and rotated between classrooms to take part in simple but fun exercises. From a couple of short party games in the beginning, on to litteratur (Världen är...adjektiv), art/collage, and finally a geography quiz. Many students participated and it was a nice diversion from sitting in a classroom. For the literature exercise (The world is...), my partner and I chose "vacker" (beautiful) for our adjective. But one group had pessimistically written "bajshög" (pile of shit). The teacher then changed "The world is" to "I am." Whoops!

Tue 23 Feb

This tuesday there was another musik café, this time thanks to the theatre group. Here was the line-up.
1. Evalina sang "Du Vad Måla Hage"
2. Magda - "Gimmie gimmie" (she must have musical parents because this was quite good)
3. Kristin - "Sing Songbird Sing" ?
4. Klara? - "Nothing"
5. Cornelia - unknown monologue
6. Tim - "Martin Gale" ?
7. Johan - some svensk show tune
8. Nellie - "Just Around the Corner" from The Adams Family
9. Tim - svensk monologue (extremely good; Tim is a gifted actor/performer)
10. Martin - "Holdin' on for Tonight" ?
11. ? - "Don't Rain on My Parade"

Mon 22 Feb

Started meditating for 20 min with Robin—a litteratur student, discoverer of truth, and justice activist—a couple of times each week. Bachsalen, one of the buildings here which has a library downstairs and wood-floored practice space upstairs is such a great place to get away from the mind's insanity.

Sun 21 Feb

Took a stroll with Rodi, Tova and "Jerico" Daniel around the loop (lilla blodis) but made a detour at the entrance road to the camping ground. Tova left us, perhaps rightly so. We walked down the hill and amused ourselves with post-hopping, snow scupture, etc. Here's a phallus of ice that Daniel started and I refined. Well, boys will be boys! Felt good to play around with my buddies.

Wed 17 Feb

As I was walking to dinner I saw "Rasta" Daniel coming back already. "Supper wasn't that good?" I asked. He replied, "Nah, I just don't have the patience to sit there and be social all the time." Amen brother! Neither do I!

Tue 16 Feb

Musik café later on after the last meal of the day. Lots of nice music, great listening. * I really enjoyed...
The Bob Dylan song Lukas played (piano/voice)
The 2 very advanced piano pieces the eastern european woman knocked out of the park
Sindi's own groovy Svensk acoustic rock song (Johannes on guitar) som heter "Spränga taket med karisma."
Jesper on piano with Inger on flute (his own transcription)
"Never Grow Up" played and sung by Nils (piano) by ???
"Se tu m'ami," the Italian aria that Ella sang (as she held her stomach lol) wasn't bad either.
The first performance btw was Joline, sung by Sindi also with Johannes on guitar, which triggered a memory from when I was about 3 or 4 years old.
The last song was played by a group of folks (keyboard, guitars, drums, vocals) and had upbeat feel, e.g. "It's alright, it's okay, we all feel the same...every day." I think it's called "In the Sun." Not sure of the original artist.

Mon 15 Feb

Bright sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. So great! Later on after supper, Robin, Rodi, and myself watched an old (2005) but interesting TED talk about the predictability of the leaps in technology. Then we tried a few charades with some feeling & need cards (2 different categories). Finally, Rodi made a silly joke casually that I did not know was an example of a "Russian Reversal." See Wikipedia for a thorough explanation, but basically you switch subject and object and begin with "In Soviet Russia..."

In Soviet Russia, cars drive you.
or
In Soviet Russia, vodka drinks you.

Then Rodi took it a step further with...

In Soviet Sweden, snus snusar you.

I cracked up laughing!

Sat 13 Feb

Today, after a walk with comrades on a partly cloudy but still sunny and beautiful day, I began Level 3 of the Rosetta. Feels good to have come this far. New words include the verbs to throw, catch, jump, and climb. I'm so grateful to have this incredible learning tool!

Thurs 11 Feb

The students in the "Afro line" keep on keepin' on (in their study of jazz). This evening, they put on another little concert for us, similar to the one last semester. Singers Magdalena and Rebecca both represented their groups very well. In addition, pinao-man Markus lent a hand (pun intended) on the keys to back up group A. Rebecca played keyboard for her groups last number, an instrumental. There were some issues with the mix in the beginning, and it's interesting that the live sound engineering student has the board off to the side, as opposed to behind the audience (in front of the sound source), but I think the point of the concert was simply an opportunity for the Afro students to show us what they've been working so hard on.

Wed 10 Feb

Wherever I go there I am. That is to say, it's not so much where I'm situated, but what I'm doing to keep myself healthy and happy. Since I haven't had access to an aikido dojo, I've had to revisit other forms of exercise. In the fall, when it was warmer, I would go running. Then it got colder so I started working out twice a week at the little gym. Getting back in shape is always a great feeling, and helps improve my self-image. I look forward to continuing my weight training and approaching my previous measurements from when completed Anthony Ellis's 12-week gaining mass program several years ago.

