There’s a lot of discussion in the media, government and coffee houses here about integration issues and the challenges immigrants face in weaving their way into/around Swedish culture and society. I admit there are a number of things about “the Swedish Way” that continue to baffle me, but for the most part I feel I’ve adapted to this country pretty well over the last three years.
There is at least one area, however, where I have COMPLETELY assimilated to the Swedish mindset: I am obsessed with the weather. Seriously.
Initially my interest was completely practical … we haven’t owned a car since I moved over, and when your primary mode of personal transportation is a bicycle, you need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature throws at you. But over the course of the last year (which just happens to coincide with my starting to work full-time with a 75 minute commute tacked on to both ends of the day), my attitude toward the weather has taken on an emotional element as well. After three very dark, damp and long winters, I know exactly why Swedes are so sunshine crazy and I am totally onboard with it.
Which is why, when the sun decided to ignore the meteorologists who had been calling for rain all weekend and shine brightly on Sunday, I found myself completely miserable that I had agreed to a 2 p.m. meeting with a group of people at Lund University. (I’m volunteering as a consultant for a rather ambitious project at the student radio station this coming term and the principles were gathering to compare notes for the first time.) I was even less happy (if that’s possible) 20 minutes into the meeting when I realized that the areas for which my help was needed were not even on the agenda.
I was finally able to bow out semi-graciously at about 3:30 p.m., but by then the best part of the afternoon was gone and I was fuming over having my time wasted on a sunny Sunday. And I was honestly surprised by the intensity of my anger, because as recently as a year ago, something like this would have rolled off my back.
Dr. Darling and I did manage to salvage a bit of it by rendezvousing with my pal Nicole for a late fika at a coffee house in Malmö‘s Dockan marina. But by 6 p.m. the clouds were rolling back in and by 7 it was pouring…which felt like a fitting end to the weekend or an early start on a rainy Monday…I’m not sure which.