Today was Valborg Day in Sweden. In Gothenburg it coincides with Hanami in the Biological Gardens. Hanami in Japanese means “flower viewing,” and was a big deal in the town where I lived in Japan. Hadn’t heard of it since, really, and here it is in Gburg, for no apparent reason. Japanese dancing, story telling, etc here, but nary a Japanese in sight… odd. Beautiful huge arboretum maintained by the City and the University, and a short walk from Irene’s house.
Swede’s seem to mingle nicely in large groups; I haven’t quite got a handle on it yet, but they seem to comfortably take private selves into public places, and not intrude into each other’s space. The Swedes I have asked about this say “Ja, quite possibly something like that.” One guy suggested that Americans are probably more aware of their surroundings. There seems to me to be something like a palpable absence of something like fear or “wariness” is Irene’s suggestion….again, can’t write put my finger on it.
Here are Emilie and Irene ready for Hanami
Valborg day is a semi-holiday with obscure German pagan roots, that has to do with witches and devils and bonfires and spring. It is also the day when the university students parade (“cortege”) and make fun of different political things that have happened during the year. This year seemed a bit lame, but the students were having fun and often well lubricated. They have some sort of pipeline that is constructed from the Brewery to the University during the week before Valborg. Only one Trump float.
After that we bicycled to the park for the bonfire and enjoyed the loooooonnnnggg Swedish twilight that lasts now until after 10:00.
Then we bicycled back to Irene’s neighborhood to join in some group singing to welcome spring.
Swedes act like this everyday. The country is perfect, everyone is happy. All the children are lovely. They closed the borders yesterday, and no one else is allowed in. Those of us here now will live in happiness all our lives.
Irene suggests however we risk dying of boredom, but I feel she is too cynical in this matter.
Slideshow of Swedes from my favorite bar in Stockholm: Kloster on Hornstullgatan in Sodermalm