Monday, August 27, 2012


No, we're still here. Life is great, even though it feels like it's the end of autumn, not the end of summer in Uppsala. This morning I wished I had gloves for the bike ride to work! But, my 60% is really more like a 100% job, so I spend most of my days at the school. I am teaching orienteering in PE next week, and hopefully not only to the year 4 and year 5, but also to the 6-9 years. I have a lot of fantastic ideas, but it's a lot of work to organize orienteering activities for 6 classes a day, for 3 weeks! I think I have to scale back on what I was hoping to do. Right now I'm updating the map around the school to something that is close to correct. Next, I'm updating the university sprint map across the street, where I hopefully can bring the year 7-9 students for some sprint orienteering. Now, do you think I can get the club to lend me the SI units for a day or two? :)

I think it's really special that orienteering is one of the two specific things that you must teach in PE (swimming is the other). The core content says that students should learn:
  • Using maps to orient oneself in the surrounding nature and outdoor environment. Maps – their structure and symbols.
  • Orientation in unfamiliar environments using maps and other aids to locate position.
  • Rights and obligations in nature as set out in the public right of access to land.
I was just browsing my training log from last September (trying to seei f I had any DM long results), and I came across this entry:
An easy morning run in the blustery weather. There were lots of children in Stadsskogen woods this morning out orienteering! And they were all lost. Every single group I saw was wandering aimlessly. One group looked like they were going to ask me for help as I approached, but they wimped out. If I felt more confident in my Swedish I would have stopped. I have to wonder what sort of instruction was given to these kids - they all looked thoroughly confused! I glanced at a few of their maps as I ran past and they were certainly not great quality - definitely photocopies.

Talking to a few people here about their experiences with orienteering in school it sounds like a lot of the programs aren't well run. They use old maps and don't provide good instruction. Instead of encouraging people to do orienteering, they turn people away from it. I'm sure this isn't the case in all schools, but I heard this account from more than one person. It's too bad, considering how well it could be done!

Well, then, I guess after all my talk I better do a good job!

Training is still hard. I'm struggling with motivation and energy. My weird hip pain that's been around for over a year has decided to make itself known again and it's hard to want to go running when you know it will hurt. No panicking! It isn't that bad, and I'm stretching it. It's just annoying. This weekend I start racing, and I'm starting with the long distance district championships. I think that's the perfect place to start. My shape isn't great, but it's certainly enough for me to put in a good effort this weekend.  Last year's DM Long: map results splits

Goals for this year's long DM:
  • Use what I've learned. I'm smarter now, and a better orienteer.
  • Simplify.
  • Check the compass. Pay attention to it!
And, because no blog entry is complete without a picture, here are favorites from Plitvice Lake National Park, Croatia:

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Uppsala is certainly home now. It's not my only home - I still refer to the house I grew up in as home, and my two apartments in Newton still remind me of home. But Uppsala is certainly home now. There has been one dreary day since returning, but otherwise it's been perfect Swedish summer weather. Plus, on the rainy day I had the opportunity to wear all my rain gear to bike frantically into work. Instead of getting wet from the rain I started sweating from the layers. I must learn to manage that a bit better. I started work on Wednesday, bright and early after getting home the previous night around 11pm. I'll be teaching P.E. and doing some special education work at Internationella Engelska Skolan Uppsala. It's a 60% job, so I should still have plenty of time for training. Plus, I've already told them that I must take a week off in October for North American Champs :)

We grilled one beautiful night, and followed the yumminess with a game of Power Grid, where Ross was the supreme victor. This morning Ross started washing the outside of the kitchen window, which I've been wanting to do for months. I couldn't stay away from the fun, so I joined in "to help." I think he would have rather done it himself. Then we framed some IKEA pictures, and even assembling the frames was a challenging task. Now, I'm relaxing after running hill intervals on backbanan and chatting with Hanna. Game night and pizza later with Uppsala friends.

It's good to be home!