Good thing I made myself learn the Swedish national anthem when I became a Swedish citizen. I was taking my lunchtime stroll through Djurgården when a bunch of 14-year-old girls ran up to me, begging me to sing "Du Gamla, Du Fria" as part of some school scavenger-hunt type exercise so popular with the Swedes who, in an attempt to alleviate their natural taciturn natures, incessantly force on themselves such games designed to make them interact with strangers.
I didn't tell them that I wasn't a real Swede, or that I actually didn't need the paper with the words on it because I have them memorized.
I sang, they thanked me effusively in that loud and laughing 14-year-old kind of way, and I walked back to the office, inordinately proud of myself. The pride has worn off, though, and now I'm feeling a bit blue at the prospect of the American editor and his wife leaving us. As consolation, though, the husband has returned from America, bearing gifts and assorted sexual favors.
The Swedish word for the day is promenad, which as you probably can guess, means a walk or promenade.
- by Francis S.