I have managed to get through two Swedish winters. It hasn’t always been pretty but I’m still here. The winters are dark. And the darkness is suffocating. When I first came to Sweden, the darkness was a common topic of conversation. When you wake up in the dark, go to work in the dark, and come home in the dark, darkness is an exhausting part of your everyday life. And so I bitched and moaned.
In those many conversations, I was reminded by others of the beautiful Swedish summers. The warm, but not too hot days. The chance to swim in the countless lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. The daylight that lasts well into night. It sounded almost too good to be true. But last summer, as promised, I enjoyed warm, but not too hot days. Swimming in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. And daylight that lasted well into night. It was glorious.
This summer though, I feel like I have been deceived. I was led to believe that every Swedish summer was a Nordic paradise. But that is not the case. Because today, for the first time in my entire life, I bought an umbrella. I lived for four years in Eugene, Oregon, where the only shower many hippies get are the daily rain showers during the winter months. I never felt the need to buy an umbrella.
Now I own an umbrella. A Bamse umbrella, because Bamse is awesome and I just couldn’t handle all of the black, soulless umbrellas wandering around town. Clearly, the Swedes need me to brighten their day. Few things are as entertaining as seeing a large hairy man walking around Stockholm with a Bamse umbrella.
It feels like October. Windy, mid 40 to mid 50 degree weather, rain. Luckily, midsummer is this coming week so I know it is, in fact, June and the time when Swedes everywhere dance around a phallic pole and drink themselves stupid hoping to use their own phallic pole. I can only hope that the weather has improved by then. Because, from midsummer on, the days are just getting shorter…
Welcome to Sweden. And the Swedish summer.