I survived Midsommar

Hey all,

Just a note, I just found out that I got a bunch of mail that filled up my inbox, and I didn’t get any new mail for 5 days. It should be fine now if you want to send me mail, so please feel free to resend anything you send me earlier that bounced.

Yesterday was Midsommarafton (day before Midsommer) and that’s the day that everything happens. It was pretty relaxed around here, and we got down to the public festivities late, and I missed all the dancing, which was one of the main things that I wanted to experiences, so I was kind of bummed about that. Just means that I’ll have to come back another year. I did get to see the pole, hear the musicians playing, and watched the potato-in-a-spoon races, the potato sack races, and the tug of war competitions between the different villages of the island (Mynäsudde won.) We then got invited to the people next door to my friends Fred and Lena’s, and we had a great meal with their family and the friends of the two siblings that were there. There were about 16 or so people there, and we sang a lot of conveniently short songs, as in Sweden you have to sing before you can drink. I probably had more alcohol last night than I had for the past 5 months though. I paced myself and I felt fine though. I ended up going to a bar/club (the only one on the island) at about 11 p.m. and it was just like the places that I don’t like to go to in America, but everyone was speaking Swedish, but it was one of the first places that I’ve seen drunk 20 year old men wearing crowns made of wildflowers on their heads. 

Today, it was raining most of the day (seemingly another midsommar tradition) and we took it very easy. I took a walk for about 45 minutes, and we made dinner here. It started to clear up toward the end of the day, and we took a walk down by the shore. It’s very pretty here.

We’ll be going back to Stockholm tomorrow, and I’ll be moving into a hotel room. Lena has said that she’d be interested in accompanying me to some of the museums that I’m planning on visiting while I’m there, so that will be nice to have company. I’m flying out on Wednesday to Iceland, so I’m sort of going through withdrawl thoughts of leaving Sweden. My Swedish has improved dramatically, but I’m also kind of tired of working so hard to speak. I know that this is one of my only times to really practice, but I think I also need some more time to absorb all that I’ve taken in here.

Overall, this has been a tremendously great trip for me, and one that’s been somewhat overwhelming in so many ways. It’s filled in some wholes for me, and I think I’m a little more centered now. 

I’ll try to write again while I’m in Stockholm.

Hej Hej!

Ken

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