Fri 5 Feb

Went for a hike with Robin, Rodi, and Tova uppför backen (up the hill) to utsikttornet (the look-out tower). This time there was a bit of snow and ice. As you know, with steep, slippery terrain, it's trickier on the way down. Sure enough I misjudged a foothold and ended up like a supine beetle lol. The views from the tower were worth it though. Also, we didn't know that Robin held the power of levitation.

Then later, coming back from Karlstad, I got off the bus and as I went to cross the street, stepped on a smooth patch of ice hidden underneath a thin layer of freshly fallen snow, the fluffy kind, and fell flat on my back, eyes to the sky, like I had just been taken out by a sniper.

So I slipped and fell twice today! Whoohoo! For anyone who fell only once, I got ya beat! haha

Thurs 4 Feb

Gravitation, a 6-styck Swedish band from another remote folkhögskola outside of Göteborg, visited us and rocked the house. The 4 girls and 2 guys sang and played guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, and trumpet. The songs covered were mostly jazz-rock. The drummer blew me away, displaying such impressive rhythmic diversity. For the most part, I couldn't help but "groove to the music." Thanks guys for coming all the way to Geijerskolan to play for us. What a treat!

Wed 3 Feb

First rock konsert of the term. Each of the 5 (or 6?) bands played 3 songs each. It still seems the most polished singers are Sabina and Joar. Though to be fair, the sound heard by the audience also depends on mic handling/placement, and, more importantly, mixing, which was lagging at times during the show. In any case, thanks everyone for getting up there and doing your best!

Tue 2 Feb

Have felt better than average last few days; more energy and excitement for dreams and activities. Been going to the gym fairly regularly, twice per week, to pick things up and put them down. Surely it's helped. I think I've had a boost in testosterone too...

Sat 30 Jan

Had a little day adventyr in Karlstad with Rodi and Tova. Rodi shopped for a new pair of boots and we then made our way via bus to Lamberget, a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurang. The green curry was several notches up from Spicy Hot (where we ate the last time). Don't eat there. It wasn't Pepper Sky (Pearl Street, Camb, MA), but the lady did bring us a bunch of fresh Thai basil—granted, after I had pointed out that there was virtually none in the curry—so that made the meal a bit more authentic.

Then we took the bus back to centrum and switched to another one which brought us to Bergvik so we could complete our food shopping. Are you sensing a theme here? Oink oink oink. :P

Fri 22 Jan

Made a delicious curry with Scott's homemade garam masala (thanks, Scott!) and invited a few folks (Gedeón and Josef B) to our kitchen to share the goodness. Red quinoa went with it. Since I didn't have any tamarind paste, I squeezed a little lemon juice onto the quinoa before adding the curry on top...worked pretty well!

Thurs 21 Jan

Special guest after supper! Ismael Ataria is a poet and comedian from Värmland, and paid a visit to little Geijerskolan to entertain the Swedes. I unfortunately could not understand anything; maybe I'm not cut out for this language. :P But Ismael (real name Anders) had a great stage presence and from the laughs I could tell that folks enjoyed the show. :)

Mon 18 Jan

Gris Måndag - Henke (bass) and another guy (guitar) played some groovy improv jazz; Marcus provided us with "Portrait of Tracy" on bass, with emphasis on "harmonics," and sounded cool; the other Marcus (piano) and David (bass) whipped up some catchy jazz too; Johan massaged the piano to give us a pretty new age piece, perhaps one of his own, with pauses and eventual progression; last but not least, Rodi read another great poem he had written. Tack på alla dem!

Sat 16 Jan

Pre-release for Oath at Coolcard in Karlstad. I didn't think I got much out of the packs I opened (2 BFZ & 4 OGW), but I put together the best deck I could. To my surprise, I went 3-1-1 and snuck into the top 8. Then my deck helped carry me to the finals, where I lost game 3 against David (grattis, David). Such an awesome time! Look forward to playing more Limited soon!

Friday 15 Jan

Took a walk with Rodi and Tova down to the bridge and up the other side. It was another gorgeous day. As we stood in front of the sun—well who's to say where the front is, but anyway—to absorb some light energy, I did a back stretch and took this photo upside down. The white bulbs in the tree look like flowers, but of course they're clumps of snow. Nice mix of blue sky, light brown branches, and green needles. Then before heading back, we trotted around a neighborhood "block" and found a friendly winter horse. How nice! His buddy was apparently in the middle of a meal.

Haha, check out the statue of Erik Geijer just outside the main building. It looks as though 1) He's receiving a hug from the side by a snow spirit...OR...2) He's dressed up as a diva, wearing a large, puffy, white shawl.

