Friday, July 21, 2006

For most Swedes, summer is more than half over, with a little more than a week left in the month-long holiday that is July. A fickle month here, you can't really count on July for anything. When July decides to show its best side, you don't want to miss it. But the chances are about even that it will bare its teeth and spit at you, and if you have been unlucky enough to choose to spend your summer holiday in Sweden, come November you'll be a wreck and unable to face the onslaught of dark winter.

This summer, though I've spent most of it working, has shown July to be in a most sunny disposition. I don't mind, and every weekend we've made it out to the archipelago, usually on the ferry where we've encountered Spanish women from the Canary Islands, complete with fans, and 90-year-old Swedish women who were in Barcelona during the Spanish Civil war, and lesbians with babies, along with hosts of garden-variety Swedes, each of them with a beer in hand it seems.

Today, however, we are being chauffered by the sea captain and his boyfriend the children's author, in their little powerboat, which should get us to Birds Island in about an hour. We have a full weekend of relaxation planned. Which will consist, I hope, mostly of lying around in the sun, periodically looking up from a book or conversation to gaze at cruise ships like upended skyscrapers moving silently past in the distance.

Then on Monday, I need to prepare for the onslaught of my brother's two oldest children.

Lord help us, may they not be bored to tears by me and the husband. I fear that I'm woefully out of touch with what's fun if you're 13 or 15.

The Swedish word for the day is tonåringar, which has surely been the Swedish word for the day before. It means teenagers.

- by Francis S.

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