Monday, April 28, 2008

En Hemlig Samtal På Svenska

Okej, varsågod.

Nyligen har jag skrivit att mitt svenskt språk förbättras varje vecka eller “bättre o bättre, dag för dag.”

Nu måste jag visa er på Linköpinglivin’. Lycka till, Sean.

Jag gillar att skriva på svenska på min blogg eftersom amerikaner kan inte förstå och det ser bra ut - kanske även att har jag lärt ett nytt språk. Jag ser framåt till kommenterarna.
Min hemlig samtal med svenskarna på svenska...

Sen det verkar som mycket mer svenskar än amerikaner tittar på den här bloggen – 75 procent tills mitten av maj åtminstone – det är bra att prata på svenska inom denna inlägg. Den sista gången att skrev jag på svenska var i februari i fjol (Min Pappa Kommer till Linköping). Jag pratade om saker om helgen med min pappa, men inga idéer. Det är lättare att prata om saker, men idéer blir viktigt att förbättras. Inga saker idag, bara idéer.

Min motivation att fortsätta på svenska tyvärr går upp o ner o berod på mitt jobb. Sen förväntar jag att lämna Sverige att börja 2009, ibland det blir svårt att förtsätta på svenska, men jag har många svenska vänner att hjälpa mig och förväntar mig att förbättre. Tack, allihop! Så, förlåt min fel på svenska denna vecka på Linköpinglivin’ och bli trevlig att jag, en typisk amerikansk med andra språk, har lärt någonting!

Fastän har jag gjort flesta fel här redan, det blir lättare att skriva o läsa på svenska än prata o förstå på svenska. Jag tänkte att mitt ordförråd behövde växa för att förbättras på svenska (och javisst, det kan o ska växa), men mitt problem för att förstå svenska är svenskar som pratar så, så fort!

Jag förstår invandrar på svenska utan problem. Vi har bra och komplicera samtal om och om igen. Det känner så kul. Varför? Dom pratar långsamt. I helgen, tittar jag på en svensk film, en riktig kul svensk film, Så Som i Himmelen. Jag rekommendar det, men jag lyssnade på svenskt språk och tittade på svensk text samtidigt och förstår jag allt - inget problem.

Om jag skulle kunna läsa text under varje samtal på svenska, min svensk blir superbra! Kanon!

Fortforande tills då, ska jag fortsätta att träna på svenska och prata med svenskar och säger mitt favorit ord, “Igen och långsamt, tack.”

Tack för ditt tålamod denna vecka o tack för din hjälp alltid. Trevlig Valborg, men inga brasor för mig....À très bientôt à Paris! Vad roligt!

Au revoir och ha det så bra...
(Bilder från Stockholm i mitten av april. Välkommen vår!)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Top 10 Reasons Why Linköping is Better Than Stockholm

10. Stockholm is the land of taxis, busses, cars and subways, but Linköping is all about the bicycle. Take a 10-minute ride, get some fresh air, arrive at your destination five minutes early! Love those bikes in Linköping…

9. Linköping has a better airport. Where else can you leave your home at 11:30 for a 12:00 flight and wait for fifteen minutes before you board? (Not kidding – I’ve done it!)

8. Linköping's wood-chipped trails of Ryd Skogen – you just can’t get to the middle of nature that fast in a metropolitan city.

7. Linköping is closer to the rest of Europe. And let’s be honest - the closer you are to London, Paris and Rome, the better.

6. Bosse’s Glassbar. Spring. Enough said.

5. Linköping: Everything you need and most everything you want. Not too big and not too small. Linköping is, let’s say it together now, lagom! And every Swede would agree that anything lagom is always better…

4. Only one of these cities has the newest and best student housing in Sweden:

3. You can walk through Stockholm anonymously. It’s a little more difficult to walk through Linköping and avoid a friendly face.

2. LHC may have once again lost the Eliteserie finals, but they’re a whole lot better than Djurgården! Congrats to the Linköping Hockey Club on another memorable season.

1. Because a blog titled Stockholmlivin’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it…

Pictures above from a great city, especially with the arrival of spring.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Birthday, and a Brother, in Sweden

Up until this point my younger and shorter brother has merely been entertained by Sweden and the Swedes. For Todd, Sweden has been something to simply browse to every Monday morning for almost two years and then provide some missing information to the always inaccurate and often misguided blog entry from the land a long, long way away, if it even exists at all.

When I suggested he come to Sweden and be held accountable for his comments, he had a plane flight booked just a couple days later. This past weekend, to celebrate my 35th birthday with a Swedish flare, Todd took on Sweden. And, to quote an English saying that those with Viking heritage can be proud of, “He came. He saw. He conquered.”

In a trip that typifies the American vacation time problem, Todd arrived on Thursday night and left on Monday afternoon, from New York to Sweden and back again, to make sure his brother celebrated right. One thing's for sure, I've got a very cool brother.

The pictures provide the highlights of a weekend I’m still recovering from, which included a memorable Swedish-style birthday party complete with smörgastårta, prinsesstårta and an impressive rendition of “Hurra, hurra, hurra, hurra.” Thanks to all of you attendees - my birthday Sweden-style will never be forgotten.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

If You Want to Write a Blog...

Recently Linköpinglivin’ received some exciting news.