Wed 6 Jan

Went for an unplanned walk down the road with some of the others. My toes nearly froze as I hadn't donned the proper footwear, but I revived them with a massage by the element (radiator) hah-ho!

Some pics from our "promenade" here, here, and here.

Mon 4 Jan

Tillbaka till skolan! Classes resumed with the start of the "Spring" semester, aka Vårtermin.

Friday the 1st of January 2016

We received an additional blanket of snow during the night. Here and here you can see outside my window the bright white powder beneath the gray sky...wait!...well, it's always sunny, but today the clouds were in the way!

Thurs 31 Dec

Who knew they'd shoot off fyrverkerierna in little ol' Ransäter? Awesome! Let's see if I can post a video clip...

Also here's a cool piece of art I found in Karlstad yesterday. See the title too, which is shockingly original!

Saw this in Skövde at a tea/coffee shop. Collaboration?

Wed 30 Dec

Played in a draft (3 rounds) followed by Modern (4 rounds). I hadn't drafted since Dragons so had some catching up to do. Then, Mikael very kindly let me borrow a pretty competitive Modern deck (Junk). It was my first time piloting the deck and second time playing Modern. Fun times!

Wed 23 Dec - Tue 29 Dec

Visited relatives in Tidaholm. Took the train to Skövde where I met Lennart (Karin was at home). He showed me his workplace and we grabbed a few groceries before fetching Daniel and then heading back to Fröjered (north Tidahom) where they live. There, I met Daniel's sisters, Sara and Linnea, for the first time. At around 7pm (if I recall correctly), we climbed into the Volvo wagon and headed over to a local church for a lovely concert featuring several singers—at least one of whom played guitar—a keyboardist, a violinist, and a bassist. Great music, what a treat. I snagged a copy of the set list so you can see the songs they played. Koppången is very pretty, and you can check out Kalle Moreaeus playing the tune flawlessly on the fiddle, with the other instruments joining him about half way in.

The next day was julafton, or xmas eve. Here's a view of their decorated spruce. The 24th is the day on which an early supper or lunch is served. This is the day of celebration. Later in the evening, dinner in more like a snack. However, we ate much more than we needed to every single day. Breakfast, fika, lunch with dessert, fika, and dinner also with dessert. I was never hungry. It's amazing that folks don't balloon out of control like we do in the U.S. I suppose people here are a little more active, and the food not as unhealthy...not sure.

On Saturday, Linnea's pojkvän Per arrived, and we began getting into the table top games (Splendor, Avalon, and Settlers), but eating no less. Nils, Karin's father, paid us a visit Sunday, along with Elsa, so we had the pleasure of their company. At 88 and 92, respectively, they seem quite healthy. Here's one with just the three of us.

Then on Monday, Lennart took me to see Almnäs Bruk, which unfortunately was closed. I managed to get a shot of this old yellow house though, and some pics of Sweden's second largest lake, Vättern. Afterward we caught up with the others at Berit & Alf's in Mofalla for fika (killer mandelmasskaka!) and supper. By the way, here's an example of some outdoor lights. At their house, I was introduced to two of their (adult) kids, Thomas and Susanne. Susanne has a little girl, Jasmine. I also met the other Karin (Karin, Berit and Astrid's sister in law) and her two boys, Erik and Oskar.

The train ride home seemed very fast. Once back in Karlstad, I stopped by a local shop and met a few new folks. Coincidentally, a draft was planned for the next morning. As I made my way over to the bus station, I discovered that it's (either is or was) more cost-effective to get a 1-day ticket (to/from Karlstad or around Värmland) than it is for one single ride to Karlstad or back. So I purchased a 1-day ticket and used it to return to Ransäter. Then I used the same ticket to go to Karlstad and back the next day for the draft and Modern events. So "George got a deal." I didn't do that well in either of the tournaments, but still had a lot of fun.

Sat 19 Dec

Vilken härlig dag! What a day! Rodi and I took the bus to Karlstad to get Thai food. The curry I had was in fact below average, but I was really hungry so it wasn't a huge deal. Then we met Emily B and her friend Lola(?) at Wayne's Coffee which I swear is owned by Starbucks because it's almost an exact replica, but with a nicer interior; even the font looks the same. In any case, after we said goodbye and god jul to Emily, we headed west, by foot and by the #1 bus over to Bergvik where Ikea is located. I decided to shop for a better stol for my skrivbord (desk chair). Just after we walked through the doors, they announced that Ikea would be closing in 5 minutes. We raced through the Ikea maze and found the office department. We quickly found chairs we liked (Rodi also) and made our way to checkout. We may or may not have circled around once or twice. I picked up an LED bulb for mitt rum too, the kind that illuminates instantaneously. It uses 8.6 watts and produces at least as much light as a 60 watt incandescent bulb. It will supposedly last for 25,000 hours, probably about 20 years. Not bad for 59 kronor ($7.25).

