“My people! I’ve arrived!” and other reflections on Sweden

I woke up as the bus hit a jolt and saw the country side whizzing by. ‘I’m home,’  I thought and drifted back to sleep. As we hit the next bump and my head  hit the window again I woke once more and felt both sad and elated that I was not in fact driving through the north woods of Minnesota but rather through the ‘north woods’ of Sweden, just outside of Stockholm. In this country, where I did not speak the language and where I had never been before, felt more familiar than any other place did in Europe.

As the light came up on our first night in Stockholm, late one October morning in 2012, I could only think, ‘My people! I’ve arrived!’ To honor my first real Europe vacation as an adult and to revisit this beautiful country October’s Friday Flash backs will all be about this beautiful country. I hope you enjoy.

To begin, an entry from shortly after the original trip.

Dinner with the gang: pan roasted chicken, roasted sweet corn, broccoli, garlic mashed potatoes, fresh bread, fried onions and garlic, local Swedish beer. Yeah we are pretty awesome.

Top Ten Moments from Sweden

  1. People looked like ME! I was starting to feel comfortable with the fact that everything about Europe was different from me, including how people look. My first day in Sweden I was tempted to point at people and tell my friends “LOOK there’s another one,” every time someone walked past.
  2. Northern Minnesota and the Swedish country side could be twins.
  3. Don’t believe Ryanair when they tell you the airport is in Stockholm.
  4. People kept expecting me to speak Swedish. I don’t, but I realized what it must be like for the people in our group with Mediterranean blood who always get mistaken for Spaniards.
  5. Halloween partying in Uppsala. I didn’t really know what to expect, but I was surprised and had a FABULOUS time dancing the night away in a college town.
  6. 4:30 PM. That is when it got dark in Sweden. It was the closest I have ever been to the arctic circle and you could tell by the way the light changed.
  7. Diego. My uncle Dave’s friend who I had lunch with in Stockholm. He is a Spanish expat and we had an amazing meal and shocked all the swedes by talking loudly in Spanish.
  8. The food. There is not a lot in my diet back home that closely resembles Mallorcan food, the opposite was true in Sweden. Oh and the food was delicious too.
  9. “Family” Dinner. All of my friends and I made a giant dinner together one night. One of my friends even fried onions in butter for the first time in her life.
  10. Sweden. I never expected to see Sweden while I was here. It was beautiful, welcoming, and I LOVED it.