One of my friends and I were talking the other day about how long 2 years is. Looking ahead, like thinking about when it’s August and I’m 26, it seems not long at all. But looking back at when it was August and I was 22? Holy smokes. A lifetime. SO much has happened. I’ve changed in some ways and been completely reaffirmed in other ways. I’ve learned and experienced so much that is going to stick with me for the rest of my life, no doubt.

I have tried to start writing this post about 10 times. I’ve made lists of what I’m going to miss most and what I’ll miss least. I’ve tried to think of highlights and even thought of picking out a favorite picture from every month I was here. That would be 24 months. 104 weeks. Approximately 730 days. But I honestly can’t stand to sit at my computer and go through all of this. My heart hurts for so many reasons. And these are the biggest…

Oh man I’m going to miss them. I’m just going to miss all of this.

I’m sorry to end with such a sad, sappy post but thank you all for following my adventures over the last two years. It has been nothing short of amazing and so memorable and now I’m just going to enjoy my last weekend in this little slice of heaven.

See you soon!


I know you’re probably thinking where the heck are all her pictures from:

– My weekend trip to Estonia with Alexis
– Tom Tits aka, the greatest coolest most fun kids science museum ever
– My week at the summer cottage and the Fourth of July
– FRANCE duh
– Other exciting awesome things that have gone on during the last month

Well I’m sorry to say that due to some pretty terrible, unlucky, unfortunate circumstances. Those pictures are all gone. Actually all of my pictures from August of 2010 until July 8th are all gone (except for the ones on this blog and on Facebook).

Word to the wise: back up your stuff.

I recently read on a newfound favorite blog, Betches Love This Site (click to read more), that we, people of the world, are in the midst of a musical revolution. House music has caught on in a mainstream sort of way that makes it awesome and not just for dark, weird European lounges or nonstop, insane Ibiza nightclubs. I can say I had never even considered it part of my musical genre, um ever, that is until I came to Sweden. And while I’m still not quite a connoisseur, I know what I like when I hear it. So when I heard that David Guetta, Avicii and Eric Prydz were doing an all day DJ festival in Stockholm’s Stadion, I was so there. Neon face-paint and all.

So were about 8,000 of Stockholm’s 20-something population, making it an all day dance club. Preeettty sweet!

For us, it was basically an excuse to wear neon in every possible way. We were thinking ok, house music, rave party, neon paint, everyone will look like that. The other 7,995 people there were thinking this is pretty much an all day night club, high heels, hair gel, look good, reapply makeup constantly in the women’s bathroom. We were literally the only people with facepaint and we were a HIT. Do you know how many friends we made? Do you know how many faces we painted? Someone even STOLE our pink paint.

I’ve always wanted to do a music festival but I sort of imagined fields, tents, Wellies, flowers and not neon facepaint. Buuttt, I think the crowd energy of this event was a good pace for my life right now, so Bonnaroo will just have to wait.

We had a blast just dancing and waiting for the main event, Sir Guetta himself, to make his appearance at 10 pm. We got there around 4 pm. So we found ways to occupy the time…

The London nose made an appearance.

And so did Eric Prydz, famous for “Call On Me” which takes me back to freshman year of college and makes me think of Ben Delk and which Mr. Prydz sadly did not play.

And then we spent some time trying to fix Alexis’s broken camera. Blast!

So Swedish. These little man-purse necklace things are all over the place right now and I juuuust don’t get them. So are the tight-jean-man-shorts but I’ve given up trying to figure those out.

I spy Kelsey…

Also very Swedish. They love their Converse here. Did you notice what the man-purse-tight-shorts guys had on their feet? Converse.

Avicii was the last DJ before David Guetta and probably my favorite of the night. I’m proud to say that by the time DGuet came on stage we had all successfully snuck our way into VIP…like we always do. So although the pictures don’t do so much justice to the moment, it. was. AMAZING.

Perhaps some of you are wondering who David Guetta is – I would say the most popular DJ in the world. He mixes but he also collaborates…”When Love Takes Over” by Kelly Rowland – David Guetta was in on that. “Sweat” by Snoop Dogg, DGuet. “Memories” by Kid Cudi…DGuet. He’s French, he’s scrawny, he’s a genius creating a revolution. And I put on my war paint and took part one fine June evening.