After the speedy purchase there, we went over to Coop for a few groceries. We didn't have enough time to return to the bus station to catch our 19:25 bus back home so we decided to catch the 21:25 bus and take our time. We then schlepped our office chairs (2 boxes of parts to assemble of course) along with our bags of mat (food) out of the shopping center, through the giant parking lot and over to the bus stop. We got back to the bus station with time to spare. There was only one little set back...there was no 21:25 bus. OOPS! The next one wasn't until almost half midnight. So we hung out, snacked, cracked jokes, and chatted with a young man from Afghanistan who was only 16 but appeared to be in his early twenties. He had only just arrived in the country 5 weeks ago and hardly spoke any Swedish. He had to wait until the morning to catch his bus to Filipstad so we offered him an apelsin and some root vegetable chips.

We got home and Rodi invited "Tiger" to come over to get the items Rodi had bought for him. They chatted for a while and when Tiger left, we began trading charades about the idiosyncratic mannerisms of some of the other students. Rodi I found out is very observant and totally nailed the mimicking of the behaviors of some of the characters here at Geijerskolan. I was laughing so hard my abs began to hurt! So hilarious!! Such an awesome day!

Oh yeah, and here's a bar in Karlstad that welcomes East Coast sports fans! Hey nowwwww!

Fri 18 Dec

Leftovers from the julbord became a delicious breakfast. I spent the morning tidying up our kitchen and bathrooms, and taking out the recycling (my group's week to do the chores). Then I wasn't sure how to proceed. There was no lunch or supper because the cafeteria staff went home early for the holidays. I think they definitely deserved it. So I did what any sensible person would do...I took a nap!

Later that evening we had one last movie night, or "film tajm," with our buddy Christian. The movie, "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close," was one of Casey's Picks and it was a hit...well, I liked it haha. I think Christian, Rodi, and Jerrico Daniel did too.

Thurs 17 Dec

julbord = xmas supper
risgrynsgröt = unsweetened rice pudding
pepparkakshus = ginger bread house

After lunch, I played another long game of schack with Gedeon. He had my king but let him slip away. Then around 5:20 we all gathered in ljushallen for the evening's julbord. There were new potatoes, Brussels, creamy hashed potatoes, some sort of egg and cream soufflé, minced beet salad, deviled eggs, and a nice danish cheese to go on sweet bread (or melt on the potatoes).

There were several songs performed during and after supper and as we were enjoying our sweets. Sofia played a new age piano piece; Nellie sang a popular xmas song accompanied by Inga, the name of which I've forgotten; Tim and Carolina sang a duet; Sabina sang a pretty Swedish tune, backed by Hanna, Emilia, Henke, and Josef; Tobias sang 2 opera style songs with excellence; and the Geijer choir provided us with Chestnuts Roasting, a pretty Norwegian song, and a few other numbers.

For dessert we had risgrynsgröt to which I added honey and cinnamon, cookies (gingerbread as well as thin "fried dough" style cookies molded into a hollow and very detailed star shape), and rocky road with peanuts. Som vanlig (as usual) of course, I gorged myself. Oh, also they announced the winners of the pepparkakshus contest. The green kitchen took first place with their wonderfully adorned 2-story building including yards, signs and characters. Well done.

Once everyone finished up singing there was a 10 minute break and then the dancing began. Håkan led the "train" through the halls and into the theater room. There we formed two circles (we tried one large one but we were too many to spread out while still holding hands). With one ring inside the other, we rotated our "wheels" in opposite directions, skipping-stopping- skipping-stopping, making silly movements, turning ourselves around while clapping, as a band played and Magdalena and Rebekka sang and directed the each dance.

There was a 15 minute break and then we (many of us) went over to "mysig" Bachsalen for singing of folk songs and hymns upstairs. Fruit was offered from a long bowl. Elinor opened the music with a song on guitar, then Karinna(?) played piano and sang, and the masterful Raghild accompanied the rest of us. There was a great fire going to keep us toasty and the priest/chaplain conducted a short holiday service, what a nice guy.

Finally Rodi, Gedeon and myself ended up hanging out with Jerrico Daniel in his room for a little while, listening to some Latin America music before we called it a night.

Tues 15 Dec

Musical theater performance here at school. It was a medley of skits from various musicals, namely Aquarius and Grease. My fav was definitely "Summer Nights," as I really like that song and the male characters made it funny with their sexual hip thrusts. I was also impressed by "Pianoman" Markus and his buddy who sight-read music and played keyboard for most of the scenes.

