Halfway through| July 12, 2010
It has finally decided to be summer in Stockholm. Temperatures actually got above 85 degrees this past weekend. The sun was shining and the people were out catching the sun, “recharging their batteries” as they say, in preparation for a long dark winter. In places where the temperatures regularly get uncomfortably high, people have made adaptations, such as air conditioning and omnipresent fans. Since Stockholm rarely gets this warm, it makes no sense to make such accommodations.
Sadly, this means that during the few days or weeks when it is uncomfortably warm, you are simply required to suffer through. I imagine that this is harder for Swedish people who were overheating when temperatures were in the mid 70s than it is for me because I am accustomed to hot and humid Southern summers. Still, though, when it is hot and the air does not move, it is not entirely pleasant. But this is what ice cream and iced beverages are for, right? While Stockholm has not yet become addicted to iced coffee and slushie drinks, there is some pretty amazing ice cream here. I’m glad that the temperatures are such that having a bowl of ice cream after dinner does not require me to put on a jacket.
This weekend, making the most of the summery weather, I went to Haga Park, a royal park open to the public. It’s a popular picnic spot and has plenty of places to sunbathe or jump into the water. Some other interns joined in and we had a nice picnic and stroll through the park. Some people went swimming for a bit, even though it was not as warm as the next day. We saw the copper pavilions, which were designed to disguise the stables and guards houses to look like a sultan’s tents. The Echo temple was occupied by a string of wedding parties, so we did not get a very close look. Then we walked past the Haga Palace, which is being done up to house the newly wed royal couple when they return from the French Polynesian honeymoon. It is modelled after an English manor house rather than a royal palace, fitting with the English rolling landscape that was crafted to make the Great Lawn. It’s like something out of a Jane Austen novel.
The next day, I went out scouting for souvenir prices. I’ve been around the tourist areas and seen quite a few shops selling typical Swedish memorabilia, but I wanted to see where the most reasonable prices were. It was quite warm in Gamla Stan, since the temperature was hovering in the high 80s and there was no substantial breeze. I also have to go back to Skansen, the outdoor museum, and check their prices. They had a very nice selection. Then, of course, I have to decide what appeals to me.
After taking a break to eat some lunch back at my flat, I headed out to meet some work friends for a boat tour. One of the people who works at IDEA also works with her family at a sightseeing boat company. She was happy to invite a bunch of us to go on a boat tour for free. It was a lot of fun. And it was great to get out on the water where it was cooler.
When the boat tour was over, we raced across town to make our reservation for a couch to watch the World Cup final. It was very crowded and extremely hot, but it was a great crowd. There was some heated discourse over the referee’s judgement at various points, but even when the match got very tense, people were generally jovial and friendly.
Now it’s back to work for the first whole 5-day week in a while. It’s very quiet here at IDEA, and in Stockholm in general because so many people have taken weeks and weeks off for summer holidays. There are a lot of tourists, though. I have already been stopped several times, by both Swedes and tourists and asked for directions. Once I explain that I don’t speak Swedish, the Swedes generally look for another person to ask, but I try to help the tourists as best I can. I don’t want to get anyone more lost, though, so I’m careful.
At work, we are finally wrapping up all the CBP chart information. It has been a challenging and eye-opening project. I’m looking forward to starting work on the handouts soon. I’ve got to do fact checking, research into legal ideas and terms, and general language editing. This is right up my alley, so I am ready to tackle the project, even though there are a lot of handouts to go through.