Sweden at its best

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If I could precisely remember who introduced me to my friend Michelle, I would write that person a thank you card every year. These past days, I had the pleasure of enjoying her and her lovely parents’ hospitality and while it was way too short, it was a summer paradise experience.

Not so much for the weather (which was decent only two days) or any spectacular activities, but more because of the atmosphere in her home. It’s difficult to describe, but yesterday when we sat with Michelle’s mom’s homebaked fika (because of course we got an assortment of homemade cookies every day) in the sofa with her parents, I said, “It’s a bit as if your mom and dad had four daughters”. Mom and Dad fed us, we watched the Olympics with them, they called us to come play Kubb. To add to the mysfaktor, their adorable dog Tessan traipsed behind us, ready to be petted, and when we came back from some trip to the mini train station where we dropped someone off, Tessan ran all over the yard, enthusiastic to greet us.

The time was way too short (I really need to take two weeks vacation in one piece next year) and I unfortunately did not get much sleep either. One night, we had a grand party, the next insomnia haunted me and another one, me and my room mates could just not stop chatting – that’s the camp feeling at its best.

Tonight, I landed in Dizzel which was melancholic. These other past times I returned, the longing for Sweden had been less urgent. But today, when we saw my friend Henrike off at the station, I felt the yearning come back. Henrike lived close to Dizzel and now she’s moved to Stockholm. I felt like I should have gone with her. 45 days till my next flight stockhome.

Monday morning, my morgonpigga friends made me get up before 9 and we had a picture perfect breakfast by the lake in the woods, mosquitos inclusive. Later, we played Kubb and Raphael and I lost twice. Lunch was salmon and potatis in the Swedish sunshine – a perfect day suitable for imagebank.sweden.se

Yesterday, we drove to the beach despite our hangover. It was totally worth it.

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Saturday was the day of the big party! Michelle had invited her friends and family to celebrate her Masters Degree. The house gradually was filled with elegantly dressed people, and even two sweet as candy babies. We got lots of good food and sang the traditional dinner songs. (I really enjoyed watching the foreign  (and unfamiliar with the tradition) guests’ facial expressions when we sang O gamla klang which includes standing up on chairs, singing lines alone and pounding on the table.)

I guess awesomeness attracts more awesomeness because Michelle’s friends are a bunch of wonderful people. A delightful mixture of languages and cultures arose, Europe at it’s best. (“Did you just say that to me in Swedish or German?” “Eh, I don’t know?”) Most of us were assigned a task contributing to the party and I was made the DJ. Since my Uppsala years, I’ve somehow gained the reputation of being able to throw a good party. This time, things have gone so far that I actually obtained a real name, DJ Hoffis/Hoffice (the nickname my intern coined for me adhering to the logic of Swedish nicknaming). The party went great and I think DJ Ingrid would have been proud of me.

Our actual gift to Michelle was a newspaper we made for her (that was the secret project). The Österlen Herald was presented on Saturday and found many interested readers. We already had to promise to publish a new issue in case of Michelle completing a PhD.

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Fika in one of the pretty rooms

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Michelle’s favorite place is the market garden and it inspired me even more to get more plants for my home

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We also checked out the “city” of Simrishamn…

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…a pretty little summer town

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…where Handelsbanken advertisments speak right to my heart (“Imagine the washing machine and the car break down the same week”)

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…and where black pug puppies sit on the shop counters, ready to be petted

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Simrishamn is also home to fabric paradise, so many nice colors and patterns!

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Outside Michelle’s home

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Tessan, my new favorite dog

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I also had to work a little

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At night, we looked like an old married couple. That was fun!

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