Thurs 10 Dec

Lucia- and adventskonsert (see program page 1 and page 2). First half consisted of pieces sung by the Geijerskolan choir. Fika in between. For the second half, some members were swapped out/in and the new group wore white gowns and green wreathed halos, and held white candles. One of them had a four-candel crown instead of the wreath... she represented Lucia. They concluded of course with Santa Lucia as they walked down from the platform and into the aisle where they finished singing.

Mon 7 Dec

Acustiskrock konsert. Four or so bands played 2 songs each. All pretty good, but Jesper (the other Jesper) provided us with a REALLY nice guitar solo during the first song, which if I recall correctly was sung by Sabina. Thanks y'all. Oh plus that same mocha cake we had at the beginning of the semester was offered again, along with its friend, coconut cake. Both were so delicious. I'm glad I don't know what's in them.

Thurs 3 Dec

3 choral songs were sung by Jesper, Alexandre, and Ilian immediately after supper. A little while later, at 18:30, there was a piano concert. About 10 or so students performed. Several Bach pieces, Debussy (1st Arabesque and Clair de Lune!), Favorite Things, and a march with 4 hands; some lesser known but decent tunes as well.

Tisdag 1 December

Musik Café kl. 19:00 Henrik sang Sam Smith's popular song "Not the only one," Kip & Sindi sang "Stay" plus Kip played guitar and sang Justin Bieber's "Home to Mamma," Lukas played/sang a nice country(ish) tune, Nils of course played piano and sang (not sure the name), Emily B sang Neil Young's "Hey hey my my" with Alex and Simon on guitar and piano respectively, and a handful of members from the Geijerskolan choir performed a lovely Beatles medley.

Sunday 29 Nov

Advents service at the kyrka at the end of the driveway. The choir sung and the leader/director played organ. My thanks to Jonas and the choir members for their performances.

Saturday 28 Nov

Schuackturnering at 16:00. The winners in no particular order were: Maamoon, Johannes, who set up the tournament, and myself. Tack, Johannes!
...Then shared a late dinner/snack with Gedeón, Cornelia, Cornelia's syster, Stefan (birthday boy haha), Lisa, och Astrid. Had potatis gratin and black bean bullar (balls). Alldeles gott!

Monday 23 Nov

Here's a pic of allévägen in November, sides dusted with snow.

For some neat close-ups of naturally forming ice crystals on the ground, look here and here.

Thursday 19 Nov

Had our first snow fall of...autumn...not winter yet, but beginning to feel like it!

Tuesday 17 Nov

Hand painted my jeans to add a little style. See here for a visual.

Saturday 14 Nov

After lunch there was a concert (unusual for a Saturday). Magdalena and friend sang "What Happened to Class" from the musical Chicago; Henrik sang REM's "Everybody Hurts," backed by Raphael on guitar; Anton and another guy shredded some jazz tunes for us; and Sabina shared her beautiful voice with us again (original song?). Nice!

Also figured out the answer to the "12 Pills" logic puzzle (below) with a little encouragement from dorm neighbor Tova, who's super smart and also figured this one out. Thanks to Jesper for sharing it with us.

Tuesday 10 Nov

Gris Tisdag (Pig Tuesday) was like an open mic night where anyone could go up and sing/play/read/speak. The music was, as usual, pretty good. Nils hit another one out of the park; Marlin and Agnes sang another duet, backed by Johannes on guitar; Rodi read a nice, long poem he wrote; and I recited a hefty quote by Rainer Rilke.

Fall vacation break 26 Oct - 1 Nov

Went to Stockholm (train rides were fairly quick) to meet some distant cousins for the first time! They were so kind...so welcoming, helpful, and generous. Thanks you guys! I look forward to going back. :)

Monday 19 Oct

Detective mystery night, which was rather intriguing, was hosted by Jesper, who presented us with several "riddles" to solve. We were only allowed to ask yes or no questions. I gave the group one to chew on as well (The 3 Switches). Jesper eventually figured it out.

1. A woman fires her rifle...seconds later she realizes she's made a terrible mistake...minutes later she's dead. What happened?

2. A man is taking a train home. If smoking would have been forbidden (impossible), he would be dead. Why?

3. Two people are buried in a coffin, but only one name is on the tombstone. What happened?

4. You have 8 pills. All are poisonous, except for one, which is slightly heavier than the rest. You can detect this only with your mechanical balance. How can you determine which pill is safe with just 2 comparisons.

5. You have 12 pills. All are poisonous, except for one, which has a slightly different weight, but identical of course in all other respects —size, shape, color, smell, etc. With only 3 weighings on the balance, how can you determine the safe pill?

5. Also see the Monty Hall problem (aka a car and 2 goats).

Take another look at the picture of allévägen from September and then check out allévägen in October so you can get an idea of the transition through the seasons.

