Sunday, January 13, 2013


I had a lot of changes this weekend. On Friday I got an office here in Luleå it has an amazing view and I wanted to capture a picture of it for you. In the summer all the white is replaced with just lush green. So don't think it is like this year round.

On Friday I also moved out of the hotel and into my apartment. I purchased a bed the first day I got here but they had to order it from another store so it wouldn't get in for at least a week. Luckily my co-worker (Allan) had some extra matress pads and a blanket. So here is a picture of my bed and bedroom. 

In Sweden they don't have any lights in the apartments for some reason. I don't know why, maybe Swedish builders are super cheap? Maybe Swedes just need a little variety and like their own lamps and fixtures. Anyways, I had to purchase a lamp and that is what you see in the corner. It is one of 5 light sources in my house. The other 4 are a half-hung fixture over the entry way, the bathroom light, the light over the stove, and an under cabinet light.

You may look at that bed and feel sorry for me, but luckily I trained in college for this when I lived in "The Factory". 17 guys. 1 House. This is the Ritz Carlton at Tyson's Corner compared to "The Factory".

I Slept in until noon on Saturday and this is what I woke up to. Beautiful blue skies and a brisk sunny day. I actually woke up because it was so bright in my bedroom. The next two pictures are views from the apartment in the day time.

On Saturday I ran around with Allan all day and he took me through his Saturday ritual. Part of that ritual was going to the branch house and dropping off the sacrament bread so it is there Sunday morning. This is a view of the branch house on Sunday morning. It is a small branch but they have a surprising amount of young people. The primary has 13 kids.

The entry way.

The Primary Room

Obviously that metric system isn't as easier to understand for truck drivers as it is for everyone else...

This was a moving truck, they were in the process of getting all of their stuff out of it when I drove by.

This is the sun setting at 3 PM after grocery shopping. That was quite the experience. I bought a bunch of food that I am pretty sure it will make good food but you never know because you can't read what you actually bought.

They have Dr. Pepper. I gave it a shot for Gin, it tastes the same as the states.

This is my work vehicle

One of them Swedish license plates.

On my first trip to Sweden the people I traveled with who had been here before kept saying, "there are some things the Swedes do a lot better than Americans." I laughed waiting for the punchline of a joke, but this picture is of one of those things the Swedes do better. It is my bathroom towel rack with built in heater. You put your towel on it when you get in the shower and when you get out you have a nice warm towel to wrap yourself up in. It is heaven sent.

The next seven pictures were ones I took on my way to church this morning. It was a beautiful morning.



Contrary to popular belief the sun exists in Luleå. It just can't get over the snow piles.

When I got out of church the sun was beginning to set. Since the sun doesn't get high in the sky it takes a long time to come up and a long time to set. It makes for some long beautiful sunrises and sunsets. 

So while I keep reading stories on KSL about inversion and air quality problems I am enjoying beautiful blue skies. Not only that, but it is about the same temperature in Sweden right now as it is in Salt Lake. And after the snow storm this weekend, we have about the same amount of snow.

This weekend was a huge shock for me. Until Friday night this felt like any other trip to Sweden other than I had all this luggage I was trailing. I kept eating out and hadn't cooked in my apartment. But Friday night when I realized I could sleep in all day Saturday if I wanted and I didn't have anything to do the next day work wise was just a complete shocker to me. (I ended up working just to keep myself busy) But on Saturday it was just weird being here. I didn't like the feeling. Today at church it was tough going without my family. There is a 1 year old in the ward who was walking all over the building and during classes and I just kept looking at him and thinking, I bet Owen will be able to beat that kid up, well not that but I kept thinking about Owen. 

