That International Trip We Took Four Months Ago

I promised myself over the holiday break that I’d finish writing about our trip to Sweden. But like all good intentions…

These days, I find myself thinking more about the visit as I follow @sweden. In what is one of the best social media marketing campaigns I’ve ever seen, those clever Swedish tourism officials gave control of the country’s Twitter account to its people (neo-Socialism is hip like that). A different Swede takes over every week, sharing information about where they live and what they do. The closet voyer in me loves it!

We’ve been home for 3.5 months, which may as well be 3.5 years as far as my poor memory is concerned. So I wondered, what has stayed with me from the trip?

1. Sweden has amazing balls. And I’m not talking about the meatballs, people. Every cafe and coffee shop we visited sold these amazing choco-coconut balls, or chokladboll. They were rich and smooth and I spent a lot of time contemplating how to smuggle them home.

I can't believe I didn't take a picture of one! (Cribbed from Flickr)

2. It’s the most spectacular place I’ve ever run through. There were a few times I had to stop running because the scenery was so epic and breathtaking. If it weren’t for those heinous winters…

Townie Beauty

Rural Beauty

3. Instead of Starbucks on every block, they have playgrounds. Parents take spending time with their children very seriously, Jerri & Hans said.

Coolest swing ever?

Stop judging me, blond child.

4. Home interiors tend to look like IKEA catalogs. And rightfully so.

The exit sign in the IKEA parking lot outside of Stockholm. (Tee-heehee #farthumor)

5. Picnics in front of medieval castles are not uncommon.

Can someone pass the Coke Light? (at Gripsholm Castle)

6. Children walk outside at night. In the city. Without parents. J/H seemed surprised when I pointed this out. “Why wouldn’t they?!”

Walking alone in Stockholm? OK, maybe not this young.

7. By comparison, their maternity leave is mind-boggling. Eighteen months, which can be taken in sections until the child is seven. Over dinner with extended family in Stockholm one night, our hosts couldn’t even grasp our backward system.

8. Love reigns, despite incredibly long distances. I inherited Jerri & Hans when I met Charles, and I’m so grateful to have them in my lives. They are warm, truly kind, and full of amazing life experiences. I hope Charlie gets to spend more time with them as he gets older.

With Jerri & Hans outside of Gripsholm Castle

9. Sometimes it’s OK … to let your screaming toddler take a few sips of wine in the desperate hope that he’ll CALM THE EFF down during a 17-hour plane ride and let you get a few moments’ rest.

Wine? What wine?

Bonus Video: This container was originally meant to keep Charlie’s shoes by the front door. He turned it into his own personal valet service.

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6 Responses to That International Trip We Took Four Months Ago

  1. Ginger says:

    It looks like an amazing place–although that plane ride is enough to scare me away (at least for now. You’re an utter rockstar for doing it w/a kiddo!)

  2. THANKS!!! We are also grateful that we have inherited YOU and, somehow or another, we will be sure to spend time with all of you as Charlie grows. Regarding Sweden as I have said many, many times, I am currently living in the Paradise of Paradise — for me it can’t get any better! AND, as I frequently say to Hans, “THANK YOU for being born Swedish!!!!!!!” I also agree with Ginger, you are absolutely fantastic and should certainly be receiving medals for the efforts you made to bring your treasure to us. Our hearts are filled with gratitude. We LOVE YOU, Jess!!!!!

    • ooops, I forgot. Just so you know that it runs in the family, Marjorie “fed” Charles III RUM on the flight from Jamaica to the United States in order to “encourage” him to sleep … and just look at what kind of a person HE turned out to be! ; – )

  3. Lauren Forgione says:

    Heard about that twitter campaign! Such a good idea – and shows how truly authentic they are willing to be from a cultural standpoint. Heard on NPR there was a lesbian truck driver that took over the twitter handle and brought some serious reality of driving the roads to the feed. I adore their maternity leave program!!! Wow. Here we try to juggle it all!

  4. Teppei Iida says:

    I have started blogging recently and writing about cultural difference among my home country and the others. Visiting is very important and we can know very interesting things. I love your story about playground. I don’t think it’s very cultural things for Swedish but for me (and you?). If I were a kid I would love to stay there ☺.
    In Japan, we have convenience store instead of Starbucks or playground…

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