December 26, 2013

Stockholm at Christmas

Living in Stockholm is wonderful during Christmas! The Christmas markets are not quite comparable to other countries, but at least they have them! Stockholm also has outdoor ice skating and certain parts of the city are so beautifully decorated for Christmas! All Stockholm is missing this year is a little snow!

This is our Christmas photo this year on a beautiful heated street complete with red carpet! 

Katja and Sam on the outdoor ice rink in the middle of downtown!

 Just a few examples of the nice job they do! 

Raylan also got dressed up for Christmas. She wouldn't sit still for a picture so we had to draw it on. 

Katja at the Swedish Christmas market! 

As you can see, any Christmas market is a good one, because how could you ever not enjoy anything Christmas? 

God Jul 


Currently we are on a train from Berlin to Prague.  It has been a stressful morning to say the least! Trying to make sure to make it to the train on time, and then just trying to get on and get a seat.  It was my first time booking train tickets and I did not make seat reservations. BIG mistake! Oh well, you live & you learn! We are very excited for Christmas in Prague, and had a wonderful time in Berlin.

The reason we were in Berlin was for the European Trophy Tournament. Sam's team played great both games but did not win any this time. To get into this round of the tournament they won 6/8 games in the preseason. Sam got to travel to Finland, Switzerland, and now Germany for the tournament. I decided I wanted to go to Berlin too, because who wants to spend the five days before Christmas home alone in a foreign country? 

Two other girls from the team had the same thought and we planned a fun trip together. We did quite a lot in our 5 days in Berlin; shopping, Starbucks (which FINALLY opened in Stockholm the day we left), Christmas markets, glühwein, historic monuments, German food, sushi, hockey games, and beer houses. 

Even though I'm not the biggest fan of German Food, I would almost always choose a German beer house/restaurant  over another restaurant.  This is only for one thing, they have the best atmosphere! People being loud, dancing, the decor, the liters, beer mugs, and the food can be surprisingly good.   

Shopping and eating seemed 'cheep' in Berlin.  I must also explain myself on this one. We have been living in Sweden so long that now, the rest of Europe seems so reasonable. Starbucks in Berlin is under $5 for a latte, in Stockholm a random coffee shop is $8 or more!  Also in Stockholm going out to eat for Sushi can be so expensive (and they do things like mayonnaise instead of cream cheese..) but here in Berlin the sushi was fresh, delicious, and reasonable!  That is why we had so much fun shopping and eating on this trip.  

Christmas markets seem to be everywhere physically possible in this city. I love it! I wish America had Christmas Markets. They are absolutely wonderful, with crepes, glühwein, fresh apple cider, racklette, roasted nuts, Christmas gifts and decor, hot chocolate, musicians, chocolate.  They are the best thing about Christmas in Europe!  Upon reading I saw that Prague's Christmas
markets are even better than Berlin's!  

Can't wait to get there & off of this crowded train! Apparently it's the busiest day of the year for train travel! Yikes! 

Brandenburg Gate 

The Berlin Wall at Checkpoint Charlie 

Martina and I the first day doing a little shopping!

Even the malls get dressed up
for Christmas! 

Some Champagne while shopping!

Ready for game two! 

Berlin o2 World arena

Dinner at the Hofbräuhaus

Amy and I enjoying some hot Glühwein!

Sam really liked the fresh out of the oven pretzels! 

The fresh cider which smelt just like home! Definitely had a couple glasses of this one! 

I just love that they had a disco ball hanging up there!

Christmas Market!

Amazing Sushi and Champagne bar!

Dinner the last night in Berlin with Steve and Martina!

This is what I ordered in a brief moment of courage!?!  

Sony light show! 

We are very much missing all of our friends and family back home! We wish you all a wonderful Christmas full of love and happiness! 

Love, Cäcilie & Sam! 

December 8, 2013

It's a Small World

A few days ago, I received some GREAT news! My one and only brother got a new job that will allow him to stay on the same continent as the rest of my family! His new job will be based in a little place called Somerset, Wisconsin.  This little place is also where Sam was born, raised, and where his family still lives! 

Somerset is a village in St. Croix CountyWisconsin, along the Apple River. The population was 2,635 at the 2010 census. The village is located within the Town of Somerset. (Wikipedia) I love How they call it a village! After Karl moves there the Lofquist's/Kroll's will make up .21 percent of the villages population.  My point is that is really is such a small world! I am not surprised that Karl chose such a place.  It has a lot of space and nature is everywhere! My brother is most definitely into anything outdoors and nature.  You know how some breeds of dogs are not meant to be city dogs because they get too hyper and bored? My brother is kind of like that.  He is never sitting still or doing an activity that doesn't require at least a brief explanation. 

Example 1:

Example 2:

Example 3:

Example 4:

Example 5:

Example 6:

Example 7:

 Example 8:
These last two were from his time in India.  

I really should just link this to his Facebook page to save myself some time.

Somerset is an hour away from our family home, but that is way closer than where he was with his old job.  His last job was one where he would living abroad for 8 - 12 month periods of time.  We really missed him when he was in India last September - May.  As you can see he is a lot of fun and it is nice to have him around, he certainly does not let life get boring. 

His new job will also have quite a bit of traveling.  The good news is that the trips will not be nearly as long.  My parents are so happy! They both seem almost more excited than Karl.  Pretty sure they are trying to convince him to live at home with them.  I am also pretty sure that he will not be doing that, I think the country has his name written all over it.  He also has a breed of cat that does much better with some space and is thrilled to be getting out of the city.  

I think last year was tough for my parents and little sister.  Karl was in India, and I was in Sweden.  I don't want to say it is their fault, but they raised us to be adventures and to want to travel and experience life.  I also think that as soon as my Dad had Karl he started training him to be a little like him. By a little, I mean exact duplicate.  Dad still tries to match Karl sometimes and is always willing to try Karl's newest hobby.

He looks the perfect age for his first fishing pole, and that vest is just his size!
Family Fun Day! 
Karl would never do something like that.
My dad at age 47, still exploring new hobbies. 
What a pair! 

The way it always has and will be. 
Having a job back home will also allow him to spend more time with his wonderful girlfriend Clare.  <3

So happy for you!
Love you Pile!