Wednesday 14 Oct

We had our first major frost — see here and here. In the evening, there was the second concert of the week! First year rock students (in several bands) performed for the rest of us. I liked Hanna's group the most. But here's Alex, who played his Strat so smoothly and effortlessly that it seemed as though all he had to do was look at the guitar and it practically played itself!

Two of the bands will go on tour next week to play in Göteborg, Uppsala, and also Motala I think. May they have a good one!

Monday 12 Oct

Concert in the lighthall with music students not studying rock. Great variety of tunes. Sindi sang "Someone Like You" by Adele and sounded just like her; Henrik sang "Clocks" by Coldplay (big up to my homie); the 4Js (John, Jesper, ...?) performed a killer a capella tune; "British" Emily sang her soft rendition of "All Along the Watchtower"; Agnes and Malin sang some nice Svensk tunes backed by guitar and drums that hit the nail on the head; last but not least, Emily F. sang "Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps." Thanks everyone!

Friday 9 Oct

Party games in the eve (pin mustache on the Mexican, limbo, pass the lemon, musical chairs). Each kitchen was supposed to have a different theme, but really only Blue Kitchen participated (Los Gringos). Night ended with rotary ping-pong.

Wednesday 7 Oct

After supper, at 1900, we took part in some theatre games, e.g. the hungry hydra and charades (slogging over/through, place/work/weapon and imitating perceived feelings). We began with lying meditation; ended with massage. Thanks, Tori and Cornelia!

Monday 5 Oct

Yet another student concert, this time with students in the "Afro line." The genre was jazz, some African-American I believe. Three ensembles performed, two with vocalists and one without. Songs included (Beginning To See) The Light and Ain't Misbehavin'.

Saturday 3 Oct

födelsedag = birthday

Today was our dorm mate Evelinda's birthday, and she invited us to enjoy a little cake with her. Cheers, Evelinda! Glad födelsedag!

Evelinda often makes large scones which taste quite good.

Friday 2 October

Nearly all of us students went to Hembygdsgården for Logenfest. Hembygdsgården is a large estate with at least one large log cabin for gigs and parties. Three bands performed, with disco songs and other pop music played before, after, and in between sets. A few people had put together pretty decent costumes in line with the event's theme.

Wednesday 30 Sept

The second student concert was held this evening, which comprised approx. 10 performances. How fun it was to hear them! They have such good voices and playing ability! I really admire their willingness to go up in front of a crowd and let it out. I wish I had pictures or audio to share.

Tuesday 29 Sept

A surprise 20 min "lunch" concert was announced, which wrapped up our eating fast! I don't know her name, but I think she was one of the students. She dazzled us with pieces by Bach, Chopin, and Rachmaninov. Bravo!

Thursday 24 Sept

Immediately following lunch, while we were finishing our weekly dessert - and maybe going back for more :P - there was a short (but sweet) performance in the lighthall by Jesper, Alexander and Ilian (left to right). Three voices, no accompaniment; very pretty.

Wednesday 23 Sept

Hit the sauna again, and afterward Rodi and I enjoyed the young coconuts we had picked up in Karlstad. They turned out to be delicious - fresh coconut water with plenty of soft coconut meat too. Jackpot!

Monday 21 Sept

Our SAS/SFI class went to Munkfors to see the museum, old firehouse and old steel mill. Munkfors is a town located ~10 minutes away by car and used to have a hand in the steel industry. My phone's batt. became incapacitated so I don't have any images of the inside of the factory (it was rather dark inside anyway), but here's one of the low yet powerful waterfall nearby.

Friday 18 Sept

Immediately after we inhaled lunch, we took a cruise to Karlstad to shop. Our comrade who drove had to take care of an errand first, so while we were waiting, a couple of us went for a walk. I snapped a few pics of some interesting 'shrooms.

The debris catcher
Puff ball unknown
Stump shells
Golden pancake - Paxillus involutus?
Amanita muscaria - poisonous, except to plumbers.

Wednesday 16 Sept

bastu = sauna

Today I had my first exam, which was tough, but I got through it! Thanks to Sara for going over it with me and answering my many questions.

Later in the evening, after we went for a walk around the "block" adjacent to Geijerskolan, I went with Rodi to basta. The sauna was quite varm, 68 C to be exact (154 F). Come to think of it that temp might be average, however, it did get pretty intense each time Rodi poured water over one of the furnaces (there are 2); then there would be a blast of heat, especially as it rose to the top bench where I was seated. For a moment there were 8 of us in the sauna, but only 4 of them (Rodi, "Jerico" Daniel, Anton, and Karin) are the hardcore "cult steamers."

I am told it is not uncommon i Sverige for folks to go back and forth between extremes, i.e. the sauna and, say, lying down in the grass, or better yet, dunking oneself in an ice cold lake!