After the March reader poll, it was clear that a whopping 70% of all readers are Swedish. I hope it has been apparent just how much I have enjoyed that percentage of readers as the Swedes themselves have made such an irreplaceable contribution to Linköpinglivin’. However, that percentage may change in mid-May…

Back in January, at the recommendation of a good friend of my mother, I submitted Linköpinglivin’ for a travel blog search in one of the most widely read American travel magazines, Budget Travel. A month later they emailed me to wish me congratulations as Linköpinglivin’ will be one of 15 (out of “hundreds” submitted) travel blogs featured in an upcoming article titled “Best Bloggers,” which will give recommendations and advice for other would-be travel bloggers about what to consider and be aware of before you start this wild and time-consuming adventure.

Since Linköpinglivin’ was originally intended only to be a simple update for family and friends, it is quite humbling to have it be recognized in this way. And in case you’re wondering as I was, Budget Travel has a monthly readership level of….

2 million! If this article is published as planned in the way that I've been told, more than 2 million Americans will be presented with this link in the middle of May. That is more than 1/5th of the entire population of Sweden. That number almost caused me to fall out of my chair when I first heard it.

So this week’s entry is a brief summary of some questions I answered for this article about helpful tips and advice to keeping a travel (or any type of) blog:

What’s the best way to start a travel blog? Any tips for beginners?

It’s really important to determine the purpose of your blog. Will it be just a journal on the internet? Is it just to keep others updated? How serious do you intend your blog to be? Are you going to submit it to some paper or publication? Another question: Will it truly be about travels or will it become political, uncomfortably personal or just a soapbox for opinions? Also, who is your intended audience? Is it ultimately for yourself and your personal reward or will it not be worth it unless you have a certain number of readers every week or month? The tone, language, writing style, content and approach will all be dictated by the answers to these questions.

Most bloggers start their blog with enthusiasm, then lose the commitment when the enthusiasm decreases. Most bloggers maintain their blog for the first three weeks to three months, then it ends with no real conclusion. Decide what you can realistically achieve with regard to quantity and quality in the beginning, then commit to that so your readers will know what to expect. Consistency (second only to quality content) for yourself and your readers is the key to any successful blog.

Where do you blog from? Internet cafes? Home? Do you search for Wi-Fi hotspots? What’s the best way for novice bloggers to locate an Internet connection on the road?

I prefer blogging from my own desk, but in order to keep entry consistency, blogging from the road must be an option. Plus, when you’re on the road is when your readers are most interested in what you’re experiencing. This also creates a “real time” feel to your journey and is very rewarding for both blogger and reader.

On the road, my first choice is an internet café so the connection is reliable and there is a familiarity to the setting. Wi-Fi hotspots aren’t always reliable or end up costing more than you intended to pay. Whether in big city or remote village, asking locals where the nearest internet café is usually your best bet.

Describe some of the challenges of maintaining a travel blog. How do you overcome them?

Whether writing a book, an article or a blog, the key to gaining your reader’s trust and return visit is one thing, quality of content. And, because of the medium, a blog must have consistency – no one likes clicking on a blog over and over and not seeing a new entry. Continually creating quality content and keeping reliable consistency is the most challenging part of maintaining a travel blog.

Two things help me to overcome this challenge: 1) Making sure I remain a curious and open-minded traveler always asking questions and seeking more understanding about the culture and nuances of life in a certain place and 2) routine and structure to my blogging schedule so that I make sure to allow the time needed to create an entry worthy of reading for the common browser.

What’s one great piece of advice you’d give to someone considering starting a travel blog?

A blog is simply a relationship between blogger and reader and needs to establish and maintain trust like all relationships. A blogger must define their specific purpose, declare it, stick with it and continually work to improve the content with consistent entries that readers can rely upon.

Another important piece of advice is regarding family and friends. Never assume or expect that friends and family have read or will read your blog. Occasionally remind people or send along what you think is a high-quality posting, but no one likes to feel like they got “caught” not reading your blog. If your blog is worthy of their time, they’ll read it and if not, they won’t and it shouldn’t affect your relationship to that person. Share things with others that you have written without assuming that they have read it.

It’s much better to assume that no friends and family have read your blog and be happily surprised when they actually have than it is to assume everyone has read your blog and be disappointed when they haven’t…

Tell me about your schedule. Do you blog the same time every day or every week? Do you specifically put time aside to blog? I imagine you must also have a full-time job—how do you make time to blog?

I am a very structured person, which helps tremendously in keeping a consistent entry schedule. I have a personal deadline of “by bedtime every Monday night,” but usually start working on the pictures and general outline on Sunday night. Topics and entry themes are considered and wrestled with weeks and sometimes months in advance. Like any other commitment, unreliable enthusiasm and energy must be offset by a well-thought out schedule and discipline.

How do you drive traffic to your blog?

Start small and let it grow with time (actually, you have no choice). Tell friends and family and occasionally remind them. Perhaps consider passing your link along to various publications. Take advantage of opportunities to share your link in various settings. Make it a fun part of your life that you genuinely enjoy sharing with others and it will grow, slowly but surely (if your content quality and consistency is good). Watch for any and all opportunities to get the word out about it and take advantage.

What’s the most rewarding part of having a blog?

In the end, my primary motivation for keeping a blog must be for my own satisfaction and personal reward (along with a nice keepsake from my journeys and adventures living abroad). Yet to know that there are some people out there who enjoy reading what you (or perhaps some popular commenters) have to say has been the most unexpected and enjoyable part of this whole experience in Sweden, except of course, for fika.