gamlastan1The first thing that Mark did when he came to Sweden was to make a social miscalculation. He started to talk to the passenger in the neighbouring seat on the bus. The passenger’s surprise and discomfort made me laugh out loud. Almost.

We were supposed to take the white air buses into Stockholm where we would be met by mum, and where I could show off some of the nice parts of this city – like the tourist trap that is Gamla Stan (Old Town), but which is beautiful anyway, and Södermalm with all the geeky and alternative shops.

Stockholm in sunshine is a stunning sight. The city is built on a series of little islands, so it’s like a Venice with canals and stuff, except the canals aren’t man-made. People have just built houses to the edge of the water, and then they have built a bridge and continued on the next little islet.

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sodermalmIt is so weird to hear Swedish all around me. I keep lapsing into English when I’m not thinking, and people look surprised and then switch over themselves thinking that I’m a bleeding tourist.

Mark is mostly busy gawking at everything, asking questions about every little tiny thing. “What is this? What does that mean? How do you say this?” But it’s funny that he nearly got himself killed crossing a street. I’m not the only one to do that then.

We’re going to stay here in Stockholm today. Mum has fixed a couple of rooms (which is where I’m writing this), and then we’re going to head inland tomorrow. We could have done it today, it’s not far – just 140 km:s or so – but we decided to make a day of it.

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Maria came with mum. Or rather, Mum rang Maria and she dropped everything to come with her to meet us. So I’m really happy. I’ve missed her. I’ve missed everyone. Maria is insisting on making me over now because she claims I obviously can’t go about looking like a refuge from a hipster collective.

So, me and Maria are going to go shopping in a bit while Mark and Mum are going to go over things about the job. Seems to be a neat division of labour for now; I’ll go shopping, and Mark will work.

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Dad is coming as well tomorrow before we go inland. We’re all going to have dinner together, and then I’m going to arrange to get to meet him for a day or two later when Mark starts working. Mark and dad doesn’t get along so well, so it’s probably for the best if I do that once Mark has started on the job.

It’s going to be the first time in ages that we’re all together in one place. We’re really all split up, aren’t we? Some of us even live abroad now.

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I am really tired because I had a terrible case of traveller’s nerves yesterday and didn’t go to sleep until five in the morning, and then I had to get up at eight in order to catch the aeroplane at Heathrow. I slept some on the plane, but it’s not enough.

I probably won’t be able to sleep much until late this evening because Mark, of course, wants to see everything, and it seems unfair to him if I go and snore away this day that we have here in Stockholm.

Me and Maria are going to head off the the Swedish version of Harrod’s, NK, and then we’ll meet everyone in a few hours. Over and out.

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