Enjoy Not Knowing

Just another American living in Sweden


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doing the getting older thing

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My birthday balloons from Facebook.

Hello friends!

Today’s the day! The anniversary of my birth. The years between 26 and 27 have been rough. You read that right, years. Let me explain.

Let’s go back to a sunny summer day 2015, I was being a kind person and doing a favor. I had in my hand two winning yellow lottery tickets, I walked into the small shop to turn them in and collect the money. The man behind the counter looked at the tickets, looked at me, and back at the tickets. “I’m going to need to see some ID”. To clarify, in Sweden as in the US, the age at which you may purchase lottery tickets is 18. I handed over my identification, the man read it, and laughed to himself “You should take it as a complement!” A little hard to do with his laughter still ringing in my ears as I left.

A recap: if that guy thought I was under 18 that means he thought, at best, I was 17 years old.

Flash forward to this spring. At work I was outdoors enjoying the fact that the sun had returned to Sweden, when the conversation topic of age came up. A colleague asked me my age, and as I always love getting this question and answering it with another I replied: “How old do you think I am?” She paused “Uhm…..37?”.

You read that right, THIRTY SEVEN. Upon finding out my actual age she exclaimed “Take it as a compliment, you seem so experienced!”

What I’ve learned: it is a complement to be 17 and a complement to be 37. 27 though? No one knows. And this, my friends, is why my past year has, evidently, been a rough one. Aging 20 years is quite the feat, though not one I want to repeat, so this next year I’m going to take it easy. Super easy. As in I’m not going to do anything besides relax.

With a new baby, a new university degree underway and work to top it off I’m sure that’s feasible.

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graduating: here and there

My brother graduated high school this June. My youngest brother. Not to make this about me, but holy crap, I am SO OLD!!! I can’t even handle it.

Moving on.

It was a festive event with lots of festivities. And balloons. I don’t recall having so many balloons at my high school graduation. In fact I remember very little about the actual day of my high school graduation……I wonder why. BUT! That is neither here nor there, like I said, this isn’t about me.

Tyler graduated the 9th of June, and I was so lucky to have been able to be there.

The weekend was full of celebratory dinners, grilling, and present opening.

Tyler's graduation 1

And of course the big event.

the event

As it happened Tyler’s graduation weekend was the same exact weekend as high school graduation in the city I live in in Sweden. The way the Swedes choose to celebrate graduation differs from the usual traditions in the US.

First on graduation day you have a champagne breakfast with your entire class, and teachers. (The big difference here from the US is the presence of champagne, as 18 is the drinking age in Sweden, and also the age of high school graduation.) After breakfast there’s some sort of assembly of the entire class. Then the class as a whole exits their school building, to the welcoming croud of their closest friends and family. The immediate family of the graduate makes a sign, usually with an embarassing childhood photo of the graduate printed as large as possible on the sign.

I clearly took this opportunity to make one for Tyler.

photo 5

As you can see in the picture of Tyler, another aspect of the sign tradition is that family and friends present the graduate with toys and commemorative items. These toys (and an occational bottle of champagne) are mounted on string, and hung around the graduate’s neck. To top off the look the Swedes always wear their graduation caps, which look like white sailor hats. So many Swedish high school graduates have a picture that look a lot like this:

photo 1 (4)

picture found here

The graduates then join the members of their class in a large truck and/or on the flatbed behind a tractor and/or some other sort of large vehicle. I should first explain that each graduating class is divided into many groups, and it is in these groups that you take all of your high school classes. So, it’s not like 300 people were piled onto a truck. It’s usually around 30. Much safer. Although they do get booze…less safe…

Loud music is usually played out of every vehicle. The graduates are also usually armed with some sort of horn/noise maker. Plus they can always yell. They essentially have a party on a tractor’s flatbed. Which they have decorated before hand in preparation. These many decked out vehicles then form a sort of parade through the city. It looks a lot like this:

graduation parade

pictures found here and here respectively

I hope Tyler enjoyed his small part of Swedish graduation as much as he enjoyed the rest of it.

Congrats again!

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