Sunday, June 6, 2010

Farewell to the Land of the Midnight Sun

Just so easy
When the whole world fits inside of your arms
Don't really need to pay attention to the alarm
Wake up slow...

My year of "making banana pancakes" comes to a close. This will be my last blog post as a Swedish resident.

It has been a good year. I have learned a lot. I have had many of preconceived notions challenged and many enforced. Sweden has been a good host and the Swedish people as well. So, I take with me a fond appreciation of the people and their culture. It has also made me question many aspects of American culture that I, many times, accept as just the way it is.

Thanks to those who read. I know many read because my views were foreign to them. I hope I have made some think, sometimes laugh and sometimes pull their hair out in aggravation. As events unfold in this crazy world we inhabit, always remember dominate, or be dominated—it’s that simple in this universe. Freedom requires serious defense and offense in order for it to exist in any form. Your mind is always the prize for anyone wishing to extinguish that flame of freedom.

Hey då...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Weather, Bag Barrettes and Nuns

I went running this morning in shorts and a sleeveless Tshirt. That's always a step in the right direction. The unusual thing about it was that it was fifty eight degrees. My, how far we've fallen! Fifty eight degrees, in Phoenix, and it's generally hard to muster up the wherewithal to go out and brave the cold. Certainly, it's sweats and long sleeves. Maybe even a sweat jacket. Drop another five or ten degrees and we would typically be breaking out the gloves. But, it's a dry cold.

Summer is reaching Sweden. The bikes are back and the Swedes seem to come alive. The cafes and restaurants have all put the tables outside and the street vendors are back in earnest. Lilac bushes are in bloom. I had completely forgotten about them. I have not thought of them in years. I love seeing them. I remember picking the blooms from the trees as a child and seeing them again is definitely nice.

Also, the sanity challenged are back out. Walking home from school the other day the park wished us farewell with a homeless man passed out on the park bench in his own urine, with his penis still hanging out of his pants. This same park greeted us last May with a heroin addict just as he was injecting by a tombstone. My children have certainly gotten an education this past year. I do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, as this is the world we live in and one we have been insulated from in the especially antiseptic suburbs of Phoenix.

On to lighter topics. I am loading up on "bag barrettes". (See image in post) These things are genius! You use them to close, obviously, bags. Snacks, frozen food, whatever. I have never seen them in the states. We usually use those big clips that always break. These are like big plastic barrettes of varying sizes. Such a simple thing and one of those "why didn't I think of that" products.

I saw a nun on the tbana this morning. A real, old school nun. Granted she was about 80 but I wondered if Sweden was producing a new generation of Catholic nuns. So, I looked it up. It turned out Sweden has of the fastest growing Catholic Churches in Europe. Though Sweden is an agnostic country , by and large, they have an established Lutheran church. The Protestant principle of separation of church and state is not practiced in Sweden. Because of this, without special permission of the Swedish government, the Catholic Church can not own property in Sweden. A friend told me this once and I sort of disregarded it but here it was in black and white. Who knew?