The climbfish have now evolved to cover my life in the US - including very exiting life in downtown Baltimore (aka the wire) and ocean research expeditions with NOAA. I don't promise frequent updates but I will try and cover the most and least exiting times here. Enjoy!
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Saturday, June 29, 2013

THE Wedding! (2)

YES! I won't keep you wondering any longer. She said Yes! Even though she have had two solid years of evaluating my performance as a husband -> Former Anna Larsson are now Anna Kågesten! We had actually planned to take Sindjö, Annas mums maiden name as our middle name to (ie Anna Sindsjö Kågesten) But Swedish name laws are a bit restrictive to say the least. They may change next year though, so we will see what happens then.

For those of you who are confused by Wedding 1 and Wedding 2, I'll give a quick version of the story once and for all.

Wedding 1: June 06 2013. A secret wedding onboard the East Indiaman Ship replica Götheborg, with 2 friends as witnesses. Later turned into a movie that was released to friends and family a few months later - Surprise!! Sorry Jan and Gunilla for not asking for permission, but I think we got that cleared now... right? The Wedding 1 also had the advantage of granting me a Visa to the US so we could stay together, which may or may not have had something to do with the quick turnaround - 2 weeks between engagement and wedding is pretty good!
(As you might have noticed, if you are sensitive to exclamation marks this might not be the post for you)

Wedding 1 the Movie - breaking the news via youtube to family and friends 2011

Wedding 2: June 08 2013. Slightly more planned (12 months) and a few more guests (110pp). A wedding without bringing your friends and family together is only half a wedding. Wedding 2, which we planned since before the first surprise truly was the missing piece. You can see it as the wedding chapter 1 and chapter 2 that together turned into The Wedding Sequel. Kind of like Lord of the Rings, but that one comes in three parts - I think we are quite happy with two partys. I hope that clears things for you. If not I can simplify it for you by this statement: We undeniably are husband and wife now! Still don't get it? Here are some graphics for you just to make sure:
What happens behind a tree stays behind a tree
You may now...
Fly me to the moon...
Now that we got that squared away... With friends/family so spread out over Sweden/Earth, it was a wicked feeling to have so many gathered - 110 friends online in real life beats the crap out of Facebook.  A 7 day wedding like in the old days would have been more appropriate. Maybe there will be a three part sequel after all, "Return of the King"? To the point, we can't thank everybody enough for making it to our celebration (and to those who tried really hard but didn't make it around the globe), our parents and family who made it all possible, Sune for the ceremony and for getting our wedding picture published in all sort of papers, friends who made performances and helped out and last to fetknopp och grisen (Olle and Pelle) for the wicked toastmaster performance and support. You rock!!! There are about 1 billion pictures from the wedding and the preparations, not to speak about the video material from it all (though, if you have some more, please send us). So I will finish this blogpost with a "few" selected snapshot of that week in Åmål. 
Having fun with late night seating planning, slightly cross eyed
It has to be done! (Jans words about putting the new buoy in the water).
In order to get to the bride I had to prove myself worthy by finding the old buoy
foundation and retrieving the rusty chain off the bottom."it's somewhere out there".
It took me 20 minutes diving in the ice cold water, and half a day to heat up.
(kind of the theme of the week if you look into my last post)
Guests arriving from Germany and USA the day before got to test our champagne,
beer and schnapps (together with Herring and fresh dill potato of course)  to make
sure we were in good shape. They were happy to help. 
Gunilla and Anders at work decorating our venue (the local football club house).
Gunilla had made 100m (300 feet) of streamers by hand for the wedding, it turned out awesome!
(my suggestion of balloons was quickly turned down)
Andrew made it all the way from our house in Hamden to the small village of Åmål. Impressive!
(he is also addicted to scandinavia) Well, Jan quickly put our new asset of cheep foreign labour to work :)  
With the help of youtube and my dad we got the bow tie under control. Team building.
The most important part, the shoes
Stina Sindsjö, a super talented young aspiring photographer took our W photos
(and many on display in this post!)
Floats to keep the rings safe on the water (this time around they actually held some value)
Row, Row, Row... (we were a few fashionable minutes late)
Anders playing and singing  Over the Rainbow as we try and make it ashore. 
The audience... The pressure was on for a seaworthy entry at the dock
No one fell in, so far
Sweet tunes (Båtlåt) by Marina and the boys. 
The best view was where we stood
Annas grandparents Edit and Kjells country house in the background
Fina Fia reading a poem
Ceremony master Sune keeping everything under control, and with Sister Karin
and Brother Daniels support (and the floats as safety) we got the rings on the fingers
Hugging time! 
The lot
Time for some champaign (tack grisen!)

Driving in style (old American vintage cars are very popular on the Swedish country side).
Only detail was that we did not have any break fluid...
Gunilla getting a hug by our fashionable driver that we (Gunilla)
charmed at Åmåls 1950 style rockabilly cafe a few days earlier. 
Olle and Pelle inviting to dinner (and a walk on the red carpet)
Fishnet seating
The party has started
Toastmasters Olle and Pelle handing out yet another Åmål Movie Award!
Chatting and eating away!
Link,  Jonk, Erk o Ollson Stepping up the entertainment (and warming up for our band, The Fertilizers) 
Then there was dancing and dancing and dancing to the rockabilly band Fertilizers who were playing live until the sun went up, then there was some more dancing, then there was this:

A very tired but happy bride in the early morning
supported by her brothers
Wedding done. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chasing my tail

Anna and Anne finishing their first half marathon in Style! Me proud.
What have I been doing the last 2 months? Can you really have 2 weddings? What happened with the garden? Would I survive the bachelor party with my revanche hungry friends? and why does Swedes eat so much herring? Calm down... you will get your questions answers and more in the following 2-3 posts.

