I have a lot of catching up to do, since I haven't posted anything in almost a month: AS's birthday, my parents visiting, Swedelife's family visiting, Midsommar (complete with 3 or 4 maypole ceremonies), and a July 4th party yesterday. I'm going to have to go back and update (with photos) from the past month, but for now I just don't want to get any further behind.
Yesterday we had a July 4th barbecue, which turned out nice in spite of the rain. I really wanted to do something that would be similar to what we would do back home. This means: grilling outdoors, an American flag flying, and beer. (Fireworks would also been nice, but there wasn't much we could do about that.) AS & I built a permanent grill in the yard from stones (of which there are many here!) and concrete, so we had a place to grill outside. For a flagpole, we used an old long piece of wood that used to be used for drying hay, which we clamped to an old cart. Of course, finding beer isn't a problem in Sweden (especially if you don't mind drinking beer that's only 3.5% alcohol). We needed a little bit of extra red, white and blue decoration, so we taped up some red and blue playing cards along with white pieces of paper along the porch railing. Instant Fourth of July party in Sweden!
We invited over a few of our local friends, who even stood politely while I insisted that we play the Star Spangled Banner. We also introduced some customary American games from college (involving plastic cups, beer, and ping pong balls) which were a hit and I'm sure will begin sweeping Scandinavia. The day culminated with a late night dip in the lake.
I think you're never more patriotic than when you're living in another country, so it was nice to celebrate the 4th. When you tell people that you've moved to Sweden, some people think of it as some kind of condemnation of America's policies or something. It's not. Sweden's pretty cool, but I'll always be an American, and I'll always be proud to be part of a country founded specifically on the idea of personal liberty rather than geographical location.
Happy Independence Day!