Monday, February 14, 2011

Alla Hjärtans Dag

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone! I quite like Valentine's Day, actually. I don't really like celebrating it in a couple-y, relationship-y way; this may be out of jealousy, as I am too awkward and clumsy to enjoy a romantic dinner without it ending up on my lap, but the reason is not important. Valentine's Day is great just like Halloween is great: it's a fun holiday associated with fond memories of classroom parties and Disney cards and JuJu hearts and decorations and dressing for a theme (if I had one wish it would be that every day were a theme party) and Gal-entine's Day Secret Cupid and unnecessary commercialization of a former European religious holiday. Also, discount Peeps at CVS the day after. Like, right now, I am eating strawberry PEZ out of a pink, heart-shaped PEZ-dispenser that says "Be Mine" on it (thanks, Mom), and it is both delicious and what Valentine's Day is all about.

A wise friend, Janet Hefferan, was once asked by some asshole why she didn't have a boyfriend. Her response? "Because no one loves Janet like Janet loves Janet." Smart girl. I splurged (66:- instead of 49:-, big spender!) on a bottle of fair trade, organic Argentinean Malbec, bought some dark chocolate, and downloaded Black Swan. Date night with one Sarah Haack is on.

I'd also like to spend this Valentine's Day honoring another new love in my life: Gothenburg. An exchange student and I were talking about our time here in the 'Burg, and we decided that there's a certain love-hate relationship that develops. When people ask me how my time here in Sweden has been,  I'll say how cold it is, how I haven't seen sunlight in a weekend, how SysBo is never open, how expensive things are, etc. Really, though, I love this city. Let me count the ways:

The crispness and quality of the air. There is nothing like walking outside on a bright, chilly morning and breathing in that clean Swedish air. My lungs have never felt better than in Gothenburg

A public transportation system whose trams and buses always run on time

Taking a tram on a Friday night when it's packed with drunken Swedish 20-somethings like they were sardines and trying to figure out what they're saying

Taking the 2 on a Sunday morning and being the only person on it


Christmastime: the markets, the lights, everything

Kungsportsavenyn, "The Avenyn," which is heated from below so you don't have to worry about slipping on the ice

Ice skating in Heden

Walking through Haga with friends

Le Petit Cafe and its to-die-for quiche

Men who openly enjoy quiche, yoga, and doing their hair

Men who neither cat-call nor slut-shame. I had a discussion with my Norwegian/Swedish friend about this, and he asked if there was still a guys are studs/girls are sluts dichotomy in the States, as that mentality doesn't exist in Sweden. I said yes, to some degree. He was like, "WTF?" and I was like, "I know, right, WTF?"

Having my own apartment. I loved Letts/Centennial, but there is nothing better than cooking breakfast and making tea in your underwear at 8 AM while dancing around to Pink Martini without having to worry about disturbing anyone

The ferry ride to the southern archipelago

Listening to the sing-song conversations of drunken old men at 11 AM while waiting for the tram

The challenge of making it SysBo on time before it closes on a Saturday afternoon

Cider, or, if you're feeling particularly biddiesque, Xide. It's Sweden's answer to Smirnoff Ice, and it is damn tasty

Fika. There's something to be said about a society that mandates in labor contracts that you must take a substantial break every afternoon to drink coffee, eat pastries, and socialize.

Jens Lekman and Jose Gonzalez

The first sunny day after a week of rain

The opportunity to wear boots and a cute hat every day

Ping-Pong Pub nights

Friendly people

Beautiful people

A ubiquity of second-hand and vintage stores

An H&M every three blocks

Two IKEAs within 30-minutes of my apartment

The view from the top of Gothia Towers at night

That the word for children is "barn" and the word for grandchildren is "barnbarn"

Watching the sun set at 5:00 PM and knowing you've made it through the worst of the winter

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