The Chesapeake estuaries are festering with beavers and eagles
The perfect spot for some Indiana Jones action
My great friend George and his small car
Spring is always such a hectic time for some reason, and even more so when you are planning a wedding on top of everything else. So although I did squeeze in some fun weekend trips during April/May which included exploring the Chesapeake estuaries and camping & fly-fishing in the mountains around Camp David, most of it was working crazy hours and weekends to get ready for our Caribbean field mission coming up (I even got busted for leaving work after regular hours and labeled a security threat...), and then preparing for our big celebrations on any extra time I had - yes, this is my lame excuse why I did not write any blog posts in 2 months. Trust me, you did not miss much this spring. But boy am I making up for it now...

We don't golf, we fish. Me and Boss Tim out fishing in one of many
beautiful Maryland creeks stocked with browns and rainbows. Even Trevor caught a few!
A friend along the trail... Suddenly found myself standing 2 feet from this guy
A small squeak might have slipt my mouth
I also finished a short movie project that I recorded during our trip on the Nancy Foster in March, to try and amuse my colleagues and satisfy their illusion of me as the big movie producer (certain pressure was applied to deliver the goodies during our monthly branch meeting).

Loading up the Volvo with gesundheit in Germany to get ready for the B Party!
I finally reached the finish line and made it onto my flight back to Sweden, one week before the wedding. Anna was already there since a few weeks back doing the heavy lifting together with Jan and Gunilla who helped us tremendously with everything. I arrived pretty exhausted to Copenhagen airport were Jan was waiting for me with his Volvo V70 (we all drive volvos if you didn't know). We then drove 3 hours to Germany to go shopping for the party - alcoholic beverages are 2-3 times cheaper in Germany compared to Sweden. All in all I had traveled about 36 hours with little/no sleep and quite a bit of wine tasting in Germany, when we arrived Gothenburg late Friday night. Anna kept me a up for another few hours before I exhausted fell asleep at 1am Swedish time (about 7 in the morning in my internal clock). I looked forward to finally getting a long looong sleep.

5.20 AM. Knock knock knock!!! I drowsily open the door and find my "friends" Martin and Stefan standing there with a grin on their faces.
-Time to pack din gottegris (sweet tooth)!
- but I just got here...
- Bring everything you got, you are not coming back!
- ehh....
As I had not yet unpacked my bag I guess I was pretty good to go. So I said farewell to Gothenburg and Anna, and blindfolded followed Martin and Stefan to an unknown destination. As I was pretty hungry (I had only eaten some sweets, and a sandwich for dinner while driving back from Germany the night before) I kindly asked my "friends" for some food once we got settled on a train on our way to somewhere. They had cinnamon buns and lösgodis (Swedish assorted candy) for me, and tasty sandwiches for themselves. Great. I begun to see a pattern and also suspected who could be the mastermind behind this.

Once in Stockholm 10 more friends joined up, dressed me in a short wetsuit and let me continue the journey through the packed central station on a small pink bounce ball. I could sense that my "friends" had been looking forward to this for quite some time. Next transportation was a surfboard through the freezing rapids in stockholm river, to the amusement of a japanese tour bus among others. I could not feel my arms, but had some more candy to warm up. We then drove out to the sport complex Bosön to play hockey and eat a great lunch. Well, I only got to eat more muffins and candy and drink dr peppar while the others where feasting on water, beer and a healthy pasta salad.This sugar overload was of course my "friend" Olles idea, trying to make a point of my sometimes above average consumption of sweets. Point taken. Cured? Not so sure.

Then to top it all we had a go at Bosöns SkiJump. Something I was dreading in the back of my mind since my blindfolded arrival to Sthlm. I am pretty susceptible  to this kind of peer pressure in addition to my own suicidal instincts. So it was scary, not so much to do the first jumps, but because I knew we would push our limits. In the end we did some flips and spins, stepped it up in the large jump after additional peer pressure and had some violent encounters with the water surface. Totally awesome and we all came out in one piece for the waiting well needed sauna (swedish "summer" temperatures prevailed  in the lake we landed in)
View from the ski jump take off  at Bosön

Thanks totally awesome friends for a great weekend, and for treating me with a solid herring/knäckebröd/snaps and bbq dinner later that night. Also to Schlyter who got me (sold out) tickets the following evening to see him perform the lead caracter in West Side Story at Sthlm Stadsteater, grymt.
Sister Karin and Theo!
The following week day I got to meet Theo! I am since 5 weeks back a very proud uncle for the 4th time (first for my very little sister), his anatomy suggests he could grow up to be a copy of me, lucky guy! I also got to pick up the other 3 daredevils from kindergarden/school and did my duty as an uncle and attempted to teach them how to use the skateboards I brought from the US. They will soon ollie over my head, I am sure of it!
Alex, Wille and Uncle G
After this friend love overload weekend I found myself on the slow train to Åmål. Overtime for some solid sleeping.
To be continued...