Return to America: 32 Days.

Books I’m Reading: Just finished Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger…LOVE the movie but loved the book even more. Now, The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares.

Music I’m Loving: Besides David Guetta, I’m currently listening to one of my most favorite soundtracks of all time, Into The Wild, by Eddie Vedder.






It’s so nice to have someone else around to take pictures…I did not take a SINGLE picture when Mum and Dad came to visit! So all photo credit in this post goes to Mum and my friend Kirsten Thyberg.


It’s true! Mum and Dad came to Sweden!!!! It was about darn time, because time was running out (home to America 6 weeks from today, folks). They came just 8 days after Megs and Dev left so I got plenty of North Carolina love and visits to Arlanda Airport during the month of May. They arrived on Friday the 27th, just one day before the Marathon. So we took it easy and had a delightful pre-race evening with my Swedish family…

She loves them because they’re precious. They love her because she makes them cookies all the time.

My Swedish “Mom and Dad.” After dinner it was a quick drop off at the hotel and off to bed so I would be rested for the biggest athletic endeavor of my life…

Like my running shoes? They were super comfortable.

Kristy has been my best friend and supporter and training partner since January so we were psyched for the day to finally arrive. The weather seemed a little less than desirable (about 50 F and cloudy) but that actually turned out to be a great thing for us as runners…unfortunately not for our number one fans but they were troopers nonetheless and seeing their faces throughout the course made running 26.2 miles infinitely more enjoyable!

I honestly cannot put into words how much they meant on race day – NOT to mention, they were louder than any other spectators anywhere else along the course which I know motivated more than just Kristy and myself!

One final pre-race picture by Mum…

iPhone picture waiting at the start!

And we’re off! Race day adrenaline was amazing – it’s so amazing having hundreds of people around you at any given moment doing the exact same thing you’re doing. It certainly helps make it easier to just keep on truckin’.

As much as I’d like to say we looked this happy and excited at, say, mile 25, this was actually like the first 500 yards of the race, haha! I ran with my phone and was able to text (yes, while running – I’m so modern) my friends to tell them where we would be and when. I was able to do that with Annelie and the kids as well and they met us and ran alongside us at about the halfway point. Seriously, the love and support was AWESOME!

I myself managed to snap one picture during the run, at about 3 miles.

On top of texting our locations, my friends sent me such great supportive text messages throughout. Annelie was tracking my pace online and sent me a text right as I was climbing the steepest hill of the race – it’s so silly, but it’s little things like that that help make it easier, meaningful and more fun. At about mile 24 Nicole texted and asked where I was – while texting back, I felt a not so pleasant pop on my right pinkie toe. Thinking I had lost a toenail, I slowed down. But the pain went away and so I picked the pace back up. Mile 25.5, same pain on my left pinkie toe. Taking my shoes off after the race was going to be ugly (thankfully it was just popped blisters). But less than a mile?! Hello, keep moving!

We finished by running into the Stockholm Olympic Stadium which was amazing and slightly emotional. Lies…REALLY emotional. But goodness, I was damn happy to see that finish line! My goal was to come in under 4 hours and 30 minutes…I finished at 4 hours and 20 minutes! BUT the best part of the whole race was having my parents there at the finish line.

Kristy came in just a few minutes behind me and I was SO impressed with her…she had been struggling with an injury before the race but pushed through the whole thing. I definitely can’t imagine sharing this experience with anyone else. We’ve agreed to do one distance race together each year from now on!

Our fans met us with hugs AND the best goodie bags full of everything you want after a marathon: chips, chocolate and champagne! We had a little celebration and then began the long, painful trek back to my parents hotel.

The three of us had a great pasta dinner (of which I shamelessly consumed every last morsel) before I met up with the girls and partied until an hour I’m almost too ashamed to say. My dead, wobbly legs were mistaken for serious intoxication and I was almost asked to leave the club! Then when I called a taxi to take me home, at first I was told there were none available…then I mentioned that I ran the marathon that day and couldn’t walk and the dispatcher magically made a taxi appear right in front of me!

