So one thing I apparently forgot was the Midnight Sun. When I went to bed yesterday, two hours before Andrea got up again because “allt för bloggen!” as she phrased it, that 90 minutes where it is dark in July Stockholm had already passed. So wonderful and yet so disturbing.
I started the day with one of the best things you can do: meet Nicola and take a walk to Djurgården to sit down in your favorite café. Everytime I meet Nicola I feel privileged to be her friend and every time she says something very smart that I have diffusely thought about, too but never pointed out them so clearly. Like today, when we decided that Midsummer basically is a second New Year’s Eve that puts pressure on people to do something really nice and traditional and be in great company and be overall überhappy. Nicola hates it and I have mixed feelings about it and we both noticed we can no longer ignore it. There will always be this nagging feeling in the middle of June. So I suggested confrontational therapy and still have to convince Nicola.
After seeing Nicola off to the metro, I stepped into my former work place, the tourist center. Maybe I should make it my habit to whenever I struggle with self-esteem walk in there. Because when Sofia caught sight of me, she beamed at me overjoyed, when Martina spotted me from the office, she and our bosses came running out greeting me (and asking, “Did you bring muffins?” Yeah, I have a reputation to defend.). Every person I met received me so warmly that I felt like a celebrity. I got to stay and sit in the lunch room with the others and that hour contained more happiness than all the days at my current work put together.
My boss told me how she had shown our video (see last post) at a conference she attended and how the chief of tourist services in Barcelona came up to her saying he was so moved he almost cried.
I could barely get away because I kept meeting colleagues. Very lovely indeed!
In the end, I made my way to my other old employer. Or, well, it was a bit difficult to get there since Stockholm was so happy to see me she shed an enormous amount of tears of joy. (That is how Emily expressed the pouring rain.) It was impossible to walk the 500 metres from the metro so I had to stop at the closest shop which happens to be a video rental store. I worked up all my charm and went in, saying, “Ehm, you don’t possibly have umbrellas…[subtext: I do realize you are a video store, but come on, it’s pouring and I don’t even have a jacket]…Like, to borrow? [Because I am not wasting money on something I only need for 500 metres]”. First the shop assistant said no but then his colleague reminded him they had umbrellas in the basement. When he came back, he gave me an umbrella with pictures of the movie “Cloudy with a chance of meatballs”. Told you it was a video store. The umbrella was free, I was happy and very pleased with the customer service.
Equipped with my umbrella, I made my way to the chamber where I met my former boss and colleagues and the new ones that have started and that I only know from liking everything they post on social networks in the chamber’s name. It was so nice to get to see everyone!
Maxing out every minute, I hurried back to the metro and set off to university to meet my friend Laure. She’s my French friend and I always refer to her as that which almost often evokes an admiring, “You have a French friend!” with my Swedes. 😀 She is spendid company indeed and today she recommended something interesting to me that I cannot talk about yet. (That sounded more glamourous than it is, haha.)
My last stop was at Marita’s and Fredrik’s. As I got in, I was immediately served delicious fish and chips and then Marita started illustrating the perks of a Swedish-German relationship to me by putting out two kinds of ketchup and observing which one I would choose. I chose Heinz before Felix which Marita took as a sign of my Germanness because she also prefers Heinz while Fredrik seems to insist on having Felix ketchup plus – which I think is even more Swedish – eating sauce bearnaise. This is a thing with the Swedes, they seem to eat bearnaise to pretty much everything.
The evening continued with hilarious discussions about cultural differences. When Fredrik tried to explain that if you want to tell someone to go really far away, you say “Go to the forest” in Swedish (Dra åt skogen), Marita remarked that that’s rather illogical because there is forest everywhere in Sweden, so never far away. When we discussed the fashion impairment of Germany vs. the fashion overachievers of Stockholm, Fredrik expressed his lack of understanding for socks in sandals, claiming that “Even as a child I had the decency not to wear socks in my sandals!” I personally must say I have never seen a German wearing socks in sandals.
Marita and I concluded the evening by singing notes into a gadget she has that tells you which note you are singing. What do you mean, you don’t do that on a regular basis?
I had a short trip home because I get to stay in Andrea’s delightful home another night, wandering through the not so dark night past familiar, dear buildings. The only thing that could top it all off would be if Andrea was in that apartment, too, but tomorrow we shall be all reunited on Visby. I. am. so. excited.