Sunday was Toby’s birthday so we all gathered in his corridor to celebrate the beginning of his 23rd year of life. Although we’ve only been here for a few weeks, it was really nice to see so many people gather to celebrate him. Since Toby is vegan, any treats had to also be vegan which was in interesting challenge for Taylour and I when we made him a cake.
Once we got to the party, we were greeted with a lot more food! One more chocolate cake, an apple crumble, a million bags of chips, desserts, sandwiches, and a stew that Toby made. I like food parties, so although my next birthday will be my 21st and it is customarily celebrated differently in the United States, I have a request. For my next birthday I want too many friends to gather in too small of a room and pass around too many dishes of food. Because in that moment it was very heartwarming to see everyone coordinating to sample the different treats everyone made. There is something in the ritual of coming together over a meal or a bottle of wine with friends that makes the room swell with kindness and caring for one another.
I went home pretty early because I’m still getting over a cold, but from the pictures I saw and stories I heard later I think I missed out on the best of the birthday celebration. That seems to be happening a lot lately, but between this cold and the jet lag I’ve been so tired lately. Hence being a lame-o and missing out on crazy nights. But I like to sleep! Honestly, this would probably happen pretty often in Ann Arbor if I didn’t live with a bunch of friends who suck me into staying up for another hour or two when I come home.
On Monday I participated in another great ritual of sharing. This time sharing something else that I care about very much : music.
Kalmars, the nation which Michelle described as the most co-opy, holds a group every other monday where people join together in a circle to share a song along a theme.
This week’s theme was childhood. We each took turns playing our song and explaining the reasoning behind our choice. There was a wide range including cartoon theme songs, every middle schoolers heavy metal phase, horrible kids pop, classics, and harry potter. I played Yesterday by The Beatles, prefacing it with a memory of my Dad singing along in the car. Sharing music and memories with strangers was one of my favorite moments since coming to Sweden. I loved sitting in that beautifully decorated room, patiently listening and appreciating each others 3 minutes of childhood significance. I liked it so much that I’m planning on bringing it back to Ann Arbor and starting a similar music exchange.
On Tuesday Taylour and I checked out Distingsmarknaden, an outdoor market filled with Swedish venders. I can now say that I’ve tried Reindeer heart and Bear meat! I bought some of the Reindeer meat to share with my friend Carolyn when she comes to visit this weekend. There were a lot of stands selling very Swedish things like fur rugs, super warm looking wool slippers, loads of candy stands, and lots of pastries/coffee for fika.
Surprisingly there were a lot of things that we would expect to find at an American flea market such as dream catchers and generic Native American prints for sale.
Tuesday night I had my first shift working at a nation! The pay is crap, but everyone told me to try it for the experience and to meet new people.
I worked as bar back helping out behind the bar during a club night. This mostly involved cutting a lot of limes, carrying a lot of cases of beer, and fighting my way through a lot of sweaty dancing people but it was really fun. After doing most of my work sitting at a desk for the last few months, the high intensity of running around for 8 hours and doing physical labor felt great! Like coming out of a really hard fitness class exhausted but recharged.
Its a good thing that my classes are pretty easy, because planning my travels made me realize what a busy next few weeks I have! Carolyn’s visit. Stockholm. Kiruna. Maja’s visit. Spain. London.
Carolyn is coming to visit tomorrow! I’m so excite to show her around Uppsala, introduce her to the friends I’ve made, and explore Stockholm.
Off för att koppla gamla vänner på nya platser!