Monday 14 Sept

The walks are very pleasant around Ransäter, as you might imagine. Efter middag, we (Rodi, Gedeon, "Rasta" Daniel, Tova, and myself) took a walk "around the block" of land abutting the campus to the left.

Tres amigos

Thursday 10 Sept

Today was "friluftsdag" (or field day) and we literally danced on the field. Instead of the normal day of classes, we had a special activity from 9 to 12. First we were divided into groups and taught our routine by the dance students. Then we had a fika break and after that began the sequence for the video shoot. One by one the groups (1-6) came out onto the field when it was their time and began their routine while the music played over the PA system. There were about 6 takes, with different camera distances and angles and having the singer (and co-writer of the song) dancing up on a picnic table. It was lots of fun in the sun, and of course a little exercise. Here's the finished product. When we were finished it was almost time for lunch and since it was Thursday, dessert was served too. A tasty vegetable soup with bread and cheese, followed by "cottage cheese cake" with whipped cream and jam. Is it any wonder I was compelled to overindulge?

Monday 7 Sept

Another great day of challenging classes. In "litteratur" we were (re)introduced to poetry. Btw, our teacher doesn't speak to us in English so I really have to pay attention! Anyway, if you thought poetry was difficult, imagine trying to compose a poem in a language you don't know! At least they weren't required to be long, and he played classical music and provided us with little simple pictures, respectively, for inspiration. Here's my silly haiku:

Jag sitter i fred (fem vokaler)
lyss på härlig musiken (sju)
den ord fly från mig (fem)

And here's my uber-simple "fri dikt" (free form poem):

Det padda, svart och vit
Vilar under en hängande blad
Var han kommer gå från hit
Eller hur mycket tid har passerat
Vi vet inte, men hans ögon
Avslöjar en stillhet som
Lyser hans mörka miljö

Later on after middag, Rodi (who speaks English very well and challenges me to learn more Swedish) invited me and two other comrades for a walk. We walked down the road, said hello to the cows, fed some of them grass, and headed back a different route where I saw the nearby river up close.

Later on, at 8pm, one of the music teachers (the same woman who played organ on the first night here) performed in solo on piano. The stageroom is adjacent to the light hall. Here are the pieces she played.

Friday 4 September

allé = tree-lined road

Played piano in one of the practice rooms after breakfast; then cleaned/ organized my room. After having lunch, I took a walk around Geijerskolan, snapped a few fotos, then continued studying Swedish. At 21:30 I went downstairs to play “table tennis” with some other folks. After that, we went to another house where many students were gathered to unwind. I came back to the "blue kitchen" to “hang out”, eat a midnight snack, and listen to comrades play guitar, before collapsing into bed.

Here are some photos of the campus:
Outside main building
Beautiful sky through "sunglass" filter
Central lawn and some of the houses
View of the allé which connects the campus to the public road

"It's always sunny at Geijerskolan!" haha

Free-day 28 August

schack = chess

Went for a hike efter frukost: across the road, over the decomposing branches and needles (logging had taken place), through the forest, and up to the look-out tower, then continued on until we reached a road. We walked along the road and then met up with the path on which we trekked initially. After lunch, I took the bus to Munkfors to pick up my Ikea box at the Coop Konsum; also got EVOO, butter and milk. I ran into Rebekka (nice surprise!) who was headed back to Geijerskolan so she offered me a ride.

I returned to my room, unpacked the boxed items and made up my bed with the sheet, comforter and pillow (see pics below). I studied for a little while then went to supper. After the meal, we (about 12 of us) played “21” on a short, bent basketball hoop. Eventually we gave up because there were so many people playing and none of us was making a lot of shots. Then went to hang out at another dorm with some of the others and found Gedeon there. We played a long game of schack (pr. huack) as folks chilled out, listened to music and played other games in the kitchen. Ours was really a draw, but I won the endgame after he traded queens (RvB).

The weekend was pretty easygoing. We baked homemade pizza Saturday evening. Then Sunday evening I went for a run up the road and almost died from the strong fumes of manure! I sprinted of course on the way back.

Here are a few photos if you want to see what my room looks like:
Through doorway from kitchen
Bed from inside room
The desk
Sink and part of storage cabinet

Thursday 27 August

gift = married / poison (hahaha)

Thursday), my Svenska classes began! All but two of them are conducted by Sara, who I met today. She is so great; helpful and easygoing, yet always prompting us in Swedish. By the way, we heard the word "sambo," which means living together but not married.

This night's activity was a sort of "quiz" involving music trivia, physical ability, and cooperative nonverbal problem solving. We were divided into groups of approx. 9 studenter and "competed" against each other, but with lots of applause and support for one another. While it may simply be the folk school environment, my impression is that everyone here is respected and encouraged as human beings, as opposed to the USofA where people are too often stepped on or disposed of. I told Rebekka how I appreciated her staying late to help run the activities.

