Dear Diary: December 31, 2015

It is time for another update on my life. I always find these difficult to write, in part because my brain is very scattered, but I must do it nonetheless. So, let's talk about an Anti-Flag concert, a trip to Berlin, a visit from my brother's Chinese in-laws, some work I have been up to, and whatever else has been going on.

Anti-Flag concert

@karreparre and I are at an Anti-Flag concert, watching the supporting acts right now. #music #punk #fuckyou

Ett foto publicerat av Patrick Hall, leftist writer (@authorpathall)

On November 27, 2015, my girlfriend and I were at an Anti-Flag concert at Brewhouse in Gothenburg. There were two supporting acts, including one local and another called The Homeless Gospel Choir. The latter was a solo act with acoustic and politically charged music, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Check out the song "With God on Our Side" to see what I mean.

The main act was, as I said, Anti-Flag, a politically charged punk rock band I started listening to earlier this year. (And then my girlfriend bought tickets to the show, which was nice.) I am not really the kind of person who throws myself into mosh pits; I prefer sitting in the back with a (ginger) beer in my hand, which is exactly what I did. In doing so, we got a shout-out by the band, who, when they addressed the crowd, referred to us as "[...] the beautiful, young lovers sitting in the back [...]" (or was it couple rather than lovers?).

On a related note, this was the first time I tasted ginger beer (a Ginger Joe). And holy fuck, where has it been all my life? I need it. I need it bad.

Berlin trip

Eating breakfast before our connecting flight to #Berlin. #travel

Ett foto publicerat av Patrick Hall, leftist writer (@authorpathall)

I do not have the time right now to go into great lengths on what happened during the Berlin trip; I simply do not have the time to sort through all the pictures I took. So I will just go through the basics for now.

We left for Berlin on December 3, 2015, and stayed until the seventh. We saw a bunch of cool places, including the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor). I will upload pictures and go through the trip in more detail sometime next year (probably in January, but perhaps in December); I was planning on doing it for this blog post, but I unfortunately do not have the time. So... stay tuned.

The primary reason for which we were there was that my girlfriend's band Cinnamon Beard played at a bar there. I just tagged along, like a groupie.

Back in Sweden, the stress of university studies overwhelmed me again, and I had to write a trillion essays and do a few sit-down exams. I was not finished with all of this until December 23, so I have definitely not had enough time to do much of anything else. I did squeeze in some shopping for Christmas presents, a trip to Liseberg's Christmas market on December 17, and a visit to church for a secular-ish Christmas concert of which her brother was part.

Chinese visit

Before Christmas, in the midst of stressful university studies, my brother, his Chinese wife, and her parents visited us here in Sweden. They got married just a few months back, in China, but had decided to have a party here, too. It was interesting to meet Chinese people and especially to hear them speak. They spoke mostly Shanghainese, but also some Mandarin. To be honest, Mandarin can sound quite funny (a 'she' sound appears quite often).

Drinking a cosmopolitan. If only it were a more "manly" drink, I would feel like James Bond.

On December 19, the wedding party was held. I had to translate a speech my mother had written into English; she held the speech in Swedish, and I held her speech in English. After some mingling at home, we headed to Novotel for a "julbord" (Swedish for "Christmas table", basically a Christmas buffet). There was lots of food and quite a bit of alcohol. So... fun stuff.

The Chinese in-laws flew back to China a couple days later, but my brother and his wife stayed in Sweden. They study in America and thus stayed with us a while longer, before heading back there.

The day before Swedish Christmas (we celebrate on the December 24) is called "uppesittarkväll" (literally "sitting up evening"). It is, sort of, a Swedish tradition to watch a special uppesittarkväll episode of a show called Bingo Lotto. It used to be a family tradition, as well, before my grandmother passed away two and a half years ago. Bingo Lotto is basically an entertainment show on which one also plays bingo and can win money, cars, and such. My brothers and I used to watch and play with our mother's parents, but this did not really continue after my grandmother passed away. However, this year, my brother Rikard and I watched and played with our parents and his wife (who does not speak Swedish, by the way). It was... not very cool, but what are you gonna do? We did not win anything either.

My father and I left my brother and his wife at the airport early on December 29. So now they are back in the States and life in Sweden is a little calmer. Big brothers, huh? Such a pain. *insert funny emoticon*

Work

As for my work, I want to say you should stay tuned in 2016. I have several projects about which I am very excited! I hope that I will be finished with... well, at least one of them, sometime next year. Hopefully sooner rather than later. One of those projects I wish to publish next year is a novel with political themes, so it can be enjoyed on two completely different levels (or not if you are a right-wing, fundamentalist theist). At any rate, I will keep you in the loop as much as I can!