I am writing this blog post after a bittersweet weekend. This week was the last that my friend Ankit spent here in Sweden, and in honor of that fact, we tried to make it an enjoyable last week. At Princeton, it seems, internships only last 8 weeks, and Ankit will be moving back to Japan where his father is stationed as an Indian diplomat to work for a large bank in Tokyo. On Monday, we had a barbecue at his house because two of his roommates were going on vacation that week and had to say goodbye to him early. Tuesday, we decided to go to the beach. One of the amazing things about Stockholm is that it is so green. There are parks, beaches, and gardens sprinkled throughout the city, and with all the water, it is sometimes hard to remember that you are in a nation's capital. I think that one of the reasons everyone says that Stockholm is so clean is because it is so green. And its people are similarly athletic and love the outdoors. I have never met a people who are so consistently running, biking, hiking, swimming, climbing, or moving, and the majority of the population is rather fit. When a friend mentioned going to the beach, I thought we were going to have to take a boat out to the archipelago, but instead, we were in the middle of the city. There, we sat on a grassy section just up from the sand, ate a picnic dinner, and watched the people of Stockholm enjoy the fact that this little piece of paradise was so close to home. There were a lot of people for 5 in the afternoon, but it appears that it is a fairly common thing to do after work in a country where the sun doesn't set until well after 10 at night. I can't say that I blame them. Some Swedish friends taught us a traditional lawn game called kubb (and I do realize that I talk about Swedish games a lot, but they love their group games). In this game, there are 5 blocks of wood about 6 inches tall on either end of the field, with one taller block in the middle between them. It is the object of the game to knock the opposing team's blocks down by throwing wooden dowels at them, and if the other team knocks one of your blocks down, that gets added to the ones on the other side that you have to hit. If you manage to get all of their blocks, then you have to knock the king block in the middle down as well. it sounds ridiculous, but it is probably one of the most fun lawn games I have ever played. I think I may try to bring it to William and Mary, since everyone knows we have a soft spot for this sort of thing.
On Saturday, we actually managed to go on that brunch cruise that we missed out on the week before. This was Ankit's last day in Stockholm, and he really enjoyed the boat. It went around the archipelago, which is one of Stockholm's most beautiful features. They are small, wooded, rocky islands scattered throughout the Baltic Sea, and on each island is a house or set of houses that most Swedes use as vacation homes. I find it sort of odd that they would build vacation homes directly outside of thier city, but to each their own. We really enjoyed the brunch, as well, as it had some amazing sea food dishes mixed in with some more traditional breakfast foods. The sea food is understandably very fresh here, and the salmon is a particular treat. After this cruise, the rest of my friends said goodbye to Ankit. However, Ankit and I went shopping one last time so he could pick up some souvenirs. We also met a friend for dinner before he left. It was really great to meet so many interesting people, and Ankit is one of my best friends here. I am sad to see him go, but I am glad for all the fun times we had together here. In the next couple of weeks, my other friends will be leaving and I will leave one short week after them, so I am going to do my best to enjoy the time we have together. One of the things this trip has taught me is that people make a place better. Without the friends I have made here, this trip would not have been as enjoyable becuase they helped me to see the city and take advantage of all it has to offer. It is a good thing that internet makes it so much easier to keep in touch. Now if I could only find some time in law school to Facebook.