FLAT STANLEY SWEDEN FEB – MAR 2011 Flat Stanley’s adventure in Stockholm, Sweden Dear Matty, I had a wonderful time visiting Uncle John and Auntie Becky in Stockholm, Sweden. There were lots of fun things to see and do, and I learned a lot about Swedish culture and about the people who live there, too. I arrived in the middle of February, where it was still snowy and dark. At this time of the year, there is only 8 hours of sunlight on a sunny day, and while I was here, it was always below freezing outdoors. Nonetheless, I learned that the Swedish people (Swedes) are not held back by the darkness and cold and will still go out and do fun things, anyway! The Swedes are known for loving nature and being outdoors. Even in a big city like Stockholm, there are lots of green-‐spaces, like parks, planned into the city. This allows school kids, like you and I to be able to play outdoors all year round!
FEB – MAR 2011 The Swedes love outdoor life! VASAPARKEN This is a picture of Vasaparken, a big park near Auntie Becky and Uncle John’s home. The soccer field at this park is flooded during the winter and turned into an ice-‐skating and hockey rink. Here’s a picture of school kids during their P.E. class practicing skating techniques and .Etiam getting some fun exercise. I was kind of cold, so I stayed in my protective plastic “bubble”. Auntie Becky’s dogs were having a lot of fun in the snow, too! Etiam et urna Auntie Becky, like the Swedes, enjoys being outdoors. She took me running with her one day and here I am in my plastic “bubble”. I’m overlooking Lake Mälaren. This is the body of water that is under the snow in this picture. If you look really carefully, you can see footprints on the snow! People have been walking on top of the frozen lake! Actually, in some areas, the water is frozen solid so that a path can be made for people to walk, cross-‐country ski and long-‐skate on top of the water! Auntie Becky went cross-‐ country skiing on top of a different frozen lake with some friends. Here I am hanging out with some skiers and here are some people getting ready to go long-‐skating. Long-‐skating is not popular in the United States. The skates look like regular ice-‐skates, except the blade is longer. This is so skaters can skate long-‐distance. These people are ready to take a skating tour around the lake. How fun! 2
FEB – MAR 2011 Swedish Culture In addition to outdoor activities, Swedes like going to museums, too. There are lots of THE MODERN MUSEUM museums to see in Stockholm. One night, Auntie Becky took me to the Modern THE VASA MUSEUM Museum. It is a museum that has lots of unique modern artwork from Swedish artists as well as Uncle John took me to the Vasa Museum (Vasa famous artists around the world. We saw an art means “Ship”) one evening. This is a historical exhibition of a French photographer (Jeanloup museum about a big wooden boat that was built Sieff) who has taken pictures for many magazines. by King Gustav II Adolf in the early 1600’s. It’s sad He specializes in black and white pictures. We to hear, but I learned that it took over two years also saw an exhibit by Eva Löfdahl. She is a to build the Vasa and on it’s maiden voyage (the Swedish modern artist and has lots of very very first voyage), it sank! It wasn’t until the interesting paintings and sculptures. 1960’s that Sweden was able to pull the ship up Hey! This looks familiar! I think I’ve studies this from under water and restore it. I got to see the artist before….it’s Henri Matisse! And look! It’s Vasa at this museum! If you have time, you can my favorite condiment….ketchup. But what is it watch the video about the historic ship! doing spilled over a block and on the floor? Huh? I don’t know. What do you think? 3
FEB – MAR 2011 THE CULTURE HOUSE (KULTUR HUSET) One of my favorite places that I visited was the Culture House (Kultur Huset) of Stockholm. The Culture House is a very big building with many floors. Wait, there’s a lady hanging from the building…oh, she’s not real. How funny! Ut Sed Est I got to ride on the subway, called the Tunnelbana (pronounced: “Toonel bana” ) to T-‐Centralen (the Central Located on the bottom floor of the Culture House is a brand new Station). The T-‐bana looks a lot library! I can read some English books there as well as Swedish books. like BART. The closest station to They also have newspapers of all different languages, from lots of Uncle John and Auntie Becky’s different countries. My favorite floor, however, is the 4th floor. This house is S:t Eriksplan (Sankt floor houses the music and film library. Look! I can practice playing my Eriksplan). It is about 5 stops favorite pieces on the piano here and listen to myself play with earphones on. I can also sit and listen to some of my favorite music that I don’t have at home. The 4th floor also features the brand new Tiotreton (pronounced: “Teeyew-‐treatton”) library. This library is a one that’s specifically designed for kids aged 10 (tio) through 13 (treton). It’s really cool. I can learn to cook—there’s a full kitchen there, I can learn to make music or a movie on a computer, I can make crafts, learn to sew or I can just relax in the cool bunk-‐style chairs! I can also read my favorite books, too.…only, I have to learn Swedish, first. By the way, do you know who Pipi Longstocking is? She is a character from a book written by a Swedish author, Astrid Lindegren. In Swedish, her name is Pipi Longstrump! Auntie Becky included an English translation of this book to introduce her to you! 4
FEB – MAR 2011 LEARNING THE SWEDISH LANGUAGE I think being able to talk to Swedish kids in their native language and read interesting Swedish books is a good reason to learn the language! So, Auntie Becky took me to one of her daily Swedish language classes. I got to meet her teacher, Gull-‐ Besides Britt Andersson, and some of her classmates who the cinnamon rolls, traditional are from around the world. Here’s me with Anna Swedish food is also different from American from Poland, Kristan from Germany, and Manisha food. from India! We’re learning Swedish so we can all speak the same language together! The southern tip Sweden is surrounded by water, therefore, Swedes enjoy eating lots of fish like salmon and herring, and seafood like shrimp and crayfish. Swedes from the northern part of the country eat more meat such as beef, reindeer and elk because there are more pastures and forests. Since there are lots of cows in northern Sweden, milk and dairy products like butter, yogurt and ice cream are also popular and very tasty here. Sweden only gets a few hours of sunlight during some parts of the year, therefore the growing season for vegetables is very short. As a result, popular Swedish vegetables actually grow SWEDISH CUISINE & TRADITIONS underground, like carrots, potatoes, beets and Sometimes after class, Auntie Becky “fikar” parsnips! They have to import lots of other (fee-‐kar) with her new friends. Fika is a Swedish vegetables from warmer countries. Berries are a tradition meaning, “to go for a coffee break”. popular fruit in Sweden, especially in the summer. Swedes typically fika everyday drinking very They like to eat lingonberries and cloudberries. strong coffee and have something sweet, like a These are kind of sour and taste much like kanelbulle (“kaneel-‐booly”), or a cinnamon roll. cranberries! These cinnamon rolls don’t quite taste like the Uncle John and Auntie Becky took me to a ones you and I eat in the United States, but they traditional Swedish restaurant called Fem Små are still yummy. Hus (Five Small Houses) to try Swedish cuisine. 5