Hitching A Ride On A C-17
In late May we had a spontaneous opportunity to jump on a mission with the hubby and fly to Sweden Space A! This is a rare “perk” to working here in Pápa – one we hadn’t yet taken advantage of and we were eager to do so! We packed our bags and hitched a ride without a plan – just open minds and attitudes of exploration!
Sweden, of course, is known for IKEA, ABBA, and the Swedish Chef (meatballs anyone?) but we learned in our time in Örebro that it is so much more! First of all, most people speak English. The energy is very relaxed and pleasant; nobody is pushing or shoving, drivers are generally courteous and everyone we encountered was friendly. The Clarion hotel we stayed in made a terrific impression (what a spread for breakfast!) and put us in a great mindset to venture out. Right away we noticed things were a bit more expensive here – more comparable to in America – but the quality, especially in the food, was much higher. Everything we saw at restaurants and stores was so fresh. There were tons of health and planet-conscious options to eat; it was almost hard to find junk food! My friend who had just visited Sweden said “Be sure to try the balls!” She wasn’t talking about meatballs – but sweet balls! They are all so delicious and every place had different flavors. I didn’t meet a ball I didn’t like!
I basically got the feeling that Swedish people prioritize well-being. In other words, people seemed happy. Children were welcome in all restaurants and public spaces. People in wheelchairs and with disabilities were seamlessly integrated into the community. Bike trails were prominent and bike traffic was high. Dads were with little kids in strollers, picnicking in the park on a week day. Young adults were enjoying a stroll with an open beverage and being totally responsible and respectful about it. Every public space, store and restaurant had a beautiful aesthetic – making it evident that art, music, fashion and nature were focal points to a higher appreciation of life. The grocery store didn’t have an “organic” or “health food” section because pretty much everything was healthy! I was continually impressed by the families. Every time I saw families together, parents seemed jolly and kind, kids were polite and patient, and there was a relaxed – not pressured or rushed – energy to it all. More of that please!
We had a solid day of rain plus a couple of beautiful days so we enjoyed indoor and outdoor activities. We found a movie theater to watch the new Aladdin, enjoyed great places to eat, scoped out an awesome indoor play place for the kids, nature walked along beautiful trails and tackled fun playgrounds, and a explored a few notable landmarks. It was especially fun to have a few friends with us as well! Overall it was a very special first time in Sweden for our little family. We fell in love – especially with the lifestyle – and can’t wait to go back!
See you again, Sweden!