I sat in church today just looking around and observing others. Like I said earlier there are a surprising number of young families and kids. I also noticed they are ALL girls. Owen is going to have his pick of the litter. One little girl who is 7 told me today that she is so excited for more boys in the branch because there are too many girls in it. I hope she doesn't have a problem marrying a younger man. Church was a lot of fun. It was in Swedish and some members and a missionary were incredibly nice and translated  all three hours for me. It was nice singing in Swedish though because it really helped me get a better grasp on the language. We sang for an opening hymn "There is Sunshine in my Soul Today", "There is a Green Hill Far Away" for the sacrament, "Choose the Right" for a rest hymn, and "Love at Home" for a closing hymn. It was nice to have something so familiar in a land where everything feels so unfamiliar. That is what I love about the church. All through this tumultuous week I kept thinking about how nice it would be to go to church and meet with complete strangers that share my same values and beliefs. I am extremely grateful to live so close to my little branch house.

One last note, there was a 15-year old Swede speaking today about going to Youth Conference and he gave an amazing talk. He had this semi-Bieber thing going on where he would flip his hair or run his hands through it and then smile out on the audience; he gave a really good talk summarizing D. Todd Christofferson's call for young men to be men. Anyways, after he spoke his mom spoke about how happy she was he went to youth conference. She said while he was there he met a lot of nice young people. She said while he was there he would tell girls, "I knew Youth Conference would be a spiritual experience, but I didn't realize I would meet an angel." I guess Youth Conference is universal for bringing guys and girls together.

This next week I am hoping to head to Stockholm, and then tour the Mine and Port. We'll see if I can get away from the office though. I love you all and thank you for your support. 

PS - I got a swedish phone number today, so if you text me and I don't text back it is because of that and not because I don't want to talk to you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Life in Luleå Sweden (no there isn't anything wrong with the å)

After a long hiatus I decided to start blogging again.

So on Monday I moved across the pond for three weeks to get everything setup before Gini and Owen move over. It was really sad to leave knowing I wouldn't be back this weekend and would be gone for the two after that as well. However, I am married to the sweetest girl in the world who took the time before I left to create a note for everyday )and one for every layover on the way home) about memories she has of us dating to keep me company on my trip. They have been heaven sent reminders of how lucky I am to be married to such an amazing woman. 

Enough gushy stuff, I packed up three suitcases and had Gini drop me off at the airport. I traveled via Chicago and it was a pleasant trip. Salt Lake was in a horrid cold spell right before I left and when I landed in Sweden it seemed warm compared to where I was coming from. When I first got in town I was picked up at the airport by my boss, and then we went around and picked up my car, got the key to my apartment, and did some other necessary shopping (like buying a bed). Here are some pictures of my first day.

This first picture is from the balcony of our apartment and looks out over the city center. They have a ton of snow here so it is just so bright even at night because of the reflection. Even though it felt warmer than Utah that isn't saying much, it is still really cold. Since it is so cold frost and snow stick to everything; all of the trees usually have a good coating of white stuff all winter long. It makes everything look so pretty, like right out of a book.

This is another view from our apartment. That is the cathedral that is covered in frost it looked pretty neat at night. 

This is the road into my office. On the right side is the new server farm for Facebook, if you look closely at the top of the building you can see overhangs, those are vents. The have large fans on the other side and instead of paying for air conditioning they will just pump outdoor air in to air condition all the servers. It is a pretty big building. My office is on the left behind the trees.

One picture I forgot to grab was when we went to get me a cell phone and we were parking the car. We parked right by the local school. It was a typical European school with the courtyard being the playground. We peered through one of gates at recess (mind you it was pretty dark outside) and all the kids are out on the playground in snowsuits just playing with sleds and running around like it isn't 0 degrees Celsius out. It was neat to see. I don't think they believe in indoor recess here.

Next week I hope to manage a trip to the mine, the transloading facility, and Narvik. I hope to share more pictures between now and then but if these didn't make you want to jump on a plane and get over here I wanted to give you a little teaser of what is to come. I also hope to squeeze in a business meeting in Stockholm next week, as well as one in Norway the following so I'll be sure to document those trips. If anyone has any requests for pictures please feel free to post them in the comments.