Honkies in a tan and rainbow colored Stockholm
Trip Start Aug 02, 2011
3Trip End Aug 22, 2011
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We are staying in my childhood girls room at my mom's place, located at Djurgården just 10 min away from downtown Stockholm. Surrounded by old oak trees and just a stone throw away from Djurgårdskanalen, we are blessed with living in nature yet so close to the action.This house was built in 1827 and not an angle is straight
We grab the family left-over bikes, you know the ones that nobody wants to use anymore but still rolls so why pass them on- kind of bikes. I've named mine the Red Danger and it lives up to it's name as it tends to change gear on me at any point of time. You just never know where it will take you next. Keeps you guessing. Josh looks great on the white 80's Crescent bike with a rusted saddle resulting in a bad posture and a high hitting-the-knee-on-the-handle-bars factor. But we are rolling and that's all that matters.
It is refreshing to see such openness and acceptance as Stockholm is hosting the annual Pride festival. Even the public buses proudly drive around with colorful rainbow flags, every restaurant, cab and cafe do the same. It is a very happy place. Literally. People line up to every outdoor serving restaurant as Swedes love to enjoy a meal or an after work beer, in the late summer sun rays. This will be practiced as late as September and maybe a few days into October. But then everyone will be provided with a thick blanket and the cold beer might be traded for a big cup of hot tea. The important thing is that you are seated outside. It is such a paradox from the air-conditioned restaurants in many parts of the States where one must bring a sweater to beat the temperature difference from outside to inside. Here everyone throws longing looks at the lucky ones scoring a seat in the sun (without sunscreen or shade of course).
I feel so out of style as we have a sip on our Mariestad beer, people watching. It is easy to see what is in fashion as EVERYONE wears the same clothes. Men in rolled up shorts a tight fitted striped t-shirt and no socks in their white shoes. Women sports high-wasted shorts and tank tops
August means crayfish season in this part of the world and along with that the famous Kräftskiva. A party solely dedicated to the salty spider-like little creature and the snaps (shot). You wear a bib and a triangular shaped hat while singing snapsvisor or little songs before drinking the snaps. The crayfish gets accompanied by bread and strong cheese and if you are lucky, a Västerbotten pie. Another important detail is the round shaped moon-looking smiley face that decorates the room or outdoor venue where the party is held. Very small amounts of food and several shots of snaps usually ends up with a bit of a headache the next morning. To combat this problem the Swedes indulge in the so called Tunnbrödsrulle. Or as Josh would describe it; the Swedish answer to a burrito. Sausage, shrimp sallad (yeah really), lettuce and mashed potatoes are wrapped in a piece of flat bread and topped with your selection of relish, ketchup and mustard
After a few weeks around family and friends it is time to head back to the States. There has been so many incredible memories, fun dinners, emotional reunions and lots of laughs. But also a time to learn about myself and where I come from. It can be quite intense to visit your family and your past. When I hear that my mom and step dad sees me more than my three sisters it makes me sad that they don't take advantage of the luxury of living in the same city. But then again, we all get busy, we all have our own lives. It is easy to slip into the teenage roll as soon as you are around your parents. I catch myself being short and having that tone with them several times. I struggle with the fact that I live so far away every day. Two of my sisters have children, my mom's health is not so good, my friends and I have so much to catch up on... I try to fit it all in when I come home once or twice a year. Other cultures looks at this way of living and think we are crazy leaving our families, living on our own. Putting our kids and elderly in daycare and nursing homes just because we are too busy working and living our own independent lives.
When I have lunch with my grandmother she shares a secret with me; she still has two cities in the world that she would love to see. Vienna, Austria and Verona in Italy. Being the vagabond that I am, I take this opportunity to tell her that I would love to take her there. That is my way to tell her that I love her. I know I'm not home that much, but I love to explore and visit new places. Why not together with my grandma? We toast to a trip next spring. And then I realize, it's not how much time you spend together, but the quality of the time
Thank you for your time,
Peace, Love and Kräftor