I know it’s been awhile since my last post and while I did promise to fill you in on the exciting research I am doing here, I thought I would take a detour and talk about a very important (and very Swedish) holiday.
Midsummer in Sweden marks the time when the plants start to bloom and the sunshine extends into the late hours of the night. From what I have been told by the students living in the building, it is a holiday that is just as important as Christmas, and in some cases, is celebrated more than National Day. Shops throughout town close and people travel to spend time with their families. Midsummer’s Eve always falls on a Friday, and during the day, a maypole is decorated with flowers and other plants before being raised for everyone to dance around.
Now that I have given you a little background, I would like to share what my Midsummer experience was like…. Thursday night MTV held a concert in the city that was free for everyone. Loreen (a popular Swedish singer), B.O.B. and Nelly Furtado all performed while the sun set…somewhere around 11:30 pm. That marked the beginning of a fun, interesting and somewhat educational weekend to come.
My balcony overlooks a preschool and on Friday morning, I enjoyed my cup of coffee outside while watching the children sing and dance around a miniature maypole their teachers had helped them create. That night myself and the other girls in the program were invited to have dinner with some friends we made. Traditionally, the meal includes boiled potatoes, pickled herring and something pronounced like ‘seal’ (which is jarred fish in different flavored sauces). We ate until we were stuffed and spent the rest of the night talking and laughing before heading out for the long walk home. That’s when things got interesting. About ten minutes into the walk we noticed that a cat was following us. It had a collar so assuming that it lived close by, we continued to walk figuring the cat would eventually go its separate way. That was until it continued to follow us for another 20 minutes, across major intersections, all the way to the house! We took it in, cleaned it up, and after some detective work, managed to find his owner (using nothing but a street address and Google) who was very grateful, as the cat had been missing for entire week. The rest of the weekend was nothing short of eventful but I figure I have to save some stuff for my next posts.
I always feel like I have to end these things with something meaningful…like a final thought. Hehe So I guess after all that the things I can take away from the experience is
1) Be friendly- it’s easy to get caught up in your daily routine but when you take a few minutes to stop and actually talk to someone you might make some interesting friends who may just invite you to a Swedish dinner where you just might get the chance to try, and possibly like, some traditional Swedish food (but maybe not the ‘seal’). Which brings me to…
2) No matter what it sounds like, try it (Yes, I’m referring to the ‘seal’ again). The point is sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone is a good thing.
3) Sometimes you just have to take a cat home. OK, maybe not literally. But take the opportunity to do your good deed for the day.
Alright well now I’m sounding a little too much like an after school special so good night. I’m going to post some videos of the concert soon. FYI, MTV is supposed to air all of the European concerts at some point in case anyone is interested in checking them out.