Wednesday 26 August

fika = snack break

After breakfast, I began using Rosetta Stone Swedish, knowing I need to work quickly so I can start to understand the professors and communicate with my peers. Following lunch we had some fire safety training which consisted of a long lecture (again all in Swedish spoken at a fast pace) with slides, outside demonstrations (see example video below), and opportunities to extinguish real fires! After each student put out a fire, the lead fireman would say "bra!" Sounded strange but what kind, professional guy!

Here's what happens to an aerosol can when you have it near (or in) the fire?
Thanks to my classmate Moumen Almasri for posting this.

Then we took a tour of nearby Erlandergården (childhood home and museum of Tage Erlander, social democrat and prime minister of Sweden from 1946-1969), and then visited the home of Erik Geijer (an artist, philosopher, and "influential advocate of liberalism" from the late 18th century). I could understand practically nothing but that's alright.

When we returned it was time for supper and then later there was yet another concert, this time comprised of student performances, all cover songs I think. The Swedes are like machines, very talented! Everyone was excellent and the they sang in English brilliantly. They had practiced the last semester or two, but still. Great song picks too — classic rock, recent alternative, contemporary pop, and even a Swedish "barbershop" tune (a cappella trio) as well as an instrumental on bagpipes. Afterward, fika as usual, with really tasty - but probably unhealthy - mocha cake.

Tuesday 25 August

Tuesday, a cozy bus took us to the theatre which was a HUGE barn converted into a performance venue with an upstairs café and hidden dining hall downstairs. There were at least 2 other groups of students, maybe from other schools, also in attendance. The show was excellent (all in Swedish of course). It had been a long time since I had seen a play, but the music, acting, and dancing were great. During the intermission, one of the main characters — a tall man with a gray beard dressed in white who I'd met before the show — came up to me and said "You're not understanding shit, are you?" "No I'm not," I replied honestly..."but I've really enjoyed it so far."

Later on at half 7, after we had returned and had dinner, a group of professors gave another concert in the "lighthall," adjacent to the cafeteria, this time with guitar, fiddle, drums, bass, piano and singing, plus poetry. Blues, jazz, very nice!

There are many musicians here, in fact most of the students either play an instrument or sing. The SAS (Svenska som andra språk) class has only about ten students, including myself.

Moon-day 24 August

I arrive at Geijerskolan later than planned, but just in time for middag (supper). A couple of other students (Philip and Anton) help me with my luggage and we find Rebekka (the teacher/administrator I had been in contact with). Then later some professors put on a little concert across the street at the church (an organist/pianist and 2 vocalists, all women and all excellent!).

Sun-day 23 August

I just jumped. I packed my parachute—hopefully I did a good job so it opens—but I don't know where I'm going to land exactly. I feel a mixture of neglect/nostalgia, free-falling detachment, and vague anticipation. I land in the woods the following afternoon.

(Fl 634 Boston to Reykjavik...Fl 384 Reykjavik to Goteborg)

"Life is so short. Thank you for this time in Sweden."


Profile

Name: Casey Geist

From: Boston, MA, USA

Occupation: student at folk high school (until June 3rd)

Subject: Swedish as a second language

Interests: nutrition and health, natural/organic food, aikido, games, music, piano and guitar, social and environmental justice

Equipment: MacBook; Takamine EG522C

Favorite musicians: Pink Floyd, Santana, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, Shania Twain, old Aerosmith, 'course Boston, Scorpions, Def Leppard, Van Halen, Heart, Kansas, Toto, Paul Simon, Curtis Mayfield, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Sublime, Redman, Mos Def, The Roots, Deep Forest, Aphex Twin, Bonobo, Thievery Corporation, Thomas Newman, Tommy Emmanuel, Andreas Vollenweider, Fryderyk Chopin, Scott Joplin, Koji Kondo, Mutt Lange.




Links

Lennon & Maisy's cover of "That's What's Up" by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Way better imho than the original, but in a sense a collaboration.

Music video for "Love" featuring Lennon & Maisy - I can't find the words to explain my appreciation for this song. It almost makes me cry. Composed in part by Roman Carmezind (I think) from The Hitmill in Switzerland.

Geijerskolans performance of "Happy" (2014) Makes me want to get up and start dancing too!

20 Ways to Boost Your Energy sans Caffeine

What do I buy organic and what's okay to buy non-organic? Here's a colorful guide that will help you decide.

If you eat food, you ought to read this.

World's Healthiest Foods, an informative website (and foundation) exploring various natural foods and their benefits, including many great articles and tips.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique and how does one use it? Find out here with Gary Craig's excellent tutorial.

Hexaflexagons (likely to blow your mind)

This is pretty funny.

My list of (pop) music production ideas:
page 1 and page 2

My audio portfolio




Message me here to say hey or report a dead link!






"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson