2018 recap (part 2)

And part 2 of the 2018 recap continues (here’s part 1 in case you missed it).


Swedish summer…the best week of the year! Just kidding, this summer was actually amazing. We swam in the lake every day, read novels on blankets in the grass, barbecued with our Australian neighbour, and stayed up late with the sun, which went down at around 10:45 pm each night. I also went to Mallorca, Spain for the first time to visit my sister for a MUCH-NEEDED girl’s trip. It was fabulous.

My family 😀 (this photo cracks me up so bad!!)
The cathedral of Santa Maria of Palma
My gorgeous sister and my daily sangria 😉
A grocery store feast! Everything we bought was so good.
We ate our feast on the balcony of our rented apartment, sipping rosé and watching daily life in Palma continue around us. It was magical ❤
Don’t even get me STARTED on the Balearic sea. It is turquoise perfection, heaven-sent to us undeserving mortals. Every moment in that sea is blissful!
Margot and I with our friend Hasna, who is also a teacher and lives/works in Beijing (where my sister also currently works as a teacher), on our way to Sóller in the old train.
Literally every fruit we came across was in peak season and absolutely delicious. We bought a bunch of cherries and a bag of nectarines.
Mallorca is shopping heaven. Unfortunately, I was not shopping in 2018. Although I did cave and buy one little thing.
The olives! Again, out-of-this-world good.
Cheers to a wonderful day trip with wonderful women!
Ok, this may be tied with the Polish meal as the best thing I ate all year…Squid stuffed with rice and octopus and pork in a black ink mole. Sounds weird, but I almost licked this plate clean. SO GOOD.
Hideously ugly, I know.


Summer lingered on, and we enjoyed every moment of it. One of my best friends growing up came to see us, and even though it was a short visit, it was so, so nice to have a friend stay in our new home. Conrad also got a two-month contract for a project at SVA, the Swedish Veterinary Institute, which he ended up really loving and was very happy to be involved in. 

Conrad and Nora
Literally the only other photo I took of Nora because we are total idiots and we talked the whole time she was here instead of documenting it online like good Millenials. We need to do better next time!!
Winston cooling off after a swim.
Just a casual modeling/selfie session with my dog. Totally normal.
On our three-year wedding anniversary, C and I spent a special getaway weekend at an old mansion in Stockholm’s archipelago.
It was really romantic and a fun way to remember such a great day 🙂


This month was back-to-work! Conrad started SFI (Swedish for Immigrants) classes, and I went to Boston on a work trip, where I was able to drive to Vermont to see some of my mom’s side of the family. We calculated that I hadn’t been there to visit in almost 15 years! This is also the month that I found my two new favorite podcasts (a post I PROMISE to write asap!!), Sword & Scale and Dr. Death (still shivering internally about that one).

Early fall in Uppsala is stunning
We ate these apples for weeks, and they just got better and better tasting as fall continued!
Conrad and neighbour’s kids, Edie and Owen.
Our stuga!
And from the outside.
One weekend, we took some out-of-town friends on a tour of the archipelago! It’s one of my favorite things to do in Stockholm.
Beautiful Stockholm.
With bubbles, of course.
We also celebrated my dad’s birthday 🙂
We got a DAY BED! Best decision ever because a) it is soooo comfortable and b) now we can have overnight visitors! Oh, and c) it has three huge drawers for stashing crap out of the way.
A Sunday supper at our place with my parents and dear family friends.
I love the daybed!
Dirty dog
Flew to London!
Flew to Boston!
Not going to lie, even though I hate being away from C on work trips, I don’t hate having a gigantic fluffy hotel bed all to myself where I don’t have to share the covers 😀
Saw some lovely family friends in Massachusetts that really helped with the terrible flu and homesickness I had this week ❤
My mom couldn’t join me on this trip, so she treated me and my family members to a fabulous lobster dinner! It was so, so nice of her.
My grandpa’s house in Vermont. It’s actually my parents’ house, since they bought it from him a long time ago, but my grandpa still lives there.
The old barn
You need a LOT of wood for Vermont winters!
My mama at age sixteen! Such a cool find.
My uncle’s garden (he lives very close to my grandpa)
Me and gramps, who is going to be 95 this year! It was really nice to see him ❤


October was a crazy month because…Conrad passed his Master’s thesis defence!!! Still can’t believe this really happened, but it happened, and I am still just BURSTING with pride for my husband. He worked so hard, and mostly on his own, and he had so many doubts that he would ever finish…but he did it! Most of the month was spent working on this, as well as on planning our next adventure…

