Nine people, six days, one house in a foreign country. Sounds like the premise of a new reality television show, no?
Fortunately for me, my friends are more Real Simple than Real Housewives. The most dramatic thing we did was book the trip itself in the fall. One serendipitous day, our little jetsetter A received an alert about cheap direct flights on Norwegian Air. An hour’s worth of breathless emails later, we were officially Stockholm-bound!
Knowing next to nothing about Sweden before my trip, I imagined a fair land full of fair people. This, it turns out, isn’t far from the truth. Stockholm is full of blonde-haired, blue-eyed beauties, many of whom ride bike around the city with effortless grace (often while wearing black cocoon coats and wood-soled heels). The Swedes truly own their aesthetic, including beyond fashion. Stockholm itself has very clear architectural identities, capitalizing on their gorgeous natural setting. At times, I felt like I was on a Disney set; the streets were so clean, the parks so green and the buildings so chic. It nearly felt sterile, in a way that made me miss the diversity and nitty-gritty of American cities. Soon enough, however, I found myself warming up to Scandinavia’s prim, proper charms. As an American, I felt welcome; as an Anglophone, I had no trouble communicating. I studied the simple design elements around me, from pot lids to cafeteria seating. I enjoyed the mild weather, which mirrored Northern California’s quite closely. “I could get used to this,” I thought to myself… and then, of course, it was over.
I now find myself back in the mists of San Francisco, dreaming about my week of spring in Sweden.