Beaches and Travel Companions

What a great decision this was, and how amazing the weather is! Autumn rocks! Crisp, clean air and an explosion of colour! We drove down to the little beach nearby and even though we won’t be going for a swim, it’s so pretty even now that it’s getting colder. We spent almost every day down there in the summer with Monkey, swimming and sunbathing and eating countless ice creams from the little kiosk that some local teenagers run over the summer. Gorgeous. Something dawned on me over the course of yesterday and it still lingers this morning – it’s the first time in 20 years that I genuinely feel I could actually live here, this contented feeling of seeing my loved ones and spending time with them, B plodding on with his Swedish and everyone’s delight at how he actually makes himself understood. My stepmum has all but stopped bothering with English and just talks to him in Swedish most of the time. Don’t think he gets all of it, but he can definitely keep up, my gorgeous B.

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So yesterday was just the way it normally is – big lunch at my mums with my sister and one of my brothers and his girlfriend there too. My stepdad talking fishing (I think B’s not only signed up for moose hunting, but now fishing trips too), my mum explaining to B how to make the sauce for the salmon she’d cooked along with the lemon sorbet she’d made for dessert. Came away so full my stomach looked like a second trimester bulge. Of course, here, people eat dinner really early. Back home, B and I (and probably most other people) would eat at let’s say 7pm, especially if you’re going out to eat. Not so here. At 5pm (after having had my mum’s huge Sunday lunch at 1pm) we were meeting my dad and stepmum at the little 50s diner near Falla. It’s a gourmet burger bar. A “Dripping Trucker’s Burger” later and I swore I’d never eat anything ever again in my life.

Everything is very efficient and functional in Sweden, and that includes dinner. At barbecues in the summer, people will turn up and eat, drink and be merry at the usual stupidly early dinner time mid-afternoon, only to be finished and have everything cleared up by 6 or so. Dinner last night was no exception. We were there bang on 5, and 6.30 B and I were back at Falla.

What’s nice about that, and about being here, is that we end up seeing a lot of my family and friends during the days, and then get the whole evenings to ourselves. So last night, just like the night before, we sat here on the veranda deck on the west wall of Falla, in the beautiful evening sun (although now it sets just before 8 rather than not setting at all in the summer) drinking wine and chatting. We decided to play a little game to do with both our families, who we’d choose for different situations.

Spending 24/7 for a whole month on a desert island, having to do everything together, making fire, finding food, sharing a tent and so on. B chose my brother D, who he seems to have become BFFs with – not so strange given they are very similar. Well, they’re both awesome. I chose B’s mum for the same scenario. She talks a lot, like mine, but she’s the sweetest woman and I think it’d be a very pleasant desert island stay, plus she makes this lolly cake that’d be fab to sit and munch every day. Maybe hard to find ingredients for that on a desert island, but remember this is very theoretical.

Then, who to start a business with. B chose my dad and stepmum (my dad was an investment banker and bank director before he retired and my stepmum runs her own estate agency business), which makes sense. I chose his dad, who I see as very sensible and straight up, plus used to have his own business too before he retired. And his dad’s lovely so I know we’d get along.

Next, who to go traveling with for a month. B was stuck between my super easy-going brother P (he’s chilled out, up for anything and is a good laugh – easy to drag around bars as well as museums) and my Sis (sensible, quiet and inquisitive – she’d be perfect for excursions but wouldn’t be interested in any nightlife). I chose his youngest sister as I think we’d have a real laugh, and we have a mutual appreciation for good wine, so I think that might just be the best holiday ever.

Lastly, who to study and do all your course work with. B went with my Sis again (figures, as she is doing her doctorate right now) and I went with his brother, who I imagine would be a stable and reliable team mate, who could keep me on the straight and narrow.

After all those conversations, it all turned into a little bit too much wine and wild sex as usual. Can’t complain, but I have to say I do have a very sore head today. Full on again, given our limited time here this trip – my dad’s turning up any minute to have coffee with us (11 o’clock ritual), then we’re off up to Torsby to have lunch with my best friend and after that I guess we’ll just be squeezing all my family in for more coffee, food and whatever else. We’re leaving here at 4am tomorrow morning for the 4+ hour drive back down to Gothenburg to catch a sucky Ryan Air flight back to London.

An early night, me thinks.

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