I moved into my apartment in Stockholm on Friday, exactly 11 weeks after leaving Ottawa. It has been a long time to live in two suitcases. At first it was fairly easy, especially during the two weeks of vacations in Montreal and Toronto. My time in Gärdet in a small hotel room was a bit more depressing. Thankfully I spent the last 3 weeks in a small but nice apartment in Skanstull. But there is nothing like being “home”. And home now is a nice apartment in Södermalm somwehere between Slussen and Mariatorget.
For me home has a broad definition. It goes beyond the physical space that I occupy in my apartment or the atmosphere I create (or will create in this case). It also includes my interaction with my neighborhood. Of couse, I spent a lot of time unpacking this weekend. And I accomplished quite a lot. Thankfully this weekend was also the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, which means an extra day off to unpack…. and explore my new neighborhood.
After unpacking the last boxes and assembling a few Ikea lamps this morning I went back to Drop Coffee to have breakfast with my colleague AG. For some reasons this guy is unhappy in Sweden and can’t wait to leave. And the fact that I love it so much just annoys him even more! But he is a good guy and breakfast was fun. I had the “big breakfast”, which would probably appears in the “healthy” section of any breakfast restaurant in North America. The big breakfast at Drop Coffee consists of a small ham and cheese sandwich, a yoghurt with musli and a home brewed coffee! Breakfast was good. Coffee was excellent. This morning I had the Ethiopian one. Although I missed Alexander and Oscar I was happy to met the weekday crowd!
After Drop Coffee I went for a walk on Götgatan, where I bought a few magazines, including Les Inrockuptibles, The Word and Uncut. AG was still with me at the time and he had to make a comment about the “the Book of Big Penis” which was on display at the cash. The girl working there was very quick to reply that it was great to look at with the special glasses now that it is available in 3D. She also pointed out that the book next to it – The Book of Big Breasts – was not available in 3D. It was time to leave AG and get back home for some more unpacking.
Early in the afternoon I went for lunch with RF. He wanted to see how much progress I had made in the apartment so he came by first. Since he was in my neighborhood I decided to go back to Franzéns for lunch. You may remember that the last time I was there I had to sit outside (to get some sun). Now that the sun has basically disappeared for the next 6 months and it was a bit cold today, I could have lunch inside. I had pasta with salmon. That was delicious. The place was quiet in this Monday afternoon. Next to us were two women with a newborn. The mother was beautiful and seemed happy to have a discussion with adults! She spent some time talking to a new dad who walked in with his newborn. They spoke about ice cream and babies starting to walk. And when she left she told her baby to stop crying oterwise “these two guys will never want babies”. We reassured her that her baby was adorable. Frankly, I was just happy to meet someone thinking that babies could still be in my future….
Tomorrow I am going to Kiruna for a couple of days and I had to stop by the office to pick up some paper, print my boarding pass, etc. But this is Thanksgiving and I am not in a hurry to go to work so I decide to make a stop at Kaffe. It is Monday afternoon and the place is packed. The girl sitting next to me is writing her journal. In a real book with a pen! Wow, I almost feel bad with my iPad! But the cappuccino is good and I enjoy watching people on the street.
I love those days where my office is closed but everybody else is working. It brings a great feeling of freedom. And it also allows me to meet people I usually don’t meet at coffee shops on weekends. AG told me that the next time this will happe will be in May. I may have to take a few days off and stay in Stockholm just to enjoy the city on a weekday. But now it’s time to pack. Tomorrow I will be in Kiruna!