Sunday, June 14, 2009

Bamse Umbrellas and the Swedish Summer

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.

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17 comments:

  1. Where did you get the umbrella?! I have to get one!

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  2. The weather'll get better soon. It's always rainy around midsummer.

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  3. Actually we're all kind of deceived. It's one of the coldest Junes in 50 years according to smhi.

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  4. @Amber - BR Leksaker. Clearly the place to be when you need an umbrella.

    @fred.malm - I really hope so. Or I'm going to have to be very Swedish and head to mallorca.

    @fredrik - thats what I keep reading. and I think the only people happy about that are the travel agency owners.

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  5. I hope this doesn't mean an extra cold winter! I'm not sure if I'll be able to handle a Swedish winter in the first place haha ;).

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  6. Floridian in FinlandJune 15, 2009 at 12:02 AM

    I know what you mean about feeling jilted. Especially for me, coming from Florida, I am in desperate need of a real summer. It's been cloudy, chilly and rainy here for the past 2 weeks!

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  7. @jessy - the cold is nice though. because it its extra cold it might mean extra snow, and when its dark all the time, the snow really helps brightening things up a bit.

    @Floridian - its starting to get borderliner ridiculous. Im staring at gray skies again this morning.

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  8. wow,i did n't know Bamse was a sweden made cartoon!

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  9. Yeah I was just saying: Sweden, where June is November. I guess you are more optimistic and you gave it an Oct. rating. This is my first summer here though, and I am excited as hell about this phallic celebration coming up....

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  10. I suppose now is as good a time as any to confess that I have a Bamse book in a frame on my wall...

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  11. You are hilarious! But it's been chilly and rainy everywhere it seems this month. Today here in Wisconsin its a beautiful day, however the rest of the week is rain so yeah.

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  12. @anonymous - indeed he is. And Im sure hes quite proud of it.

    @m8 - well, november is the worst month in all of Sweden. And Im not quite willing to go that far. yet.

    @J Catlow - I had a subscription for years being sent to me as a kid in the US.

    @anonymous - yeah, I've heard its been bad weather back home in Colorado also. So at least Im not alone in my suffering.

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  13. Brilliant with the Bamse umbrella! I need to get my Welsh ex one now - he too loves Bamse! Is it the 'thunder honey' that gets to you, or what?!

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  14. Just went to IKEA yesterday and couldn't help thinking of you. Clearly, I need you to brighten my day, too...I keep visiting your blog despite IKEA being my only connection to Sweden. Oh, and that's the country I chose for my sixth grade country project. There was also that hot exchange student, Max, in high school too. All tall, dark & totally unstereotypical.

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  15. @terander – hes got it all. And the honey is like the sugar on top. Or something like that.

    @E – I think that IKEA is a damn good connection to Sweden. And Max obviously. If I stumble upon any Max Ill let you know.

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  16. Well.. We don't have a normal summer this year. I've never experienced a summer this cold before.

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  17. I keep hearing that. but at least the sun is shining today!

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