I am back from Valborg. Still slightly damaged with only four hours sleep and so many walked steps that if I had a step counter in my phone (like Marita), it probably would have exploded by now.
Time goes by incredibly quickly when you are having a good time and that seems to go double for when you’re in Uppsala. I managed to meet all the lovely friends that reside between those beloved streets I have walked so many times. It might seem funny but every time I sit down with one of them in our favorites cafes and start talking there are these moments during which I marvel at their wit, their prettiness and at how smart they are. My eyes light up when I once again feel that we share thoughts and cultural references, worries and happy memories. When I realize that having only people that you really, really think are awesome is actually real bliss and nothing you can take for given.
I had the pleasure of staying at my friends’ Tabea and Christian who provided me with excellent service. This service did not only include being hosted, Tabea also went out with me/us despite her full work schedule, and Christian woke me the next morning, asking if I wanted anything from the store (and I think he was rather amused by my reply that was a mumbled, “Michelle”. [Meaning: “Michelle already bought all my food” – which she did and she also prepared and carried it. And she altered my ball gown. Did I mention I really have a bunch of awesome friends?]).
Nicola, Tabea, Michelle’s friend Henrike and I went to Värmlands nation where they play the same songs since 2012, have extremely good looking bartenders and it is maybe the only place on earth where I regularly hop on the speakers and tables/benches to dance. It is also the place where probably all guys think I am from Liechtenstein.
This year, apart from maybe that night, I went with an adult Valborg. That means a (almost) complete sober policy during the day and skipping the stressful points of the Valborg schedule. In hindsight I can conclude that that was a good strategy and our Valborg was, albeit of course exhausting, a very nice one. I got to welcome spring with my own student cap for the first time and sat in the sunshine in the park, eating strawberries and pancakes.
My favorite part is the spring celebration on the Castle Hill every Valborg when the sun goes down. This year, unfortunately, the weather deteriorated rapidly towards the evening and there was no sun to go down but instead a chilling wind and then snow. Yes, snow. A few hours before we sat by the river without a jacket, then we were freezing. But that was almost okay because we stood and listened to spring songs that the excellent choir Allmänna Sången, the oldest Scandinavian Student Choir, performed. As the tradition demands, we also shouted four hoorays for the king who has his birthday on Valborg. And then comes the speech the curator curatorum (the head of the student nations) gives.
This has been my third Valborg and the curator always says the same but it is always a new person and somehow these people are so talented (or have such good speech writers) that they manage to express themselves differently every year and every year, they move the audience that has gathered on Castle Hill. I have said before that I am impressed with the student nations that are handled by students only and are amazingly successful. I never cease to be amazed by the naturalness that the twenty-three-year-old curators exhibit when they stand there and deliver a speech so clearly articulated, so well thought through, that you can hardly tell if this is a routined politician or a young student speaking. I know that I would most probably speak too quickly and make mistakes and if the wind would blow away my manuscript, I would get nervous.
This year, the girl that stood in a circle of nation flags by the Gunilla Bell spoke about how Valborg is the day that we all are young students regardless of our real age, that Valborg means we can all go back to the happy memories we have from other student times. Valborg marks the beginning of spring and we all get the chance to start over again like young students. Valborg, she said, is the day all Uppsala alumna return to their Alma Mater, Valborg is the Mother’s Day in Uppsala.
I quite agree.