The Monday after Melodifestivalen

I feel I am still recovering from the busy-ness of last week. Two birthdays were celebrated in our extended family – Hampus, Maria’s brother’s son, our kids’ cousin, turned 6 on the 6th (Tuesday) and my sister Jenny, in Australia, celebrated her 48th birthday on Thursday the 8th. Naturally we were limited to a phone call to celebrate with Jenny, but we joined in Hampus’s birthday party on Saturday afternoon, with assorted other buddies of his at his home in the country just outside Örebro.

Friday evening we had a lovely meal with our friends Karin and Anders, who have been very kind to us ever since we arrived, not forgetting us newcomers despite their busy-ness with family, church and friends. Karin studied nursing with Maria, and now works part time in thoracic surgery at the hospital, but is very busy at home with three kids, Samuel (same age and initials as our Samuel!), Rebekka and Ester (who charmed us with her toddler smiles, babbling and laughter the whole evening). Anders works in IT, and is often on the road it seems, in Europe, the UK and North America, so it was a treat to be able to spend some time with them all together at their home.

Saturday afternoon, after Hampus’ birthday party, we went bowling with our home group, and afterwards we either celebrated our victories or commiserated our losses at the home of one of the ladies, Ingela, with huge pizzas and a lot besides. After dinner we settled down in front of the TV to join half the population of Sweden to watch the finals of Melodifestivalen, the Swedish precursor to the Eurovision Song Contest. These two events are taken extremely seriously in Sweden, a source of some amusement to outsiders like me, as I sat through one after the other very standard Eurovision type pop songs. The totally unmemorable winning song was called The Worrying Kind, by a band called The Ark. It was sung by an androgenous looking lad with black and blond spiked hair, who bopped around the stage looking very sweet and rather camp, wowing the adoring fans at the end by taking off his shirt, to reveal a sparkling thing on his very smooth, clean chest. The applause was thunderous.

I say the song was unmemorable, but I am sure that, though I have no idea now how the song sounded, by the time the Eurovision Contest goes to air in a few months time I will have heard the tune on the radio at least a thousand times and its words will be stuck for ever in the depths of my subconscious. I will report back in the summer and say what the song is actually about.

On Sunday (yesterday) Maria went alone to church. The kids felt they had been out too much, and I agreed, but the service was, according to Maria, wonderful, a fairly confronting reminder of what being a follower of Jesus is about, and a challenge to consider whether we are living in that pattern, as we say we should. After church we had the pleasure of lunch with one of Isak’s teachers, Britten, and her family, who live in a big green house in a suburb not far from the hospital called Rynninge. Another lovely distraction from everyday life, and Isak thought it was very funny to be having lunch with one of his teachers!

Today it is sunny, the thermometer is up around 7 degrees, and there is barely a sign of the snow that two weeks ago completely covered the city. Maria was up early to take the bus to the railway station where she was to catch a train to Gothenburg for a two day course. I have cleaned the flat and done the shopping and been to the gym, and in an hour I will head off to get the kids from school. Somewhere today I need to fit in some Swedish study, and the washing is piling up too.

So begins another week…

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