I think that after a 4-day weekend, with summer weather pretty much every single day, I may actually be ready to go back to work today. Ok, ok. If summer vacation had actually already started that would be even better, but just having the summer season get underway is pretty damn satisfying.
For all of you Americans, most of you are off today + planning to enjoy a bbq, a swim, a lazy day, a parade, and maybe some fireworks. It’s Memorial Day! Officially, it’s the day that Americans remember those who have died serving the country in the armed services/military. Unofficially, it’s the beginning of summer! What those two have in common… I don’t know. But, perhaps, a nationalistic/patriotic person places the two celebrations together as a celebration of gratitude + life.
And we don’t have to be Americans to celebrate the gratitude we have for our lives!
It just so happened that this past weekend, in Sweden (and many other European countries, I think), we had a 3-4 day weekend because of a national Christian holiday – Christ’s ascension to heaven 40 days after his resurrection. Yep that’s a national holiday here. In any case, it’s not become the official unofficial kick off of the summer season in Sweden quite like Memorial Day has become in the States, but it is kind of an indicator. And as such, if the weather cooperates (as it did this year!), then all you will hear is that summer has arrived. For how long? We don’t know! So, in Sweden, we soak it up as we can!
So, after work on Wednesday, the sun was shining and I popped open a beer + headed out into the backyard to begin my 4 day weekend of summer bliss. I could feel summer creeping in… the air was warmer, the sun was setting so late, and we flung our windows open. Ahhhh. 4 days off to just enjoy life! For this expat, I was officially moving into summer mode.
On Thursday, I did a little life coaching work and met someone in the early afternoon. And then, I went home, grabbed my baby, and took her out for a birthday beer at a local brewery. Unbeknownst to her, we also had dinner reservations with her brother + his wife later on, so we only had time for one beer. I dragged her all over the city, keeping her in suspense as we wound our way down side streets and through alleys, to finally arrive at the restaurant at just the same time as our fellow dinner mates arrived. Lina was super surprised, and very excited! And, of course, dinner was fantastic.
We had no plans on Friday during the day, but we did have dinner plans with some friends later on. So social, I know! We spent the morning being lazy and then got down to business preparing for our little dinner party. In honor of Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer, we decided to have halloumi burgers. Lina cleaned the apartment spic + span and prepared an delicious apple pie for dessert, while I recycled things, went to the grocery store, and then turned on some music to chop + dice + prepare dinner.
Our guests arrived, and we did what we do best. Sit around the table, eat, drink wine, and chat for hours and hours. What’s not to love?
Then came the real, true, amazing summer day. Saturday. Gaaaahhh. It was absolutely perfect weather. The sun was shining, the air was a warm 80 degrees, and we had plans for a picnic. But, before that, and after a long, slow morning at home, I put on shorts for the first time this season and we headed back to the brewery for a beer or two by the river.
We people-watched and talked about how much we love Uppsala and sharing life with each other. My baby, she’s just the best. Well, we decided to be spontaneous and not walk back home to get our stuff for the bbq/picnic since our party was already enjoying the park + waiting on us, so we went to buy a cheap (and turns out, sucky) cooler. We’d already bought 8 cans of beer + stuffed them in my bag, but now we needed them to be cold. I went to buy us burgers + fries and she went to buy us ice. Then we made our way to the city park to join the amazing summer vibes waiting for us.
It was a perfect, perfect afternoon and evening. We sat together for about 4 hours or so. Eating, drinking, grilling, and just soaking it all up. The thing is, this is how Sweden rolls. This is what I love. Everyone was out and about, doing what they like, just enjoying the weather and the day. The way that Swedes live slowly… it’s just exactly how I crave living. All in all, it was a perfect summer day.
On Sunday, the sun was still warm + still shining. So, I just had to brew some coffee + sit outside on my front stoop for a while. It was quiet and calm, people slowly waking + beginning to move about. A warm wind blew, and after a while, Lina joined me. We just sat there, literally talking about how much we love our home + our life.
You see, for so many years we’ve moved a lot. Which has been amazing and wonderful. And for so many years, we’ve also had Lina’s eating disorder be such a huge, horrible part of our lives. But, right now, in this sweet moment in life, we are overwhelmed by the life that we live. We have a home that we can call our own and, more importantly, Lina is truly, truly on her way to being well. She is experiencing life on a level that she has never experienced before. And that makes me more happy than I could ever describe for you. So, my friends, this weekend in Sweden we had summer. We may not have been celebrating Memorial Day, but we still celebrated life. And I guarantee that most everybody did that. We all opened our homes up, spilled out into the streets + parks, and celebrated the coming of the summer season. Let’s just hope that the warmth stays + that it will be a good summer…. because in Sweden, true summer weather like we had this weekend, can possibly last for only one weekend. True story! So, keep your fingers crossed, guys.
And, whatever you find yourself doing today, do it slowly. With intention. And gratitude. Because it really is all about living in the moment, soaking up whatever beauty we may find, and focusing on living a life that may be of benefit.
Happy Monday, loves! xoxo. liz.