Of dancing frogs, about sleeping on flowers and midnight baths

..and the ****** (*) on its way…

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…which is probably or for sure not what every Swedes is thinking about right now about the Midsummer day celebration, or is, Midsummer evening, which is actually the day before Midsummer day. For those who do not know about this very typical Swedish tradition, this happen every year between the 20th and the 26th of June, and the really celebration part is to be done in the afternoon of the Friday (Midsummer afton) and during the night. As Swedes seem to like this way of partying, the morning, afternoon and evening of Saturday they will likely lay hungering somewhere, eating rests or starting to drink again depending on how old they are. The second Midsummer in Sweden I am experiencing the Midsummer celebration with the host family, which includes chilling really much, eating very traditional food, being celebrated for the turning 20 years on the 22nd, dancing around the Midsummer pole and sleeping, staying in the Sun, eating rests and planning the Midsummer Midnight bath.

I woke up by myself around 8, turned in the bed for a while and got the best shower of this week after being done with moving, being helped by friends and the host family. Then I put on me a very summerish dress, ‘cause it does not matter whether it was going to be cold or not, today it is Midsummer and Summer has to be cheered! Well, little breakfast ‘cause food was not really gonna be missed today. The mother of my host father came and had lunch with us, after we ate a strawberry cake – or is a very traditional Swedish cake made for Midsummer or National Day on the 6th of June, called jordgubbstårta in Swedish. Sill, potatoes, meatballs, salmon and ham and more was served around 2p.m. and we sat outside drinking coffee and eating strawberries later. At 3 we went to the Midsummer pole in the park in Uddeholm and sang traditional songs such as like “The little frogs” and “the fox in the winter”. Maaikee, a Dutch girl I knew from my exchange year, was there with her sister and we had a very nice chilling time. She was an exchange student as me but in the USA, went back home but had felt in love with USA and moved there for twenty-one years ago. We talked very much and then invited them at a midnight bath to take today at the lake in front of the house.

Well, I’ll tell you about the presents I got from the host family today for my birthday. I had a necklace with the symbol of the region of Skåne, where Malmö is located. Then a present card from Ikea and a very nice card made by Rebecca, the host sister. Got also other very super presents from family and friends. My dad thought about my love for traveling and got me one of those books with a lot of images you have to paint, color, and which help you to relax a lot – which I definitely need after this last stressing and fast-mode weeks. The drawings are not just flowers but they are a lot of city maps to be filled with color. I already imagine how my room in Malmö will look like with all this drawings hung on the walls. I got from my mother the premium update for wordpress, so that I can upload way more photos on the blog – coming soon, just have to activate it!

In the afternoon I made a Midsummer crown but it did not work out as two years ago since flowers have flowered a bit earlier then it had been then so the crown did not look as nice as that one. By the way, applying to girls the tradition says that seven kinds of flowers have to be put under the pillow where you will sleep on during the night to Midsummer day. Then you will dream about your loved one. Pretty romantic legend right? After the midnight bath I guess I will be tired enough to sleep as deeply as I did in the afternoon – gosh, I thought I was on another planet when I woke up after a two hours “nap”.

I will not spend too much time reminding that the 20th of June has been the Summer solstice and soon – usually a few days after that the length of the days is the same – days will get shorter and shorter, which inevitably reminds of Winter if you live in Sweden. Just saying, since April, if I just said the word winter, cold, snow, or Christmas, Sweds used to look at me nasty and almost get angry to me! I got enough Winter I could live without snow for ten years now on, but that will come back inevitably and every Swede will have to deal with it. But in Malmö Winter will likely be a bit easier and not as dark as it gets here in Värmland.

My birthday celebration was just what I was hoping for, or is smiling faces, a lot of dance and much laughs. In the morning I had gone to Ikea with Veronica, and ate a very big Swedish food-made buffet brunch together. Then went to but some boxes for packing and went home. I started to prepare for the party in the night and so. The only thing that did not really go as planned was the weather – sounds a bit Swedish right? – since it started to rain exactly when we started to move things outside at the barbecue place at campus, so we had to go in and eat dinner there. We had speakers and the girls from Germany made a lot of food, and I made pizza and a cake with berries. In the middle of the dancing we sprang out and started to dance in the rain, with It’s raining man!, singing later some of the songs we sang in the choir, since Elisa and Veronica were there – soprano and alts on place! At the end it was time for goodbyes which always make me a bit sad of course. I am trying to make the best of it leaving always a smile on my face and on the other’s, but this time it was a bit hard.

This was the resume of a big part of this year Midsummer day, the start of the end of this wonderful adventure in Värmland. Some more days and I will be heading to Finland, work there for  a month while I will hopefully find an apartment in Malmö. Then again to Värmland, then Italy and Malmö, finally to start the International Migration and Ethnic Relations program. I am very excited and looking forward to it but I need to experience and enjoy every single day here yet.

I just got to know that I will be able to work in the restaurant in Finland from Monday, very excited for this!

