Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Recycling rant

I was reading an article last night that described my new neighborhood, Hammarby sjöstad, as an "ecological sustainability effort" to show that "a sustainable community can be achieved in a capital city." As nice as Hammarby sjöstad is, I must say I beg to differ.

My main objection is the scarcity, or rather, complete lack of recycling facilities. Sweden is known to be recycling-obsessed  and Swedes are really good at it. People rinse out their old tetra packs, unfold them, and sort them out from the metals, plastics, cardboard, newspaper, batteries... if it's not biodegradable, there's probably a place to recycle it. 

And throughout Stockholm, there are canisters every few blocks on the side of the road for each of these recyclables.

But not in Hammarby sjöstad! I realized this when we first arrived and I carried some cumbersome boxes around the neighborhood (much to the embarassment of NS) looking for these canisters only to finally surrender to throwing the boxes away. I later carried a load to the mall, sure I'd find something — again, nothing.

I guess the idea is that every building has it's own recycling room so there's no need for it street-side. But not our building! Oh, except between 7 and 7:30pm on  Wednesdays and Sundays. And only for paper and metal. Apparently there've been vandalism problems, forcing 24-hour access to be closed. 

My solution? Every morning, I carry all our recyclables in my bike basket to work and stop along the way to drop them in a receptacle. Do I look like a crazy person? Yes. But it's in the name of earthliness. 

And let's not even talk about how long it takes the water in our apartment to get warm. Talk about a waste! 

In the meantime, I will continue to doubt Hammarby sjöstad's claim - and will continue to carry my boxes and cans yonder. 

Thank you for actually reading to the end this ridiculous recycling rant. I promise it won't happen again.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stockholm's first pop-up restaurant has a secret

On Thursday night, NS & I indulged in a 9-course meal by a 2-Michelin star chef from London for 495 sek (about $78). Sounds pretty good, right? Especially when considering Stockholm's classically exorbitant prices. But there was a catch....

And I wrote about it in my first article published in The Local! Check it out here: http://www.thelocal.se/50608/20131004/

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

To the East Side

Moving is never something to look forward to. The destination, maybe yes, hopefully yes. But I've never heard anyone say "I can't wait to move this weekend, it's going to be so much fun!" And yet, it is almost always a reality for everyone at least once in a lifetime. For Stockholmers, it's more like once a year. And when the owner of your apartment decides they want to move back in, your time is up. 

Our view from the kitchen sink

Fortunately for us, a friend of a friend was renting out his apartment on the exact day we needed a new place - and so we have come to live in Hammarbysjöstad, which translates to "Hammer Village Lake Town." Who wouldn't want to live in a place with that name? 

Hammarbysjöstad is actually still a part of Stockholm, but just East of the city center. And a beautiful place it is. It's one of Stockholm's more modern areas, up and coming you might say. Our building was one of the first, built 12 years ago. Now the area is quite built up and has lots of restaurants and cafes along open, water-side patios. Unfortunately, we've arrived just in time for the weather to cool off - and drastically so. Last week felt almost like summer, and now it's barely above freezing when I ride my bike to work.

I must admit, though, while I appreciate modernity, I will always love the old areas of Stockholm. The charm, the history, the character. I love imagining what happened in those same places decades, or centuries ago. Built in the 1920's, our apartment in Fredhäll had that worn-in character. But it was also very small and had no elevator... now we can ride up and down all we want! I'm still trying to take the stairs, though, for old-times' sake. 

We had a good run, Fredhäll - thank you for a wonderful 2 years and 3 months. Thank you also to our fabulous crew of helpers for Sunday's move. And now it's time to unpack the boxes covering the kitchen table... and the floor... and the bathroom... we've got a lot of stuff for a couple that doesn't have a lot of stuff.