Saturday, December 14, 2002

The American editor and his wife arrived from the States yesterday in the midst of the Swedish Christmas hullabaloo that is Lucia, Sweden's own festival of lights. I'd started the day on the subway, hungover after a night of Czech food (sausages, sausages, sausages, schnitzel, more sausages) and bohemian beer with colleagues, rudely awakened to the harsh reality that is life as I sat waiting for my train in the subway and I could hear caterwauling somewhere behind me, which once I'd boarded the train, turned out to be Lucia hooligans - grown men and women got up in white gowns and Santa Claus suits and candles on their heads or those pointy duncecaps. They were all hopped up on early morning glögg and singing loudly yet somehow tentatively, "Gläns över sjö och strand."

Once at the office, the celebration continued and for once, I was happy to be served wine for breakfast. It turns out that there is nothing like a little morning hair of the dog that bit you to ease the pangs of too much Bohemian beer the night before.

Later in the day, I ran off to go meet the American editor and his wife, who hadn't been back to Sweden in nearly a year and half. They had been picked up at the airport by R. and J. who had also come to Stockholm, so I also got to meet Hannes for the first time, his face round like his father's, his nose like his mother's, but in general very much his own little pink squirming self (although he rested quietly in my arms for, oh, at least three minutes - he didn't even really complain when his mother and I put him into his little snow suit).

Then it was running back to the office, then off for more glögg at a party in Kungsholmen, then back home again to pick up the American editor and his wife and go down to the apartment of L., the chef, and a party with more glögg.

I am glögged out. But oh, it's wonderful to have the American editor and his wife back. It's going to be like a great big sleepover from now until the 12th day of Christmas, as our apartment fills up with friends and family.

The Swedish phrase for the day is hos oss. It means, more or less, at our place, hos being an equivalent to the French word chez, more or less.

- by Francis S.

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