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Blame it on the Rain

Not every day in Sweden can be as gorgious and sunny as the last few weeks have been, and yes, I am fully aware of the irony in the fact that my last post was all about the beautiful Swedish summer. Last week, it rained, and this had ramifications for my entire week. At work, business continued as usual. The team left once again for a longer trip to New York, and the majority of them will not be back until the end of the month. There, they are going to be in training meetings pretty much the whole time, working with the UN to study new issues and strategies in the area of constitution building. I and my fellow interns, Felipe and Ann-Katrin, are continuing to work on the country profiles and the handbook, and we are branching out to include some additional work on the website's databases and catalogues. With all the rain, we are stuck inside all day, but we did manage to visit the photography museum. That was quite an interesting museaum. They were showing a collection of still lifes and portraits by an American artist who died of AIDS a few years ago. I can't say as the pictures were to my taste, but I will say that his black and white collection was nothing if not intriguing. It certainly had people taking, and for reticent Sweden, that is quite an accomplishment. We also did manage to surprise my friend for his birthday with a trip to a Thai restaurant, though our attempt to go to a bar got rained out later in the evening. Instead, we went back to his house and had a wonderful party with cake and all our Swedish friends whom we haven't seen since Midsommar. We played a kind of Swedish jenga where each player has to try to blow a card off the top of a deck perched on top of a glass. The one who blows the last card off is the loser and is eliminated until the last player standing is declared the winner. The birthday boy's friend from Georgia (the country) was visiting, and he actually won the game, his first time playing. The next day, we wanted to go on a cruise. We even booked our tickets in advance. However, due to the rain, we were not able to go. Instead, we went shopping. My guy firends here like shopping more than I do, I think. Felipe has been looking for a pair of shoes for weeks, and he was finally able to a pair that he liked after visiting almost every shoe store in Stockholm. While we were out, a man tried to steal his sunglasses, but we caught him before he walked out of the store. That is the first and only crime I have seen or heard of here in Sweden. It is really quite remarkable how little violence, theft, or other crimes occur here. They chalk it up to a lot of self-policing, which I would believe since I also don't see that many officers patrolling around town. All in all, people seem happy and comfortable. That is really something for an American to witness. You have to wonder if such a thing would be repeatable here. These are the kinds of musings that go on in my head when it is a rainy day and I am trapped inside. I am sorry that there is not that much to report this week. Blame it on the rain.