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Today I did my annual pre-Christmas Ikea trip. Since I moved to Canada Ikea has become a trusted source for a couple of things I could not live without, first being glogi (the purpose of my Ikea visit today). Glögi (or glögg) is a Nordic Christmas drink, a sort of warm sweet mulled wine that comes in either alcoholic or non-alcoholic varieties, and Ikea is the only place where I have found it by the bottle here in Toronto. Imad loves it too, and as I was contemplating on getting three bottles, he wanted five to make sure we don’t run out! I’m sure they will all be gone after Christmas! The nonalcoholic glögi can be served heated on its own, or with added vodka or wine to spice it up. I also bought some gravad lax/kraavilohta (raw cured salmon), cold smoked salmon, pickled herring, lingonberry jam, Finnish licorice, chocolate, tea lights, and couple of other Christmassy things, including a candelabra. Every year I have a terrifying thought that maybe I am the only one buying the glögi and next year they won’t have it!

In Finland and Sweden people don’t generally love Ikea as much as they do here: It’s viewed as cheap and a sell-out of all “real” Scandinavian design (Ikea is known for taking designs from other companies, changing them a bit and selling them cheap). In Canada, Ikea is selling the idea of Swedishness, in Finland mostly the idea of affordable. But I do have to admit that they do a decent job in making me feel a bit homesick with their rubbery meatballs! We do have their furniture too and they have lasted reasonably well.

In the evening I ventured out to my yoga class – my second one after the four week bronchitis episode! As I rushed up the stairs to the studio, I was expecting it to be full of the pre-holiday crowd, but instead there was just a small group of students, the faithful regulars. I have never seen this particular class be this empty since it starts at 5:30, just when everyone is gets off work. Usually the class gets so full that there is hardly space to stretch your arms without hitting your neighbor, but this time there were only maybe 10 of us. The best part came after class, when I opened my eyes after savasana (final relaxation pose) and the teacher had left little bags of homemade Christmas cookies in front of each of our yoga mats. She had baked everything herself and wrapped them nicely with bows. Such a lovely and unexpected surprise!

By the way, my post-per-day isn’t going that well. I missed a post yesterday! (It is much harder than I thought, to post every single day!). Maybe I should just publish cat photos and life would be much easier 🙂 I’ll do my best to keep it up though!

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