Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sweden Vs. Brazil

On Wednesday I watched my first match of the Swedish National team play, but from outside of the country, since moving back from Stockholm. I had friends with me, which was great, but it wasn't the same as being in a bar full of Svenskar full of "Heja Sverige!" Of course, this wouldn't be the same but it was still great to be able to see a match, thanks in large part to it being Spring Break and the time difference not being an eternal drag for us footballers over here.

The match itself was anything but boring and for the most part, Sweden rose to the challenge, save for one ugly moment where my hometown club's new goalie performed an egregious error. Here, is a clip of the play, but here he responds to this critics:

I was proud of the way Sweden played, stepping up their game to take on a team that dominates just about everybody they play. Mellberg, Ljungberg and Rosenberg looks solid but I think the stand out performance may have been that of Sebastian Larsson who has recently taken on duty with the national side and served up several tasty crosses from the corner that provided true scoring opportunities had they been finished better. This is to say that Sweden did not look like the weaker side, defending well against Brazil's one-on-one play style and shut down their joga bonita passing game. Isaksson flat-out robbed Gilberto from point-blank range, proving who the number one goalie should be, especially after Shabaan made such a silly mistake. He now has to go out and prove himself at Hammarby and I can't wait to see what he does. The Allsvenskan seasons kicks off this weekend.

In other football news, the US dominated a Polish side that has shown itself to be very strong in the European qualifications. 3-0 not only shows a good attacking side but solid defense and that's exactly what we want as we go into the Olympic qualifications and World Cup preliminaries in the near future. Here's the write up. Here are the three goals on video should you so desire to see them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Last Days in Stockholm

These past few weeks since I returned have been a blur and have provided little time to think, let alone post on my blog. There was so much to say before I left and only more since then. I have found myself in a pretty good place since I arrived back in the States, comforted for the time being, if not completely comfortable, having found myself in yet another life much like the one I left behind last summer but new in very good ways. I feel like a different Pete than the one I was. Even my old haunts feel strangely unfamiliar but this is perhaps for the best. I wanted change when I left and I happy to have found it back here where I find myself again. I feel invigorated in my job search, with a few healthy leads, and happily subbing in my old school district and a familiar district that I subbed in before I officially started my career as a teacher. Before I move further into the future, I would like to share a bit about my last few days of Stockholm, checking the past before venturing forward into the semi-known unknown.

The week before I left I visited my dad's hometown Norrköping where I regrouped with cousins, which was a good experience after having my immediate family lessened by one. Here I am with my dad's cousin Eivor and her daughter Lena (my cousin) and her husband Kennet. My cousin and her husband are both teachers, in adult education for autistics and gymnasium-level science, respectively. Although we didn't have much shop talk this time, it felt good to see education in the family. Incidentally, Eivor served in the local school cafeteria and is a proud Social Democrat, too!

Here's another photo with me and the cousins, taken by Kennet:

I also had a fun time hanging out with Lena's son Robert and his friends, eating tapas and attending the aforementioned Kent concert. Robert's a pretty interesting guy. He's backpacked Nepal and India and stayed on a kibbutz in Israel and traveled South Africa. I am currently helping him (with his English) apply for a Doctors Without Borders to serve as an ambulance driver, which is what he does in Sweden. He also teaches emergency care and CPR at Linköping University and has been a course leader in Manchester, England. His sister Maria works as a geologist in Göteborg (Gothenburg) and was recently working on a deep tunnel project to build new train lines in Stockholm.

Here's shot of the main square downtown Norrköping, opposite the train station (jarnstation):

The week after my weekend in Norrköping was my last in Stockholm and at Viktor Rydbergs Gymnasium. I've put in a few miscellaneous photos below of my classes and co-workers. I only wish I'd gotten some action shots of our last football match, which left me limping and with a lumpy shin still to this day.

My students in small-group discussions:

Some of the most fun and sharp classes I have ever taught:

My American co-worker Howard (to the right) and Paul, my replacement chilling over a cup of tea in the teachers' kitchen:

Two shots of colleagues at work: first Richard and Alexandra and then Jeanette and Howard:

Here are some shots of the school: the wing (flygen) to the right was the gymnasium's, the administrative building, and the head building in which our offices and some classrooms were located:

Finally, here is the tower where poet and school namesake Viktor Rydberg wrote his works (or at least some of them):

The Friday before I left I got to see one of the best little-known acts of Sweden, Love Is All. Read about them here. Listen to them here. See them there:

The very next day, Saturday the 23rd of January, I attended my cousin Helena's son's Christening (dopp). Here is Eugene (grandpa/morfar), Helena (mother/mor), the new little one, Ian (the dad/far) and morbro/uncle Henryk:

At the same event I saw my cousin Philip, his wife Annette and their daughter:

That same evening I had an avslutningsfest (going away party). Here are Jenny and Frida getting goofy and trying to avoid the camera lens:

Richard in the guise of his transvestite compatriot Dame Edna:

Åsa, Jonas and Frida at the party:

A haggard-looking Howard, ready for the sporlov (Sports Break):

Frida, Christian, and Richard at the Ljunggrens after the party:

Richard, myself and Frida at Ljunggrens after the party:

My last day in Stockholm, I saw my former roommates Mehdi and Carlos, from Paris and Peru, respectively. On the way I saw this protest on the platan in Sergelstorg, which is where most public demonstrations take place. This particular one was unclear to me. I can't identify the flag in the background. Anybody have any ideas?:

On the way to my former roommates I traveled via my former T-bana station Västraskogen (Western Forrest), which has the deepest escalator in the city and looks like a space ship:

Lena and Lars Åkerberg, my cousins who I ate a tastey meal of one kile of muscles the night before I left:

Finally: when I left Stockholm, it looks like this outside:

However, the morning after I arrived in Chicago, it looked like this:

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Kent, Norrköping

Kent rocking Norrköping's Himmelstlunds Idrotts Plats (sports hall). Kent is a Swedish band that sings in Swedish (as opposed to the hundreds who sing in English) and reminds me a bit of Radiohead and a bit of The Smashing Pumpkins. But rather than listen to my blather, listen to them.