I seem to lament annually on the challenges of being an expat on the 4th of July. There’s just no way to create even a reasonable facsimile of this most American of holidays here among the Vikings.
And for me, it’s doubly tough to be so far away from home on Independence Day because it’s also my birthday. Let’s just say you learn to have certain expectations when your birthday falls on a day that’s a holiday for all of your friends and family as well. When I lived in the US, the whole country partied with me. Here in Sweden, July 4th is just a regular day … though at least this year it fell on a Saturday so I didn’t have to go to work.
But there was one element of July 4, 2009 that was reminiscent of many I have spent in the midwestern US. It was miserably hot. In fact, the entire week leading up to it was warmer than usual for this part of the world, and because the sun is still up at 10 p.m., it doesn’t really cool down in the evenings as much as you need it to in order to sleep. We usually do okay (even though we’re on the 6th floor directly under the roof) because the Penthouse-Nordic has excellent cross-ventilation.
But even more unusual than the heat was the fact that there has been little to no wind all week. We live on the coast so there’s pretty much a near-constant breeze. Visitors never fail to remark on it, usually with something along the lines of, “Gee … it’s quite comfortable here when you can get out of the wind.”
So Saturday was hot, with not even a hint of a breeze (I believe sailors call it “dead calm”) and in that regard it kind of reminded me of July in The Heartland … except without the option of cranking up the air conditioner. Ironically, virtually everyone who called me from my hometown reported rainy and cool weather that was threatening all outdoor activities including the local fireworks display. I would have gladly traded them some of our sunshine for a decent night’s sleep.
Birthday highlights included opening gifts from my Mom while on Skype video with her. In another ironic twist, she sent a beautiful quilt that she made with squares contributed from several other members of the extended family. She was very understanding about the fact that it won’t be going on our bed until October at the earliest. She also sent a box of Cap’n Crunch cereal that will be consumed LONG before October. In the evening we dined al fresco with the Alpha Geek and his family, though in hindsight perhaps Indian food was not the best choice. But we rationalized that folks in India eat curry in temps much higher than it was here, so what the hell.
Upon returning from the restaurant we parked ourselves directly in front of an oscillating fan and held gin & tonic contest that pitted recent-favorite Tanqueray against Gordon’s and Finsbury. To the spend-thrift Swede’s delight, the Gordon’s … which is considerably less expensive than the Tanqueray but a little pricier than the Finsbury … won the blind taste-test, leaving more money in our liquor budget for single malt whisky apparently.
Around 11:30 p.m. the breeze returned and a forecasted temperature drop came with it, thankfully. It was finally cool enough to attempt to go to sleep around 1 o’clock this morning. It’s much more comfortable today, which is a good thing since we’ve got the usual list domestic chores to tackle. And the weather forcast is calling for cooler conditions and even some rain this week, which would be great because I could really use the rest!
- Give us this day our daily gin (shazzerspeak.com)