Saturday, December 31, 2005

Unforgettable Moments 2005

Happy New Year!

My life the last year has centered around Wen, ending my life in China, and getting back on track to make up my mind about my future and finishing my degree.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Yearly Movie Tradition

After Narnia pizza.

This is the fourth year the family goes out to watch a movie during Christmas. The prevous were the Lord of the Ring triology. With our cousins we take up a large chunk of the theatre.

Vist to my Grandparents

The 25th, our Christmas Day, we went to my grandparents place to meet up with aunts, cousins, and another ton of food and cookies.

My grandparents live in Sandhem in Västergötland.

The farm where my dad grew up is located next to their house.


Ella by the fireplace

My grandfather's shoes

Grandma and grandpa digging in

Cecilia making a careful choice

Me and Wen in front of the Christmas tree

Grandma singing her traditional 200 verses long songs.

Afternoon walk in the forest

Christmas Celebrations

Gift wrapping.

Christmas porridge.

Wen trying out 'Jansson Temptation', a dish me and Wen did together. It's a Christmas favourite of mine, though we also eat it during Easter.

Ella got a gift!

We got a tradition to put rimes on the gifts. Wen got a Swedish dictionary from my family. The rime says:

This is a perfect book
For someone who our brother took
Durkslag is only the start
Soon you will have a Swedish heart.

Kinda cute. Durkslag is the tool you use to rinse the spagetti in. According to my dictionary it is called a colander in English. Could perhaps be translated as a 漏勺 [lòusháo] (lit. 'Leaking Spoon') in Chinese. It is one of the few Swedish words that Wen has learned.

Midnight mass. We filled up a whole row in church!

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!!!

Marry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Tree Hunting

Wen showing off her skills

The last lingon berry of the year

Posing with the catch

Taking a break to drink some hot chocolate.

Bringing home the catch

Mission complete

Christmas Preparations

Me decorating a gingerbread

Wen with a little piggy

Ready for consumtion

Flight Belgium -> Sweden

Ryan Air from Charleroi, Belgium to Nyköping, Sweden. Then Swebus to Jönköping. My sister Johanna picked us up at 3.30 am to drive us to Värnamo.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Diarrea Square

Ladeuze, the main square in Leuven.

拉肚子 [lā dùzi] have diarrhea

Christmas Market in Leuven

Picture from the Christmas market down at the Ladeuze square.

Wen, Tomo, and Christine hanging out drinking Gluhwine.

Meat on a stick. Similar to what you can find in China, and to a similar price too. Well, except that here the price is in Euros. (4 Euro= 38.7 RMB)

"What is that stuff?!"

Oysters and snails for sale.

Looking for some real estate.

Belgian "American Idol" winner in front of a crowd of screaming teenage girls.

Under the mistletoe

Jesus has left the building.

UPDATE: Those sticks with meat was actually "only"2,5 Euro.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Swede in Taiwan?

No, I don't have any plans of going to Taiwan, though that would be cool. Haven't been there.

I was checking out Michael Turton's blogroll and I noticed a "A Swede in Taiwan" entry. That kind of made me curious. When I checked it out it turns out to be an exchange student from Engineering Physics at Chalmers. My university, my program. :) Somebody must have been reading my blog I think. Well, copying is the best form of flattery. (My previous title on this blog was 'A Swede in Beijing')

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Beatka's Birthday Party

Beatka is a Polish student in the Polish/German exchange student bunch that we have been hanging out with.

In the party there were some Brazilian guys too and I had an interesting conversation with one of them. He was telling me the true character of the Chinese people. He first rambled about Chinese having their own logic or something, but I didn't really understand what he was talking about. Then he said that when Chinese are looking at people, they not only look, they also intensively 'observe'. He showed me how they squint their eyes (by stretching out his eyes to the sides with his fingers) to show me how they look when they do this.

I realized this is how I thought this was the normal Chinese appearance. How mistaken I have been! They of course have similar eyes as us, but when I meet them they start to squint and 'observe' me! What a revelation! The great Chinese conspiracy, not only involving the Chinese, but all East-Asians!! A sign of the 'yellow peril' in Brazil?

UPDATE: Wen didn't like the previous picture (with the cup, making her looking like a pig) so I had to replace it. New pic below. This one approved.

Wen 'observing' the photographer.

Sinopec on tour

This freezing cold Saturday we walked through Leuven with Thomas and a group of people working for Sinopec. They are in Europe for training, but possible mostly for traveling around.

Thomas learning Chinese idioms.

Trying out the benches in the Philosophy department.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Dank u Sint!

There was a little surprise from St Nikolas in the kitchen today! St Nikolas helpers came down the chimney and gave us a lot of candy!

Bug on a Stick

The artwork 'Totem' is a beetle on a needle by Jan Fabre erected on the Ladeuzeplein in Leuven. I kind of like it.

It is a pretty bizarre creation and, like most art, you are left on your own to interpret it. I read an explanation about beetles being 'keepers of information', and that it was symbolic for the library next to the square. I'm not sure if that was the artist's interpretation, and I'm not sure about the symbolism of that beetle being pierced by a needle.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Jiabao is ignoring me

I tried to post a comment on premier Wen Jiabao's blog, to say a hello from the Swedish people and to tell him that if someone confuses him with this other Jiabao, it is me. My chinese name is the same as his given name. Unfortunately I just received an error message when I posted it.

If someone manages to put a comment there, please remind him to unblock my blog in China.

UPDATE (7 Dec): Premier Jaibao's blog is gone. Rebecca MacKinnon writes she has got it confirmed that it was a hoax. Pretty good one.

Ceren, Guess Who I Met!

This is Martijn, and this is his letter to Wen:
Hello Zhang Wen, My name is Martijn, you don't know me but because we never met but we both know Ceren from Turkey. She's the one that gave me your adress and she asked me to say hello.I had contact with Ceren lately by MSN and I asked her if she knew somebodythat lived in Leuven since I wanted to get in contact with some nativeChinese speakers in Leuven to continue practising Chinese. I, myself am from the Flemish part of Belgium so my motherlanguage is Dutch. I wonder if youmight have some time now and then to hang out and talk. Or maybe you don't have enough time, but you know other Chinese in Leuven that would like to learn Dutch. Do you like living in Leuven? Are you trying to learn Dutch as well? If you want I can speak French as well. I met Ceren in Chengdu, february this year while she was on holidays and I was traveling around in China. Later I moved to Shanghai and worked there asa musician for 5 months and started learning Mandarin.
Ceren is a good friend of mine from Turkey that I studied together with at Peking University. This Friday I went to a pub and listenend to Martijn play jazz. World is pretty small. I think I know pretty much everybody by now. Anyone left out? Write a comment so we can get in touch.