The next day I did lots of walking and sightseeing with Mum and Dad, which was slow and not so pleasant at the time, but probably the best thing I could have done for my body. Plus, as if I was really going to lay cooped up “resting” while Mum and Dad were visiting…I don’t think so. On Monday I embarked on another ambitious athletic endeavor and that was picking up the clubs after, oh, let’s say, over 5 years of literally NO golf. Running the marathon: I had nothing to lose. Playing Sweden’s most prestigious golf course with Mum, Dad and Annelie: my dignity.

Bro Hof is home to the Scandinavian Masters and is about 45 minutes from Stockholm (unless you get lost like me then it takes over an hour and you have to run to the first tee without any warm up). It’s incredibly beautiful and a fun course to play. I held it together nicely on the front nine and, gosh, choked is such a harsh word so I think I’ll create my own word here…I Roried it on the back nine. Not sure what I mean? Click HERE.

I think Mum and Dad were in golf heaven. And I don’t normally look this sloppy on golf courses. But I had just walked 22 holes (yes, after playing hole one, we missed a turn and played 12, 13, 14 and 15 before realizing our mistake) within 48 hours of running a marathon. I think 72 hours is the cutoff for using the marathon excuse, so I milked it as much as I could.

After our round of golf, we just did lots more sightseeing around Stockholm. They had great weather and were able to see most of the city (at least my favorite parts) during their quick visit.

In case you’ve ever wondered, here is a picture of me au pairing in action. Klara picking flowers, Sixten probably picking his nose and me carrying their clubs. Typical.

We finished the trip with dinner at Vapiano…my favorite restaurant in Sweden (as well as my parents) which is opening in Charlotte in July! Everyone must check it out!

Their trip was so great and honestly having back to back guests for 2 and a half weeks really gave me a chance to show off this amazing city that has truly become my home over the last 2 years. I love, love, LOVE Stockholm and really came to realize that during the month of May. I was just skyping with Dad and he said our whole family will definitely have to come back and visit. But I wouldn’t be surprised if I didn’t try to move back over here sometime in the future. So I’m sorry America, but you have a lot to live up to in the coming months…don’t let me down!


This Time Last Year: The Royal Wedding – Happy one year anniversary to Victoria and Daniel!

Books I’m Reading: The Devil Wears Prada

Music I’m Loving: Grace Potter…how have I never heard of her before!? I love her song with my homeboy Kenny Chesney.







Perhaps you’ll remember last year, when Klara and I stumbled upon Eric Saade signing autographs in Kungstragården and I’m not entirely sure who was more excited, me or Klara. Eric Saade is a cheesier Swedish version of Zac Efron (which is a stretch because really no one is on the same level as Zac Efron except for maybe Justin Timberlake in which case I would actually say Zac is one level down from Justin because Justin is…well that’s a whole other blog situation, one we might entitle “Brady’s far-too-many celebrity crushes”).

This year we were prepared for his Kungstragården appearance. And it just so happened that he was performing with a number of other fun Swedish singers so I invited the other Au Pairs to join in on our fun. So Miss Klara got to have a night out with the “older girls!”

Obviously we needed ice cream before dinner.

Let me tell you something about this child. First, I adore her. Her personality is so infectious and she makes every person she encounters feel like her long lost best friend…even if you’ve never met before or have only been apart for a few hours (just ask Megan, Devin, my Mom or Dad – never met them and I couldn’t pry her hugging arms off of them). She has her moments of sassiness, but she has these other amazing moments that I wish I could capture in a Mason Jar and share with everyone.

And now I’m crying.

When she’s not with her brothers, not competing for attention (which is understandable, being the middle child and girl in between 2 equally vivacious boys) she is so mature and profound. Before we went to Mauritius, we were talking about the house we were staying in. After discussing the pool and having our own rooms and traveling to such a cool place, she was quiet for a few minutes then said, “You know, we are so lucky. I would never want to trade my life for anything else. You know some kids in the world don’t get lunch and even though the food at my school is gross, I still try to eat it because at least I get it.” I’m like, OK you’re 8!??!.

