An evening in June

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A Swedish paper flag in my bathroom, leftover herring, and a beautiful flower wreath gracing the dresser – it’s the night following an evening in June. It’s that evening in June, Midsummer, when we celebrate the shortest night. Because I know trying to be all German and pretending to not bother about Midsummer makes me depressed, I went all in, installed Little Sweden in the garden behind my house and invited the usual crowd. We’ve celebrated Melodifestivalen, of course we’d do Midsummer. Next up is Crown Princess Victoria’s 40th birthday.

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Anja with the self-made amazing mini Midsummer Pole

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Of course there was dancing around the pole. Actually we did a very authentic job.

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Encounters with the past

I spent all weekend volunteering at the Swedish Church’s Christmas Market again. (Obviously, I still have not fully grasped the point of resting and recovering from a work week.) I sold Dala horses and elks and cakes and even asked the German where the elk-obessesion orignates and they told me it is because elks are “such giants”. I am not yet buying that because whales are very big, too, and I don’t know many Germans who want to have whale accessoire in their homes.

The funniest thing happened on Saturday when I had just arrived to my shift. I was chatting away with my co-volunteer when one of the many customers in the sea of people in front of our stand said, “Hold on, it’s you! You were my Swedish teacher in Bremen!”

I wrote the directions to the Midsummer's party on the pavement, in Swedish to teach my students

I wrote the directions to the Midsummer’s party on the pavement, in Swedish to teach my students

One of the best jobs I have ever had was when I supervised the students who in an “independent learning programme” studied Swedish (and Danish). As their tutor, I had the honor to give them my best tips on learning the language, monitored their progress, wove in cultural information and sent them out to Sweden half a year later, following them either on their blogs or even personally (that happened with two of them who went to Stockholm at the same time that I was there for a vacation, and one that came over from Denmark). In short, it was pretty much the perfect job for me. I taught them all from Veronica Maggio to Fettisdagen and we celebrated Midsommar together. 

So to unexpectedly meet one of my lovely students again and to hear they are longing to celebrate Lucia and “do you happen to know where we could find that?” –ah, the delight! As my former fellow student Stephan used to say, “Helen, there is more teacher in you than you want to avow”.