Thursday, December 01, 2005


I'm just outside of Stockholm, Sweden for a professional workshop. It is a very interesting place. When I got here, I went to a hotel called "Mr. Chips" in a suburb called Kista (pronounced Chista). It was a nice, clean hotel with furnishings from Ikea. In the morning I went to the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS). More Ikea furnishings. For lunch, we went to a local food mall where they had Lebanese, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Greek and German food. Of course, the decor was Ikea, but the place was jumping. Every seat was full.

This evening, we left Kista to go to the Stasaholme Conference Center. It was a different world. The snow was falling. The lights were low, and the furnishing was Country Cottage. Old world, wood moldings, wall paper. A totally different atmosphere.

The people are happy and personable. Everyone speaks some English, and I only fall into a Swedish Chef imitation once every 15 minutes or so. In the US, my family name is Jaffe with a hard J. In Israel, we are called Yafe with a soft e. It turns out that in Sweden, J is a Y and the final e is naturally soft, so that call be Yafe but write it Jaffe. Interesting place.

As far as the countryside is concerned, I feel like I'm in Minnesota. It the same rolling hills, evergreen trees and snow. I can understand why the Scandinavians moved there. It was just like home.


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