More walk views
Nature is incredible!
Apple and rhubarb pie made with fruits foraged from the woods/right outside our house.
I made an unbelievable chanterelle mushroom score!
Which I turned into the most delicious chanterelle pasta with fresh parsley, white wine, cream, and white truffle oil (which apparently is super unpopular now but I still love it)
Nature continued to wow me at every corner.
But it did start raining a lot more (which means less walks 😦 )
Poppy came to visit for a week when my parents went on a trip to Greece.
Fall officially began.
We spent a weekend in Stockholm and got a ‘fancy’ fika with my brother and his girlfriend Nicole.
My favorite, prinsesstårta (princess cake)!
Winston is too pretty; all of our walks become photo shoots!
❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
We met up with friends in town (not easy when you live out in the middle of the woods), and it was lovely ❤
And best of all, Conrad PASSED HIS THESIS DEFENSE!!!
Major congrats to this cutie


I’ve said it again and again, but November truly is the worst month of the year in Sweden because the days get very short and the weather generally sucks. However, this November, we were finally prepared! My amazing friends Haley and Julia came to visit, which was so fun and special, and C and I escaped the cold for a double birthday trip in warm and sunny Marrakech! (FULL POST COMING SOON)

Cozy days with Winston
Stockholm’s Old Town, at 14:00
Cuties on a boat.
Look at that fog 😦 Even though it was cold, we had so much fun exploring Stockholm with these two. And I finally went to the Vasa Museum, which was just as good as everyone said it would be!
Uppsala, Sweden
More walk views!!
More work trips! Tired and heavily-filtered after a long day of travel.
Delicious dinners with colleagues.
I rarely eat red meat anymore (or any meat, really) because 💸💸💸 but I almost always get a steak when I go out because I can’t resist!!
Apple tarte tatin à la mode..
We updated our room with a new duvet cover for winter. So cozy!


After a truly amazing trip to Morocco (again, post coming soon, I promise), December was spent enjoying friends, family, and food (duh). I also turned 30, which was a big deal for me! Conrad’s younger brother, Chase, came to Sweden for Christmas and my sister’s boyfriend’s family also joined us from Germany for an insanely fun NYE party where, for the first time ever, my sister and I were not the drunkest/first to go to bed! Surprisingly, my DAD and younger BROTHER found the German cherry-vodka shots to be just a little too much and both passed out about 20 minutes after midnight. It was hilarious 😀

Leaving the Souk in Marrakech
View of the Atlas mountains from the road.
An eco-lodge we stayed at in Ouarzazate, complete with cats, goats and peacocks.
Our first riad in Marrakech.
Our second riad in Marrakech.
Mint tea, so sweet and refreshing.
Back home in Sweden! Snow and christmas decor – courtesy of local second-hand stores – make our stuga even more adorable than usual!
A belated birthday celebration with my family, featuring gold-speckled champagne!
For my thirtieth, my family bought me a painting by one of my favorite artists, and I nearly cried from joy when I opened it! It’s even more beautiful in person, and I still can’t believe they managed to get it from Penang, Malaysia to Uppsala, Sweden without me knowing!
Birthday bundt cake 🍰
My mom got Conrad got the perfect gift for Conrad: bourbon, Austrian and German mustard, pretzels, and french dried sausage. My family knows my man well.
Poppy, being festive.
Winnie the Christmas tree!
Uncle Chase in the house!
Christmas day views on the North Sea in Smögen
We had a perfect sunset on Christmas – what a treat!
Siblings on NYE!
Last semi-decent photo of the night.
Winston also overdid it on NYE

And that brings us up to now! We left our family cottage on the west coast the first week of January, and have since been back to work and still recovering from such a great but busy holiday. We have some travel, both business and personal, already planned for 2019, and I’m sure there’ll be more to come.

I’ll probably do a post on my resolutions/goals for 2019, since I know I loooove to read/hear about other people’s resolutions! One of mine is to blog more. With half my family and friends on the other side of the world, this blog is incredibly useful as a way to catch up with loved ones. It’s also a great way to document/archive our lives and our sometimes-insane choice of life in a different country.

I hope you all had a wonderful start to the new year, and are feeling refreshed, re-energized, and ready for the challenges and opportunities to come in 2019.

Have a lovely Sunday!


One response to “2018 recap (part 2)”

  1. catherine marshall Avatar
    catherine marshall

    It all looks amazing Lena. I will be excited to go on some of those hikes


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