I’ve started this post approximately a thousand times, because I don’t know how to. I’ve spent the day in the apartment staring at the walls, trying to process this weekend, and figure out what to do. Or even if I need to do anything – maybe I’m overreacting. Maybe it was all pretty standard and fine and I’m just jetlagged/overwhelmed/over sensitive. It was weird and intense and not the greatest start in the world, and I’m pretty much maxed out on weird and intense and not the greatest start in the world, so maybe my meter is wonky.
Let’s start at the very beginning, as Julie Andrews once sang in my favorite movie when I was a kid. I desperately wanted six brothers and sisters and a singing nun as a governess and to skip around Vienna wearing curtains and singing.
Tangent. Stop procrastinating.
My Viking got home late afternoon Thursday, and I was psyched because he seemed to be in a really great mood and we had a couple of hours before we had to meet his friends for dinner, and the sun was shining. So we went for a walk along the water on the south side of the island where we live. To the north, there is quite a big body of water, the port of Stockholm I guess, and it’s filled with all sorts of vessels all day long, from dinky little boats that take people across to other islands in Stockholm, to humungous – literally, like a floating city block – ships that go to Finland and Russia. My grandfather was in the US Navy and so something about ships always makes me think of him, and feel calm and safe, so most afternoons since I have been here I have taken a walk to a bench where I can sit and watch the ships come and go.
The south end of the island (which is called Södermalm, which means south island, so the south of the south island!) has a different vibe; it feels more local somehow. The water is just a little canal which the Viking says you can skate or walk on in winter. There were kids swimming and kayakers on the water, and I saw a couple of houseboats and lots of families picnicking on speedboats.
It started to get late so I asked what time we needed to meet his friends, and he said that we weren’t meeting them that night. … What now? He said, “it’s midsummer, we’ll go to the country with them tomorrow.” Like this was obvious. Like I knew this. And, I don’t know, I’ve been so jet lagged and zonked out and generally operating on 75% brainpower (at most). I was absolutely convinced we had dinner plans with them on the Thursday night, and I didn’t know anything about the weekend one way or another, but when he said this, I couldn’t be sure any more.
Then I was like, we are going away for an entire weekend with some people I have never met before in my entire life? And I allegedly agreed to this? He said again “it’s midsummer”, like that explained everything, and all I could think of was that Shakespeare play I remember from high school English about midsummer and I’m imagining us going to the theater for an entire weekend, in the country, with his friends, and I was like… what?
It turns out that midsummer is a huge deal here, a major holiday. Am I completely dense if I didn’t have any idea? I guess once he explained it a little it started to ring a bell – I’ve heard of the longest day of the year being celebrated before, though didn’t know that it was a big Swedish thing, and I certainly hadn’t gathered that I had plans for it, although Anders swears I knew.
He was looking at me like I was crazy at this point, so I said I guessed I had gotten confused and anyway it didn’t matter. We decided to pick up hot dogs from a street vendor (apparently not a one way street to food poisoning in Sweden) and go home with a bottle of wine, which was the best thing we could have done. We actually managed to salvage the evening after the little bout of weirdness, we ate and drank and chatted like any couple having a relaxing night in. I felt close to him and happy. Something about a calm before a storm… ?