I hope you know I miss you as much as you miss me.
For the past few days I’ve been in sunny friendly Stockholm. In my defense, I’m suffering badly from jetlag. Since I left New York last Thursday I’ve had one good night’s sleep and about 3 naps. My youngest son has an ear infection which is making him miserable, and so I’m kind of stuck at home with the kids while Johan temporarily works at the nearby KTH math department.
But honestly, traveling, even with kids, and even with jetlag, is no excuse to take off so much time from blogging. I didn’t even announce beforehand I’d be going away because I’d planned to blog every day anyway.
Here’s my confession: the real reason I haven’t blogged is because I’ve fallen into a Northern European funk.
Let me explain. Being here in gorgeous sunny Stockholm is kind of like lying back in a cloud. It’s so soft, so bereft of the natural tension and energy of New York, that you just feel like knitting all day and drinking coffee. And then, when you can’t sleep and it’s still light out at midnight, you feel like knitting some more. I’m almost done with a sweater I didn’t even have the yarn for until Saturday.
Not that I’m complaining, exactly – the Swedish people I’ve met are incredibly nice. So nice in fact that it’s almost become a personal challenge I’ve given myself to see what makes them tick.
For example, they don’t seem to value their time like we do in New York. There are lines for everything here, and although I can appreciate an organized line myself now and again, this is a different matter – it’s kind of a national pasttime.
For example, to gain entrance to an amusement park yesterday, my sons and I stood in line for 30 minutes. Then we tried to get onto some rides, but it turns out you have to stand in a second, separate line inside the park for another 30 minutes to buy tickets for the rides. Woohoo! Another line! I seemed to be the only person in line who was crazed by the system.
When I finally got to the ticket window and confronted the ticket seller in my polite-but-impatient New York way, he explained that it was the same system that the park had opened with back in 1830 or something. Naturally I felt incredibly honored to be taking part in such a hallowed ritual, as I explained to him.
Let’s talk Star Trek comparisons for a moment. There’s a spectrum of represented civilizations, from oppressed penal colonies on the one hand, where everyone’s dirty and wearing rags, but even so there’s always a shockingly articulate and thoughtful representatives, to ideal utopias on the other, where everyone’s incredibly fit and beautiful, bounding about without a care in the world (although often also hiding a dark secret – perhaps they sap the life energy from a slave race hidden underground?).
I’d have to put Stockholm and its ridiculously gorgeous citizenry firmly on the utopia end of the Star Trek spectrum, with a few inconsistent details, namely that, unlike in Star Trek, they still exchange money (although not for their high quality medical care) and that, despite their utopian existence, they don’t seem to have the requisite dirty secret. Of course I say that while temporarily residing in the Upper West Side equivalent of Stockholm, and not as an unemployed immigrant youth in the suburbs.
In any case, I’m coming back in a few days, and I’m looking forward to the friction, the hot grimy subway cars, and of course the beloved controversy over citibikes. Aunt Pythia, who missed her column this past Saturday, is also chomping at the bit (with some help from guest advice columnist Cousin Lily!), so stay tuned for that too.