So here I am.  Yet another American gal who followed love to Stockholm.  I’m told there’s even a name for us: love refugees, which conjures up an image of us all huddled together in some kind of Ellis Island type place in rags, waiting to be claimed by the tall, blonde, sunburned dude we hooked up with in Thailand, never planned on seeing again but somehow accidentally fell in love with.

He did pick me up, though, kind of disappointingly, at a regular old airport.  There were no rags (unless how crumpled and scummy I looked after 14 hours of flying counts) and no other love refugees or stern old guy with a clipboard checking our eyesight and whether or not we had lice (20/20 and no, so I would have been good anyway) before letting us enter the country.  Just Anders.  Leaning against a 7-11, almost asleep, looking every bit as gorgeous and dorky and amazing as the last time I saw him, though with a few more clothes and a little less sunburn.  Weirdly it was then that it hit me that this is all real.  I actually moved half way across the world for a dude I’ve technically met one time.  It was one time that lasted a month and three days, in my defense, but still.  Anyway, I did my best not to show him I was freaking out, and I’m pretty sure I got away with it 😉

The airport, I should mention, as it was my first impression of Sweden, is apparently the official airport of ABBA, according to signs in the baggage reclaim area.  This is so amazing and absurd and perfect that I got the giggles – this was before Anders met me, so I was cracking up, all alone, which I’m sure did not make me look like a crazy person at all.  Ahh jet lag, making previously normal, socially competent people frighten strangers since… jets were invented, I guess.

My second impression of Sweden, is that it was pretty light during the taxi ride into the city.  At midnight.  It’s not bright sunshine or anything, according to my guru on all things Swedish (AKA the only Swedish person I’ve ever met AKA Anders) the whole ‘land of the midnight sun’ thing is a lot further north than Stockholm – but it’s not pitch dark either.  The sky was a kind of… I think it’s called royal blue, and as we drove up a hill alongside a kind of cliff, I could see the beginning of dawn on the horizon… at maybe 12:30am.  Crazy.   I insisted that the taxi driver pull over so I could jump out and capture my first real sight of Stockholm, and he didn’t understand right away and I had to repeat myself and Anders was trying to pretend that he was invisible and none of this was happening (he already warned me that Swedes embarrass easily, and I warned him that he was going to have to work on that if he planned on spending a lot of time around me), but I got my photo so it was all good!

My third impression of Sweden is that Anders’ apartment is the smallest apartment I have ever seen in my entire life.  I’m not criticizing, it is also the cleanest boy apartment I have ever seen in my entire life, and the use of space is kind of ingenious and quirky (understanding now why IKEA are so big on storage if a lot of Swedes live like this) so it doesn’t feel cramped exactly, but still… it is tiny.  Teeny.  Dinky.  I guess that isn’t unheard of in the US, we’ve all heard stories of Manhattan apartments where you can shower and cook dinner without moving, but this California girl is used to a little more breathing space.

But that’s what this adventure is all about – getting out my comfort zone, challenging myself, starting a new life… and of course being with Anders.  I guess that should have come first, but let’s just say he goes without saying 😉