Sunday, May 27, 2007
Swedes at Play and the 2007 SOF Parade
As people begin to ask me "What are your summer plans?," I immediately consider the fact that I have now been in Sweden almost 10 full months approaching an entire year. For a long time I anticipated the possibility of living and working abroad and, all-of-a-sudden, I've been doing that now for quite awhile. So just so all of you Americans know, time flies in Sweden, too.
This weekend was simply spring in Sweden: bright and sunny skies, a little overcast at night, warm and in bloom everywhere, emphatically calling out for gatherings of friends, games, drink, food and a grill. By the way, these days the sun comes up at 4:30am and sets at 10:15pm.
A Swedish spring or summer gathering is not all that different than an American gathering this time of year, except for one thing: Swedes have endured a longer, colder, darker winter and have earned the spring and summer more than most Americans, though admittedly this year's Swedish winter was very mild and didn't compare to the midwestern U.S. So party on, Kansas!
The pictures above capture my weekend:
1. The residents of Colonia, many of the students with whom I have worked throughout this past year, sharing in one last get-together before somehow mustering the energy for one last round of exams and finishing the school year. The Colonia building is making a lot of progress and we will welcome 250 residents this coming August!
2. Julia, Anders, Anton and Marcus enjoy spring.
3 & 4. A group of friends from Ryttargårdskyrkan partake in a classic Swedish lakeside grilling and games-filled afternoon. Another difference between a Swedish and American BBQ is that this gathering, in addition to a lake, was also at a castle (!). For those of you familiar with the Linköping area, we were at Bjärka-Säby today.
5. Today I was introduced to "KUBB," a centuries-old Scandinavian game, credited all the way back to the Viking era of 800 - 1050, somewhat like Bocce ball or horseshoes, at least in athleticism needed and the ideal environment...
Finally, there was a comment from a friend of mine, Kristofer Gustafsson, in last week's entry regarding the Student Orchestra Festival or "SOF" parade, which took place in Linköping while I was in Paris. The students in Sweden hold an annual weeklong themed festival highlighted by a parade of floats that roll through either Uppsala (north of Stockholm) or Linköping for thousands of people to see. This year "SOF" was held in Linköping and the theme, as ironic as this is, was "The United States of America." 6,500 people attended, including many "SOF alumni" who have been attending for decades.
So, for a look at students, Linköping, Swedes at play and the USA (four elements that are very vital to my daily life), please take a look at the very impressive photography of Kristofer at his Flickr site. I recommend the 5-minute slide show format:
A big thanks to Kristofer for covering me on an event critical to any legitimate blog about the Linköping experience.
P.S: Happy Swedish Mother's Day (today-"Mors Dag") to Mom!