empty lifeguard towers and deserted sleds
"Don't you miss California? We just kind of idealize that place because we see all the shows set there, all the beaches and piers and the lifestyle. Is that what it's like there? Do you miss all that being here in Sweden?"
I was asked this, for the thousandth time, a couple days ago.
"Yes, I do miss it. The places I lived and the cities I went to most are very much like what you see in the shows. They are beautiful and life there, in many ways, is fantastic. But I don't think Swedes romanticize what's all around them enough. When I walk down a tiny cobblestone street in Gamla Stan or stumble upon a centuries old church in my neighborhood, I'm giddy with how incredible it is. Some of my friends in California idealize what I get to do and see here in Sweden."
And that was my answer. Once in awhile, I have quick and deep moments of searing pain from suddenly remembering and missing the life that I had in California. It's almost always when I am alone. Sometimes there are tears. But they come fast and go quickly.That's because this life in Stockholm is such a lovely one. If you're living here and you don't see the magic, you're not looking hard enough.
Here are some pictures from my past week. A pretty average week. Which means it was lovely.
There is a hilly park across the street from my apartment. It looks over the water and city. On my way home last Sunday afternoon I stopped by and discovered that someone had left a sled there. So I went on some runs, falling, laughing, bruising myself. All alone. Fantastic.
At my office party, adorable Swedish kiddos fish for "godis" (candy) in the "fiskdamm". We play the same game growing up in the U.S.
Girls over for dinner at my apartment. We made our own pizzas, drank beer, and laughed the night away. Cozy, long, unhurried dinners at home are one of the things I love the most about Sweden.
Johanna shows us her moves as a bunch of us head out for some chandeliers, wine, and a dance floor.
Erika had a tårtkalas (cake party) for her birthday and showed her fancy and creative flair in gourmet baking. A flair she has in most things she does.
A weekend walk around my neighborhood always ends in the park across the street. Sometimes a hike up to the top of the rocky snowy hill. This shows the view to the middle of Stockholm.
This is my charming neighborhood.
This is the street around the corner from me. It's like straight out of a storybook, I think it is so adorable, I could eat it up.
One of my colleagues is from Ukraine and she says that because of a cartoon from Sweden that was popular in her native country when she grew up, "Karlsson på taket," that she always thought of Stockholm as a place that had colorful, fun and mysterious rooftops, with no end to the curious windows, varying levels, curving staircases, miniature patios and golden lit windows. These photos from windows in our office building are just two of many we could take all around the city to show that her childhood impression of Stockholm from the cartoon is, in fact, true.
When I lived in Santa Barbara, life was so beautiful there that I longed for it, even while I sat smack dab in the middle of it. Does that make sense?
I'd sit in an empty lifeguard tower on the beach and watch the sun go down pink and orange over the Pacific and long for that moment before it was even over.
I want that feeling to come to me no matter where I live. I long for Stockholm, for Sweden, even as I live here. I hope that never changes.