That is all.

Okay, a little bit more.  Wow wow wow.

It turns out that you haven’t experienced Stockholm until you’ve experienced by water.  I guess that makes sense, the city is made up of islands so naturally the water dominates the cityscape and is a major part of its life.  Literally: I discovered today that, unlike on land, people shout hi to each other from boat to boat, they wave and salute, the atmosphere is warm and inviting and lovely.

Shining Armor Girl took me paddleboarding.  I have ALWAYS wanted to try paddleboarding (or SUP as it’s sometimes known), but it’s one of those things I always meant to get around to “some day.”  Some day was today.

The first thing that surprised me is that it’s a lot more stable than you would imagine.  I expected to be wobbling and falling in a lot, at least to begin with, but in fact it’s pretty easy to just stand.  The only time you are at risk of falling is if the water is particularly choppy, or an unexpected wave (like the wake of a speedboat) hits you and you lose your balance.  Also, it’s a great workout!  The guy who runs the rental place, who shall be known as Whacky Swede because that is what he is, explained that you’re using basically every muscle, but especially your core, to keep your balance – and once we got going I started to feel the cardio workout he promised too.

Now I’m sounding a little bit like a Paddleboard infomercial presenter, but the combination of unexpectedly being able to do something I thought would be harder, and the exercise (I’ve been meaning to get off my ass for a while…), just put me in the greatest mood.

Even at my darkest moments over the past few weeks, I have never wavered in thinking that Stockholm is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.  There is so much character and history to the architecture: being from a baby country like the US (especially from the West Coast), I’m forever enchanted by the idea of just how darn old some of the city is (Stockholm was founded in 1200.  Think about that.  The year 1200.) The Viking explained once that it actually still has more of its very old buildings than many European cities because it was unscathed by the air raids of WWII as Sweden was neutral.

Then there are the colors.  Even many of the newer buildings (such as ours, which was built around 1905, which itself is almost as old as the city I grew up in) are striking… pottery colors is the best way I can think of to describe it.  Terracotta and mustard yellow; olive green and dusky pink.  It gives the city a quaint, chocolate box feel.

And of course, most importantly, it was so fun to hang out with Shining Armor Girl.  I caught her up on everything, and she said she was happy and relieved that things were straightened out with the Viking as she was afraid she was going to lose a new friend so quickly!  I assured her that it takes more than one little fight to have me scurrying away with my tail between my legs, and she said I was really brave.  Which, I guess I kind of know, in the abstract, that maybe not everybody would pack up and head to the other side of the world on a whim and be determined to make it work, but it was nice to hear out loud anyway.

I didn’t want any talk of the Three-Headed Monster to ruin my good mood, so I kind of skirted away from the subject when she asked how that was going, but she did say that they sound a lot like the kind of snooty people who hang out in the area we live, who are super image conscious and too cool for school.  She promised that her friends were from all over the country, and were fun and relaxed and that I would love them – we are going to make plans for the weekend!