This night that we went to the concert, we were walking through the streets and she asked me if any countries were at war. I explained that there was a war in a place called Libya right now and that it’s a very sad situation. Again, she ponders this and responds: “Yes, I think that’s why so many Libya people are coming to Sweden. You know, Brady, in Sweden we don’t have war, we only have peace. We take care of people who are in wars. In Sweden, we focus on other important things like…(as we pass a hair salon) stuff for your hair and (as we pass a toy store) toys to make kids happy and (as we pass an art gallery) painting beautiful pictures.” I am so impressed by this child’s incredible awareness and LOVE her sweet innocence. When things are tough, we should all just think like Klara.

But back to the excitement of the evening…

CLEARLY we had to take advantage of FREE face-painting!

Ready for the show to start! Thankfully, bringing 3 other Au Pairs along worked to my advantage as my friends ever so graciously took Klara on their shoulders from time to time :)

On our way to the concert, I taught her how to fist pump. She is now a pro!

First up, Mohombi. Not sure if he’s popular in America, but he has a song out with Nicole I-can’t-spell-her-last-name from the Pussycat Dolls called “Coconut Tree” ( Boyfriend can dance…and I had to remind Klara a few times in the days following the concert that dancing like him isn’t really ladylike…

Next, Loreen. Incredible incredible incredible voice. Her current hit is My Heart is Refusing Me (

We want Eric!!

I was SUPER pumped to see one of my most favorite Swedish artists, Tove Styrke! She did well on Idol 2009 and I’m obsessed with every song off of her new album. Her shoes…not so much.

Her biggest hit is White Light Moment – I think it would do really well in the States! (

And here he is!!

He has a new song out called Throw Your Hearts Up – Klara has that covered.

As you might have seen in my previous post, Mr. Saade did quite well in Eurovision this past year with the incredibly profound and lyrical song Popular, which he also performed at the concert! (

And I have officially seen this kid in concert 3 times since being in Sweden. I would say my time here is officially complete.


This time last year: Technically I didn’t post this this time last year, but it’s where I was…A New European Favorite. Just wait until you see where I was this past weekend — coming soon!

Series I’m Watching: True Blood Season 3

Music I’m Loving: The Temper Trap, The Black Keys, Efterklang

Well well well. Look who came to visit! I’d gone almost a full year without visitors and I couldn’t have been more insanely happy that these two broke the drought. A WHOLE WEEK with Megan and Devin?!?! Hooray!

Blurry arrival picture because I was jumping up and down so much (not really, my camera can act a fool sometimes).

First cottage meal, Grilled chicken salad with feta and blueberries, compliments of The Pioneer Woman. I did my best to keep them awake so they could adjust to the time change but despite my best efforts they were out by 8.

Little drool action from the Dev.

The next night they lasted a bit longer and we went out for drinks with friends!

Megan’s boyfriend, Craig, was also in Sweden visiting his Dad who lives on a farm about 3 hours Southwest of Stockholm. So OF COURSE we went to visit and ohmygosh I’m SO glad we did! It was a slice of Swedish heaven, so different from Stockholm, but still so very Swedish.

Megs and Craigs.

True love, nearly 15 years strong.

I think I told them about 15 million times I was SO so so so SOOOO happy they were visiting!!!

The most insanely large and gorgeous dandelions I have ever seen in my life.

Yes, fries come with the shake.

These fences are so typical of rural Sweden and I love them. When I own a big ranch out west someday, I’m going to fortify it with this kind of fence. It can’t be that difficult to build right?

Craig’s family has two horses, whose names have escaped me. They loved us.

After awhile it was time to make dinner – Megs, Craigs and I were in charge of peeling potatoes (Devin was our moral support). Potato peeling isn’t Megan’s forte so she soon joined Devin in providing moral support.

After dinner, we all got cozy inside the cottage to watch my favorite event of the year, Eurovision! After some pretty disappointing finishes the last couple of years, Sweden FINALLY did super well and got third place with my main man and musical genius, Eric Saade, performing his new hit, Popular. (More to come on my borderline teenage obssession with him in an upcoming post.) The next day we drove to Gränna, a little town about 25 km from the farm. Gränna is famous for its peppermint sticks and views of Lake Vättern, one of the largest lakes in Sweden. It’s also famous for some interesting playground activities that we couldn’t resist…

I actually gave him the money to purchase this grill from a vending machine. What a good friend.

