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.
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…
3. Instead of Starbucks on every block, they have playgrounds. Parents take spending time with their children very seriously, Jerri & Hans said.
4. Home interiors tend to look like IKEA catalogs. And rightfully so.
5. Picnics in front of medieval castles are not uncommon.
6. Children walk outside at night. In the city. Without parents. J/H seemed surprised when I pointed this out. “Why wouldn’t they?!”
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.
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.
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.