Finish to see P.S. I love you, and preparing for the midnight bath soon! See you later and goodnight 🙂

* -> Winter

Of Scandinavian books, smiling faces before sad goodbyes and Asian dinners

I am in the strongest writer feeling I ever had. Sitting on my bed with the back against the wall, a pillow inbetween. A mug with hot camomilla was waiting to cool down dancing on the bed until some seconds ago. Now it is empty and I leave my writing flewing.

Yesterday, or exactly for forty minutes ago, is been the last day of my first week free from school/university. Definitely a very nice week very full of things, satisfactions and sport, and also a bit of Sun. Monday was the Swedish national day and I went with some friend to a city park where we got free coffee and sunbathed and talked. During the week I biked a few times to and back from the city, I went to the cinema with my Swedish friend Veronica and watched The Dressmaker (which I recommend, but be prepared for very depressing moments!). On Friday – or Thursday? – I went to the hospital ‘cause I was really not feeling that well, but then they told me just to take some paracetamol and to rest – ok I am probably getting paranoid about illness? I know there is a word for it but I really cannot remember which it is! Funny thing…when I was at the hospital I saw a girl which I would actually meet again at campus yesterday…never met her before but she has been staying here for the whole semester!

During this week I also got the result from Linköping university, telling me that I actually passed the TISUS exam, which means that my Swedish is at this time on level C1 and that I could – but I want to wait a bit first – study at university in Swedish. Because now, for the 15 credits I have left in each semester  I will prefer to study extra courses in English. For example for this semester (the first one, the autumn semester) I subscribed for “Childrens’ rights” and “Creative Writing 1”, let’s see which one I get in! The other thing about TISUS is that it could be very useful to show it for job opportunities.

Another nice thing is that I completely fixed accomodation and travel to Finland where I will work as a waitress during the whole month of July! I will arrive there on the 28th o June and probably couchsurf for a night to see the capital (Mariehamn). Then the people who will host me – they are a family living just a 3-kilometres walk from the restaurant – will come and pick me up from the city to the little village.

One of these days I had a dinner with some girls from Hong-Kong sitting outside in the Sun at campus…very nice evening, followed by a very late walk to the lake to see the Sunset at 22.15)…we did not make it in time but the colors at the horizon were still amazing.

Yesterday morning I went with some people to IKEA to have the brunch they sell for 69kr. I did not eat it yesterday but it looked wonderful and very good so I will definitely try it on the day of my 20th birthday! Replacing the trial of KFC which will open exactly on the 22nd! Going out from the restaurant we went around IKEA and I bought a candle (a-must-to!) and some paper boxes to move from the apartment. So yesterday afternoon after a little siesta of JUST two hours more or less, I started to pack a bit. In the evening I went to campus and played Chinese chess with the German girls.

But what about today? I woke up around 8 and had breakfast, continued to pack a bit and then biked to the second hand market – I learned a new term today since this is called also flea market! I got lost a bit of course before finding the place…the market was pretty big and there were nice things and very cheap! I totally spent 30 kr – around 3 euros – and bought six books and a little painting with a Japanese girlturning to the viewer, very relaxing picture! The books I bought are from Swedish, Finnish and Icelandic authors, all in Swedish so that I can train a lot the language. I think I will pack them very soon since I still have other books to finish. Flea market are definitely good to buy cheap books! If you are interested about the books I read, you can just check my page on Goodreads here 🙂

When I biked back I passed by the museum in the city centre and I went in to visit some exhibitions, but unfortunately the historical part – the biggest and usually most intresting one – was closed so I jsut walked in very fast and used the bathroom! When I was unlocking my bike to go home, I saw how nice it would have been to just lay on the grass in the sun for a bit, and so I did for half a hour. When I biked home I was very tired and with a bit of headache and the last uphill is been as difficult as it never had. So I slept 2 hours – I am really tired when the Swedish summer arrives! – and had dinner later…and went to campus to say goodbye to some girls leaving tomorrow.They prepared food like spring rolls, sushi and coconut milk with some riceballs in it…very tasty! Something that really surprised me is that one girl from Hong Kong that I know is not good in using chop sticks! And most of the Asian people I know do not like soy sauce because too salty!

I am a bit excited to see Italy playing against Belgium tomorrow ( it is the first match), but especially playing against Sweden on Friday! It is very intresting to watch a match with people from different cultures…and yes, I am a real culture addicted-geek!

Btw…meeting all these people from Asia during these two semesters really made me change my mind about visiting Asia. Now it is in the third position of the ranking of places I want to visit…Ireland, Czech Republic and Asia! Mmmmhhh…just need the money, but I am very positive about finding a job in Malmö! So good luck to me!

Just a thing more about today’s day. I met a guy I know who is from Pakistan and is fasting right now, and what more? He is actually following the sweidhs time – I am surprised because I read that people were admitted to eventually follow the time at La Mecca if the days were getting too long in some part of the world – as it is in Sweden. But he actually told me that he is fasting for 20 hours – so 2.15 to 22.25 today for example. I really enjoy to get to know cultural and religious realities by really meeting people and not just by reading things on the internet orin books!

I am gonna get some sleep now, I’ll see you soon!!!!

Goodnight!