Swedish red-neck waterpark.

The famous peppermint sticks! Tempting, but I got ice cream instead.

Oh, so close Saade!

Back at the farm before heading home to Stockholm.

After our weekend adventure to the countryside, we made plans to see as much touristy stuff in Stockholm as possible. First stop: the Vasa Museum. The only museum in the world I like.

Devin is a special boy. Bear with him.

A little background on the Vasa: it was built in the 1600’s and was supposed to be the greatest ship in the world. She set sail, made it about 1 kilometer and sank right in the middle of the waters surrounding Stockholm. However, it wasn’t until the 1950’s that she was rediscovered and, in pretty much one piece, brought back to the surface, where she now sits in a super cool museum that I’ve been to 5 times. So these scary looking cherubs are what the decorations along the bow were thought to have looked like.


We picked each other out from these cartoon images of what the Vasa crew might have looked like. This is Devin.


Megan. Missing a leg haha.


We know.

Closest thing I have to a brother.

Wuv you Devie.

And the rain. Megs and Dev didn’t get the best Swedish spring weather, but they were troopers nonetheless. Onward to Gamla Stan!

Had to, just once.

On Mårten Trotzigs Gränd. Gränd means alley and this is supposedly most narrow alley in the world.

The next day we ventured around Södermalm, which I like for its elevated views of Gamla Stan and other parts of Stockholm.

A church I had never seen before, Katarina Kyrka.


Supposedly near where the Vasa sank. We were eager to see if this ship would have the same fate…thankfully it made it through alright.

Deep breaths. I thought my tidiness OCD would kill them.

But I won’t lie, having people stay in my tiny little cottage for a week really made it feel that much more cozy!

Megan liked this candy which is pronounced DIME. She thought it was DAYUUMM.

Devin has a mild chip addiction, especially at 2 in the morning.

Last day in the city, heading this time to City Hall, a place I had never visited before.

City Hall is most famous for playing host to the Nobel Awards Banquet every year. Every prize (except for Peace which is given in Oslo) is given in Stockholm and the dinner is held in the Blue Hall (which is really all brick). We didn’t have time to go inside, so we can tack that onto my ever-growing Swedish bucket list…

“And don’t trample the pansies!” Name that movie.

Our jumping pictures didn’t turn out so great but this one was our favorite because it looks like I have thrown Megan into the air!!

AND THEN we found a goldfish and knew that other Americans had been at City Hall. The O’Malley’s love their goldfish and were shocked they don’t exist in Sweden. We searched for the toddler who dropped this treasure, hoping to bargain for his stash, all to no avail.

Two words: Klara’s hair. My favorite picture of their visit! I was sad to see them go but had such a great time with them! Now it’s my turn to go visit Megs…back to Park City. Twist my arm.


This Time Last Year: One With Nature.

Books I’m Reading: NONE! Wow. I’m actually on Season Three of Dexter, both whom and which I love. Watch it.

Music I’m Loving: David Guetta. Also, Lady Antebellum because warm weather makes me want to listen to some country!

April? May? Where did you go? Things have just been SO exciting lately I haven’t had a chance to keep up:

– Megan and Devin’s Visit! So. Much. Fun.
– Klara’s night out with the au pairs to a Swedish teeny bopper concert..although we might have been squealing at the concert more than her.
– MOM AND DAD are boarding their plane RIGHT NOW and will be visiting for the next 5 days OHMYGOSH YAY!
– The Stockholm Marathon!

Until then, and since my mind is on one thing and one thing only, click on the link and enjoy this nice little article a newspaper in Stockholm wrote about my friend/fellow au pair/training partner, Kristy Giglio, and me about being first time marathoners! (Even with google translate, it translates kind of silly, but you’ll get the idea.)

Sweden was the Starting Point

Keep your fingers crossed for Saturday!!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.